CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Chicago Loop, Lincoln Square, Lakeview East, Lincoln Park

With two weeks of ‘official’ summer left, September offers glorious opportunities to enjoy Chicago’s legendary festivals, concerts and events!

Two uniquely Chicago music forms come together Saturday evening as the City of Chicago presents ‘Sanitize Your Soul,’ a  House music celebration featuring DJ Lady D, and a debut Gospel House Choir collaboration between Mark Hubbard and DJ Terry Hunter on Saturday, September 11, 5:30–8:30pm, as part of the City’s ‘Chicago in Tune’ series at Millennium Park. Bring a picnic dinner to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and enjoy this unique gospel and house music celebration! Free admission.

Wilkommen! Chicago’s famed German American Oktoberfest returns to Lincoln Square with gemutlichkeit September 10-12, at the corner of Lincoln and Western. Try authentic German food such as spaetzle, brezel and traditional drinks, dance to the music of German bands, spend the evening with friends and family, and raise a bier in celebration! Opening ceremony is 8pm Friday, and the Great Parade begins at 2pm Saturday on Lincoln Avenue at Irving Park Road. Sunday’s special events include a German Mass at 11am. Festival hours are 5pm-11pm on Friday, Noon-11pm on Saturday, and Noon-10pm on Sunday. Free admission.

Just south of Lincoln Square, the 16th Annual Lakeview East Festival of the Arts along Broadway from Belmont to Hawthorne, showcases more than 150 juried artists on Saturday, September 11 and Sunday, September 12, displaying paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture, jewelry and more! These original pieces are for sale. In addition to seeing some of the greatest Chicago artists, the festival features live demonstrations, entertainment stages, family activities and a garden oasis. Featured musical acts include the Barry Winograd Trio, the Hoyle Brothers, Nora Jean Wallace, and Decoy Prayer Meeting, among many others. Free admission.

Lincoln Park Greek Fest is back at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2701 N. Sheffield Ave, Chicago from Friday, September 10 at 5pm to Sunday, September 12, at 10pm! Join your hosts for the aromas, sounds, tastes and traditions of Greece. This popular annual cultural celebration will serve up an authentic dose of “filoxenia” (Greek hospitality and generosity of spirit) along with flavorful food, great music, dancing and pure fun! Spanakopita, anyone? Admission is $5.

Sundays on State concludes on Sunday, September 12 with a celebration of music, games, and community for a free, interactive city-wide block party. Bring the family to safely enjoy free art, culture, active recreation, shopping, food, drinks, and local attractions from 11am-8pm with musical performances by the Freakeasy, Sweet Kay Bluegrass, Derrick Carter, Beautiful Guitar Hands, and Blind Adam and the Federal League, among many others. Preview Imagination Circus, participate in an interactive game show by The Acting Workshop Chicago, live art demonstrations from Aaron Pierre Brown, outdoor fitness classes featuring workouts from Chicago’s top fitness instructors in cycle, boxing, yoga, Pilates, strength, barre and meditation, play Blue Demon Bag Toss for prizes, hear from DePaul Men’s Basketball Coach Tony Stubblefield, and dance in the streets with DIBS the Blue Demon! Free admission.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

RESTAURANT REVIEW – Bolivar & Lincoln in Lakeview

“IN VENEZUELA, A PARTY WITHOUT TEQUENOS. IS NOT A PARTY!”
The Owners of Bolivar & Lincoln

For a truly epicurean adventure, family-owned Bolivar & Lincoln serves traditional, highly rated Venezuelan cuisine, including Arepas, Empanadas and Tequeños, in the heart of Lakeview.

Venezuelan cuisine has its origins in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, West African, and indigenous traditions. While preparation varies greatly by region, staples include corn, rice, plantains, yams, beans and meats, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, squashes, spinach and zucchini. Ají dulce (sweet perennial peppers) and papelón (unrefined sugar cane) are found in most recipes. 

Reviews of Bolivar & Lincoln border on rapturous. On Google, one wrote, “I lived in Venezuela and these flavors are COMPLETELY AUTHENTIC!  The tequeños are a complete fall back to my time in Maracaibo! The plantains were so tasty and had the right level of sweetness and were super delicious dipped in the nata!”

