Weekend Beat: Light it Up

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival steps off


Thousands of people will trek downtown this weekend to check out the lights, but the 312 Dining Diva has some ideas on how to fill out the rest of your weekend.

For Chicago, the official start of the holiday shopping season happens once the first float makes its way down the street for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Check out the newest component of the festival, the culinary pavilion featuring some of the area's most popular restaurants. From 11am to 4pm on the hour, five executive chefs will demo signature bites, and the first 100 guests will get a sample. The culinary festival goes down at the foot of the Hancock Building on Delaware Street. It's also free!

NBCChicago.com will offer live video of the parade, which is scheduled to kick off at about 5:30 p.m.

Through Sunday, mention Week To Give Back at The Drawing Room for special deals. Ten bucks from your meal will be donated to the LUNGevity Foundation, plus you'll also receive a special dessert flight for the table. Now, that's sweet!

Juicy Wine Co. continues its weekly Breakfast Club with DJ LA*Jesus spinning classic 1980s hits. They're also hooking up late-night munchies like the Dirty Bird Bubble Bath brunch combo of fried chicken and waffles paired with champagne; and Swan Creek soft scrambled eggs with shaved summer truffles paired with Benton's smoked country bacon. OMG, soooo yummy! 11pm-2am. No cover.

And if you love chili, you don't want to miss Moonshine's first-ever Warm Up & Bear Down Chili Cook-Off. Sixteen contestants, both pro and amateurs, will compete for a grand prize of $1,000 in cold hard cash. Confirmed participants include Moonshine, Luxbar, Socca, Division Street Ale House and Timothy O’Tooles. The Bears will be playing the Philly Eagles, so expect the parking lot to be transformed into one big tailgating event. It's $10 or donate a winter coat for 1st Ward Ald. Manny Flores's annual Coats for Needy Families Drive. 3-7pm.

Audarshia Townsend is the creator of the local food blog 312DiningDiva.com. She also provides content for Dining Chicago, Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, Playboy.com and Concierge Preferred.

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