Archive for 2012

Beer Menu – October 2012

Monday, October 15th, 2012

As the cool weather settles in around us, we reflect that with roasty beers and a hearty update to our menu. Here is the former. Drink up.

Allagash – Tripel

A strong golden ale is marked by passion fruit and herbal notes in the aroma, with suggestions of banana and honey in the complex palate. 9% ABV

Two Brothers – Domaine Dupage

A Americanized version of a French-style country ale that makes it’s mark. It’s dark amber is color is met with light toast with a small jab of hops – perfect with lunch. 5.9% ABV

Lagunitas – Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’

Crispy wheat and pale malt flavors balance out the big hoppy finish. Not-quite-an-IPA, it’s still bound to please hop lovers while still approachable. 7.5% ABV

Left Hand – Stranger American

An American Pale Ale with floral hop aroma, sweet maltiness and a pinch of rye to give your palette a bit of spice. The ideal complement to any sandwich. 5% ABV

Left Hand – 400 Pound Monkey

This beer doesn’t man-handle the hops; it’s an English-style IPA not like the others. Earthy and herbal with a balance against a bready backbone. Nice. 7% ABV

Left Hand – Milk Stout

Dark, creamy, and ever so luscious. A neo-classic of what an American stout should be. Coffee-like roastyness, mellow in it’s lovely sweetness; great compliment to a chocolate cupcake or any meaty dish. 6% ABV

Smuttynose – Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin, meet beer. Smuttynose adds their pumpkin into the mash and those always-fall pumpkin spices into a even-keeled lager. Reap fall’s rewards. 5% ABV

Quince & Apple – Channeling Greatness

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

At fancy parties like weddings and nights out, as kids, we drank these mythical pinkish sodas named after a before-our-time child actor; a mix between some kind of deep red ooze and bubbly water and usually came garnished, which that made us feel like a grown up. They stuck in our minds, these kiddy-cocktail dreams, harking back to full dance floors, your brother’s birthday party at Medieval Times, and bowling ally lock-ins. Eventually it’s learned that the base of this soda-jerk style drink is grenadine. But it is when we pulled a sip from a drink made with Quince & Apple‘s Tart Cherry Grenadine, it was as if those memories were not lost but heightened.

Thing is, we’ve grown up and that means our tastes have too – which doesn’t mean we don’t love what we once did, but we like to enjoy something locally made, small batch, and full of flavor. Quince & Apple doesn’t relinquish the emotional weight of the phantom grip grenadine seems to have on our psyche. No, they embrace it and bring new hope and life to the lost and forgotten parts of our brain by creating a syrup with just two simple ingredients: local Wisconsin tart cherries and sugar. We can only just try to understand their wizardry and mastery of simply boiling and smelting up sugar with some local cherries into this mystifying syrup. Their passion for getting it ‘right’ and making the best possible products are obvious upon consumption, it’s perfect for the kids in just soda water or made for a grown-up with some fine spirits and bubbly water as well. It’s perfect in it’s way, being the connection of days of yore and today.

We’re in love with Quince & Apple – their work in creating the new all while fostering old memories, culminating from a simple bottle of syrup has us crushing pretty hard. Grab a bottle off our shelf and enjoy for yourself.

Breakfast Shareables, More Than a Start

Monday, October 8th, 2012

For years we’ve touted a couple of some dark horse menu item. Our ace in the hole, a secret weapon that was whispered to friends, or passed with a gesture of the hand across the table: “Oh, we’re getting the Poptart,” or “You NEED to get a Grilled Coffee Cake” exchanged between tables. When renovating our menu we thought they should be proudly displayed in their own place. Shown with pride, among their own special likenesses. Here then is a bit about each of these treasures.

grown up pop tart
We love breakfast – which may not be a huge secret. We think, though, that old favorites need a good refresh. Maybe, like in this case, a bridge between childhood and adulthood should be constructed as a means to both remember what it was like to be a kid and to feel like your tastes grew with you. With this, we constructed our Grown Up Pop Tart. A breakfast fold-over of sorts, where we take fluffy sweet pastry, lay down a thick layer of our seasonal in-house-preserves on one side – just exploding with flavor – and a hearty plank of mascarpone and drop in a handful of our roasted vanilla walnuts. A single bite will send you brunching at the crux of Mount Olympus.