Highly recommended starters are the Bolivar & Lincoln Platter, a combination of tequenos (fried wheat flour cheese sticks with garlic and fancy sauce,) mandoca (plantain cheese and sugar cane, corn flour mix with nata garlic and fancy sauce,) tajadas, and tomatoes. All of the appetizers on the platter are also available as individual appetizers. Follow the appetizers with several whimsically named Arepas, which are gluten-free free Venezuelan corn flour bread, including the Queen Arepa, which pairs fresh chicken avocado salad with gouda cheese. Or, you can celebrate with a Party Animal Arepa, combining pork and gouda. Or, channel your inner A llanero with a Cowboy Arepa, pairing NY strip Angus beef strips, avocado, tomatoes and white cheese. Vegetarians will enjoy the Veggie Arepa, combining with black beans, plantain and avocado.

Entrée options include a succulent Platacon Montao- fried green plantain topped with avocado, tomatoes, onions, cheese, ketchup, Wasakaka sauce, garlic sauce and your choice of shredded beef, pork or chicken. Or, celebrate the spirit of Venezuela with Pabellon Criollo, Venezuela’s national dish: Juicy pulled beef, black beans, rice and plantains topped with avocado and cheese.

Highly recommended drinks include fresh papaya and passion fruit juices, or a delicious virgin margarita. You can also BYOB to their beautifully decorated restaurant or its adjoining patio.

Your Venezuelan odyssey would not be complete without sampling their Venezuelan flan or their freshly made Key Lime Pie. 

Bolivar & Lincoln is located at 3349 N. Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, and is open Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm; Friday and Saturday, 11am-10pm. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Keeping the refrigerator clean and organized

As a Real Estate Broker, I see refrigerators and their interiors every week. Most are in a state of disarray at best, and a smelly mess at worst. Even in the most upscale homes and neighborhoods, you’ll find refrigerators that leave a lot to be desired in the way of cleanliness and smell. I think we’re all so busy today that the refrigerator, along with the oven are the last thought in the kitchen. With a little work we can keep the fridge smelling clean and looking organized. 

If you haven’t done so, you’ll need to start out with a big clean up. I do this twice a year. Take out everything, shelves and any other removable parts. Wash all interior parts in hot water and dish soap. Set on towels to air dry. Wipe down the interior with the same dish water. Sprinkle baking soda on any tough spots, wet and wipe away in a minute or two. Replace all the parts. Wipe down any bottles, jars or containers with warm water and a cloth and put them back in the fridge.

Every month you can get away with a quick wipe down of the shelves as you fill up or empty the refrigerator. A damp paper towel is usually sufficient for this. I also check expiration dates every couple of weeks to weed out any old condiments and such. Check out what you have in your fridge and how often you use the items. A condiment that you haven’t used in a year, may just be taking up space. Using small bins in the refrigerator is the best organizing tool I can think of. Group like items together; such as single snack packs for the children. Group similar condiments together. Keep seldom used ones in the back.  Use your drawers too. I find using one of these drawers is sufficient for my produce; as I only buy what’s needed. Wrap your produce properly after prepping. Google the proper way to wash and store fresh veggies. Use other drawers for juices, seltzers and pop. Shallow bins can be stacked. Be careful to always keep any uncooked meats together and always on the lower levels of the fridge to prevent cross-contamination. Keep acrylic containers on hand to hold defrosting meat.

Of course, all this cleaning and organization really starts with your shopping habits. Create a list and review what you have in the refrigerator before you add to the list. Resist the temptation to over buy. It is not a bargain if you buy more than you can eat or store and half of the purchase winds up in the trash. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Ideas For Closet Organization

A chaotic closet is a recipe for disaster when you’re trying to get ready. But a nice, organized one can help ensure you’re on time for any occasion with an outfit that’s sure to impress. These organization tips and ideas can help!

If you are lacking space or hangers, start with getting rid of or storing rarely used items. Typically, many clothing items are seasonal. Save space by vacuum sealing these items and putting them in the garage or under a bed until the season comes around.

