Alpana a la Carte

Alpana Singh

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I had a recent conversation with a friend who posed an interesting question: Why do people get so intimidated by wine, but not other beverages such as beer or vodka? I replied that for starters, wine is the only beverage that requires a special tool just to get it open. Then there is the lasting legacy of the snooty sommelier, the weird ritual of sniffing and gargling, and the perceived prerequisite that one must be fluent in the language of wine to comment on everything from its bouquet, long legs, and aromas of dried potpourri and pencil shavings.

I will admit this to the outside observer – we wine people do seem to make it harder than it really should be, and this is quite unfortunate. I remember that when I first got into wine, I was hesitant to speak up in front of others for fear of saying the wrong thing.

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Alpana Singh

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Restaurants have become central fixtures in our lives, so it’s only natural that we want to celebrate our most momentous occasions at our favorite eateries. But what if you want to bring along a gaggle of your closest friends? Dining with a larger group can challenging for both the diner and the restaurant, but with these simple tips and some advance planning, you’ll be able to feast with your friends without the hassle of doing the dishes.

WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET? How much do you want to spend per person? Your budget will determine which restaurant you select for your outing. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of alcoholic beverages, tax, and tip, which can double the bill. For example, if you’re total budget is $50 per person, then plan on spending $25 for food, $12 for one alcoholic beverage and the rest going towards tax and tip.

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Alpana Singh

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Check, Please! travels to Logan Square to visit Quiote, and our discussion soon turned to Mezcal, a distilled spirit from Mexico.

Perhaps you’ve seen Mezcal recently on a cocktail menu and were curious to try it. Or perhaps you’re already a seasoned enthusiast and have been extolling its virtues for years. But one thing is for sure: Mezcal has definitely exploded in popularity in recent years, and is finally stepping out of the shadows of its smokier sibling, Tequila.

Mezcal and Tequila have a lot in common, but differ in some significant ways as well. For instance, all Tequilas are Mezcals, but not all Mezcals are Tequilas – in the same way that all Bourbons are Whiskeys but not all Whiskeys are Bourbons.

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Alpana Singh

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Our trusty Check, Please! reviewers checked out Balmoral Tap Room by Half Acre Brewery, a veteran of the Chicago craft beer scene. The Windy City is now home to 167 breweries, more than any other city in America, according to the Brewers Association.

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Alpana Singh

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One of our featured restaurants is Chicago Culinary Kitchen, which is a celebration of all things barbecue.

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