Support Hurricane Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico w/ City Winery

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On January 29, City Winery’s sending 125 of our management to Puerto Rico, spending two days in the middle of the island, where we’ll work with farmers to rebuild their property. This includes planting seeds, removing debris, and rebuilding barns, sheds, and farms. Hurricane Maria took a horrific toll and decimated the agricultural industry, which normally acts as the main food supplier for the island.

Chef Cuevas of Restaurant 1919 and the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel acts as the leader in the farm to table movement in Puerto Rico and is collaborating with City Winery to help those in need.

The City Winery employees will be making the trip with duffle bags filled with supplies. Thanks to American Airlines, who will be waiving the excess baggage fees, the company will be able to bring necessities including ground coffee, shovels, extension cords, dehydrated milk, and much more.

To supplement the rebuilding efforts, City Winery will be leveraging its extensive customer-facing business with a campaign to help raise additional funds, allowing the company to bring much needed cash down for distribution directly to the farming and food-creating community.

With over 300,000 email subscribers and a strong social media presence, the 125 managers participating – separately from the campaign – are striving to raise over $250,000 between now and their departure.

Would you be willing to help support by donating product or funds
? We are looking for partners that can offer supplies, cash, and support in our efforts to continue to rebuild Puerto Rico. In return, we will make sure your brand is mentioned on all materials sent to the media and we will have photographer (Getty) documenting the entire effort and you are welcome to use those as you wish. Our PR team can also connect and collaborate with you directly as they will be doing appropriate outreach.

We’re doing boots on the ground efforts to help those affected, and together we’ll make a real difference, please join us by donating at http://www.citywinery.com/puertorico or emailing us at puertorico@citywinery.com

2016 February Events at City Winery Chicago

 

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Wellington Ukelele Orchestra Performing at City Winery on February 29th

Wellington Ukelele Orchestra Performing at City Winery on February 29th

Happy February from City Winery! We hope that everyone is staying warm this winter. Here are some upcoming events that we hope will make things warmer.

We are starting and ending this month with UKELELES! February 1st and 2nd we have Jake Shimabukaro bringing his Hawaiian Island sounds to warm us up. At the end of the month, February 29th, The Wellington Ukelele Orchestra is joining us all the way from New Zealand!

City Winery veterans Judy Collins and Ari Hest are collaborating together for two shows here on February 4th and 5th.  A duo you surely don’t want to miss! Meet and greet tickets available.

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s weekend yet?  Well, look no further! On February 12th and 13th, 10,000 maniacs will be returning for their February residency performing three shows. On the actual Valetine’s Day, February 14th, B.J. Thomas, famous for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head”, will be joining us for two shows at 5 & 8pm.

In case you didn’t hear the news, Eric Burdon and The Animals are coming back due to popular demand!  The band sold out their December 2015 show. So if you did not see them then, now is your chance! They will be here February 15th and 16th.

If you are looking for something a little bit more soothing, do not miss Israeli-French pianist/vocalist Yael Naim on February 22.

For tickets to all events, please follow this link here:

2/1-2 – Jake Shimabukuro

2/3 – Wynonna & the Big Noise – Stories & Song – with Tim & Myles Thompson. Meet & Greet available.

2/4 & 2/5 – Judy Collins & Ari Hest.

2/7 – Story Sessions Brunch – Super Love

2/7 – Dirty Dozen Brass Band

2/9 – Albert Lee (with full band)

2/11 – Grant Lee Phillips & Steve Poltz.

2/12 – 10,000 Maniacs – 7pm

2/13 – 10,000 Maniacs – 5 & 8pm shows

2/14 – Chicago Philharmonic Sunday Series -THE CHOCOLATE BOX: A MUSICAL TAKE ON THE FLAVORS OF LOVE- 12 PM show

2/14 – BJ Thomas – 5 & 8pm shows

2/15 & 16 – Eric Burdon & The Animals

2/17 – Buckwheat Zydeco

2/17 – Wine School : Winter Series – North America – Washington*

2/17 – La Spinetta and Contratto with Giorgio Rivetti wine dinner

2/18 – Claire Lynch Band & the Quebe Sisters.

