Announcing our late-summer 2012 issue!

Illustration: Michael Mesker

As we barrel toward the so-called dog days of August (but have you noticed that Chicago's sweltering heat always seems to come in July? so let's hear it for August!), our latest issue should be hitting subscribers' mailboxes and stores everywhere. And, as always, we like to give our readers a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes action at TOCK Central. Here are the back stories to some of the many new articles you can look forward to reading ...


“I learned a ton working on this issue. First and foremost: Peeps caramelize quite nicely over an open fire. It was fun, and a little overwhelming, to shop for and come up with five new takes on s'mores. I took a really scientific approach, spreading all the potential ingredients out on my kitchen counter and soliciting the help of family and visiting friends to decide which sounded the tastiest together. I think we did okay.  :-) 

“Meanwhile, the research for our city-versus-suburbs features package taught me a few things, too. Now I know about great spots to soak up nature within the city and get cultural in the suburbs. I love that every issue teaches the TOC Kids staff something about Chicagoland, and that we get to pass that on to our readers.”

—editor Judy Sutton Taylor

“For our feature on back-to-school fashion, we were especially smitten with our child models, Paul and Amanda. Both kids were incredibly patient throughout their sessions, which were running way, way late. But our favorite thing about working with these kids was the ample input they offered in picking out their outfits and accessories. Amanda and Paul are two cool, opinionated and stylish young sartorialists!”

—associate editor Martina Sheehan

“In this issue of TOC Kids, I was presented with a taste-test challenge involving two versions each of four dishes—wings, lasagna, brisket and orange chicken. (Just a normal lunch as far as I'm concerned, right?) One version came from a suburban chain; the other version came from a popular independent restaurant in the city. Without knowing which one came from where, I had to choose the winner. (Kind of scary—what if I'd chosen Pei Wei over Lao Sze Chuan?) The best part about this taste test was coming face-to-face with my mini-me and fellow taste-tester, ten-year-old Stella, who may be one of the few people on earth who's just as critical as I am!”

—Time Out Chicago associate Food and Drink editor Julia Kramer

“Our newest issue exposed me to the wonders of Kidzapalooza. For our Kidza-preview playlist, I gathered songs from this year's lineup. Among the gems I found was Purple Apple's song "Lay Down." The band's pop-punk sound took me back to my high-school years, and in subsequent days, I found myself listening to the entire album on their website during my free time. Needless to say, I'm now one of their biggest (and probably oldest) fans.”

—staff writer Matthew de la Peña

“I enjoyed talking to the co-directors of the upcoming film ParaNorman, from Portland's Laika studio, which also gave us that spooky stop-motion treat, Coraline. Although we only spoke on the phone, these two British ex-pats seemed like great guys, and our conversation ranged from the fun (the influences of Scooby-Doo; the gloomy-weather similarities between Portland and London) to the serious (how kids cope with bullying). Best of all, Laika provided TOCK with some exclusive art, including character sketches of the film's young hero.”

—associate editor Web Behrens

“I logged over 200 miles driving around the city and suburbs for this issue. From the Palos Forest Preserves to downtown Skokie, I met with quiet forests, saw bigfoot fall from a tree, ate yummy homemade noodles and went back to high school (aaaahhhhh!).”

—photo editor Nicole Radja

“I truly enjoyed shooting the s'mores taste test at our campfire by the lake in Evanston. My favorite memory was asking Nick Sennett what his ideal s'more would be. His answer: a toasted-banana, peanut-butter and chocolate s'more. Pretty brilliant!”

associate photo editor Erica Gannett

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)