Call us your seasonal sensei.
Today we're taking on your pantry. Keep these Chicago-made products at the ready for summertime smoking, grilling and garnishing.
Co-op Vinegar: Sauce & Bread Kitchen ages its house-made Co-op cider vinegar ($6 for 16 ounces) in whiskey barrels from Koval Distillery. Use the fruity, caramel-y vinegar, available for purchase at the café, as a mop for smoking meats or as a frisky dressing for cabbage slaw or potato salad.
T-Racha: Saigon Sisters' spicy new sauce ($7 for 4 ounces; available at the restaurants) is made Sriracha-style, with fresh red Thai chilies. Garlic, sesame oil, fish sauce and vinegar lend a wallop of umami, and a little--drizzled over grilled meats and cool Southeast Asian salads--goes a long way.
Pinch Bay Seasoning: Planning an East Coast-style crab boil? Reach for this organic, Bucktown-made spice mix ($5 for 3 ounces) instead of Old Bay. Shake it onto grilled seafood or corn for a summery, aromatic kick.
Central Pickling: Made in Chicago from Illinois- and Indiana-grown cucumbers, these hyper-local dill-garlic pickles ($11 for 32 ounces; available here) are a welcome topping for hot dogs, bratwurst or burgers.