From the return of a beloved boîte to a much-anticipated holiday tradition, here’s what has Chicago buzzing this season.
Pierrot Gourmet’s refreshed design puts a contemporary spin on its previous French country aesthetic.
After a two-year hiatus, The Peninsula Chicago’s European-inspired cafe, Pierrot Gourmet, reopens its doors with a fresh new look and reimagined culinary expressions. PG chef de cuisine Jerick Vargas’ opening menu features past favorites like rotisserie chicken and flatbreads alongside fresh flavors such as French toast bites finished with berry compote and mint; avocado toast on sourdough; and grain salad featuring a mix of sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber and a Dijon herb vinaigrette. All pair excellently with the space’s airy atmosphere crafted by hospitality designer Bill Rooney. “We took the time to create a fresh, new design and reimagine some new culinary creations while keeping the classic favorites,” says Maria Zec, The Peninsula Chicago’s managing director. “We are delighted to reopen the much-loved Pierrot Gourmet.” 108 E. Superior St.
Audience members get in on the fun during a performance of The Twenty-Sided Tavern.
Immersive experiences have taken the city by storm, and this season, they invade the stage with The Twenty-Sided Tavern. The show has been met with rave reviews after stints in New York, Pittsburgh and Edinburgh, Scotland, for its exciting tailored outcomes, which change with each show. Through their phones, audience members select which characters will appear each night, what choices they make and what paths they follow in a theatrical choose-your-own adventure inspired by tabletop role-play games with plenty of dungeons, dragons, puzzles and riddles along the way. Through Jan. 15, Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St.
A spread from new West Town hot spot Big Star Mariscos
Move over, Fulton Market: With a slew of hot dining and drinking concepts, West Town continues to establish itself as one of the city’s most sizzling ’hoods. The latest newsmaker? Big Star Mariscos, a seafood-centric spin on the beloved honky-tonk taqueria in Wicker Park. The airy 6,000-square-foot spot serves plenty of Big Star favorites as well as new dishes like scallop and surf clam coctel with tomato-citrus salsa, and pescado zarandeado, which culinary director Chris Miller describes as “a simple, flavor-packed preparation of grilled whole fish split down the middle, heavily marinated and found often on the coast of Nayarit.” And just like at the original outpost, music is central to the Big Star experience. “In addition to vinyl, which we’ve sourced from many legendary independent record stores in Chicago, we’re indulging in our other analog obsession and bringing back cassettes,” says partner Terry Alexander. “We might even start making mixtapes.” 551 N. Ogden Ave.
Head to Sloomoo Institute in River North to explore the slime-centric surprises the sprawling 20,000-square-foot space has to offer.
When experiential sensory play destination Sloomoo Institute debuted its slime-covered halls in New York four years ago, visitors of all ages flocked to the flagship location to get in on the satisfying experiences. Now, Chicagoans across generations can escape to the recently opened 20,000-square-foot Sloomoo space in River North to indulge in multisensory play through a DIY slime bar, a slime waterfall, an ASMR soundscape created by composer Pei Pei Chung, augmented reality immersions and a slew of other adventures that excite the senses. 820 N. Orleans St.
Chic selects abound at the One of a Kind Holiday Show.
From The Nutcracker to Macy’s holiday windows, seasonal traditions abound this time of year in Chicago. Here’s another fave: the beloved One of a Kind Holiday Show at theMART. The four-day shopping event brings together over 500 makers who will showcase their art and handmade goods accompanied by food and drink, live entertainment and more. This year, an expanded gourmet market section featuring indulgences from more than 50 vendors is a must-visit. Plus, a portion of all ticket sales will benefit Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to once again connect the show’s enormously gifted artists and makers with such a loyal community that values and supports handcrafted work,” says the show’s sales director Kathleen Hogan. “Year after year, the show really defines the spirit of the holiday season.” Dec. 1-4, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 7th Floor
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY: NEIL BURGER; PHOTO BY: KELLY TUNNEY; PHOTO: COURTESY OF KELLY SANDOS; PHOTO BY ZACH HILTY/BFA; PHOTO BY JACLYN SIMPSON PHOTOGRAPHY;