We checked out the NOSH, a new Saturday food market in Wicker Park
On Saturday we wandered over to Wicker Park to check out the NOSH, a weekly food market that’s like a farmers market, but without the farmers. The market, which launched earlier this summer, is held in the parking lot behind Pritzker School at Damen and Evergreen and features bites from a rotating selection of food trucks, brick-and-mortar restaurants and new food entrepreneurs just getting into the business.
On our visit, there were a dozen vendors, ranging from places we know, like Pecking Order, Bento Box, the Rice Table and Paulina Meat Market, to places we’re not familiar with, like Fat Kat’z Barbecue, Pizzeria Valentino and BeKnown Co. They were grouped around picnic tables covered with a tent, which was nice since it started sprinkling when we were there. Each vendor was selling at least two items, most of which cost around $5, so it’s easy to make a meal here for less than $10.
We started with a pair of corn tamales topped with spicy poblano cream from Lakeview restaurant Mixteco Grill then moved onto toast slathered with mashed chickpeas, avocado and herbs from BeKnown Co., a fresh, simple dish sprinkled with flakes of sea salt. Both were $5.
The priciest option at the market was Da Lobsta’s lobster roll at $12, but since we haven’t made it to the Gold Coast restaurant yet, we wanted to give it a shot. The bun is toasted and buttery, but too thick for the lobster. And an overabundance of tarragon mayo lining the roll overwhelms the delicate, butter-coated meat. We also visited the smoker at Fat Kat’z Barbecue, where we picked up a pork hot link that was covered in barbecue sauce. The link itself had a nice amount of fat and spice, but too much sweet sauce dominated the sausage.
But our favorite vendor was Zarlengo’s, a Chicago Heights family company that makes Italian ice, gelato and other frozen treats and sells them to Chicago restaurants. We tried scoops of soft nutella gelato, laced with hazelnut swirls, and raspberry dark chocolate gelato for $4, as well as the $3 ice cream bar, which consisted of sweet basil gelato encased in a white chocolate shell. The gelati were soft and creamy, but the bar, which was lightly sweet and had a fresh punch of basil, was the highlight of the day.
While the parking lot doesn’t have much—or any—the NOSH is a solid addition for weekend lunch if you live near Wicker Park, and the rotating lineup of vendors makes it worth following the Market on social media (seriously, they're everywhere, even on Pinterest), to see who's coming next. The market runs into October.