Tasting Table Chicago 2/7/13

Weekend Menu

Thursday, 2/7 through Tuesday, 2/12 5 to 9 p.m., $25

Cajun Cookout

Celebrate Mardi Gras with a festive menu served family-style at Big Jones ($25 per person). Classic dishes highlight regional specialties such as Louisiana alligator tail, deep-fried crawfish and pork boudin balls, and fil? gumbo. Reservations are recommended. Big Jones, 5347 N. Clark St.; 773-275-5725 or bigjoneschicago.com

Saturday, 2/9 11 a.m., Free

Love Stinks

Sample and shop from the city's largest selection of American artisan cheeses at Saturday's Great American Cheese Collection open house. While you're there, snag truffles from Mayana Chocolate, meat pies from Pleasant House Bakery, and chutney from Nicole's Divine Crackers. Great American Cheese Collection, 4727 S. Talman; 773-779-5055 or greatamericancheese.com

Saturday, 2/9 Noon, $20

Saucy Skirmish

Gapers Block presents its second annual BBQ Bowl at Lincoln Hall, where you can sample barbecue from some of Chicago's best. Local restaurants such as Barn & Company and PorkChop compete to be voted the "Critics' Choice." Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-525-2501 or lincolnhallchicago.com 

Saturday, 2/9 2 p.m., Free

Paczki Paunch

Evanston bakery Bennison's pits eight teams against each other in it's fourth annual doughnut-eating contest. Paczki, the traditional Polish pastry eaten on Fat Tuesday, is the star of the show. Bennison's Bakery, 1000 Davis St.; 847-328-9434 or bennisonscakes.com