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

This week is your chance to check out several projects that have finally come to light in Chicago. It took three years for the Lyric Opera to produce The Trojans, and the Art Institute’s massive exhibit of Japanese monochromatic works covers centuries of art. Over in Lincoln Park, indulge in the new upscale dim sum menu at Intro, and be sure to check out newcomer Pisolino, a fast-casual Italian restaurant in Avondale.

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

October 25 | Now open: Restaurant
It’s fast, casual Italian food at this new Avondale restaurant. Start the day with breakfast paninis or even a breakfast pizza (bacon, quail egg, and mozzarella). Lunch offers pastas in addition to pizzas and paninis. Pisolino opens for dinner this week. The spot will also be serving wines by the quartino and the bottle rather than by the glass.
2755 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago | website

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November 2 | New menu: Restaurant
There’s the greasy Chinatown dim sum that we all know and love, and then there’s the new upscale dim sum you can find at Intro, where the herbs and spices come straight from the farmers’ market for a freshness you can taste in every bite. The new menu, cooked up by chef Stephen Gillanders, is offered Wednesdays through Fridays. Expect Gillanders’s own take on duck confit steamed buns, chilled soba noodles, and Cantonese salmon.
2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago | website

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November 12 - 13 | Escape the city
Hamilton County, Indiana
It’s just three hours from Chicago, but you’ll feel like you went through a time machine to get to the historic area of Hamilton County, Indiana. Here you can explore 1836 Prairie Town and see a lifelike Civil War re-enactment (in the city of Fishers). Nearby, the Tenderloin Trail has plenty of small, local restaurants. Step inside an old sheriff’s residence and see how jails worked in the 1800s at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Residence and Jail. It’s also where Charles Manson was held when he was a teen.


November 12 - January 29 | Art
Ink on Paper: Japanese Monochromatic Works
Publishers in Japan continued using black ink even after color printing became widespread—some because it was inexpensive, but others to make a statement about their artists’ skill. Artists such as Munakata Shikō and Hiratsuka Un’ichi worked for their entire careers only in monochrome, and the results are mesmerizing. Ink on Paper, a new exhibit at the Art Institute, focuses on 250 years of works like theirs. While you’re there, make sure to look around the rest of the museum, which is recognized for its Impressionist collection.
Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago | $25 | website

November 13 - December 3 | Opera
The Trojans
The Trojans, an epic opera, is rarely performed due to its massive scale: The Lyric Opera needs 94 chorus members and more than 225 total performers to pull it off, plus 80,000 pounds of scenery props created over three years. Now, finally, the five-hour-long tale of tragedy, which follows the hero Aeneas through the Trojan War, is opening for public viewing. This is definitely one show where you’ll get your money’s worth.
Civic Opera Building, 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago | From $34 | website

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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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