• Best of Chicago’s A Side cover was the joint effort of Reader art director Paul Higgins and Chicago photographer Paul Octavious

“It’s the perfect tonic for a chilly night, a lingering cold, a heavy heart.” —the inimitable Sam Worley in a particularly beautiful Best of Chicago passage. I just can’t say what he’s talking about yet.

This is the best week of the year in Chicago. Summer is officially upon us and pot is soon to be decriminalized (if only in small amounts), but what makes this week so special is that, as of today, Chicago is an open book. We’ve assembled everything you need to know about a city you already know so well, from the best eastern European afternoon snack to the alderman most likely to crowd-surf to the rap DJ who literally illustrates those conspiracy theories about Kanye and Jay-Z being in the Illuminati. It’s become a tradition around here to put together our Best of Chicago in the third week of June, and, as always, there’s a near overload of quality material in the 2012 edition.

But where is it? Well, we thought we’d hold out on you a wee bit longer. Look, we already know you’re the best audience in Chicago—you read the Reader—and since the paper won’t hit the streets till tonight, we thought we’d keep you captive while we could. So we locked our content up for one more day.

Call it the city’s best bait and switch if you must, but we want to offer you a taste of BOC—and hear a bit more from you—over on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. That’s where you’ll find links to select BOC winners, and some conversation, too. We’ll be talking about our rather, er, eccentric BOC critics’ choice categories, what really is the best restaurant in Chicago (if one exists), and more. Once you’re in, you can get to all the incisive writing and beautiful art (by the illustrious Paul Octavious) we have to offer, and, since you’re already on social media, maybe you can do us a favor and share what we’re doing. You will? Well, you’re the best friend a newspaper could have.

Again, that’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Enjoy!