• Espolón Blanco Tequila
$25 for 750 milliliter bottle; www.tequilaespolon.com
Lime prices are almost back to earth after quadrupling following a shortage in Mexico. That means it’s time to whip up some margaritas. But you don’t need to splurge on a top-shelf tequila to get the job done. For $25 a bottle, you can get a 100 percent blue agave tequila that won “best in show silver tequila” at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This blanco tequila is a perfect workhorse for any home bar. Just add two parts tequila to one part fresh-squeezed lime juice and one part agave nectar into a cocktail shaker. Throw in ice, shake and pour into a glass. And then you can say “adios” to that bottled margarita stuff for good.
• Italian Volcano 100 percent Organic Lime Juice
$3.99 for 16.9 fluid ounces; Nugget and other local retailers; www.dreamfoods.com
Speaking of homemade margaritas … if local lime prices still seem exorbitant, this organic alternative makes fiscal sense without compromising taste. Pressed from hand-picked Sicilian limes harvested in orchards near Mount Etna, it’s got all the cheek-puckering punch of just-squeezed, with the convenience of a twist-top pour.
• Gather Oak Park
Free; 5-9 p.m. the second Thursday of the month, June through October; www.gathernights.com
Centered on the idea that a community that eats together works together, this new dine-on-the-street series jumps off Thursday, closing down a block at Broadway and Third Avenue in Oak Park. It’s a pay-as-you-partake event, featuring local culinary favorites including Squeeze Inn, Maui Wowi Hawaiian and others along with a craft-beer garden headed by Beers in Sac. Sol Collective is on the art installations, DJ Billy Lane will spin and local instrumentalist funk band Ideateam will play. There’s also a “modular kids park.”
• El Diablo Mango Mustard
$7.99 for 9 ounces; local retailers; www.mizkan.com
Show your taste buds no mercy by adding one of the new spicy mustards from El Diablo to your sandwich. Our favorite is the mango version (there are six in all) that gives a slightly sweet kick at the start by blending in pureed fruit before bringing a slow and pleasing heat. But the smoky chipotle is a close second, and though it’s labeled “medium,” it’s still a good idea to have a cold beverage close at hand.
• “Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line”
$25, Ballantine; 240 pages
Most of us have wondered what really goes on behind the closed kitchen doors at a high-end eatery. Is it really as dramatic as one suspects? The answer is in “Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line” by chef Michael Gibney. In this startling, frank memoir, the reader dons an apron to stand alongside the chef as he works in a typical “upscale Manhattan restaurant.” Gibney is a well-qualified guide, having cooked at such New York dining destinations as Alinea, Per Se and Momofuku.
– Bee staff
To suggest items for Consume, please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.