Tuesday, March 4
The fastest way to make friends is by picking up a dozen paczki (that traditional Polish doughnut enjoyed on Fat Tuesday), and you can stop by Alliance Bakery (1726 W. Division St., Wicker Park, 773-278-0366) to grab some in seven flavor varieties, ranging from raspberry rose to apple with cinnamon sugar.
There are still reservations available for the final day of the à la carte Mardi Gras menu at Big Jones (5347 N. Clark St., Andersonville, 773-275-5725), stuffed with Creole go-tos including alligator, etouffee, and king cake.
Saturday, March 8
One week out from St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to brush up on the finer points of Irish whiskey. Chief O’Neill’s (3471 N. Elston Ave., Avondale) has a two-hour class led by whiskey educator Martin Duffy to get you prepped before the big day. The $30 class starts at 4 p.m.
Sunday, March 9
Four chefs, one hunk of cow, one meal. The second Beast Dinner at Two (1132 W. Grand Ave., West Town, 773-275-5725) will have Tom Van Lente, Jason Paskewitz (Gemini Bistro), Mark Steuer (Carriage House), and Sean McClain (Sage in Las Vegas) each cooking a different cut from the same dry-aged quarter of beef from Slagel Farm. The $90 meal includes passed cocktails and appetizers and drink pairings.
The center of the tiki universe on Sunday night may well be Three Dots and a Dash (435 N. Clark St., River North, 312-610-4220), when Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry (an author and historian of the drink culture) stops by for a signing of his new book, Potions of the Caribbean. Paul McGee will hang out behind the bar to whip up a few classic recipes, such as the Trinidad Green Swizzle (spiced rum, lime, and wormwood and angostura bitters).