Party for the Planet

Celebrate Earth Day with eco-friendly dining and drinking deals around town

Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22, but, really, shouldn't you treat every day like it was your Earth Day? Show Mother Earth some love with eco-minded drinks and dishes that will be featured at environmentally minded bars and restaurants throughout the area in honor of the occasion.

Starting Friday, April 17 and continuing through Saturday, April 25, River North's Farmerie 58 will serve a special Earth-friendly prix-fixe menu. The farm-centric restaurant's three-course menu by executive chef Nathan Kosakowski will feature such seasonal and local ingredients as spring peas, honey and Miller Poultry Amish chicken from Indiana. Farmerie 58's Earth Day prix-fixe menu is priced at $33. Partial proceeds from dinner sales on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, will benefit Friends of the Parks, an organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and improving Chicago's parks and forest preserves.

Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake will celebrate Earth Day with a environmentally friendly event on Saturday, April 18. The neighborhood hangout will host high-energy rock band Zmick for a special 18-and-over performance. A $5 donation will go towards the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, a grassroots citizens' environmental group. Drink specials will highlight organic offerings, such as Great Lakes Burning River American Pale Ale, mixed drinks made with Prairie Organic Vodka and Sam Smith Organic ale and lager ($4.50-$8), to complement Duke's locally sourced organic dishes.

Ben Pao, a River North Asian favorite, will feature one-day-only specials for Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22. The restaurant's eco-aware offerings will include lamb-and-leek potstickers with locally raised, all-natural Mint Creek Farm lamb and organic leeks ($6.95); soy-glazed salmon featuring all-natural, eco-friendly fish ($19.95); and "drunken" chicken prepared with all-natural chicken breasts ($14.95). You can order these dishes a la carte or as a prix-fixe menu, including the potstickers and your choice or salmon or chicken, along with a glass of organic Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc or a lemon-ginger Eco-tini made with organic 360 Vodka and all-natural ginger-infused syrup, for $30.

Get eco-friendly at a fun wine tasting, "What's Red, White and Green All Over?" at Osteria Via Stato in River North on Wednesday, April 22. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises' master sommelier Alpana Singh has chosen 20 Italian organic wines for sampling, while chef David DiGregorio will prepare organic and locally grown small bites for passing during this second annual event. The tasting is $20 per person and goes from 5:30-7PM. Call 312-642-8450 to reserve your spot.

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