Saturday, April 01, 2006

great popcorn requires great sacrifice

When I lived in Illinois and would make frequent sanity trips to Chicago, I was always intrigued by the long lines at Garrett Popcorn shops around town. There was always a line extending outside of the shop, down Michigan Avenue. Even on the coldest, windiest of Chicago days, there were always people dilligently waiting outside. My reaction was something like, "Are you kidding me? It's popcorn."

But since then, I've heard various raves and recommendations about Garrett's, so on a recent trip to Chi-town, I decided to stop in. I went to one off Michigan to avoid the long line, and on my first visit, I was set. No real line. A quick fix of caramel corn. Damn, this is good popcorn. Warm, sweet, salty, crunchy but melt-in-your-mouth. Because I was with friends and had to share, I of course had to go back later by myself.

My return trip was on a Saturday. When I walked into the tiny shop there was a line snaking through the limited space. I didn't know where the end of the line was, so I paused briefly to figure it out and two people forcefully stated, "Ma'am, the line ends over there." Nobody was letting me get in the way of their popcorn. Then, as I waited a woman towards the front of the line, prematurely stepped forward to claim her treat and the cashier scolded her, "Ma'am, stay in the line." It was like the Seinfeld soup nazi episode. But this popcorn is worth it. I know understand the willingness to wait in a long, long line in cold, cold weather.


Blogger Lisa B. said...

That popcorn was delicious, esp. consumed on the street while it was still warm. (I was one of those with whom lis had to share.)

3:04 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

My favorite kind of popcorn is fresh kettlecorn--hot, salty, sweet, so crunchy, such an enticing aroma. It's mindbogglingly addictive! Unfortunately, it's not available year-round here--you have to stumble across it at festivals and markets and occasionally malls. I've tried buying so-called microwave kettlecorn, but it always tastes artificial and too sweet.

12:18 PM  
Blogger lis said...

I didn't mind sharing so much, lisa. It just meant I had to go back. I hear that Garrett's mix of cheese and caramel is fab--we should have tried it. I'm a little curious, but a little scared.

6:48 AM  

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