2/19 – Eryn Allen Kane. Silver Wrapper, Community & City Winery present.

2/19 – Ale Syndicate Beer Dinner

2/20 – Lyfe Jennings – 7pm & 10pm shows

2/21 – Sierra Hull with Forlorn Strangers

2/22 – Yael Naim

2/23 – A Palo Seco – Chicago Flamenco Festival

2/24 – The Duhks

2/24 – Winemaking School : Wine and Weight**

2/25 & 26 – Howie Day

2/28 – An Evening With DEACON BLUES featuring Grammy® Winner SUGAR BLUE with Chicago Bass Legend WALLY HUSTIN (America’s Premier Tribute to STEELY DAN)- 7PM show

2/29 – The Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra

*Wine School – Winter Series 2016 – NW United States. $140 for all 3 classes or $60 individually:

01/20 Wednesday– Wine School: California

02/17 Wednesday – Wine School: Washington

03/23 Wednesday– Wine School: Oregon

** Winter 2016 Winemaking Series – $140 for all 3 classes or $60 individually:

01/13 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Wine and Time,

02/24 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Wine and Weight

03/30 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Fining and Filtration

The Art of Food and Wine Pairing

Here at City Winery Chicago, it’s imperative that we perfectly pair food and wine. I work hand-in-hand with our sommelier, Rachel Speckan, to taste our wines and look for flavors and notes that I can pair with food. This spring, I’ve been working closely with Rachel to pair new menu items with her selection of new seasonal wines. As you may have noticed, our menu is laid out as a guide for food and wine pairing—starting with sparkling and whites working on down to reds—to make it easier for guests to make selections.

One new wine we are offering is a sparking wine called Jane Ventura, which is a Cava from Spain. After tasting the Cava, I knew what dish on our new spring menu to pair with it—fried smoked chicken served with a pickled watermelon salad. The effervescence of the sparkling wine stands up to the smokiness of the chicken while the sweetness of the wine goes nicely with watermelon.

We also tasted another new wine, Mercouri, which is a Chardonnay from Greece. It is briny like the sea, so I wanted to pair it with our new scallop dish, which is a pan-seared scallop with celery root and apple puree. The wine complements the natural sweetness of the scallops.

One new red we’re offering is The Loop, which is a Cabernet Sauvignon from California. We have a new lamb offering for spring that we’re really excited about, and I knew I had to match it with the wine’s deep red berry flavors. The homemade lamb merguez is a slightly spicy sausage served with cous cous, toasted Marcona almonds and a roasted red pepper yogurt sauce.

If you want a “sneak peak” of these dishes, we’re currently running them as specials to try them out, so come on in and let us know what you think!

– Chef Andres Barrera

Purveyor Close-Up: Rain Crow Ranch

This week, I want to take you behind the scenes into our kitchen to discuss one of our favorite purveyors—Rain Crow Ranch, a great family-owned farm in southern Missouri. Rain Crow supplies all our beef, and it is 100% grass-fed, free-range, and hormone & antibiotic-free.

The taste and quality of the beef is exceptional, but we also appreciate that all of their animals are treated humanely. It really comes through in the product. The cattle are born, raised and finished on open grass pastures, and the family is truly passionate about providing the healthiest, safest and highest quality beef possible.

I like to use the beef for our City Winery Sliders because it tastes like a real no fuss, no muss burger. An order of our sliders includes three mini all-beef burgers, served with lettuce and tomato on pretzel rolls. I don’t add a lot of fancy ingredients to the burgers and like that the natural beef flavors can stand on their own. On our new spring menu, we will be offering the sliders on a light brioche bun.

Another popular menu item made with Rain Crow beef is our Braised Short Rib. The short ribs are braised in red wine and stock at a low temperature in the oven for close to six hours. They are served over creamy rosemary scented polenta and topped with a tangy tomato chutney. It’s an elegant, delicious dish.

