Green City Market Provides A Taste Of Freshness



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Shoppers buy fresh produce and vegetables at Green City (photo by Jeramie L Bizzle)


Upon entering the Green City Market in Lincoln Park, located at 1750 N. Clark, the smell, and color of organic products catches the eye. The redness of the tomatoes, the long green stems of fresh onions and asparagus, and the smell of fresh flowers is what makes the market an enjoyable experience.

The market is now in its 18th year of providing farm grown vegetables and produce to shoppers with over 50 vendors selling goods from sauces to spices. Shopper Fred Banyon said that he’s been going to the market for three years because it reminds him of being on the farm in Mississippi.

“I used to farm for ten years with my brothers so this reminds me of that. I come here I get vegetables, meats and cheeses, everything tastes good here. You can taste the natural difference,” Banyon said.


He mentions that it is more than just coming and buying items, but it is also a place where people go to interact with others who enjoy farmer’s markets.

The mission of the market is to increase the availability of high-quality food by connecting the public with restaurateurs and food organizations.This is to help promote and educate shoppers about the appreciation of sustainable foods.

Besides going to the market to sell their products, vendors also go to support each other. Bradley Kirouac, Chicago manager of Burton’s Maplewood Farm, said that he’s worked the market for eight years selling pure syrup aged in rum barrels. looks forward to getting a slice of pizza from Nomad Pizza. 



Bradley Kirouac stands proudly next to his barrel aged (syrup by Jeramie L Bizzle)

“They actually provided the entree for my wedding. We didn’t have traditional food they were the ones who catered my wedding, but there are other restaurants who are here that I’m excited for, but here people know what they’re getting,” Kirouac said.


The market didn’t just want to sell fresh products, but teach the importance of eating healthy. The market also had activities for kids to teach them about healthy eating. They did things including making bread, arts and crafts, and a scavenger hunt where they had to go throughout the market and identify different foods.

“We do activities with club sprouts for two weeks in the summer. Here each kid gets a punch card and they get a punch for each food they try, and at the end they get a prize,” said Phillippa Cannon, publisher for Forty Shades of Flavor.

Many vendors in the market have been there for over ten years, but Oak Park resident Becky Stark is there selling free range eggs for her first year at Green City. She said that the market is good for the community because it also serves as a bonding environment.

“It’s a good place for people to come and network with other farmers. It is a good concept plus I got my tofu here and I got some fresh flowers for my mother for mother’s’ day,” Stark said.

The Green City Market was founded in 1998 by Abby Mandel, who was known as the Martha Stewart of the midwest, in an alley next to the Chicago Theater with a handful of farmers. With her vision and determination, she made the market an important part of Chicago’s culture. Mandel passed away in 2008 after a yearlong battle with mantle cell lymphoma. Her legacy continues to inspire vendors to spread her legacy.

The outdoor Green City Market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7am to 1pm starting from May 7 through October 29. After October, the indoor market located at 2430 N. Cannon Drive, will be open from November through April.


Macaroni and Cheese: A Comfort Food Resurrected

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Macaroni and cheese has made the transition from kids menu to the main course as restaurants give customers a choice of different ingredients to make it their own such as chicken, steak, and chilli.

More people are preparing the dish with real cheese and toppings outside the Kraft powered package. More recipes are taking it out of the bowl and using it in other dishes. Now you can find mac and cheese inside pizza crust, jalapeno poppers and stuffed in cheeseburgers.

Although this childhood favorite is loved by so many, most people don’t know where the idea came from. According to, the origin of the recipe came from the Liber de Coquina, an Italian cookbook written in the 13th century. The original name for the recipe was called de lasanis, which is said to be the first mac and cheese. Unlike the boxed stuff consumers pick up from the store, the first recipe calls for grated cheese and squared sheet noodles.

Fast food chains such as KFC and Boston Market use different kinds of noodles including spiral and pinwheel and still consider it mac and cheese, but does it still qualify as mac and cheese if you use different noodles and cheeses? Melissa Merino, owner, and baker at her home business Life’s Sweet said in an email that mac and cheese simply equal life no matter what you use.

“It’s amazing. I’m not sure why it’s big all of a sudden, but it is both delicious and versatile. Maybe because somebody put bacon in it and they lost their mind, but I put green onions in mine with noodles, cheese, and cream.” Merino said.

It is a simple dish to make since there are multiple ways to make it, but some feel the more cheese the better. Executive Chef Barney Smith said that the dish can be whatever you want, and it’s not about what you use to make it, but how you make it.


