Sweet Potato Toast at Real Good Juice Co.

 

Ema

On The Blackboard Chicago: December 5

By Lauren Mandel

$5 happy hour at Ema
Happy hours aren’t hard to come by in Chicago, but worthwhile happy hours are another story. The Mediterranean and California-inspired restaurant Ēma, pictured above, has one of the best happy hours in Chicago, and specifically, in River North. Every weekday from 3 to 6 p.m., you can get a delicious selection of mezze plates for just $5, plus select beer and wine at the same price.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Seasonal sweet potato toast at Real Good Juice Co.
Few ingredients scream “fall” more than sweet potatoes. And while we still have a few autumnal days left here in Chicago, head to Real Good Juice Co. to order the sweet potato toast, pictured above. The sourdough bread is sourced from Chicago favorite Floriole, and it’s piled high with sweet potatoes, pickled apples, red cabbage, and candied pecans. Pretty much everything on their menu is delicious—and $15 or less.
Neighborhood: Old Town MAP

Mindy's HotChocolate lunch special

Mindy’s Favorite Lunch special at Mindy’s HotChocolate
You might head to Mindy’s HotChocolate in Wicker Park for the desserts, but it would be a mistake to neglect the savory dishes. We suggest going for lunch, when you can enjoy a lunch special called Mindy’s Favorite Lunch: half a panini of the day, soup, and a chocolate milkshake, all for just $15. And for an additional $5, you can upgrade to a glass of wine or a beer.
Neighborhood: Wicker Park MAP

Seasonal pies at Bang Bang Pie Shop
Seasonal pies start now at Bang Bang Pie Shop in Bucktown. Are there few we’re dying to try? Yes indeed. Chocolate pecan features a house-made Graham cracker crust, while the spiced tart cherry includes warm spices and a pecan crumble topping. All of the pies start at $28, and each one feeds about 6 to 10 people. Play it safe and assume that means six.
Neighborhood: Logan Square MAP

Butternut Squash Cappelletti at RPM Italian (photo: John Stoffer)

House-made butternut squash cappelletti at RPM Italian
When it comes to assembling flavor combinations, pasta is a blank canvas. So it’s no surprise that RPM Italian took its famous house-made pasta and created a classic, festive fall dish. The chefs combine fresh pasta with butternut squash, rich brown butter sauce, and fragrant sage. All of their pastas on the menu, including other favorites, like potato gnocchi, and carbonara, are less than $20.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Brunch buffet at Fremont
On Saturdays and Sundays, you can find us at the Fremont brunch buffet. At $40, this option might be pushing your idea of “budget,” but what you get is worth it. There’s a carving station, omelet station, waffle bar, and of course, the doughnut wall. Since you can basically make this brunch buffet an all-day experience, we think the $40 price tag is well worth it.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Irish whiskey tasting at Nia Mediterranean
If you’re looking for a tasting event in December, we’d recommend the Irish whiskey tasting at Nia Mediterranean in the West Loop. For $35, you can sample decadent Mediterranean appetizers while enjoying featured Irish whiskey cocktails. Plus, you’ll hear some tips and tricks from an Irish Cork Whiskey expert. Tickets can be purchased online.
Neighborhood: West Loop MAP


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