Taryn Allen Credit: Amber Huff

In my household, we’re currently celebrating “little treat” season. It occurs every year just as Chicago is shaking off the winter weather; on days when it’s extra sunny or unseasonably warm, my partner and I allow ourselves to go out and get a little treat. Now, “little treat” can mean anything from a shared iced coffee to a full-blown meal at a restaurant we’ve been dying to try, a reward for something or nothing at all, as long as money is spent irresponsibly and the outdoors are enjoyed to the fullest extent. Anything with a patio or enjoyed near the lake is fair game.

Should you, reader, decide to join in the festivities, consider this food and drink special issue to be your inspiration for the season. Grab yourself a drink at Pour Souls in Wicker Park, or have them batch a nice cocktail for you and a group. Make the worthwhile trek to the suburbs and hit Fritzi’s Deli, where you might just meet its eccentric and passionate owner, Paul Stern. You could even go all-out and treat yourself to a whole culinary experience, watching Mariko Kallister craft soba noodles from scratch or trying dinner and an (augmented reality) show downtown at Le Petit Chef.

Of course, you can also just sit back and enjoy the storytelling powers of the Reader names you know best: Leor Galil found a thread between Jim’s Grill in Lakeview and Chicago’s 1990s music scenes. Katie Prout talked to the fishermen of Montrose Harbor, most of whom are aiming to catch and eat the coho and Chinook salmon found in Lake Michigan.

As always, it’s a privilege to help curate issues like this; both the bounty of food stories in the city and the talent of our local writers, photographers, and illustrators make my job easy. Still, maybe I’ll go out and get myself a little treat, just to celebrate this one hitting the stands.

Volume 52, Number 15