If you have enough space, adding a small dresser inside your closet is a great idea for storing items that don’t require hanging, such as socks, undergarments, swimsuits or trunks. This will vastly reduce the clutter.

Use divider hangers to separate different types of clothes. This will make it much easier to find certain items and will give you a framework to keep your clothes in order after laundry day.

Utilize all walls and vertical spaces in your closet. Hang your hats, belts, and more on the walls by using wall hangers or nails. If you don’t want to risk potential damage, you can also buy an over-the-door organizer that has pockets for socks, shirts, shoes, or small items.

Lastly, integrate bins and baskets into your closet organization to make sure every item has its place. These come in various sizes and styles to fit any shelf and help conceal items that you may need to put away quickly and easily.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Holiday Weekend Means End of Summer!

It’s Labor Day Weekend which usually means the end of summer.  However, according to the calendar we still have three weeks left!  So let’s make the most of our remaining summer weekends!!

Celebrating its 14th mouth-watering year, the Roscoe Village Burger Fest returns to Belmont and Damen Avenues this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.).  Come prepared to taste grilled creations from at least a dozen local restaurants that go to extraordinary lengths to impress all the burger aficionados out there.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite since the most popular burger of the weekend will earn this year’s visitor’s choice award!  In addition, there are two stages of rockin’ music, arts & crafts, and an action-packed Kids Zone area that makes this a wildly popular Windy City fest!!

The month of September kicks off with a brand-new event.  The ARC Music Festival 2021 will take over Union Park (1501 W. Randolph St.) in the West Loop this Labor Day weekend, celebrating Chicago’s house music roots and welcoming an international lineup of dance music artists.  This festival will also extend far beyond the music.  Attendees can expect curated production elements and art to guide them between each of the four immersive stage environments!  Plus, attendees will be able to enjoy food from local chefs and aftershows at various venues like Radius and Prysm!!

Four special evenings at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop will honor music born and innovated in Chicago.  As part of Chicago In Tune, DCASE presents new and re-imagined programs in place of this year’s Gospel music, Jazz, House, and Blues festivals.  This Saturday’s special evening (5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.) will present a re imagined Chicago Jazz Festival featuring Ari Brown, Marquis Hill and Lizz Wright!

Looking to set sail on one of Chicago’s famous boat cruises this Labor Day weekend?  Here are a few cruises happening on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan:

Though it typically takes place in May, this year’s Bike the Drive is scheduled for this Sunday at 5:30 a.m. and is celebrating its 20th year.  The recently renamed Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive will be completely closed to cars for 4.5 hours stretching from Bryn Mawr Avenue on the city’s North Side to the Museum of Science and Industry on the South Side.  Ride as little or as much of the 30-mile course as you’d like and then enjoy a post-ride festival in Grant Park!  Bike rentals are available, if you don’t have a bike.  Not only is this event a great way to reconnect with family and friends but all proceeds will support the Active Transportation Alliance (non-profit organization) that works to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists throughout the city!!

Enjoy Your Labor Day Weekend!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Roscoe Village, Chicago Loop, Gold Coast, Lakeview

Labor Day may mark the unofficial end of summer, but you’d never know it from the remarkable array of activities in Chicago. Enjoy the days with a slew of amazing summer festivals and events!

A Labor Day tradition returns!  Who makes Chicago’s Best Burger? Taste and judge the creations of a dozen Chicago eateries at the Roscoe Village Burger Fest, at Belmont & Damen for a mouth-watering Labor Day weekend Friday, September 3- Sunday, September 5. Far more than a burger fest, the streets of Roscoe Village are alive with two stages of rockin’ music, arts & crafts and the action-packed “Kids Zone” ‘Guests even have the opportunity to vote for Chicago’s Best Burger! A $10 suggested fest donation benefits the programs and services of the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce.

The City of Chicago presents a special evening of Gospel music on Friday, September 3, as part of the City’s ‘Chicago in Tune’ series at Millennium Park from 5:30–8:30pm. Hosted by Jonathan McReynolds and Inspiration 1390’s Sonya Blakey and DeAndre Patterson — the program includes a special award to producer Sasha Daltonn and feature LaShon Brown; a celebratory music tribute to Rev. Dr. Clay Evans, Pastor Maceo Woods, Bishop Willie James Campbell and ArchBishop Lucius Hall featuring The Carson Sisters, Nicole Harris, and Illiana Torres.

