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Courtesy of LYFE Kitchen.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it comes a whole lot of special events for which we can be most thankful! It’s not too late to get in on the (food-related) action…

Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Ball

You’ll want to act fast for this one; it’s being held this Friday, Nov. 7. After 26 years, the Meals on Wheels Annual Celebrity Chef Ball is still vital, especially in the amazing new venue at Morgan Manufacturing (401 N. Morgan St., Chicago). You’ll find more than 80 fabulous chefs from both in and out of town, cocktail surprises and more in a two-part format: the VIP Chef’s Table (6-10:30 p.m., $350) and Chef’s Tasting Party (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., $150). Live auction, silent auction, dancing, photo booth, tarot card readings—this party has it all, and all for a great cause. For tickets and more info, click here.

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Photo courtesy of Meals on Wheels.

Feed Your Mind

Pilot Light, a nonprofit started by Chicago star chefs Paul Kahan, Matthias Merges, Ryan Poli andJason Hammel to give kids the tools they need to foster healthy relationships with food, will hold its 2nd Annual Feed Your Mind Gala Benefit on Dec. 5 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St., Chicago). The VIP early entry is at 6 p.m., and the full event kicks off at 7 p.m. Chef’s tastings, live and silent auctions, and a terrific DJ are all on tap, and all proceeds benefit Pilot Light and the Chicago school children served by the program. Tickets are $275 for VIP “Tastemakers,” $175 for VIP early entry, $125 for general admission and a special $75 ticket for guests under the age of 27. To purchase tickets, click here.

Chocolate Extravaganza

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is featuring our favorite food group—chocolate—at their 13th annual World of Chocolate Winter Gala on Dec. 4. Held at Chicago’s Historic Union Station, 30 of Chicago’s best chocolatiers, chefs and caterers will participate in this distinctive event with chocolate-infused creations, both sweet and savory. Funds raised during the evening will benefit the AFC’s public education, community care and policy programs. World AIDS Day, observed a few days earlier on Dec. 1, helps to increase awareness about the disease. Tickets are $225 for Red Ribbon tickets, and $125 for general admission. For more information and tickets, click here.

Did I Mention Pie?

On Nov. 9, Bookends & Beginnings (1712 Sherman Ave., Evanston, 224-999-7722)—a fabulous independent bookstore you really should check out anyway—is hosting a book discussion with ChefPaula Haney of Hoosier Mama Pie Company. Reason enough to go (because, PIE!), but there will also be warm cider and PIE served, and Paula will discuss her career (including her stint working forGrant Achatz at Evanston’s Trio), her Indiana roots (Hoosier Mama. Get it?) and, of course, PIE.

Free Food for Veterans

In honor of Veteran’s Day on Tuesday, Nov. 11, the Treble-Maker Grill @ 27 Live (1012 Church St., Evanston, 855-927-LIVE) will honor both local veterans and active military personnel with a free three-course meal (appetizer, entrée and dessert) with proof of service. And what more perfect cuisine to serve our country’s service members than American comfort food?

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Photo courtesy of 27 Live.

LYFE Kitchen One-Year Anniversary = More Free Food!

LYFE Kitchen launched in Chicago last Nov. 14, so in honor of that milestone, both the Chicago (413 N. Clark St., Chicago) and Evanston (1603 Orrington Ave., Evanston) locations will be serving free samples of its greatest-hits dishes: Art’s Unfried Chicken, Whole-Wheat Flatbreads, Fish Tacos, Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Squash and Kale-Banana Smoothies. Funny—those are some of my favorites there, too. Stop by to sample; the menu caters to people with food issues (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.) so there’s literally something for everyone. (Also pictured top right.)

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Photo courtesy of LYFE Kitchen.

Openings

Evanston is busy as usual, with several openings on the horizon. Bienvenue to Patisserie Coralie (600 Davis St., Evanston, 847-905-0491), Pascal Berthoumieux’s (Bistro Bordeaux, Crêperie Saint Germain) passion project. He’s imported award-winning pastry chef extraordinaire Manuel Bouilletto create the gorgeous pastries for which France is justifiably famous: éclairs, tarts, Napoleons, madeleines, macarons and more. You’ll also find impossibly crusty baguettes and Julius Meinl coffee. Make it your morning stop.

And last, but certainly not least, the crazy-good pop-up restaurant Feast and Imbibe sets down roots as a catering company (1601 Simpson St. #3, Evanston, 847-491-9744) that offers full-service event planning, catering, delivery and tray pickup options. Chef D’Andre Carter (Moto) and Sommelier/Event Coordinator Heather Bublick (Moto, Tru) present innovative and delicious foods paired with great service (and beverages), and are thrilled to have a commercial kitchen facility in the North Suburbs. Look for special events like chef tastings and a blowout New Year’s Eve Party (to be held at nearby Now We’re Cooking) to be announced shortly.