What’s Good in Chicago: August 2012
In Season: Damn Near Everything.
Just arriving at Farmers Markets:
Brussels Sprouts, Cantaloupes and Watermelon, Cauliflower, Celery and Celeriac, Garlic and Leeks and Onions, Pears, and Turnips. Late in August, you’ll start to see some of the heartier squashes like Spaghetti Squash.
August in the Midwest is an embarrassment of produce riches. Everything is ripe for the picking— except for a few favorites. You’ve missed the boat on Asparagus, Cherries, Eggplant, Rhubarb, and Strawberries but we don’t even care anymore because Tomatoes.
Even though they started showing up as early as mid-June, August is when Tomatoes really start getting delicious. By the end of the month, the hot, sunny, humid summer will have transformed the fruit into savory, sweaty, juicy, jewels. Absolutely no shame in eating them like apples but stay tuned for some insight on how we roll.
Whenever possible, we encourage getting your Tomatoes locally and going the extra mile to make sure they are non-GMO. Heirloom varieties, organically grown, are going to be an even better choice. This isn’t because of yuppie snobbery, we don’t have time for that nonsense, it’s because conventional Tomatoes kind of taste like garbage and create dangerous, irresponsible (to put it mildly) working conditions for the farmers. It’s worth the investment and the exercise in mindfulness to be picky when it comes to this fruit, and to only eat it when it’s in season locally.
The Chicago food scene suffers an (arguable) loss this month with the closing of Bleeding Heart Bakery. Between allegations from employees ranging from petty personality clashes to seriously disgusting product mishandling, a split from their partners at the West Town location, and an apparently illegal sale of tons of their equipment, we can’t really say that we’re surprised. All of their locations are going to be shuttered, as of August 5th, and (completely unsubstantiated) rumor has it that the Garcias are joining forces with the folks at Tipsy Cake
Whether you loved or hated them, they were an institution and it’s always a little sad to see a local business close. We’re hoping that this new space in the market means good things for some of our favorite bakeries.
If you’re looking for somewhere to satisfy your sweet tooth in their absence—
Paper Moon Pastry makes some of the best cookies we’ve ever tasted.
Bang-Bang Pies provides some damn fine Lemon Cream pie (though, vegetarians take note of the lard in the crust!).
La Boulangerie makes the best macaroons in the city.
Sweet Mandy B’s cupcakes live up to the hype.
and Goddess and the Grocer delivers, with online ordering options on Grub Hub!