The annual Chicago Jazz Fest is a Chicago institution, but in lieu of the four-day event, Chicago in Tune, along with the Jazz Institute, presents a free night of jazz in Millennium Park on Saturday, September 4, 5:30–8:30 pm, featuring Ari Brown, Marquis Hill and Lizz Wright. Featured performer Ari Brown is a composer, arranger, tenor saxophonist, pianist and educator. He has performed with many music greats including Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lou Rawls, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Elvin Jones, Andrew White, Della Reese and Billy Eckstein.

Travel the 30-mile loop of the newly renamed Jean Baptiste du Sable Lake Shore Drive on Sunday, September 5 at Chicago’s annual Bike the Drive. All ages and skill levels are welcome. You can start the ride anytime between 5:30am and 9:30am, but organizers recommend starting no later than 7:00am to get the most out of your time on the Drive. Regardless of vaccination status, participants must wear a mask in the festival & rest stops and whenever you can’t maintain a distance of 6 feet from others. Admittance to a post–ride festival with food, live music and fun activities for kids is included in the admission price of $18 kids, $60 adults. Meet at Butler Field, 235 S. Columbus Drive, Chicago..

Hey, Pitchfork Music Festival fans! Prepare for the 2021 festival with the Pitchfork Music Film Series, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave, Chicago, from  Monday,  September 6 (Labor Day) to Wednesday, September 8. Pitchfork and the Music Box showcase some of our most beloved music films, presented with extraordinary guests in conversation with Pitchfork editors. Films include ’20 Feet from Stardom’  with special guest Jamila Woods at 7pm. Ahead of the screening, Jamila will be in conversation with celebrated journalist and Pitchfork contributor Adrienne Samuel Gibbs. All Wilco fans will enjoy ‘I am Trying to Break Your Heart’ with Special Guest Glenn Kotche, Tuesday, September 7th at 7pm. On Wednesday, September 8, the 20th Anniversary of ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ will be celebrated with co-director and writers Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont,  with Pitchfork Staff Writer Quinn Moreland. Tickets are $15 apiece for each movie. 

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

LE COLONIAL RESTAURANT

Le Colonial, Chicago’s famed Vietnamese restaurant on the Gold Coast, describes itself as “a celebration of the seductive spirit and vivid flavors of 1920’s French Colonial Southeast Asia. Opened in 1996, Le Colonial moved from its Rush Street location of over 20 years to a new location on Oak Street in 2019.

Heralded as “an escapist’s paradise,” complete with palm trees, Le Colonial has a dining room, an all-season terrace overlooking Oak Street, a bar/lounge, and The Monkey Parlour, a private dining room with seating for up to 12 guests. An Open Table reviewer said, “The ambiance and decor reminded us of Raffles in Angkor Wat Cambodia or the Foreign Correspondents Club in Vietnam. Beautiful!!!”

Vietnamese cuisine has been described, as being “all about the yin and yang; the sweet and the salty, the cooling and the warming, the fresh and the fermented.” You can see this fusion in their All-Day Menu, which includes Small Plates like their Bo Bia–chilled vegetable rolls. carrots, jicama, cage-free eggs, shiitake mushrooms, aromatic herbs, and a peanut plum dipping sauce. Or a Banh Uot–sesame beef steamed rice crêpes, with grilled sesame beef, rolled in flat rice noodles; cucumber, lettuce, basil, & lime garlic sauce. Chao Tom is grilled shrimp wrapped around sugar cane, rice noodles, mint, cilantro, lettuce, and peanut plum dipping sauce.

Soups & Salads offer the opportunity to try Pho Bo Hanoi Beef Noodle Soup, which combines seasoned oxtail broth, rice noodles, scallions, bean sprouts, cilantro, and beef tenderloin. Or, for a lighter touch, try Goi Ngo Sen- a salad of lotus root, organic tofu, cucumber, and tomato, with a chili lime soy dressing. Goi Bun So pairs seared sea scallops, garlic egg & rice noodles, and lime vinaigrette.

