What to Eat and Drink in Chicago This Week

Even if you don’t win the pumpkin-carving contest, you could still be crowned as the top Chicago chili cook.

La Muerte cocktail at Mercadito's Day of the Dead celebration.   Photo courtesy of Mercadito

Tuesday, 10/29

Taste the Kiss of the Dead at Mercadito’s (108 W. Kinzie St., 312-329-9555) Day of the Dead celebration—the $65 entry fee gets you five courses, five paired cocktails (such as the aforementioned Kiss and the La Muerte, pictured above) and a cooking and pumpkin-carving demonstration inside the Double A lounge below Mercadito. Demonstrations start at 6:30, but you’ll need to call to make a reservation.

Prefer your pumpkin-carving with a punk-rock soundtrack? The third-annual Great Punk’n Party at Fountainhead (1970 W. Montrose Ave., 773-697-8204) will have giant pumpkins filled with pumpkin ales to sip as you carve your masterpiece. For $15, you get a pumpkin, the necessary carving tools and a beer (buy advance tickets here). The top three pumpkin designs will win prizes such as a bottle of Buffalo Trace Single Barrel bourbon.

Friday, 11/1

Snag a sweet deal for lunch on Friday—it’s the last day that three Bacino’s locations will offer $2 personal pizzas at mid-day in honor of the final days of National Pizza Month. Stop by Bella Bacino’s Wacker (75 E. Wacker Dr., 312-263-2350), Bacino’s Lincoln Park (2204 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-472-7400), or Bella Bacino’s LaGrange (36 S. LaGrange Rd., LaGrange, 708-352-8882) to take advantage.

Saturday, 11/2

Bone up on the Midwest’s culinary legacy with a conversation between former Chicago Tribune food editor Carol Haddix and novelist Melanie Benjamin at 10 a.m. at Kendall College (900 N. North Branch St.) The two are both contributors to Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie, a new collection of Midwestern writers discussing the region’s food stories, and they’ll be joined by collection editor Peggy Wolff. The $3 entry fee includes tastings of foods mentioned in the book.

Sunday, 11/3

Crown a new chili-making king (or queen) at the Wicker Park Chili Cook-Off inside Moonshine (1824 W. Division, 773-862-8686), where up to 16 pro and amateur chefs will face off to see who can make the best version of the winter warmer. For spectators, admission (just $5 if you register in advance here and bring a warm jacket to donate to their coat drive) covers unlimited samples and a vote on the best offering.

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