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The Big Deals 04.12.13

The 'LoopHoles' cocktail O'Donovan's.

The "LoopHoles" cocktail at O'Donovan's.

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Updated: May 13, 2013 6:10AM

From upscale to low-cal, the Sun-Times’ “Big Deals” column brings readers the dish on food and drink specials that will not break the bank.

Wine time

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, 2024 N. Halsted. A Bodega spring wine tasting, featuring more than 25 samples and passed tapas that include tuna tartare on saffron rice puff, cauliflower fritto with espellete dust and lemon-caper alioli; roasted wild mushrooms with sherry gastrique and grilled octopus with Heirloom potato and bone marrow, is 6 p.m. April 16, $30. Visit .

Train stop

Junction Diner, 7401 W. Madison, Forest Park. The new grown-up “White Board Special,” currently featuring penne pasta with Parmesan cream sauce and sauteed vegetables, $8.99; $11.99 with chicken added, and the new “Stuffed Juicy Lucy Burger” with hot giardiniera and Chihuahua cheese on the inside, $9.95 will be around through April. Visit .

Late date

Howells & Hood, Pioneer Court, 435 N. Michigan. A new late-night menu, available 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., includes charred Canary Island baby octopus, $16, the H&H burger (Pat LaFrieda aged beef patty, Carr Valley white cheddar cheese, dill pickle, Iceberg lettuce, and vine-ripened tomato on soft white bun with olive oil-parsley fries, $13. Visit .

Wood work

Wood, 3335 N. Halsted. New menu changes from Executive Chef Ashlee Aubin include small plates: roasted bone marrow with homemade focaccia, herbs, mustard and jam, $11; steak tartare with pumpernickel, egg yolk, capers and Dijon, $14; Burgundy snails with watercress, mussels, sunchokes and garlic, $13. Large plates include wild Alaskan halibut with Manila clams, braised bacon, potatoes and blood orange, $26. Visit .

Date night

TL’s Four Seasons, 110 W. Bartlett, Bartlett. Celebrate China’s Shangsi Festival (the festival of match making), April 12-14, with a lunch and dinner special that includes an entree, glass of champagne and a rose, $20 per person. Visit .

Tax cuts

O’Donovan’s, 2100 W. Irving. Tax relief specials April 16 include the LoopHoles (any Bacardi combo martini with a Froot Loop garnish), $5; Effen IRS (Effen cucumber vodka, soda, lemonade with cucumber garnish) and W2 (two-for-1 whiskey shooters, some restrictions apply). Visit .

Drink of the week

Embeya, 564 W. Randolph. New spring cocktails, launching April 16 along with a three-course, prix-fixe lunch menu ($21), include the Vietnamese salted lemonade (salt-preserved Meyer lemons with a gin or vodka spike), $10; a non-alcoholic version is $6. .

Deal of the week

Downtown Highland Park, 442 Central, Highland Park. Drop in participating restaurants for deals during the Second Annual Restaurant Week “Let Highland Park Do the Dishes: Take a Break and Eat Out,” 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. April 18-28. Visit .

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