For larger appetites, there are Large Plates, including Ca Hoi Nuong, which pairs roasted miso-glazed Scottish salmon (served medium rare) with shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, coconut lobster broth, and annato oil. Bo Luc Lac, also known as shaking beef, is a caramelized filet mignon, served with Valverdi Farm greens, watercress, sweet onions, and lime pepper vinaigrette. 

For a different take on red snapper, Le Colonial’s signature dish is Ca Chien Saigon- a crispy whole red snapper with a spicy, lightly sweet garlic glaze. Many reviewers on Open Table proclaimed it “The best in Chicago!”

Lunches are prix-fixe works of art, from noon-3:45 daily. Start with a traditional Pho, chilled vegetable rolls, or a Banh Cuon- Hanoi steamed rice crêpes, with chicken & wood ear mushrooms, rolled in flat rice noodles, with bean sprouts & Nuoc Cham sauce. Follow it up with Le Colonial’s Banh Hoi Thit Nuong- a thinly sliced & grilled barbecued beef short rib, vermicelli rice noodles, with Nuoc Cham Sauce. Or choose a Mi Xao Don Chay- a vegetable stir-fry with crispy egg noodles, wok-seared leafy greens, pea pods, shiitake mushrooms, organic tofu, and soy ginger sauce.

Following lunch, Le Colonial hosts a Social Hour in The Lounge, Monday – Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm. They offer a variety of light bites and specialty cocktails, including a lychee martini, or a selection of wine and beers, which could be paired with such delicacies as Cha Gio- crispy rice paper rolls of shrimp, pork & Asian mushrooms, mint, cilantro & chili lime dipping sauce. 

Le Colonial is located at 57 E Oak St, Chicago, IL 6061, and is open daily from 12 pm-10 pm. Reservations are highly recommended. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – You can succeed at “Small Talk”

Offices are opening up and many are now required to work in-office as opposed to remotely. This may prove to be a challenge for those who have gotten used to communicating via Zoom. This can be especially true for introverts. The art of small talk is a skill that even the most accomplished have trouble with. However, it is a necessary skill to have in today’s business world. Whether around the conference table before a meeting or at a business cocktail party; you’ll want to hone in on this skill. Avoid the following mistakes to ensure your small talk is top tier.

First, never assume no one wants to talk to you. People, especially now, are eager to make a connection. I know many of us feel very shy; but if possible think of the other person, as opposed to thinking of yourself. Think that you are doing a service. After months with so little interaction, we need the small talk. 

Do not try to start a conversation without something to say. If you see someone lost in thought, ask if it’s ok to talk to them. Make sure to have a formed sentence or comment ready when they answer in the affirmative. A simple “How do you like being back in the office?” or “I’m so glad to be out of the house” will give a comfortable opportunity for someone to respond.

Do not barge in. Wait for a lull in an existing conversation to enter. When you have someone’s attention, you can offer your thoughts. Also be aware of your spacing, especially now. No one is expecting six feet but do not stand too close. 

Stay away from controversial subjects. It is hard to do that now with so much of our daily lives tied up in the pandemic. It seems, unfortunately, what is a public health crisis has thrown us all into two or more camps that only care to hear what they want. So, keep it light. 

Do not be hard to understand or follow. Those of us who speak many languages can speak slower and try to enunciate carefully. Those of us who only speak English, should also speak clearly and avoid slang expressions that others may not understand. If you are asked what you do for a living, do not take five minutes to answer. Have a simple two or three sentence explanation. 

Be aware if you are getting too personal. There is a saying that people love to talk about themselves, and this is generally true, but if you get the sense your questions are not particularly welcome, back off a bit. Perhaps ask them if they have been out to any restaurants or what was their favorite new pastime during quarantine.

Do give all your attention, don’t waste peoples time. Maintain eye contact. Put your phone on silent and put it away for a bit. Don’t look over their shoulder as if you need to be rescued. Be present. 

Some people view small talk as insincere or an old-fashioned nicety. But every friendship or business deal begins with an initial conversation. No, it may not have been profound but at least you made a connection.

