Weekend: New Eats and Island Beats

Henri: This weekend's a big one for the team behind The Gage, who are finally opening the long-awaited Henri (it was originally supposed to open fall 2009) in a historically landmark building next door. Dirk Flanigan, who is also exec chef at The Gage, oversees the seasonal menu that'll offer his spin on classic dishes like Maine lobster, peas and Porcini mushrooms over house-made Pappardelle; slow-roasted Illinois lamb for two and a 16 oz. veal chop cooked in the stone oven. This is spectacular news for downtown crowds, who complain that there's not a lot of options in the area when it comes to chef-driven restaurants. And we have a feeling Flanigan won't let them down. Henri opens for dinner Saturday.

Grami: A more contemporary venue now occupies the space that once housed the ill-fated Reagle Beagle in Streeterville. But we're more excited about what they're planning for brunch, when it launches this weekend. How does a stack of French toast topped with Grand Marnier-infused whipped cream sound to you?! Or the Carnitas Breakfast Burrito stuffed with slow-roasted pork, scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, avocado and pico de gallo? Also, $4 Mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys. Brunch is 11am-3pm Saturday and Sunday.

ISLAND HOPPING: Chicago's tropical temperatures will make you feel right at home at two Caribbean events this weekend. The annual Chicago Carifete goes down Saturday and Sunday at Midway Plaisance (1200-1300 E. 59th St.) with Saturday's colorful parade at 1 p.m. sure to be the highlight. For more Caribbean goodness, head over to Union Park for the Jamaican Independance Day celebration Friday through Sunday. The 15th annual festival features Caribbean food, and arts and crafts.

'80s THROWBACK: Scenesters of a certain age remember Limelight, a New York-based club that hit Chicago scene in the summer of 1985 and was the hottest place to see and be seen until Excalibur took over the space a few years later. On Sunday, remember those good times with a blast from the past '80s party, with a DJ spinning tunes from that decade and party-goers encouraged to wear their '80s finest. The $20 ticket price includes an open bar until 3:30 a.m. 7:30 p.m., 632 North Dearborn St

Audarshia Townsend is the creator of the local food blog 312DiningDiva.com. She also provides content for Dining Chicago and Playboy.com.

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