Friday | November 15
If your sweet tooth has been acting up, treat yourself to a slice of heaven at America’s Baking and Sweets Show at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center. Yes, there really is such a thing, and you won’t be disappointed. Besides being surrounded by cakes, tarts, candy, and chocolate, you can watch demonstrations, visit the exhibitor booths, and splurge a little at the numerous sweets and coffee vendors. Explore the various cultural goodies at International Way, or stop by the Demo Kitchen Stage to learn something new (and try a sample, if you’re lucky). You’re sure to be drooling by the end of this sweet-filled and delicious event. The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, 11 a.m.–9 p.m., $13 online, $15 at door. Additional fee for demos and hands-on classes.
Improv paired with the Oriental Institute? See what this is about at Occam’s at the Oriental Institute. Support Occam’s Razor, a student improv group, as it unearths its past in a brilliant historical comedy; you’re sure to appreciate history a little more, laugh a lot more, and learn new things about UChicago’s own Oriental Institute. The Oriental Institute Breasted Hall (Auditorium), 8 p.m., free.
Saturday | November 16
Ever wonder about the lives of other commuters as you rumble along on a CTA train? Your deepest ponderings and questions will be answered at EL Stories, presented by the Waltzing Mechanics at the Greenhouse Theater Center. The show is based off interviews with actual CTA passengers in the Chicago area and seeks to accurately portray the events that occur on everyday rides on the El. You’re sure to connect with the sketches, enjoying a night of laughter that offers a newfound appreciation for the seemingly mundane rides on the CTA. A perfect way to end an evening of exploring in Lincoln Park. 2257 North Lincoln Avenue, 11 p.m., $15.
Films are, no doubt, powerful modes of communication. Experience once again the incredible function of this medium at the Global Health Film Festival, presented by GlobeMed. The films portray relevant and prevalent concerns surrounding public health, from the health care system in Cuba to tuberculosis that plagues miners in South America. Choose from a variety of films, including The English Surgeon, They Go to Die, The Edge of Joy, West 47th Street, and Salud!, and enjoy yummy (and free!) grub from internationally flavored restaurants, such as Pierogi Heaven and Señor Pan. Be among the first 50 people and snag a free mug. Logan Center, Screening Room 201, 12 p.m.–11p.m., free.
Sunday | November 17
Searching for that perfect bowl of hearty gumbo, seasoned just right? Discover a new favorite at the First Annual New Orleans Style Gumbo Cook-Off, which will take place at Frontier, a rustic restaurant in West Town. Sample over 10 varieties of this Louisiana staple, prepared by both amateur cooks and professional chefs from acclaimed restaurants such as Trenchermen and Tanta. Cast your vote in this chef versus amateur competition, revel in the rowdy atmosphere as the Saints play the 49ers, and stuff your face with $6 Abita, $10 roast beef po’ boys, and other delicious deals. Stick around until the end, when the three reigning gumbo masters are revealed. 1072 North Milwaukee Avenue, 2–6 p.m., free.