Monday, May 2

James Beard Awards mania culminates in tonight’s ceremony, which starts at 6 p.m at the Lyric Opera (20 N. Upper Wacker Dr., Loop). If you won’t be attending the so-called Oscars of the food world, you can follow along in a few ways: There’s a livestream here, or you can hop on Twitter and follow associate editor Carrie Schedler, who’ll be live-tweeting from the audience.

If you won’t be awaiting the outcome of the Beard awards with bated breath, you can stop into Embeya (564 W. Randolph St., West Loop, 312-612-5640) for dinner. Starting tonight, the kitchen will take a culinary tour of sorts through Asia, picking one country and focusing on its cuisine for three months at a time. The first stop is Thailand, and you can sample chef Mike Sheerin’s take on the cuisine either through a la carte options or a three-course tasting menu for $39 (at lunch, it’s $25).

Wednesday, May 4

A change of scenery can do a chef some good, so the top talent at Community Tavern (4038 N. Milwaukee Ave., Portage Park, 773-283-6080) and MFK (432 W. Diversey Pkwy., Lincoln Park, 773-857-2540) will swap places on two successive Wednesdays. Tonight, you can sample Joey Beato’s take on Mediterranean seafood flavors at MFK—call the restaurant to make a reservation or visit

May the Fourth be with you…get it? If you do, perhaps you should mosey over to the Tavern on Little Fort (4128 N. Lincoln Ave., North Center, 773-360-1869), where they’ll be celebrating the unofficial Star Wars Day with a Darth Vader and Wookie impression contest plus $5 themed cocktails (such as the Skyy-Walker Martini with Skyy Blood Orange vodka, Midori, and Triple Sec). The impression contest kicks off at 8 p.m.

Sunday, May 8

Learn to distinguish between your varieties of American whiskies at a class at Billy Sunday (3143 W. Logan Ave., Logan Square, 773-661-2485), where you’ll also dive into the histories of several classic cocktails featuring the brown stuff. Register for the $90 session, which starts at 3 p.m., here.