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Tips For Hanging A Large Painting

Found a stunning, large painting to perfectly complement your home? It’s important to follow a few rules of thumb while hanging it to maintain the integrity of your wall and your painting.

The weight of your painting is the key factor in determining the proper hanging method, so before you start hammering nails or finding studs, weigh your painting on a scale and note the weight. If your painting weighs less than five pounds, you can simply use adhesive wall hooks or mounting tape to hang it. You don’t have to make any holes in your wall or use any nails for paintings of this size.

Paintings that weigh between five and twenty pounds should be hung with a drywall anchor. You don’t need to find a stud to install these anchors and all you’ll need is a drill to make a couple holes in your drywall.

If you want to hang a painting that weighs between 20 and 50 pounds, you will need to find a stud in your wall. The stud is another name for the wooden frame of your wall, which is the strongest part. After you find your stud, you can use a thin metal nail to hang paintings up to 20 pounds or you can use a threaded wooden screw for paintings up to 50 pounds. You can also opt for hanging hooks as an alternative.

The safest way to hang paintings over 50 pounds is to use a rail-cable. These large metal cables can be attached to rails on the ceiling to hang paintings up to 300 pounds.

By following these guidelines, you’ll have your new piece of art displayed beautifully in your home in no time!

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Is Summer Melting Away?!?!

Summer seems to be slowly melting away from us as it’s already the final weekend of August.  However, that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. In fact, there’s still a variety of ways to make what’s left of our summer weekends memorable!

Returning for its 31st year, Taste of Greektownis the city’s largest celebration of Hellenic cuisine and culture taking place along Halsted Street between Adams and Van Buren Streets this Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m.-10 p.m.).  Enjoy authentic Greek cuisine like feta, tzatziki, roasted chicken, gyros, and more signature Mediterranean dishes cooked by some of the neighborhood’s most beloved restaurants.  Then stick around for performances from lively Greek bands, dance troupes, local musicians, and The Jesse White Tumblers.  There’s even a gyro eating contest!  OPA!!

Celebrating its 8th year, the Edgewater Arts Festival 2021 will take place at 1100 W. Granville Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-7 p.m.).  Spend the weekend exploring art from over 70 artists booths in all mediums; from photography to painting to sculptures to jewelry and more.  Then catch amazing live performances by great cover and original bands at the festival’s Beer Garden stage.  Plus, this year’s family area will feature “The School of Rock” stage with many interactive and safe activities for kids and their families!

Hitting the streets of the West Loop neighborhood for its 8th year is Motoblot.  This urban moto street festival will be a jam-packed weekend featuring two live music stages, four blocks of vendors, a motorcycle and car show, the Motoblot pin-up contest, the Ace High VIP Lounge, and many signature highlights only found at this event.  It’s a Motorcycle and Hot Rod Street rally not to be missed!

Join the friendly Gladstone Park neighborhood at its 5th annual pre-Labor Day Throwback Music Fest on Milwaukee Avenue between Elston and Peterson Avenues this Saturday (11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-9 p.m.).  Enjoy cool tunes from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s performed live by local artists.  In addition, there’s also great food, arts & crafts, kids’ activities, a vintage car display, a pet parade, and a cool Miss Throwback contest.  It’s time to get retro!

It’s one part horror convention and one-part dark arts – The Oddities and Curiosities Expo takes place at McCormick Place Convention Center (2301 S. King Dr.) in the South Loop this Saturday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.).  This expo features over 150 local/national vendors and small businesses showcasing taxidermy, original horror and Halloween-inspired artwork, antiques, handcrafted oddities, and much more.  Plus, you can have a true carnival sideshow experience at the expo’s Freak Show ($5) and gaze upon many real wonders of nature with your very own eyes!

Quench your thirst at Brookfield Zoo’s 10th annual unique beer-tasting event ZooBrew this Saturday (12 p.m.-7:30 p.m.) sponsored by Hop Valley.  Enjoy 3-ounce samplings from a selection of over 80 beers, lagers, and ales.  Designated driver tickets are also available for unlimited soft drinks.  All tickets include commemorative swag and admission to the zoo.  Photo ID is required upon entry.  Enjoy a day of bears and beers, lions and lagers, anteaters and ales!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago