Archive for 2012

More Than Gourmet Sauces

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Dinner can get complicated fast, but More Than Gourmet is about to un-complicate things.

When cooking a meal at home, planned or otherwise, sometimes a pan sauce or something more complex is required or dreamed up. Sure, deglazing could result in something similar to your mind’s eye conception – but sometimes they are found to be flat and uninteresting. Well, More Than Gourmet has made that special dinner (or any dinner, really) pitch perfect. Their Red Wine Shallot Sauce is everything a red wine pan sauce should be, encapsulated in a tiny tube. It’s nice when things are suddenly easy, sure, but what if they are easy and absolutely freaking tasty all at the same time? Like the Lemon Dill sauce, sticking a balance between creamy, punchy tart lemons, and the easily overpowering dill, unlike anything we’ve seen from a package let alone professional kitchens or home-made (sorry Grandma). When pork is on the menu, the Dijon Wine Sauce is just about perfect – pork and sweet mustard sauce? Oh my. These sauces are for everyone, all three are all natural and gluten free to boot!

Pick up a box of these fantastic sauces or all three to keep them around when the mood strikes you; really cannot go wrong with these More Than Gourmet’s sauce packets.

Our Featured Artist – Brian Golden

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Our newest artist is a Chicago native who grew up drawing his favorite super heroes, like most kids. In his case, he never let go of the pencil, well metaphorically speaking because his move to digital art using a stylus and tablet as well as the brilliant colors of paint that now adorn our walls are proof. Brian Golden, a Graphic Designer and painter puts his history of character drawing to the canvas in this collection of famous faces in brilliant colors.

This is Brian’s first public viewing and we’re humbled to be selected as his first! He says his work is really about himself, about things that “make him tick: fairness, responsibility, and change.” We love the bright colors and people exhibited in the pieces, a big change over the cool steel from Riggo’s work. It’s always nice to have big sways of change in a room, and this new change is really catching our eyes – again.

Stop by, check our the art with lunch, and heck – why not shoot Brian an email and take one home with you (after it leaves our walls of course). If you missed Brian at his first Drink Up Art try and catch him the second time around.

Vintage Cupcake Pics – What’s old is new

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

In a world where things are tossed and forgotten, where a simple piece of plastic with just the right message adorned atop a cupcake could make someone’s day, our owner Lisa found and reclaimed a whole box of vintage cupcake pics.

Give someone something special in addition to our already tasty cupcakes, a stylish juxtaposition of fresh and classic. Snag one for a special someone or a handful for a dinner party, because food needs dressing up sometimes too.

Our Frozen Pies – Heat and Eat

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Pie is like a gift given to us from some higher power. The fact that this dessert culminates and helps define family gatherings and traditions, then to top off it’s own adage of “American as Apple Pie” – pie has a special place is nearly everyone’s heart. It’s the buttery/flaky crust that melts in your mouth and wraps itself tenderly around exquisitely sweet filling, it’s the end of a perfect meal. We’ve baked up some american pie staples with a twist then froze them to finish off at home. To make them table-ready, simply heat, take it out (and let it cool for a hot-minute), slice and eat. Exact times vary depending on the pie due to thickness/ingredients – but they all come out tasty and perfect.

Perfect for Thanksgiving, or any upcoming holiday, party, or just a special treat – grab a pie and get yourself a slice of heaven.

Our Bialy – Ideal Baked Polish Fare

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Our new baker is pretty skilled, really “bringing it” with our wide selection of baked goods, and now tossing our own bread for the first time, in-house. First baked off were a replacement to our bagels – our Bialy.

Pronounced “Bee-ally” – it’s a Polish bread that is much like a bagel, but a also lot unlike one. They are both round and chewy (although bialy are not boiled), but instead of an empty hole in it’s center, our new treats simply carry a divot. Not a mere accident mind you, these ‘divots’ are harbingers of the piquant, lofting up sweet or savory flavors for those who nibble right through, or the more advanced reverse-moat – savoring the center as a treat. Either way you munch these down they are super delicious.

We change them depending on available ingredients and season, but at the time of writing we carry an ‘Everything’ with flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds with onions in the crater, ‘white cheddar’ and ‘cinnamon-blueberry’. They are hard to not eat right away, but the first two make great special lunch bread alternatives. Cinnamon-blueberry is great solo or used for a breakfast sandwich or dipped into your favorite cream cheese. The greatest part about bialies are they ever leave you feeling empty, always filling your center.

So grab a bialy at our bakery case! Know you’ll want a bunch? Let us know, we’d be happy to make a batch – just for ya.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 2012

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

We’re at it again, cooking up dinner for you and your family and friends.
Let us do all the cooking or tuck us into your Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Dinner for 12

all food comes cooked; ready to heat-and-serve; reheating instructions will be provided
fresh roasted, all-natural Amish turkey

homemade sides from our kitchen:

fresh herb challah bread stuffing
our red potato mash & gravy
green bean casserole
roast butternut squash
cranberry grape sauce


made fresh in our bakery
1 maple pumpkin pie
1 rustic oatmeal apple pie


catering add-ons, if you need:

chop salad $32/small serves 6-10; $62/large serves 12-20
romaine, broccoli, cucumber, radish feta & parmesan crisps w/herb buttermilk dressing
seasonal salad $28/small serves 6-10; $56/large serves 12-20
mesclun, apples, vanilla walnuts, dried cranberries & cheddar w/mustard vinaigrette
fruit & cheese platter $40/small serves 12-16; $80 large serves 24-32
antipasto platter $40/small serves 8-12; $80 large serves 18-25

more from our bakery:

cupcakes chocolate & vanilla w/buttercream
red velvet w/cream cheese frosting $2.50
dessert tray mini cookies, brownies, & biscotti; $3.50/serving; min. 6
rustic oatmeal apple pie serves 6-8 $20
maple pumpkin pie serves 6-8 $18

