There’s just a hint of spring in the air, and with spring comes change.

You’ll Crave It

Kim and Scott Holstein, the founders of Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels , stopped by the MIB office with samples of their new product, the Crave Bar (pictured right). It’s a big square ice-cream bar coated in real chocolate and studded with pretzel crunch and stuck on a caramel-filled, chocolate-dipped pretzel rod. And no surprise, it’s scrumptious. We tried the “Cappuccino Craze” (super-premium coffee ice cream covered in dark chocolate and dusted with ground decaf coffee) and the “Milk Chocolate Madness” (vanilla ice cream with milk chocolate) varieties and were totally happy. You can buy them at Mariano’s, or find them on the menu at Nick’s in Wilmette. This summer, look for them at Ravinia  and various festivals around town. Totally calorie worthy. And best of all, they want to help fundraise for your favorite cause. Find out more on their website .

Say Goodbye

Scoozi, Lettuce Entertain You’s once über-successful Italian restaurant, will close at the end of April after a solid run of 25 years. Once Chicago’s hottest restaurant, at its peak there were long lines of frat stars and Gold Coast denizens waiting for a table and a chance to snarf the pizzas, pastas and Italian specialties on offer. Lettuce is holding on to the building on Huron in Chicago, and it’s not a stretch to assume that the LEYE scions, R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman—LEYE Founder Rich Melman’s kids—will take over the space sometime in the next year.

…or Maybe Hello?

Changes are also afoot at LEYE’s Paris Club, now known as Paris Club Bistro & Bar  (59 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, 312-595-0800), which had been the hot restaurant opening of 2012. The restaurant has been reimagined and the footprint reduced to provide a separate space for Ramen San, a ramen noodle shop that will open mid-April, according to my sources.

Mixed Cocktail Dinner

On April 3 (hurry… call and book now!), Bobby’s Deerfield  (695 Deerfield Road, Deerfield, 847-607-9104) is doing a Speakeasy Dinner. The five-course meal will pair each dish with a new take on a classic cocktail. So enjoy the Mussel Bisque paired with a Cuvee 61 Rosé Sparkling cocktail; the Braised Pork Belly can be enjoyed while sipping a Whipper Snapper Whiskey Smash. The evening is produced in partnership with Christophe Bakunas of Local Wine and Spirits Co.  The reception is at 6:30 p.m., and dinner starts at 7 p.m. $75 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity.


Wine 101 Classes

Now We’re Cookin’  (1601 Payne St., Evanston, 847-570-4140) is offering a Wine 101 series withHeather Bublick, the sommelier and General Manager for Evanston pop-up favorite Feast & Imbibe  (after popping corks at Moto and Tru). The May 14 class will focus on Pinot Noir; the June 11 class on Chardonnay. Each class will explore regional differences and include sampling accompanied by snack pairings. Classes run from 7–9 p.m. and cost $45. You can order tickets here .

Recent Yumminess

Had a fabulous dinner recently at Jellyfish  (1009 N. Rush St., Chicago, 312-660-3111), a see-and-be-seen hotspot on the Gold Coast. You might miss the entryway, lit by an eerie blue light, just south of the Ted Baker store. Venture in and head up the stairs to sushi paradise. Signature Rolls not to miss include the Kiss of Fire, Crabby Eel and the Summer Rush. Chef Jason Im works his magic with other ingredients as well, including the Soy-Braised Beef Bao, served in a sizzling stone bowl with “mother-in-law kimchee” and steamed bao buns for impromptu sandwich construction.

Fabulous Artisan Food Festival

Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival  will be held Saturday, April 12 at the Chicago French Market  (in the Ogilvy Transportation Center). Metra is offering a $7 weekend pass good for travel the entire weekend, which is even more incentive to attend this free event!


More than 100 culinary producers from around the globe are participating, including Capriole Goat Cheeses  (Indiana), Creminelli Fine Meats  (Utah), American Spoon Foods  (Michigan), Neal’s Yard Dairy  (England), Big Picture Farms Caramels  (Vermont) and Potter’s Crackers (California). See the full list of producers here .

Watch the video for more great info:

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