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Lakeview restaurants (and more) - food and fun combos

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I love living in Lakeview. It is one of the coolest places to live on Chicago's north side. Not only are there dozens and dozens of bars and restaurants to choose from, but you're also a stone's throw away from downtown's fabulous richness. I can take a single bus almost anywhere downtown and all across Lakeview. God bless the CTA in general, but especially for operating the Diversey 76, the Michigan 151, the LaSalle 156, the Clark 22 and the Broadway 36 lines.

Meanwhile, some Lakeview venues are having some fun events to entice you to try their food.

Newport Bar and Grill, 1344 W. Newport in Lakeview, is having its 3rd Annual Crawfish Boil Saturday, July 26. Get there early to get your share of the 500 lbs. of live crawfish with corn, potatoes and Andoullie sausage seasoned with Resident Louisiana Chef Allen Rochelle's traditional homemade Cajun seasoning. Sides include red beans and rice and a fried potato salad. Wash it down with $4 Abita bottles and $15 Bud family buckets. $25 tickets get all you can eat while supplies last from 11 to 6pm..

El Mariachi Tequila Bar and Grill, Revolucion Mexican Steakhouse, and Tutto Fresco Trattoria, all in Lakeview, are putting on a group feast Thursday, July 24, 6:30pm to 9:30pm. For $60/person you'll sample cuisine and cocktails from their three unique restaurant concepts, all within four blocks of each other. Start at 6:30pm on the patio at El Mariachi Tequila Bar and Grill to sip a Mojito-Rita and enjoy passed appetizers among the flowers. Then move on to Revolucion for a dinner of one of their signature entrees with wine pairings. Finish up at Tutto with Canoli for dessert and a Tiramisu Martini Float by Sorbetsmith.

Stopped in at Clark Street Dog & Bar, 3040 N. Clark St. (at Halsted), because I'd heard they were celebrating National Grilling Month. The lady behind the counter smiled but didn't know what I was talking about. So despite the fact that the dog and fries looked really tasty, I just wasn't in the mood. So I decided to order the Greek salad - what a happy surprise. The greens were crisp and fresh and plentiful, the olives salty and succulent, the feta cheese dry and piquant, and the dressing just right. I took it to go and scarfed down every morsel.

But their more typical fare is cheese fries, the chili dogs, gyros, Italian beef, burgers or other salads. The fun part about this place is you can also get a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine with your fast food. And they have drink specials every day of the week, like three-dollar domestic bottles on Sunday. N.B. There's parking, but it's a the miniscule triangular-shaped postage-stamp parking lot. So go sometime outside normal lunch if you can.

Okay, these two are not in Lakeview, but the promotions start soon.

Like to eat late? Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, 626 N. State St., is giving away pairs of Lollapalooza tickets to some lucky late-night diners on July 14 -16. Anyone dining until midnight those dates is automatically entered - winners announced and tickets awarded at midnight each night.

Frontier restaurant, 1072 N. Milwaukee, is doing an authentic Louisiana crawfish boil with the Who Dat Nation Chicago Chapter on Sunday, July 20 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For $35 per person, you get the all-you-can-eat crawfish boil complete with potatoes and corn on the cob and New Orleans-style music from the Four Star Brass Band. Get tickets here.

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