Amid the thunderstorms and weather changes, summer officially has arrived. We are willing it to stay here at ENJOY with summer swimwear for the kiddos and summer scarves to keep the bugs away. However, one, ok, two of our favorite things about summer here in Lincoln Square are: the Farmers Market and Concerts in Giddings Plaza.
Tuesdays and Thursdays I, undoubtedly, “forget” to pack a lunch for work and have to wander through the market for sustenance. It’s not hard. And I will rave about the local produce and fresh baked bread, etc. However, if there’s a food that screams Chicago to me, besides the obvious, it’s tamales. And Tamale Express is there, every week, bringing the flavor! My personal fave-the Chicken Mole Tamale. But don’t worry-they have tacos and elotes-and fruit smoothies!!! But really, get yourself a tamale! (and feel free to bring me one at the store!)
Now that I’ve expressed my tamale love-don’t get me wrong-I love the smell of the fresh herbs, and fruits, and plants-and pizza (on Thursday nights). The beauty of being able to know what’s in season, without googling, because it’s on the table for sale, is a beautiful thing.
The vendors are friendly and engaging, willing to talk about their food or wares. It’s just the right size market too, big enough to get most of what you need, without being so large and overwhelming. And if you forgot a bag and find yourself overloaded with produce-don’t worry! We have plenty of reusable shopping bags for sale at our store!
My most notable eats so far this summer: chicken mole tamale (I’m telling you-just do it!), strawberries, that we then sneak in to the back room and munch on, strawberry rhubarb pie (are we picking up an “in season” theme here?) and roasted asparagus (obviously roasted at home-but I wonder if the pizza place would do it for you by request…?).
If that’s not enough, Thursday nights are extra special, because you can hit the market after work, and then head to Giddings Plaza for a free concert! If you didn’t pick up a smoothie from the tamale place-don’t worry-there will be a couple booths with beverages, for little ones and adults, in the plaza. If you want to step away from the crowd and get some air conditioning-we are open till 9 on Thursday to accommodate the concert goers and whatever gifting needs they have-or a candy fix for the kids.
The bands range in all types of music, so it’s a great opportunity to check out a new local band, and visit some local businesses. You’ll see kids playing, people dancing, neighbors meeting, and tourists being wowed by our small town feel in the Big City.
It’s these, not so hidden gems, that make me love living and working here (and make the winters bearable).