These are two of our most popular items, thanks to Rain Crow Ranch. The sliders are a big hit with kids, too, and are great for sharing and even hearty enough to be an entree. Even if you are a vegetarian, this meat will make you wish you weren’t! I’m exaggerating, but you are missing out if you haven’t tried these menu items!

- Chef Andres Barrera

You Can Go Home Again…and I’m Happy to Be Back!

Welcome to our weekly food column. We will be writing a new post each week with the latest on our menu, specials, food and wine pairings, our chefs and more at City Winery Chicago!

For the first installment of our weekly food column, I want to take a moment to introduce myself and tell you how thrilled I am to be here at City Winery Chicago!

I’m a Chicago boy who took a great detour working at some wonderful establishments in NYC, including City Winery New York, but now I’ve come full circle by returning to Chicago to be your executive chef at City Winery Chicago.

My passion for food and cooking started as a young boy growing up in Marquette Park on the South Side. I was inspired by the great chefs I watched on television, such as Jeff Smith, Martin Yan and Julia Child (I was also intrigued by Jack Tripper from Three’s Company and the Swedish Chef!). I learned the basics from my mother, grandmothers and aunts, cooking with them from the time I was 10 years old. My love of food and cooking continued to evolve as I attended Le Cordon Bleu here in Chicago, where I studied classical French and Italian cuisine. I then moved to NYC, where I learned precise cooking and perfect plating techniques at the renowned Capital restaurant, worked slinging pizzas at the famed Franny’s in Brooklyn, then headed up the kitchen at City Winery New York.

I’m now happy to bring all of these experiences to the menu at City Winery Chicago. I love the challenge of creating a menu inspired by the wine producing regions of the world while also making food designed around our customers, many of whom are here to enjoy music or to dine in the bar with friends. I love creating sharable plates that are delicious and delight guests. A personal favorite of mine on the menu is our seared scallops with a carrot puree and bacon chutney. Another dish I am really excited about is an item we currently are developing for our spring menu called faux marrow. Conceived by my executive sous chef Kevin Coulter, this play on bone marrow is a vegetarian dish made from a variety of hand-foraged mushrooms we source from a great local purveyor. Be sure to come in later this spring to check it out!

I look forward to serving you and hope you enjoy your dining experience at City Winery Chicago!

History of the New Year’s Eve Champagne Toast

Champagne is an enduring, delightful classic. It is luxury embodied. It is celebration in a bottle. Champagne was not originally associated with holiday seasons or celebration, but instead marked privilege and excess.

It was the drink of gentlemen and royalty. However, the Houses of Champagne desired an appeal to the lady folk, and launched a marketing campaign to attract women to the bubbly elixir. The brilliant marketing focused upon beautiful labeling and scenes of celebration and events important to women, including weddings, romantic dates, and christenings. Thus, the enchantment of Champagne was ever attached to occasions of import, especially ushering in the New Year.

Since the time of ancient Babylon, 4000 years ago, the grand celebration of the new year has been an integral part of society. Whether a wild rumpus for the grain god of barley, or a nod to Janus (January), the Roman god with a duo of faces, one facing back and the other forward, or the New York City ball drop, there has been worldwide recognition of renewal and reflection. Whether with wish grapes, lentils, black eyed peas, or a flute of Champagne, raise a toast to health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year!

As old as Champagne itself, is the tradition of using the wine as a base for a compound beverage. Dave Wondrich names it as the first ‘improved cocktail’, the first to stray from a base of a hard spirit. By the 1800s, the classic ‘Champagne Cocktail’ was all the rage at society gatherings and dinner parties, especially. Punches and cups, lemon twist, brandy, and orange liqueur were blended to popular demand, and championed by the bar-tend par excellence, Mister Jerry Thomas.

The variations are endless, and encourage wild innovation. Bubbles make everything better. Perk up your bubbles with a spike of aromatic liqueur, perhaps Koval Honey Chrysanthemum or green Chartreuse. And, be sure to break out the bubbly early (and often) during your holiday celebration. Drink your fireworks.

–written by City Winery Chicago Beverage Director, Rachel Driver-Speckan