Monday, June 11, 2007

Great Food Saturday

Hey everyone. Sorry about the lack of posting. I don't know why Jayadev is the only one posting. But I do know that there hasn't been any blog-worthy eating on my part for some time. Saturday was a really relaxing day, and pretty interesting food-wise, so I thought I'd try to get back on the horse, as it were.

Saturday morning. 8 am. I had yet to visit the Green City Market this year. It runs Wednesdays and Saturdays in Lincoln Park. Lots of stuff on their mission and their goals. Very admirable. I just know that small farmers from Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana come in for it, and bring usually superb examples of what is in season. I'd go twice a week if I could. There were a LOT of strawberries to be had. Really nice ones, read all of the way through, with great flavor. I picked up some of those, some asparagus, spring garlic, some 3 year old raw cheddar cheese, and some decent early season, started indoors beefsteak tomatoes. I also grabbed some hydroponic yellow tomatoes, which were pretty bad, so enough about them. But the nice red beefsteaks were actually pretty good. Had them for dinner Sunday, which I will get to soon. Anyway, the market is a great little event, and it's held twice a week. I like going around, looking at everything, trying the samples, talking to some of the farmers, and then buying. best produce you'll find anywhere in the city, other than at other farmer's markets, and the farms all supposedly have to practice sustainable growing. Sustainable and local are the new organic, and you can definitely tell the difference in the quality of the food. Plus I like that my money goes from me straight into the hands of the farmer. In some cases, literally. Everyone should check it out.

I've been hearing about the Copper River Salmon that is in season right now. Even though the definition of what constitutes the Copper River has become somewhat lax of late, this time of year means that there is a LOT of really beautiful fish to be had. I definitely want to cook more with fish, and my one experience with grilled wild salmon was great, so I thought this year I'd find some and try grilling it. There is a thread on the lth forum about it. Dirk's, a great fish market in the city, is getting supposedly gorgeous wild salmon right now, selling it around $19 a pound. Whole Foods has some nice stuff. $15 a pound. And then I find that Costco is getting it, too, for $9 a pound, and the reports say that it is REALLY good. So, after the market, I ran into costco and got two sides of it. Those will probably go on the grill Tuesday night.

On the way home from Costco, knowing that AY and the new guy were probably only recently away, I decided to grab Hot Doug's takeout for all of us. What can be said about this place? In some ways, it's the best restaurant in the city. Cool guy making great food from interesting ingredients in a casual setting. And it's very reasonably priced. Saturday the specials menu was particularly inspiring. We shared the duck-fat french fries, and I had half of a jerk-pork sausage with spicy mango mayonnaise, queso fresco, and crispy fried onions, as well as half of the Saucisse de Toulouse with Scallion-Horseradish Beurre de Chevre and Saint Rocco Brie Cheese. Yeah, I'm serious, and yeah, they were fantastic, even after the quick car ride home (about 7 minutes). Doug can do no wrong in my book. And I think he's making a good living out of it.

After a lazy afternoon (it was a weekend off of ultimate and a lot of folks were out of town, so I took it easy), it was time for dinner. I didn't want to cook until more roommates were around. Quick consultation with AY and we were off to Kuma's Corner. Another great place, easy to get to from our apartment, and probably serving the best burger in town. Time-Out may not have picked it as such, but, seriously, they know burgers there. We sat on the patio, I had a couple of great beers off of their interesting beer menu, and then I gad the Kaijo burger. Blue cheese, crispy fried onions, bacon. Had chips on the side. AY had the Mayhem. Pancetta, fresh jalepenos, pepper jack cheese, giardiniera mayo. We had some good conversations, the weather was perfect, the beer was cold, the waitress was friendly. The food was perfect.

Afterwards we went to Scooter's custard. Another establishment that is too new to be called a Chicago institution, they make fresh frozen custard. It's really good. Not much else to say about it.

So, for a day when I didn't have anything planned, I wore flip-flops, shorts, and a t-shirt all day, and I never strayed far from home, I had a GREAT Chicago food day. I hope to repeat it throughout the summer. Although to be honest, I probably don't need to double up Hot Doug's and Kuma's on the same day, and the Scooter's was a bit excessive. But, trust me, it made for a very happy Saturday.


miss casual said...

hey know that tomatoes are in season we should make some italian food soon. we completely dropped the ball last year.

and im getting better at making gnocchi. not the sauce... just the gnocchi.

Vea said...

You write very well.