Bacon bourbon caramel corn
Like you, I tend to stress about what I'm going to serve the troops on Super Sunday.‚ So many folks worry about sightlines with their 50" DLP TVs, that they forget the most important thing: the food. It has to be able to sit at room temp; it must be delicious; it should certainly be something a little more creative than a plastic container full of pre-cut veggies and ranch dip from Costco. This year, I'm recommending you pre-order a few bags of Ginna Haravon's masterstroke: bacon bourbon caramel corn. Her tiny company, Salted Caramel, just focuses on this one product, which she makes out of the Flavour Cooking School in River Forest.‚ She renders her bacon, she pops the popcorn, and most important, she creates a silky, sweet caramel that gets just a jolt of Jim Beam to add depth. Immediately after she pours out the mixtures on silpat (silicone sheets) to prevent sticking, she'll dust it with a small amount of kosher salt to add that final element - balancing the sweet and the savory. I know I'll have my feet propped up on Super Sunday, with a bag all to myself. If you want to see how Ginna makes it, be sure to check out my story on ABC 7 today. If you want to order a bag (or two) you can place your order directly from her website. The only retail locations carrying it as of now are Flavour Cooking School in River Forest, or Birchwood Kitchen in Bucktown. She promised me that any orders that came in this weekend would be able to get to you before Super Bowl Sunday.
The Saigon Sisters booth at the Chicago French Market
Tonight, I'm taking a trip to the new Chicago French Market, over at the Oglivie Transportation Center. The same family company (Bensidoun) that operates suburban markets - as well as many more in Europe and France - has been working for the past few years on developing the barren space below the trains. The vendors have slowly been added to this under-the-track market, and although I find it curious there are at least three patisseries (how many croissants does one need?) there are also some hidden gems: the Saigon Sisters are cranking out bahn mi sandwiches rivaling the goods up on Argyle (although they're about twice as much), and the Belgian frites at the Frietkoten stand are addictive, especially with the squeeze of ketchup, mayo and shower of red onions scattered across the top. There are other vendors slated to hit the market in the coming weeks. For now, you can check out my report at 10 p.m. to see what's going on.