Is there an upper limit to what people will pay to see and hear a famous chef and eat some food (inspired by him but cooked by the restaurant hosting him)? We'll have a chance to find out on Saturday, March 15, when Ferran Adrià appears at a book signing at Balena for which the price is a cool $695. Admittedly, that includes a copy of ElBulli 2005-2011, the seven-volume compendium of everything done at the legendary Spanish temple of molecular gastronomy, so appetizers and schmoozing in an intimate setting represent just $70 of that. If that's too rich for your blood, $95 will get you into the event that follows, a talk by Adrià, plus hors d'oeuvres and a signed copy of his earlier book, A Day at elBulli. Tickets for that are here (and yes, if you go for the $695 ticket, you get both the talk and the other pretty massive book too—bring your wheelbarrow).
Meanwhile, closer to life on earth, here are some other events after the jump.
• Feel like spending a long, beery time drinking brunch this Sunday? Get your punishment at the Crime and Punishment Brunch at Fountainhead, with a four-course menu and Stone Brewing beers and beer cocktails. Tickets and more info here.
• Frontier may have temporarily run out of quadrupeds to roast, as their next So You Think You're a Foodie Dinner will be devoted to whole fish, ranging from fresh sardines to whole red snapper to a large fish for the table to share (species to be revealed at the event). It's $72 per person next Wednesday, February 26; go here to get your ticket.
• Mercadito, whose Tacos for Strength fund-raiser benefits the anti-childhood-hunger effort Share Our Strength, is now drawing on chefs beyond its bases in Chicago and New York as collaborators on its celebrity-taco-of-the-month deal. February's, which needless to say you only have a few days left to catch, was created by Food & Wine Best New Chef Jamie Malone of Sea Change in Minneapolis, who gives us the Crispy Cod Taco.
• Next Thursday, I am reliably told by high government officials, is National Chili Day, and DMK's County Barbeque, DMK Burger Bar, and DMK Burger & Fish in Evanston will schmear County's smoked-brisket chili on chili dogs for $5 each. DMK Burger Bar (the Lakeview one) will also host a night of comedy on February 25 called Grass-Fed Laughs, to benefit Open Heart Magic, which provides entertainment to kids in Chicago-area hospitals; it's $20, which includes your first beverage. Go here to find out more.
• How do James Beard Award semifinalists party? Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia) and Jason Vincent (Nightwood) will get together on February 27 to do a wine dinner for two Austrian wineries, Loimer Winery and Wieninger Winery, at Sepia. The collaborative four-course dinner with pairings from each winery for each course is $115; call 312-441-1920.