What’s Good in Chicago: June 2012
In Season: Arugula, Asparagus, Beets, Blueberries, Chard, Cherries, Cherry Tomatoes, Cilantro, Garlic Scapes, Kale, Nectarines, Okra, Peas, Radishes, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Spinach, Summer Squash, and Strawberries
Local vegetables beyond, like, parsley and the scraps of last fall’s root veggies, are finally available in Chicago. We’re looking forward to the abundance of arugula and kale, and have been eyeing recipes to make our own Green Powder
. It’s a fast way spike our mac and cheese on those days (weeks?) where we can’t bother eating a real vegetable and is a space-saving way to manage a bounty of greens. The short growing seasons for raspberries, cherries, and blueberries is just starting, so get on that shit and consider putting up some maraschino cherries
. Asparagus is almost out of season which is making Rachel super depressed; you’ve got about 30 days left to enjoy the fresh, local stuff and 60 until even the imported stuff starts tasting like twigs.
We’re most looking forward to getting some fresh beets for Apple Beet Carrot juice, which is Lucy’s go-to breakfast, and trying some new things with garlic scapes. Garlic scapes, sometimes called green garlic and also known as “wtf is this stringy green stuff in my CSA…,” are the above-ground stems of garlic that are tender in the spring and are plentiful at farmers markets. They taste like garlic (duh) but greener and grassy. We like them grilled with meat that has also been grilled, or sauteed and added to risotto. Avoid the urge to buy the cute, coiled scapes; those tend to be super tough and have a weird aftertaste that is bitter and unpleasantly garlicky!
Festival season is just starting, and that means incredibly good eating. This weekend (June 8th-10th) is Ribfest
. A $5 suggested donation gets you access to tons of vendors, two rib-eating contests. and a full line up of bands. Ribfest sprawls from Lincoln Square to Roscoe Village but its heart lies in North Center, at the Irving Park-Lincoln-Damen intersection. If that’s not enough pork festivities for you: June 16th and 17th is Six Corners BBQ Fest
. The exact rundown of events is a bit of a mystery, but anything that includes a competition called “Meat on Milwaukee”
is going to be something that we’re into.
If the festival scene isn’t your thing, but now you can’t stop thinking about BBQ, we’re totally cosigning the Pork Shoppe in Avondale
. We don’t know why we always feel like that place just opened, since it’s been the North-side’s defacto ugghhhhhhhhhh-the-wait-for-Kuma’s-is-like-seven-hourrrrrrrrssss eatery since 2010, but it is totally worth a mention. Their pulled pork is predictably righteous but rivaled by their truly remarkable brisket, and we’re really into the spicy cornbread.