Outside of America, the big sports news isn't the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win or the NBA Finals. The global buzz is all about the FIFA World Cup. While Chicago revels in the Hawks' victory at today's parade, the rest of the world has all eyes on South Africa. Though we're going to be celebrating the Hawks' title for a long while, there is a distinctly international flavor to the upcoming culinary events around town: a foie gras festival, French-Vietnamese cuisine paired with Hum cocktails, a South African wine dinner at Oceanique and a visit from a well-known "bizarre" traveler.
I've always been a "transitional season" kind of eater. As a child of the Midwest, I love the thawing of the snow and the emergence of ramps, morels and peas, as much as I do the first chill in the air, and the presence of butternut squash and sage on menus. Early June is one of my favorite times of the year, though, because it means strawberry season. Most people probably think it's a year round season, thanks to the horrible "strawberries" that are sold under the Driscoll label in local markets. Ever cut into one of these so-called strawberries? The outside may be ruby red, but look at how white the inside is. These are faux berries in my opinion. Cardboard cut-outs for the real thing. Hit any market over the next two weeks, and cut into one of the local beauties: soft, ripe and completely red, these are authentic, honest berries grown within 50 miles of Chicago.
Jun. 11, 2010
For this week's Frisbee Friday, I'm (oh so gently!) tossing these small glass vials your way...
I've long been a fan of CB and his aromatic creations and consider them art more than perfume. Indeed, I keep four of them out on a centrally-located shelf in my home and enjoy passing by the line-up multiple times a day (and of course occasionally opening them up and savoring the scent). My favorites? "Memory of Kindness," "In the Summer Kitchen," and "The Experience of Gathering Apples."
As for our mission this week, I'm going to let our Imagine Nation continue to grown, unfold and develop. I can't believe all the amazing ideas you've contributed already. I think we are onto something big and special and don't want to close shop on it just yet.
(But per always, I will see you back here with a new mission on Monday.)
Jun. 11, 2010
Carmella is a haircutter with two children who moved here from South America. She works in a hip independent hair cuttery in the rapidly changing neighborhood of Roscoe Village, on the North Side.
I been here 12 years. I just don’t like the winter, the weather. But summers I like. I’ve been working here for four months. I used to work downtown. I worked in a small shop by the lake on Wacker. I like it here though. I mean, it was good there, but I like the scene better. It’s just closer for me. I have kids. Always you have to make it more convenient when you have kids. My daughter, she’s in first grade. So I have to pick them up, drop them off. The hours are more perfect for me over here.
The area is changing a lot. I used to work by Southport and Newport, like five years ago. But then I went on maternity leave. So I stopped. That was when it started picking up, a lot. Now, forget about it. A lot of people think it’s like a downtown over here. I’m like, “Where downtown?” Roscoe Village. [Laughs.] It’s fun, you know, you can walk around here. The people are nice.
Jun. 11, 2010
The BP station at 47th and Woodlawn is full up. There are cars hooked up at all the pump stations, both sides and an unruly line waiting to get their turn. Most folks pay at the pump but there’s a cluster up at the register hidden behind grimy bullet proof glass; customers drop their bills, then pluck cigarettes and junk food from the drawer sliding in and out of the white brick hut and go on with their lives.
Here in North Kenwood – just like in Hyde Park and Bronzeville – BP stations dot the landscape, each of them crowded with cars: Camaros and Caravans, Camrys and Sebrings, Cavaliers and Taurus, even a Cadillac deVille or two.
In other words, nearly two months into BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf, and in spite of boycott calls from Ralph Nader and a zillion environmental and political groups, it’s business as usual at BP’s flagship stations in my neighborhood.
“Man, where else am I gonna go?” says a young man as he shoves the nozzle into the side of his Honda Accord.
And it’s true that, for a Citgo on 39th and a Mobil on 53rd, it’s BP after BP after BP around here.
Jun. 11, 2010
(photo by Lee Bey)
The former Jays potato chip factory at 99th and Cottage Grove is for sale.
The plant once perfumed the South Side neighborhood with the oily/salty smell of cooking potatoes. The factory closed two-and-a-half years ago when Jays newest owner, Synder's of Hanover moved the potato chip-making apparatus elsewhere.
Jun. 11, 2010
Here is a look at my picks for the best live music this weekend.
Before the alternative explosion of the early '90s, Jeff Lescher's power-pop trio Green was one of the few bright sports on a generally moribund Chicago music scene; Material Issue was another. The latest version of Green finds Lescher ably backed by the latter band's drummer, Mike Zelenko, as well as Eddy Ulm from the Desperate Club and musician-about-town Tommi Zender, who also put out a fine ambient guitar album a few months back.