On a 90 degree evening, I rode my bicycle up the lakefront from downtown, hoping to catch a breeze. Families and teens still packed the beaches, but the bike path wasn’t too clogged. At Argyle, I took the LSD underpass, getting on a trail which winds around Margate Park. Taking Argyle west, I hit a street fest, called the Argyle Night Market, that runs one block long and closes the street to traffic, just west of Sheridan. It happens each Thursday evening, 4pm to 8pm, through September 19th.
As soon as I entered the Argyle Night Market (http://48thward.org/argyle-night-market), I was impressed. This is not your average farmer’s market/street fair: there are tents set up on both sides of the street, most selling Asian street food. The vendors are as diverse as the neighborhood, as were the people shopping and taking in the experience. From Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese restaurants to African ethnic goods to spicy Mexican brownies to six different flavors of popcorn, the Market variety surprised me. There was a locally grown produce tent and another of butchered meat.
My first stop was Karl’s Craft Soups. He lured me over with an offer of a free sample of cold zucchini vischyssoise soup. It was so good, I bought a bowl to go on the spot. Next I wandered past a teen group of circus performers (CircEsteem), doing tricks on a giant wheel. Sun Wah BBQ had a crowd, so I investigated. I am glad I did! For $1, I bought a duck “sandwich,” which was one of the best things I have eaten all year, and certainly the cheapest. It contained two meaty pieces of duck, cut right there, and pickled vegetables, on a fluffy white pita-like wrap. I ate it like a taco, immediately wanting another.
Next, I craved a sweet. There were so many to choose from! I decided on “Not Just Cookies,” owing to the smiling and pleasant young lady behind the table. She told me she and her brother ran the business and had baked the cookies the night before. I selected oatmeal raisin and for $5, got a bag of cookies that would have cost a whole lot more at a gourmet grocer. The cookies are delicious!
As I walked around Argyle Night Market, I wished I had an out-of-town visitor coming, so that I could show off to them how cool my neighborhood is. Closing a street for a street fest brings the community out to support local businesses. This is thankfully more common now in Chicago. What makes the Argyle Night Market unique is that it truly reflects the community within which it is situated, and brings in all sorts of new people into our neighborhood who may never otherwise come. Even on a 90 degree night, the Argyle Night Market is cool.
Next week, I plan to check out the fare from Tank Noodle, Mother Butter’s Popcorn, and Uptown Brownies. Hope to see you there!
Post by: Eve