There's one more big food festival to hit before it gets too cold to stand outside with plate and glass in hand. We're gearing up (and maybe reserving a few calories in the bank) for Chicago Gourmet, taking place September 29 through 30 in Millennium Park. A general admission ticket for one day will cost you $159 (plus tax), which includes access to all the engaging cooking demos, tasting pavilions (including the overwhelming array of wine and spirits), seminars, and book signings. But if you eat your way through the Chicago Gourmet Dine Around, you can get in for free.
Here's the not-so skinny: Dine at five of the 70-plus participating Dine Around restos throughout the month of September (a minimum of $35), save your receipts, and redeem them at the registration table at Chicago Gourmet for a free, one-day, general-admission ticket. While you can dine à la carte, all of the restaurants are offering a specially created prix fixe menu — a great way to experience a new restaurant or revisit an old favorite. You gotta eat anyway, right?