Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, September 18

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Drink Mon Oct 13 2008

Soaking up the Season

Autumn is one of my favorite eating times of year. Heavy hearty dishes are not only acceptable but encouraged again after the light, fresh dishes of spring and summer. And while a glass of rich red wine may go perfectly with your braised meats and casseroles, what if you're in the mood for an autumnal beverage? Throw an oak leaf in your whiskey and call it a Fall Julep? Thankfully a few drinks, alcoholic and otherwise will happily spare you this fate.

I recently sipped some seasonal offerings at Crust, which is well-know as a organic gem but more should know for its fervent vodka infusions. The current menu sports an abundance of in-house flavored Rain Vodka concoctions, including red hot, horseradish and root beer varieties. The Forbidden Fruit, despite its fairly silly name, is a wonderfully sweet and sour cider cocktail made with cinnamon-brown sugar infused vodka. The cinnamon-toast sweetness is tempered by the scratchy dryness of the cider, icy cold and topped by a shaker layer of bubbly, breakable foam. The Peach Impediment (again with the name -- I dare any of you, gentle readers, to order two of these consecutively without slipping on the second word) is a gently flavored drink with an end-of-summer lingering sweetness, made with honey and bergamot infused vodka, made with honey from the local and totally awesome Chicago Honey Co-op. The whisper-soft sweetness of peach swirls around the perfumy bergamot flavor -- just enough to ready your palate for whatever stronger winter warmer will show up next on the bar menu. At $10 a pop, these aren't exactly your bargain basket well drinks, but maybe worth the extra few bucks in moderation.

And of course, what could be a more appropriate beverage for October than sweet, spicy apple cider. Always available in plastic quarts at the local supermarket, cider always seems to taste best at its orchard source, perfectly tart and quenching after a long day of pulling hiding fruit from heavy-laden tree limbs. County Line Orchard in Hobart, IN seems to be a popular destination for large sectors of Chicago on fall weekends -- if you can find it despite Indiana's refusal to mark major streets, you can not only pick your own apples and pumpkins, but buy up jugs of cider, canned goods (dilled green beans! green tomato pickles! piccalili!! chow-chow!!) and other locally inflected goods. Also, there's a corn maze. And if you spend an afternoon there with your other young, childless friends, you're sure to need one of those Crust martinis when you get back to the city. Trust me.

Crust, 2056 W. Division Street, (773) 235-5511.
County Line Orchard, 200 S. County Line Road, Hobart, IN 46342, (219) 947-4477.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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