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The best of what to do in and around Chicago this week

We’ve been waiting all year for the hefty dining discounts that come with Restaurant Week, and that week is finally here. If you’re (somehow) still hungry after dining at Avec, Blackbird, and others, enjoy the new(ish) brunch menu at Bangers & Lace, a craft beer and sausage spot that is expanding throughout the city like wildfire. A Chinese dance performance is on the lineup at the Auditorium Theatre, and a vocal extravaganza celebrates Chicago at the Lyric Opera House.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

October 29 | New menu: Brunch
Bangers & Lace
The newest Bangers & Lace in Roscoe Village opened in September, but the menu got a serious upgrade on October 29. We’re talking about brunch, and Bangers & Lace excels at it. It’s got everything from the trendy avocado toast to shakshouka (poached eggs and kofta with spicy pepper and tomato sauce) and a “proper breakfast” (eggs, potatoes, bacon, and toast). Bangers & Lace is also known for its delectable sausage and craft beer combo, and you don’t have to miss out on that just because your meal is a riff on the word “breakfast.” B&L even serves up a “beermosa” made with OJ and Coronado Orange Avenue Wit beer and a “bloody beer” made with Oskar Blues beer, a house bloody mix, and sriracha. The restaurant’s other locations in Evanston and Wicker Park are equally good.
1851 W. Addison St., Chicago | website

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January 27 - February 9 | Food
Restaurant Week
Chicagoans start plotting out their meals for restaurant week months in advance and for good reason. Contrary to what the name suggests, this is a two-week endeavor. Every participating restaurant (including standouts such as Avec, MK the Restaurant, Bistro Campagne, and Blackbird) offers a prix fixe menu starting at $22 for lunch and (new this year) brunch and $33 or $44 for dinner.
Times & locations vary | From $22 | website

February 4 | Dance
Jackie Chan’s Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe
Combine traditional Chinese dance with kung fu, add a few Cirque du Soleil moves, and you’re getting close to what you can expect from Jackie Chan’s Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe. The actor, martial artist, and film director handpicked the 11 performers, all of whom hail from Beijing, for their skills in dance and kung fu. This is an entirely new art form and a special way to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
7:30 PM | Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago | From $33 | website

Lyric Opera House

February 4 | Music
Chicago Voices Concert
Celebrate the city’s singers with a massive concert in Chicago’s Lyric Opera House. The Chicago Voices Concert features Tony Award–winning Broadway star Jessie Mueller, gospel and R&B sensation Michelle Williams, and soprano Renée Fleming. It’s all part of a multi-year initiative to honor the songs and history of Chicago’s communities.
7:30 PM | 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago | From $39 | website

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February 4 - 5 | Escape the city
Portage, Wisconsin
Less than four hours outside of Chicago, Portage, Wisconsin, is home to Cascade Mountain, a ski resort that’s fabulous for families or solo skiers. For a twist on winter fun, make special plans for night skiing (Cascade Mountain offers night-only lift tickets). Off the slopes, head to the Portage WWII History Museum for an in-depth look at the past—plan to spend about three hours there on a guided tour. Finish the evening with dinner at the classic steakhouse Cimaroli’s. On your way back to Chicago, stop at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart and grab some cheese curds. You’ll probably finish the bag long before you arrive in Chicago.

Danielle Braff lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and her dog. When she’s not writing, she’s out photographing her city and running around frantically trying to fit as many events as she can into her day. You can check out her other articles at Daniellebraff.com.

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