grilled coffee cake
Coffee cake can be a real dream, and we think our not-so-standard Sour Cream Coffee Cake is a dream come true. It’s fluffy and buttery and has the perfect amount of balance between the punches of cinnamon and lovely nibbles of nuts. But when we take a blade to it, splitting this treasure in half, only to slather in a heavy dose of Zingerman’s Cream Cheese between, we become mad with foodie power. It is not nearly enough though, pads of butter are set in place on our hot griddle mere moments before the split halves are placed atop to soak up and brown to a crest of life affirming taste sensation. The two sides are brought together and plated ready to devour. Impossible to resist once it hits the table.

Take a gander and pick your sharable next visit, or pick both and indulge. We won’t blame you.

Our Stuffed French Toast

Monday, October 1st, 2012

French Toast has a vast history, from it’s humble beginnings in the 4th or 5th century as a sweet treat using leftover bread to… well a sweet breakfast treat using leftover bread. Okay, so progress can be slow – but maybe the fact that French Toast hasn’t changed much in nearly 400 years since it’s first real mention means we, as humans, are making something pretty dang tasty. There is all sorts of things you can top French Toast with, from chocolate hazelnut spread to fruit and of course – the american favorite: maple syrup. There are also sandwiches that use the French Toast ‘egg batter’ style like the Monte Cristo or the Croque-monsieur. So it seems it’s nearly all been done. But how about stuffing it?

Our Stuffed French Toast gets layered with a mix between cheesecake and bread pudding, tossed on the griddle to make it all melty and impossible to resist. This warm cut of cream and seasonal delight gets placed between two large pieces of french toast challah bread, with it’s touch of sweetness, super soft and simply saturates itself with our house french toast dip. Then either grade A maple syrup or a changing seasonal topping skate their way across the top of the tiangle cut mound. For apple season, fresh sliced apples are artfully added – so luscious and perfect for those long dark mornings. When strawberries are popping up, it’s their time to shine in the stuffed french toast, added to every part we can, because who doesn’t love their springy flavor? Our Lemon version comes with tasty lemon curd, our preserved lemon, and to turn the lemon way up, the ever luxurious lemon emulsion from LorAnn Professional’s is added to the center for pure lemon love. We also rotate in a number of different french toasts, dependent on season, like blueberry, PB&J, Orange Dreamsicle and pretty much whatever we can dream up.

So take a bite into the past, present, and future of our take on this historically delicious breakfast.

Blis Fish Sauce & Maple Syrup – Bourbon Barrels, Meet Your Destiny

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Blis Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple SyrupAt a time when it seems both Bourbon and those cast away barrels all seem to be finding their way into things, from off-ended spirits to dark beers, we couldn’t ignore one purveyor of bourbon goodies any longer. A growing name in the consumer world, but tour de force in the culinary sphere – our chefs had been elbowing us to take a closer look. We’re pretty glad they did; Bils Bourbon Barrel Aged Fish Sauce, and Maple Syrup are the things foodie dreams are made of.

Their process starts with picking out the best possible medium – be it Fish sauce from world renowned Red Boat or small batch maple syrup that is plucked from sugar shacks known for ideal amber. Blis also hand-picks 12-18 year old bourbon barrels, using them to age the perfect balance between the rich smoky and earthy woodiness that comes from those burnt out planks. Before seeing the bourbon barrels, the syrup takes a nice nap in used barrels to mellow and soak up more oak flavor than they would from only the bourbon – adding hints of vanilla to the sweet sap. As for the fish sauce, Red Boat uses two ingredients – wild caught anchovies and sea salt – that’s it. The fish are salted as they are brought back into shore (insanely fresh) then barreled in traditional fish sauce tropical wood casks and aged for at least 12 months.

