Friday, May 6, 2016

Postcards from Bunny: Out and About at Spring Foodie Fests

Bunny certainly has been a busy girl as of late.  Of course, her life is usually full of international flights to exotic locations and the like, but just as she did a few months ago, she has been confining all her adventures as of late to the streets of Chicago.  "There's just so much here to see and to taste!  I truly feel I can travel the entire globe in a weekend just by walking down the block in this city," as Bunny likes to say.  Here is a quick breakdown how Bunny has been wisely spending her limited time in the Windy City before her next international adventure.

Reinheitsgebot at Prost! 

500 years ago, the German government passed a law meant to keep beer as pure as possible.  Only water, hops, malt, and yeast were permitted to be part of the ancient beverage, and any derivation from those perimeters meant serious consequences.  To celebrate that law, Prost! in Lincoln Park partnered with Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr for a night of beer, prizes, and lederhosen wearing fun.  Bunny stopped in, donned an Alpine hat, and sipped on brews like Munich Gold while politely arguing with those around her about exactly how "Reinheitsgebot" should be pronounced.


The pig lover's favorite festival stopped over in Chicago recently, bringing together five of the city's favorite chefs for a friendly competition.  Bunny went along to witness exactly what these titans of pork would come up with and did not leave disappointed.  Winning the fan's votes was Chef Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde Restaurant with incredible dishes like Bar-b-Q Rib Rillettes, Pig Skin Tortellini in Brodo, Offal-ly Pierogi, and Crema di Lardo Cannoli.  Chef Grueneberg and her team will now go on to fight for Chicago in a national competition at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen.

Alongside Chef Sarah's delectable bites, Bunny very much enjoyed what Chef Cory Morris and his team from Rural Society put forward, serving up everything from empanadas to peanut butter and jelly to shaved ice, all incorporating part of the pig.  There was also lots of cocktails to be found, like bourbon Old Fashioned's served in a miniature mason jar with boozy cherries and custom concoctions created for the Punch Kings contest between a group of prestigious local barkeeps.  After the main tasting came to a close, other events like a live auction, a pop up butcher's shop, and a ramen bar delighted attendees with more deliciousness

Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

Bunny had only recently become acquainted with the Chicago French Market, but now she is hooked for good.  The variety of vendor stalls combined with the old world charm of a Paris street makes for the perfect combination of food and relaxation.  But, as Bunny found out, it also plays host to amazing foodie events like the Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival, where specialty cheesemongers Pastoral invited hundreds of local artisan cheese makers, wineries, meat purveyors, and more to serve samples to the public and introduce their wears to a whole new audience.  The festival took place both inside the market and immediately outside, where table after table lined the expanse of the Metra train station.  Bunny found herself running from station to station, cramming as much cheese as she could into her mouth so that she didn't miss out on anything.  "I'm going to have to strategize for this festival next year," she said, "I'm coming with lots of crackers in my pockets next time!"

One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show at Merchandise Mart is usually something reserved for hordes of Christmas shoppers looking for unique handmade gifts, but this year a Spring version of the popular event was announced, and upon learning there would be a Gourmet Corner, Bunny made sure to put the dates on her calendar.  Among her discoveries were I Heart Keenwah, a local company producing sweet and savory snacks made from quinoa.  She especially like the Sea Salt Truffle and the chocolate covered Peanut Butter Puffs.  As she is always unable to resist the allure of anything tea flavored, she also picked up a jar of Earl Grey Fudge from Puffs of Doom and some Lady Grey Marshmallows from Katherine Anne Confections.  Jose Madrid Salsa infused with fruity flavors caught her attention right away, as did the Burton's Maplewood Farms booth, as she had heard from Brandy just how delicious maple syrup aged in oak barrels could be.  Rounding out her trip, she snacked on a Spring Feast Crepe from Gotta Bee Crepes, filled with local veggies, fruit, goat cheese, and honey

The writers of this blog were invited to attend the mentioned events free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.

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