Monday, July 16, 2012

Green City Market BBQ 2012

Last Thursday night, Mrs. Hackknife and I attended what I was told to be one of the city's best annual foodie events: the Green City Market (GCM) BBQ fundraiser in Lincoln Park. GCM is the City of Chicago's farmer's market (taking place every Saturday either outdoors near Clark & Lincoln or inside the Notebaert Nature Museum during the cooler months), which has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years as the farm-to-table cuisine movement has taken off. The annual BBQ provides the market with the funds needed to support the weekly event and, judging from the roster of restaurants that participated (more than 80), nearly all of the best and brightest chefs in town show up to get in on the action.

Luckily for us, the weather cooperated as we ended up with a relatively cool evening (low 80s) given how dadgum hot it's been this summer. All told, the missus and I were really impressed with the proceedings and the turnout - good food and good booze flowed in abundance. Unfortunately, these convention-type dining events (Baconfest was another one) make it difficult to snap pictures of the dishes since one's hands are otherwise preoccupied holding things (hence the lack of visual documentation). Next year, we may follow the lead of some GCM BBQ veterans we saw that brought their own trays with attached cupholders, thus freeing up fingers to do other things. Anyway, I will share below the written descriptions of what we considered to be the event's top culinary creations, at least as far as what we managed to try before maxing out stomach capacity (no, we didn't sample everything - that would have been suicide).

Atwood Cafe - Warm Corn Vanilla & Tomato-Tobacco (hee hee...makes me think of "tomacco" from the Simpsons) Gelee, Crispy Housemade Guanciale

Benny's Chophouse - BBQ Glazed Bacon with Summer Truffle Creamed Corn & Pickled Heirloom Tomato Salad (Mrs. Hackknife's overall favorite)

Chilam Balam - Young Goat Birria, Hard Shell Tacos, Cucumber Sesame Slaw

City Provisions - Spinach & Couscous Salad with Strawberry Balsamic, paired with a great strawberry-rhubarb Saison beer (MCAison) brewed by Flossmoor Station (note to self: get more of this beer)

Dirk's Fish - Grilled Walleye Tacos with Tomato Jalapeno Chutney

El Ideas - Smoked Duck, Turnip, Yogurt, Granola

Embeya - Lemongrass-Scented Beef, Lettuce & Pickled Vegetable Wraps

Frog & Snail - Grilled Skirt Steak with Grilled Stonefruit, Herb Chimichurri, & Homemade Ricotta

The Gage - Elk Sausages, Blueberry Giardiniera, Mustard Relish, & Iceberg, paired with another nice Saison beer (Luciana), this one from Goose Island featuring a smoky finish

Girl & The Goat - Goat Tostada

Perennial Virant - Duck Sausage, House Made Kimchi, Steamed Buns, Relish (my overall favorite - Chef Paul strikes again)

Vera - Pisto Manchego, Roasted Eggplant, Summer Squash, Onions, Grilled Bread, Capriole Goat Cheese

Yusho - Robata Tofu

Honorable mention goes out to Goose Island (again) for making a number of their limited edition "chef collaboration" beers available, including the aforementioned Luciana and Fiona, a Hefeweizen brewed for Cafe des Architectes. Benny's Chophouse gets a second shoutout for the kick-ass dessert they passed out, a warm chocolate-cherry cake that was to die for (I'm sure the homemade ice cream sandwiches at the Hot Chocolate table were also great, but we never found out due to the long line).

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