An Olfactory Bike Tour (Or What You Don’t Smell in a Car)

Blommer Chocolate Company

Blommer Chocolate Company

If you work in the West Loop area of Chicago, or nearby in the Loop, you are no doubt familiar with that amazing chocolaty aroma that wafts across the river when the wind blows just right.  Blommer Chocolate Company has been manufacturing chocolate in the West Loop for a long long time, and the smell almost makes you want to grab a cup of hot chocolate – even in the summer.  When I used take the Green Line from the Loop to the West Loop, if the wind was blowing the right way, I would catch that delicious smell as soon as the train touched the tracks that crossed the river.

Yes, they have a chocolate store

Yes, they have a chocolate store

Most days now though, I ride through the Fulton Market District which runs alongside the West Loop. It’s a meat and produce wholesaler district, though a few art galleries, restaurants, web design firms and pricey condos have moved in over the last few years. It’s sorta like the meat packing district in NYC.  However,  when you’re riding through there on a busy morning, especially a busy, hot, summer morning, the smell of deli meat, produce, and a lot of other smells can overpower your olfactory senses.  Sometimes I can’t even describe what I”m smelling.

Fulton Central Market

Fulton Central Market

Lomeli Meats Truck

Lomeli Meats Truck

Another Lomeli Truck - the old school version

Another Lomeli Truck - the old school version

El Cubano Meats

El Cubano Meats

As you can imagine – it can get fairly busy through here.. even though I generally don’t ride down Fulton itself, but instead make a quick pass through a bisecting North-South Street. Still, I have to keep an eye for the parade of forklifts and freezer trucks.

forklifts

forklifts

Fulton Market - Meat and Condos

Fulton Market - Meat and Condos

I’ll admit that I love some of the signage as much as I dislike the smells that I’m trying not to breath through my nose.

Leon's a minimalist, and he no longer sells produce, obviously.

Leon's a minimalist, and he no longer sells produce, obviously.

Economy Packing

Economy Packing

And this has to be my favorite……

Acme Meat Company (Really!)

Acme Meat Company and a hotel!

Oh yeah.. it was already at least 80 degrees when I took this picture.

Working in Fulton Market

Now imagine its about 9o+ degrees out, like it has been for the past week or two here in Chicago, and that hot wind shifts to meld both the putrid and the divine smells together and blow them right to your very nose. Oh yeah,  it’s enough to make you a vegan AND totally swear off chocolate.  Almost.  But I’d still rather ride through all of this and smell all of this than whiz by in a car.

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