Barney Smith of AMK Kitchen

“Our mac and cheese are really popular and everyone who comes in knows about it. We use a bunch of different cheeses like gouda and asiago in our five cheese blend. What makes it popular is the comfort food factor like my mom and my grandmother made it for me and you know it is what it is,” Smith said jokingly.

His restaurant’s interpretation won them the second place prize at the Mac and Cheese Fest, a competition where cooks from all over the city come to compete to see who has the best recipe in the city.

New ideas are continuing to take this old concept to the next level. New recipes include mac and grilled cheese, hot dogs, pretzels, and more. There is even a cauliflower version where instead of noodles, it is substituted for cauliflower and potato dumplings. The craze around the dish is so big that there are plans to open a restaurant dedicated only to using mac and cheese as a main course coming to Logan Square.

Who knows what will be next to include the noodle and cheese combo, but it will be sure to bring a different flavor to something that will make anyone relive those childhood moments.

“The comfort food idea definitely plays a big part of its success and that is what I believe keeps customers ordering it,” Smith said.  

Gottlieb Visitors Get Hands On With Robotic Surgery Simulation


The da Vinci XI is the latest model used in the urology department at Gottlieb.


Anyone can pick up blocks, put rings on poles, and place color jacks in the correct bin. Sounds easy enough right? Try doing it with robotic arms with only your middle finger and thumb controlling the actions. This was all test for the Da Vinci XI robotic simulator presentation at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital on April 25.

The hospital, located at 701 W. North Ave., provided an hour long presentation about how the machine helps decrease the healing time compared to regular surgery. More than 30 attendees had the chance to perform different objectives using the simulator. Tasks done by those who tried the system had their performance displayed on a monitor for others to see.

Even though participants performed basic exercises, it gave them the idea of how doctors use it in surgical practices. Kevin Leavesley, marketing project manager at Loyola University Health System, said the hospital has recently received the machine and has already put it to use.

“The robot just got here in February. It’s located and used in the urology department. They did their first procedure with it and the lady who got it done was back to work in two and a half weeks,” Leavesley said.

The system has different features for urological surgery including 3D vision and versatility in the wrist movements that provide a better range of motion. These features are said to even help reach places that can’t be touched by human hands.

Kenyatta Evans-Snulligan, a family medicine physician at MD at Home, located at 1100 W. Cermak, said that if she was a surgeon it would make her feel more comfortable doing it in a robotic way rather than doing an open procedure.

“It’s interesting, it’s like playing with a toy like my son’s video game, but also it is more sensitive than you think it is. You gotta get used to the depth reception and the hand-eye coordination, and once you do it becomes more comfortable,” Snulligan said.

The hospital paid an estimated $1 million for the machine and has performed 16 operations since it arrived. Even though the system is designed to help decrease the patient’s stay following surgery, they still have the choice of whether they want their procedure done by robot or by hand.


Brewton talks to visitors about the new features of the da Vinci robot (photo by: J.L. Bizzle)

Kamilah Brewton, a sales representative from the company, not only hosts presentations about the system, but also received minor surgery by the robot. Brewton said she was walking around in three days and fully recovered in six days.

“The beauty of it here is that they’re bringing the opportunity of memory invasive surgery to the community. It’s offering different procedures of urology for patients who may of otherwise had something open,” Brewton said.

Some of the procedures the system can be used for include prostate cancer, kidney disease and kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and lymph node removal. Tina Heffernan, surgical coordinator at Gottlieb, said in a text message that since the system has became available caseloads in the hospital have been quicker than it was before.

“It’s the newest model, and it is more state of the art because of the three dimensional feature. Surgeons are now more capable of performing these exact precision cuts,” Heffernan said.

The machine got its name from Leonardo Da Vinci and his study on human anatomy. His studies led to what is believed to be of the first robot that was rediscovered in the 1950s. His invention of the robotic knight and his interest in anatomy became the inspiration of the modern day system.

The machine works by sending a laparoscope inside the patient and the image is displayed on a monitor. Through the use of hand and foot controls, it gives surgeons 360 degree rotation for incisions and it remembers the last position of the operation. Control of the device can be difficult at times as the robotic hands can get stuck at times requiring repeated movements from the operator to loosen.

Although the robot is said to be a technological breakthrough, there are risk of complications that comes with its use. Some of the risk include infection, tissue damage, blood loss, and even pieces of the instrument falling off during surgery. There are few cases of injury, but the machine is approved by the FDA for soft tissue surgery.

The minimally invasive procedure has been performed on over 3 million people worldwide.

Additional information on the Da Vinci XI system can be found on the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital Website.