Buy Your Lover Something Local Using Our Local Calender

February 13, 2009 at 9:13 am

Rob Gardner

Chocolate may grow in warmer regions, but many a-hand create chocolate creations.  We’ll discuss some locally based V-day suggestions later.  Let’s cover the real stuff first.

Robin sets up her winter market in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago on Saturday.  This location is, of course, also quite convenient for all the Oak Parkers.  Some interesting breakfast opportunities.  Don’t forget to buy something from the Beet’s own Vera V.  Sunday the market moves further west to Downer’s Grove.  Sunday’s market features a full brunch, no better way to learn how much good local food exists even in February.

I have not been mentioning the Geneva Winter Market because various web sites seemed to indicate it resting fallow, but now my sources seem to say yes it’s on.  Another way to get some local food in the far west suburbs.

Those Westerners have all the fun.  Drive a bit past Geneva and you’re in Elburn, home of the Heritage Prairie Market.  No special events this weekend, can’t mean you can’t buy some local food.

Those more bound to the city always have Cassie’s Green Grocer.  Cassie has some interesting events coming up including a tasting with North Shore Distillery on Tuesday (2/17) and pork from Faith’s Farm next Saturday (2/21).  Cassie also reports that she’s getting in some locally grown spinach and salad mix right about the time you’ll be reading this.

OK, let’s cut to the Valentine’s Day crap.  I know both of these places are about full, but give it a whirl anyways.  Mado is cleverly supplying several entrees for two for their Valentine’s Day dinner.   Vie believes that this is a day to be maybe a bit more conventional, but also more luxurious with a prix fixe menu including king crab bisque and grilled steak.  I especially like that the fruit for their dessert is good old local, frozen at its peak and used now for its red and purple-ness (amongst other reasons!). Me and my three girls, we’re celebrating our love-ness a day early with burgers at Vie tonight.

One last Vie message, and I’m probably shooting myself in the foot even by mentioning this, but Vie is holding their second family supper, with a menu and price geared for the entire clan on March 8.  Their first family supper, last week sold out incredibly fast (so fast I missed my chance).  What a great way to share high quality, local food with those precious to you.

And speaking of those precious ones, Purple Asparagus, led by the Beet’s Melissa Graham, promotes the joys of family eating.  They’d love to show you what they mean this Sunday at the Tampopo noodle shop in Chicago.

We can feed our young ‘uns quality food when we have them, but what happens once they are sent off to school.  School lunch programs generally, well, suck, but lots of people are trying to change that.  There’s a great benefit next Thursday (2/19) on that front.  Amongst the people making Mac n’ cheese here are Local Beet contributor KennyZ, some other members of and the above mentioned Cassie Green. 

Those who think so much about food should also think a bit about those who have not enough food.  The Greater Chicago Food Depository works hard to provide meals to those in need.  Martha Bayne has been working hard to provide help to the CFD with her weekly soup events at the Hideout in Chicago.  After a short hiatus, they return this Wednesday.  Scroll down the Hideout’s web site for details.

OK, I got distracted, back to V-Day.  Your lover should only have local chocolate.  Katherine Ann makes truffles here in Chicago with local honey.  Das, from Highwood, sources as many of their caramel ingredients locally as possible.  They put that local to outstanding effect.  Feeling left out, eat a pint of local ice cream.  You can’t go wrong with either Ruth and Phil’s or Nice Cream.

I forgot to give a roadtrip last weekend.  Have I have a romantic destination for you this weekend.  Peoria.  Actually, I want you to go to nearby Pekin, Illinois.  There’s a year round market called the Heritage Farmer’s Market (yes, there seems to be some rulebook that suggests using the word heritage).  Check it out and tell us about it.  Alright, you think I sent you to Peoria for nothing?  The highly anticipated June opened a few weeks ago.  Chef Josh Adams has worked at both Alinea and Vie and seeks to merge the two in his Peoria restaurant.

Plenty of opportunities for local food near and a little far this weekend.  Please share where you went and what you got.