If just going out to dinner feels a little too basic this week, check out these fun, interactive events that restaurants around town will be presenting for your dining and drinking pleasure.
Take a culinary tour of Italy at Via Ventuno, Jerry Kleiner's reimagined trattoria in the South Loop. One region of the food-obsessed country will be featured for one week each month, with May kicking off the adventure with the cuisine of the Piedmont area. Executive chef Jim Kilberg has put together a four-course dinner starring ingredients and dishes from this part of Italy, such as cheeses, meats, risotto with morel mushrooms, veal in a tuna sauce and olive oil zabaglione with strawberries and balsamic. The Piedmont menu will be offered from Monday, May 11 through Sunday, May 17 and is priced at $29 per person with an optional $15 wine pairing available.
Lincoln Park's Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! will continue its "Artista Ba-Ba-Reeba!" series on Tuesday, May 12 with a look at "The Impact of Spain" on the world of art. Chef Tim Cottini will create a six-course Spanish tapas meal paired with wines and sherries, while a lecturer from the Art Institute will discuss the art of Spain with a slide-illustrated presentation. The event begins at 6PM and costs $65 per person. Call 773-935-5000 to reserve your spot.
Also on Tuesday, May 12, join sommelier Steve Tindle for a food-and-wine pairing class at Vong's Thai Kitchen in River North. Tindle will walk guests through a five-course tasting that will teach you how to pair Asian cuisine with various wine varietals from around the world. The tasting is priced at $59.95 per person. Call 312-644-8664 to make a reservation.
At River North's La Madia, you can learn how to make the perfect spring salad on Saturday, May 16. The chic pizzeria will host its monthly cooking class and wine tasting, where chef/owner Jonathan Fox invites guests into his kitchen for a Saturday afternoon of culinary wizardry. This month you'll learn how to whip up a vinaigrette, select the right salad greens and then prepare several recipes, including arugula with herb chicken and spicy walnut dressing, and organic radicchio, endive and dandelion greens with a currant balsamic vinaigrette. The class and tasting take place from 11AM until 1PM and are priced at $30 per person. Call 312-329-0400 to reserve your spot.
Celebrate Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar's third birthday on Sunday, May 17 with $3 dining and drinking deals. The welcoming Lakeview spot will offer guests $3 wine tastings (2-ounce pours), $3 draft beers and $3 off all dine-in pizza orders. Try some of Frasca's favorites, such as the breakfast pizza (served during brunch) with three over-easy eggs, sausage and cheese served on a homemade crust; prosciutto pizza with olive oil, mozzarella and arugula; and the Caponata with tomato sauce, eggplant, goat cheese, red peppers, mushrooms and artichokes. (Pizzas are regularly priced $8-$13). The anniversary celebration continues from 10AM until 10PM.