It’s not often when ArtSlant recommends another website, but I think I’d be remiss not to mention the blog compilation and news site Gapers Block. Gapers Block is a good place for everything else Chicago. You can find updates on all kinds of things: bike lane Google maps, dates for pierogi making, even information on an autumnal Snuggie Pub Crawl. Two sections are my favorite though: Politics and Food.
One can never have too many sources for good food ideas and I have to say that Gapers Block Food is a good bet for something interesting. I have seen reviews of bacon-flavored lollipops [seen below], tutorials on how to cure salami and mortadella in a spare closet in your apartment (it turns out that you need to control the temperature AND humidity), and leads on a weekly, free cheese tasting. I won’t say where cause I’m keeping that for myself. They post recipes for seasonal dishes on there as well. This last summer was the summer of the fruit salad with a delectably refreshing dressing of lemon, mint and honey, all thanks to Gapers Block.
Besides food-related information, Gapers Block is always pointing to other people’s blogs, websites or publications. It’s a hub for otherwise obscure news in Chicago. And nothing, I mean nothing, is more obscure in Chicago than city politics. Thanks to the site, I now know my ward and my alderman. Ward 26, Roberto Maldonado. Find yours by clicking here.
I had the occasion to email Mr. Maldonado because I wanted to voice my support of the TIF Sunshine Act, to make the city government publicly display financial records for how the TIF money gets spent. What’s a TIF you say? Well it’s a Tax Increment Finance district where for 24 years the city freezes the amount of property tax that goes into the general operating fund ( for police, schools, etc) and siphons off all future income from property tax increases into a slush fund with limited oversight and little to no transparency. I know about this because of Ben Joravsky’s work at the Chicago Reader, linked to from Gapers Block.
(Images courtesy of Gapers Block and rightful owners)