Yes, swimsuit season really is around the corner (we hope), but this is no time to start a diet. Not only does this week bring us the family feasts known as Passover and Easter, but in a cruel twist of fate, National Empanada Day and National Cheese Fondue Day also fall within the next seven days. (Actually, pretty much every day is a national food holiday if you're living right.) Throw caution to the wind and make some reservations.
By now you've probably already made your plans for National Empanada Day, which is tomorrow, Wednesday, April 8. Luckily, River North's Zocalo will be celebrating through Sunday, April 12 with an empanada "tour" of Latin America. The festive restaurant will offer a trio of empanadas ($9) inspired by various Latin American flavors and recipes: Mexican (a pan-fried turnover stuffed with tuna, cilantro, tomato, garlic, red onion and jalapeno peppers in a spicy chile-puya salsa), Colombian (a flaky turnover filled with spinach and ricotta cheese in an Aji sauce) and Argentinian (a baked turnover with seasoned ground beef, egg, green onion, crushed red pepper flakes and green olives served with chimichurri). Each of these empanada dishes are also available a la carte ($6-$7).
Leave some room for National Cheese Fondue Day, which falls on Saturday, April 11. Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar in Lakeview and D.O.C. Wine Bar in Lombard will both present a luscious fondue trio in honor of the gooey holiday. The decadent dish will include melted blue cheese, goat cheese and a special blend of Italian reggiano and fontina served with crostini, apples and sopressata for dipping ($9). Want some wine with your cheese? Hand-selected pairings are available for another $9.