Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet. The Joffrey’s final performance of Othello opens this Wednesday, April 24.
“Thursday is a free day for the company. For me, I have some meetings, but I will have a nice dinner in the evening. There’s a new restaurant on Division Street called Carriage House. I live in Wicker Park, and it’s always packed when I walk by. It looks like a good place for traditional Southern cooking. I want to try the grits and the crayfish. I recently went to Grace, and it was a total experience. It’s a performance within itself.
“We rehearse on Friday, but my favorite thing to do before a performance is going to The Gage. There’s nothing better than going there and getting a super, super dry, squeaky-clean vodka martini, and they have oysters from different parts of America every day.
“On Saturday, I’m moderating Meet the Artists at 1:00 p.m.It’s a pre-performance talk for anyone who has a ticket to Othello. We have a matinee and evening show, but I’ll take a break between performances and probably end up going to Mercat in the Blackstone Hotel. They do amazing tapas—grilled octopus, bacon and prunes. I love their roasted pardon peppers.
“Sunday I will go to Trencherman for brunch. It’s not your standard brunch fare. It’s the way they put spice and sweeter ingredients together, things like bitter chocolate with maybe eggs. I also like to walk around and end up at Big Star. A couple of pulled pork tacos and beers are great. I try to experience as much theatre as I can, so I will go to the Lyric Opera, which is opening with Oklahoma!, or the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. I want to find time to go to the Picasso exhibit [at the Art Institute]. I love Picasso’s work.” —As told to Amanda Sims
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