No one's told Mother Nature yet, but summer is right around the corner. This May, Chicago is paying more attention to the calendar than the weather as the city revs up for farmer's markets, barbecues and refreshing food and drinks. So even if it means grabbing a sweatshirt, head outside and celebrate the (eventual) arrival of spring.
Evanston Farmers' Market and Green City Market
Evanston's farmers' market is one of the earliest in the city. Opening this Saturday from 7:30 am until 1:00 pm, the farmers' market is located at the intersection of University Place and Oak Avenue, in the parking lot behind the Hilton. This year brings a new feature to the market: "green" bags will be available to shoppers for a small fee. Market-goers are invited to join the new "Friends of the Market" group that the city of Evanston has launched to help support the operations of the market. The group will help with market set-up, fund-raising and will staff an information table. For more information or to join the group, contact Zollie Webb at (847) 448-8138. A sure sign of spring, the Green City Market moves outdoors this Wednesday, May 12 from its wintertime spot in the Notebaert Nature Museum. It will now take place at the south end of Lincoln Park from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays until October. Green City Market's approximate address is 1790 N. Clark Street.
A pairing of white chocolate mousse and a hum cocktial at Cibo Matto. Photo courtesy of Foodie the App's Food & Spirits Series
Foodie Food & Spirit Series
The iPhone app Foodie has helped Chicago diners score exclusive deals at top restaurants since it debuted in December 2009. Now, the app's creators, Ari Bendersky and Matt Marcus, want to give diners a behind-the-scenes look at how some of Chicago's best food and drinks are created. The Food & Spirits Series launches this week with a video featuring Todd Stein of cibo matto (named one of the country's best new Italian restaurants by Food & Wine) and renowned mixologist Adam Seger, creator of the new perfect-for-spring botanical liquer, hum. The Food & Spirit Series pairs chefs with mixologists to create a multi-course menu inspired by the libation. This week, Chef Stein will develop a one-of-a-kind, four-course tasting menu incorporating hum into each course to showcase the spirit's flavors of hibiscus, cardamom, ginger and kaffir lime. Menu items include burrata with roasted beats, hum and balsamic; roasted citrus and herb prawns with toasted farro and hum; grilled quail with endive and tuscan kale; and a white chocolate mousse with pistacchio sauce. In turn, Seger will create five cocktails to pair with each course (including an amuse to start the evening) to match Stein's dynamic cooking. Diners who like what they see in the video can then book a reservation for the four-course dinner on select nights at cibo matto exclusively through the Foodie app or at Foodietheapp.com. The cost is $65 and the promotion ends May 15. cibo matto is located at 201 N. State Street.
"Meat" The Chefs at Paulina Market
The Paulina Market is an old-school butcher shop that is one-stop shopping for barbecue supplies. Each month this summer, the Market will host a Chicago chef who will answer questions and prepare dishes from his or her restaurant. On Saturday, May 15, Sola's Executive Chef Carol Wallack will prepare her Hawaiian-inspired dishes and discuss her commitment to locally-raised ingredients and sustainability. Paulina Market is located at 3501 N. Lincoln Avenue and is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays. Call (773) 248-6272 for details.
Chicago Foodways Roundtable: Foie Gras Politics
Foie gras is all over the news again lately as protesters from The Animal Protection and Rescue League announced they will demonstrate outside of Thomas Keller's restaurants Per Se, French Laundry and Bouchon this Saturday. Keller's publicist seems unruffled, but the foie gras debate doesn't seem to be losing steam any time soon. This Saturday, May 8, Michaela DeSouzy, a PhD candidate in Northwestern University's Department of Sociology, will lead a discussion at Kendall College based on her dissertation, "Gullet Politics". Her dissertation compared the political, cultural and moral debates over foie gras in France and the U.S. (particularly Chicago). The program begins at 10 a.m. and is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. Call (847) 432-8255 or email email@example.com to reserve a spot, then leave your name, phone number and number of RSVPs. The cost is $3 per person, free to Kendall students and faculty. Kendall College is located at 900 N. Branch Street.
Street Festivals Kick Off
Think you missed Cinco de Mayo? You still have a chance to indulgence in delicious food and drinks this weekend. The Chicago Cinco de Mayo Festival takes place in Little Village and features three days of live music and food vendors. The festival is located at 26th Street and Kostner Avenue and lasts until 11:00 pm each night. Celtic Fest also takes place this Saturday and Sunday in Millenium Park from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm. Expect live music, food and art vendors.