North Pond anniversary

Man have I seen a lot of gift bags in my day. After years of covering events and openings, I’ve amassed an obscene amount of booty, from logo-laden drink cozies to airplane-drink-cart bottles of booze stuffed inside flimsy tote bags. But never has a gift bag, or box, I should say, been as amazing and delicious as the one we received at North Pond’s 10th anniversary event last Sunday night. Chef Bruce Sherman’s been touting locally grown, sustainable products since he started at the Lincoln Park restaurant in 1999, and has always been a huge supporter of the Green City Market. He’s also maintained long term relationships with local farms like Shooting Star in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, Kinnikinnick Farm in Caledonia, Illinois and Mick Klug Farm in Michigan. Everything on the table at North Pond (right down to the impossibly creamy Minn.-based Hope Creamery salted cultured butter served with Red Hen bread) is fresh, seasonal and locally sourced if possible. I wrote about chef Sherman’s commitment to sustainable and green practices for CNN Traveller magazine in September, and have continued to follow his efforts to bring local sustainable produce, meats and seafood to the restaurant (including herbs grown in an onsite garden). Anyway, so this gift box. After sampling great wines and the food stations which flaunted everything from candied red, gold, white and chioggia beets to a Fuji apple slaw, we got to take some fresh product with us for the road. The contents, along with recipes, included a red kuri squash from Indiana-based Green Acres Farm; Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese from Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, Wisconsin; red globe radishes from Shooting Star Farm; Cameo, Ida red and Fuji apples from Mick Klug Farm, heirloom vegetable seeds from Seed Savers exchange, and a block of small-batch butter from Hope, which, if armed with more pumpernickel-raisin bread from Red Hen, I might just polish off within the week. 2610 N. Cannon Dr., 773.477.5845


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