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How merry is the month of May!

Especially with Mother’s Day nearly upon us, and you know what that means…BRUNCH. Here in the Chicago area, we take our brunch—and our moms—quite seriously.

Mama Wants Some Yummy

Take Found Kitchen and Social House (1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-868-8945), for example. Executive Chef Nicole Pederson and owner Amy Morton have cooked up a nostalgic, family-style feast to reflect their childhood memories (with a twist, of course) that mom will love. Grilled Slagel Farm Steak with Potato Pancakes, Spicy Italian Sausage and Fresh Mozzarella Lasagna, Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup, and Fried Macaroni and Cheese with Cheddar Cheese Fondue are just a sampling of what’s on offer; a Hummingbird Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting will be the literal icing on top of the meal. The special Mother’s Day Menu is available from noon to 6 p.m.; the price is $42 for adults, $18 for kids ages 5-12, and free for the under 5 crowd.

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If you’re looking for a new place to brunch, check out Koi (624 Davis St., Evanston, 847-866-6969), where owner Sandy Chen is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the restaurant with the addition of Dim Sum weekend brunch, featuring authentic Chinese favorites like Pan-Fried Pork and Veggie Buns, Mango Shrimp Toast, Scallop Dumpling Soup, and Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf. More than 60 items are offered each weekend, and it’s a fun way to taste the menu.

Other food-related Mother’s Day fun: Join my daughter and me at Katherine Anne Confections(2745 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago) on Saturday, May 10 at 11 a.m. for a Chocolate Truffle-Making Class in honor of Mother’s Day. The High Tea-themed party will include mimosa sipping, scone nibbling, rustic tea sandwich tasting and the hand rolling of delectable chocolate truffles. The cost is $65 per person; reservations required.

The Park Hyatt Chicago (800 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-335-1234) is doing a pop-up chocolate-centric pastry shop featuring the delicious and eye-catching work of NoMi Pastry Chef Meg Galus. This will be a real showcase for Chef Galus’ chocolate works of art, including bonbons, caramels, lollipops, macarons, eclairs and tarts. You’ll also find great gifts for the world’s best mom (that would be yours). The pop-up shop will be open through Mother’s Day from noon to 8 p.m. each day in the library of the Park Hyatt.

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Enter to Win a $50 GC for Artizone

If mom is a foodie, she would love the gift of Artizone. It’s one-stop online shopping for all of the best artisan and local food stores in the Chicago area, delivered to her door. So instead of driving to culinary hot spots like Gepperth’s Meat Market, Bang Bang Pie Shop, Black Dog Gelato, La Fournette Bakery, The Spice House, and other specialty food stores, Artizone picks up your wish list, boxes it all up together, and brings it right to you. They even have a substantial collection of gluten-free products and a Meals Made Easy section. Israeli Lior Lavy moved to the North Shore last year to start the service and it’s been quite successful so far. Artizone has generously donated two $50 gift certificates for our readers, so comment below why your mom is great to enter to win one of them!

Just Opened!

Chef Lee Kuebler of Libertyville’s brand-new Milwalky Trace (603 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, 847-530-7172) has a great pedigree, having worked at foodie faves Michael Restaurant in Winnetka and Ada Street in Chicago. The menu, which will change often with the seasons, relies heavily on fresh, sustainable ingredients. Right now, you’ll find a Roasted Carrot-Avocado Panzanella made with toasted ciabatta and orange-cumin vinaigrette; Asparagus with Miso Butter and a farm-fresh egg; Braised Pork Belly with Clams, Confit Cabbage and Chipotle Butter; and what looks to be a scrumptious take on French Toast with fresh seasonal fruit as a dessert. Upping the cool quotient: You text in your reservation to the number above. Milwalky Trace is open for dinner Tuesday–Sunday.

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Openings to Anticipate…

The Bib Gourmand Award-winning Ceres’ Table is about to reopen in a new and larger location (3124 N. Broadway Ave. Chicago, 773-922-4020) and I couldn’t be happier. Chef/owner Giuseppe Scurato brings his particular spin on regional and seasonal Italian food to the Lakeview neighborhood in early May and I am already dreaming about his Ricotta Gnocchi (with mushrooms, garlic and spinach) and the Smoked Swordfish Carpaccio with fresh oregano and lemon. Nom nom.

Glenview’s Valley Lodge Restaurant (2132 N. Waukegan Road, Glenview, 847-724-7440) recently announced plans to open a second location in the vacated Black Dog Tavern space in downtown Wilmette. They plan on a late May opening. The owner told me that the Wilmette menu will be quite similar to their Glenview location, with an emphasis on steaks and chops, burgers, salads, sandwiches and classic bar starters, many with a Greek accent.

Wicker Park’s popular Bangers and Lace (1670 W. Division, Chicago, 773-252-6499), which focuses on craft beers, encased meats and whiskey, has just announced they will be taking over The Keg space at 810 Grove St., Evanston. Apparently, the folks at Bangers and Lace are looking to expand their footprint further and looking at multiple locations. They hope to open the Evanston store this fall. As if Evanston’s restaurant scene isn’t hot enough…

 

As always, if you have any news of restaurant events, openings or closings in the North Shore/Chicagoland area, please email me at jchernoff@makeitbetter.net.

Top photo: Park Hyatt Chicago’s pop-up pastry shop.