Tuesday, February 17
Happy Mardi Gras! Stuff yourself silly at a crayfish boil at the Southern (1840 W. North Ave., Bucktown, 773-342-1849), where $15 gets you as many servings of the stuff as you can handle plus either one Abita beer or a Hurricane cocktail. Swing by after 6 p.m.
Or if you want to get in both Fat Tuesday feasting and new restaurant exploration on the same night, Luella’s Southern Kitchen (4609 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square, 773-961-8196) will have live music from Lee Alec Barrie from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. as well as specials such as seafood gumbo and oyster po’boys for the evening.
Wednesday, February 18
Now that Mardi Gras is done with, move on to the next food-heavy holiday: Chinese New Year. Fat Rice (2957 W. Diversey Ave., Logan Square, 773-661-9170) will run a special feast for two through Saturday night as well as during weekend brunch: For $88 total, a dining duo can get dumplings, steamed mussels, arroz gordo, and a bucket of Tiger Beer tallboy cans.
Thursday, February 19
Learn how to take nuts and seeds and turn them into a seriously smooth beverage at a class at Pure Juice Café (24 S. Evergreen Ave., Arlington Heights, 847-873-0942), where the staff will turn everything from almonds to pumpkin seeds into milk. The $25 entry fee gets you samples and a take-home strainer bag, and the class starts at 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 22
Get an extra caffeine jolt with your brunch at La Sirena Clandestina (954 W. Fulton Market, West Loop, 312-226-5300) thanks to a one-day-only collaboration with artisanal coffee roastery La Colombe. The black stuff will make an appearance in all sorts of special dishes: coffee French toast, carbonara with a coffee-poached egg, and more. The menu goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.