If you're like us, you budget for just a few meals out per week, so you want to make sure you choose wisely. We've studied up on this week's options, and present you with your best bets--conveniently sorted in order of cost.
4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday at Tapas Valencia
The recently transplanted restaurant welcomes diners to its new South Loop location with the introduction of its $2 Happy Hour menu. Guests will be able to select from a long list of hot and cold options, including tortilla con salmon (potato and onion omelet wrapped in Atlantic cured salmon) and datiles (bacon-wrapped dates with red bell pepper sauce).
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday at Bin 36
You've got a couple more days to take advantage of the restaurant/wine bar's latest anniversary promotion, which includes your choice of a sandwich or a salad, plus a soft drink. Options include burgers, grilled cheese and chicken caesar salad. Stay tuned for the $8 promotion coming in May.
Cheap and for a Good Cause
$5 tasting of doughnuts (plus coffee, tea and hot chocolate)
9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at Blue Sky Bakery and Cafe
To celebrate its first birthday, this Albany Park bakery gives us all gifts of sweet and savory fried goodness (rhubarb, rosemary and coconut are on the menu). Be warned: the place, which employs homeless or at-risk youth, offers a wide range of pastries and sandwiches, so you may end up spending a lot more than you planned.
Not Cheap, but for a Good Cause
13th Annual Girl Food Dinner
5:30 p.m. Sunday at West Town Tavern; $150 (call (312) 666-6175 to reserve)
Four female chefs (Nadia Tilkian, Maijean; Jill Barron, Mana Food Bar; Karen Armijo, Gary Comer Youth Center; and Jessica Olorose, Black Dog Gelato) join West Town Tavern chef/co-owner Susan Goss (and her husband, Drew) to prepare a five-course dinner which will raise money for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Wine pairings included.
And while we're on the subject of good causes...consider these two fine promotions:
Dining Out for Life
Eat at one of many participating restaurants, and you'll be doing your part in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as the eatery will donate some percentage of its proceeds to AIDSCare.
Culinary Crusade: Join the Bite Against ALS
Support the fight against ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) by ordering the "Culinary Crusade Special" at a participating restaurant in May. You'll get a different dish depending on where you go. Venues include Adobo Grill (Wicker Park), Graziano's Brick Oven Pizza, Ina's, Tuscany (Wheeling and Oak Brook), Vinci and Wishbone (West Loop and Lake View).