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Your Friday Food Buffet

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 16, 2007 2:22PM

2007_03_The_Mocha_at_Catedral_Cafe.jpgAnother Friday, another edition of "Your Friday Food Buffet." This week, we'll try to avoid outright mentioning St. Patrick's Day. We will talk about corn (dogs) and green (as in sustainability). So let's cut the crap and hook up right now.

"Eighty? You Don't Look a Day Over 72.": Italian Village turns 80 this year, and the Sun-Times ran an article Monday trying to uncover the secrets behind the Loop mainstay's longevity. It also suggests that, now that the Berghoff as we know it is no more (17 West at the Berghoff? Please.), Italian Village is the oldest restaurant in the city. Now, we're not certain of this, but didn't the Sun-Times' Mark Brown bestow that title to Bridgeport's own Schaller's Pump not even a year ago? Schaller's, according to Brown's piece from April 2K6, opened in 1881. Readers, you now have your argument. Which is older? Schaller's or Italian Village? Discuss.

"In Canada They're Known as 'Uhhsss.'": Saturday is also National Corn Dog Day. In celebration, Evanston's The Wiener and Still Champion is offering their homemade, hand-dipped corn dogs for the one-time only price of $1.25 each, with a free choice of dipping sauce for any customer who purchases three dipping dogs. The Wiener and Still Champion is located at 802 Dempster St.

It Ain't Easy Being Green: Tickets are selling at a brisk pace for the Family Farmed EXPO next Friday and Saturday. Touted as the area's "premiere local and organic food event," the EXPO will feature exhibits, seminars, symposiums, and classes from farmers, food processors, and wholesalers promoting the patronage of organic and local farming and sustainability. The centerpiece event is next Friday's "Localicious," a food and wine tasting party where local chefs prepare foods supplied from area farms. A live auction will also take place. Tickets for "Localicious" are $75 in advance, $90 at the door. EXPO tickets are $15 for either day, or $25 for both. The Family Farmed website is currently offering a 2-for-1 ticket special.

"There's a 'Cock' Pun Here Somewhere!": El Pollo Loco is expanding, with plans to open up to 35 new restaurants in the greater Chicago area over the next nine years. This is the best chicken news to come down the pike since we found out about Wings Around the World.

"Anything You Can Mix, Girls Can Mix Better.": Graze bar manager Jennifer Contraveos recently took home the main prize in Southern Wine & Spirits' inaugural "Shake It Up" mixologist competition in Las Vegas last week. Contraveos took home first prize for her cocktail, "The Single," which combined 1 oz. Cruzan Single Barrel Rum, 1/2 oz. limoncello, fresh hand-squeezed lemon juice, and a muddled mix of pear segments and banana rum pineapple jam, which was unveiled to participants as a secret ingredient. This drink is one more reason to brave the hideous decor of Graze and enjoy Contraveos' libations with some of Bob Zrenner's menu creations.

"Finally, Tonight": Like the mocha in the photo? It's from Little Village's Catedral Cafe, and just one more reason for you to haul your carcass down and explore the neighborhood.