Orders must be in by Wednesday, November 14th
Pick-up: before 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 21st

Let us make Thanksgiving dinner this year. Or, add some SPG to your Turkey Day.

Cupcake Pancakes, They Exist

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

This may not be news to a whole lot of you, but we makes some pretty dadgum tasty cupcakes; luscious and sweet, simple but exquisite due to the gourmet ingredients held within. Well, it just wasn’t enough. One fine day an employee of ours had the grand idea of pouring cupcake batter on the griddle. Crazy idea, we thought, but it could work. Our luxurious cupcake batter spread itself thin and suddenly stopped and it started to cook up, puff, and heck – was even pancake-like. It was born, thrust forth from the mind of our staff in the perfect example of their creativity. We whipped up some vanilla butter as the ‘frosting’ and of course added syrup in a showing of tradition.

And it was good, great even – but it wasn’t available to all our fans. A year or so ago, we created the gluten-free cupcake and just recently we thought: why not just create the same great breakfast version but gluten-free? This new version had to be as good, if not better than the long loved gluten-full version. So to create the ideal replacement we crafted our own gluten-free flour that met our high standards of flavor, texture, and continuity from previous gluten-free cupcakes and our traditional famous cupcake pancakes. After long tireless work we knew it would perfect. We recreated a sweet breakfast for those who could only dream of indulging in such marvelous treasures.

So we hoist our foodie flag, nod to those with a gluten allergy, and present our Gluten-free Cupcake Pancakes with pride. Dig in!

Rishi Matcha & Sencha – Go Green (Tea)

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Rishi Tea has been providing us with the highest quality loose tea leaves for a long while now. They are the tea that is served in our cafe, both hot and cold, they have long been proudly displayed on our shelves. We love their work and glad to have a close connection to a great local company like theirs. That is why we’re proud to show off a couple of great new pieces from Rishi.

The most popular tea in Japan, this hand selected Organic tea is lovely drinking. This premium green tea is grown in the shadow of Kirishima Mountain, the soil and hot springs give the green tea a powerful fullness that is just more proof of Rishi’s hard work finding the perfect leaf. Sencha is a great everyday tea, to sip on these cool days and nights and is nicely refreshing once it warms up again. A great year round drinker.

Sweet Matcha
Speaking of year-round drinkers. Sometimes you need a real cool drink, something with a bit more gusto maybe something with a bit of creamy goodness. Mix up a mug of sweet Match. A popular alternative to the ‘normal’ clear running green teas us Americans are used to. Drink it hot or cold – the mix is just powdered green tea and a dash of cane sugar. All it requires of you is some milk and a vigorous whisking to create a frothy and healthy treat to drink in. Sip it hot on cool nights or chug it down iced with lunch – great to have on hand after a long day.

Meet Kathleen – Tates Founder Visits Us

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

On this upcoming Saturday, we’ve got a pretty special guest coming in to sign her book – Kathleen King. She started Tate’s Cookies, proprietors of outrageously delicious cookies that even we couldn’t shy away from. We love them so much they are the only other cookie to adorn our shelves! Because there is just something about that perfect cookie, so simple in it’s facade, but complex and nearly impossible to perfect. Well, through what we can only assume was magic (or a ton of work) Kathleen came up with a flawless cookie recipe. She used that as a stepping off point to create a whole line of unbelievable treats just ready for the noshing.

All of her success in cookie-dom help lead into her newest endeavor: cookbooks. We’re super excited to have her in to talk treats and sign her book. Not something that happens often, so swing on by even if it’s just to thank her for making great tasting cookies.

Kathleen will be in store from 12:30 to 2pm on October the 20th.

The Spice House Chicago Blends – Taste Thy Town

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

We’ve professed our love for The Spice House a few years ago. We did, however, fail to mention just how spectacular their Chicago blends are.

Let’s not mince words here: Chicago the midwest’s greatest food city. We’d go farther and say New York doesn’t even come close, but we don’t want to start any cross-country battles, but we digress. It is in the confines of our own city that we find a myriad of flavors, from the punchy Pilsen spices to the basement pizzerias to out west to the ukrainian village and small flavor dombes ready for the eating. Entire books can be written (and have) about the bevy of food clustered in our famous neighborhoods. We feel tasting is sometimes much more important than simply doing some reading. But what if making the trip to each lovely neighborhood isn’t in the cards, or you want to relive some great tastes in the confines of your own home? This is where The Spice House’s Chicago Blends step up. They really plays the tune of each respective area appropriately in their line up, even matching the swirling green grasses of the Lake Shore.

Stop by, take home a jar, and taste bottled up portions of Chicago.