Blis Bourbon Barrel Aged Fish SauceCombining the passions of those manufacturers who create amazing products and a few bourbon barrels can almost never be a bad idea – but to toss in the shockingly laser like eye of those who make Blis products, it’s really something for the taste buds to behold. The fish sauce is great in a vinaigrette, sprinkled on a plate of noodles, or adding a touch of that fifth flavor along side a rich and complex backbone. We love the maple syrup on vanilla ice cream, caramelized on pork chops, or added to coffee. We’ve found both to inspire and intrigue, and are definitely worth a go.

Pick up a bottle of the Blis Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup or the Blis & Red Boat collaboration Fish Sauce and get into some unbelievably luscious flavor zones.

Our Featured Artist – Riggs Barr

Monday, September 17th, 2012

At the intersection of welding, steel, and artist stands a local artisan – where function, wall art, accents, seating, combine to from Riggo. We’re happy to welcome Riggs to our walls as our latest featured artist. His work from desks, tables, chairs, lamps, and lest we forget his great wall-art. His site is a true show of the breath of his work, something we tend to think we have in common with this masterful artist – a wide range of artistry.

We think he does a fantastic job bringing to life the cold metal giving it warmth in a way that only a talented hand could. Any color used his is pieces is brought either from small placements of wood or glass, but mostly the metal speaks for itself. From the complex to the simple there is something new to be shown by the metal, be it by shape or it’s edges or thickness or how reflective it is.

And… We just kinda love just looking at them too. They are something totally different on our walls, hanging sculptures are new to the store and we are really enjoying having them around. Many thanks to Riggs in crating these pieces, they’ve been a peak of interest in our day and expect them to live in our wondering eye the rest of the time they’re up.

Take a gander yourself and enjoy our newest artist: Riggs Barr, or ‘Riggo’.

Chalet Suzette – Cool Soups for Warm Days

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Chalet Suzette has been on our shelves as a dark horse of super tasty soups. They are inconspicuous in their subtle labeling and simple looks. But open a can and you’ll be floored by just how tasty these soups are. Admittedly, we’re a touch behind getting this post up – summer is a bit crazy, but we couldn’t think of anything better to spoon up while the last fleeting days of summer seemingly scoot across the lake. Both the Gazpacho and Vichyssoise make the perfect soup starter-course for any warm weather munch-up, either the lovely tomato base for a bit of an acidic coolness or the starchy blendings of potato and leeks make the day seem just that much better. We were pointed to these flavors by a customer interested in picking some up and thought they’d be ideal for the long dog days of summer – and boy were they.

So draw up a chair, pop the top on these fantastic soups and savor the last seconds of a warm day in the sun. Available on our shelves to enjoy at home or the beach.

Gluten-Free Cupcake Pancake Mix

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Many have asked for it. We have made it happen. This time today, on our shelves – these bags hold the secrets of making gluten free cupcake pancakes at home. Pick up you bag today and make a special breakfast (or dinner) for that special someone – or horde them, we won’t tell.

Beer Menu – Sept 2012

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Who says you can’t have a nice ‘cold one’ with breakfast?

Allagash – Tripel

A strong golden ale is marked by passion fruit and herbal notes in the aroma, with suggestions of banana and honey in the complex palate. 9% ABV

Bell’s – Oberon

The heart of Bell’s summer lineup, Oberon Ale offers a refreshing mix of malted wheat flavor and fruity notes, wrapped up in a distinctively citrusy hop aroma. 5.8% ABV

Two Brothers – Domaine Dupage

A Americanized version of a French-style country ale that makes it’s mark. It’s dark amber is color is met with light toast with a small jab of hops – perfect with lunch. 5.9% ABV

Victory – Prima

Heaps of hops are anchored nicely with this easy drinking, thirst quenching pils. It’s a modern classic that no one can ignore – not abusive with bitterness, and not overly malty. 5.3% ABV

Lagunitas – Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’

Crispy wheat and pale malt flavors balance out the big hoppy finish. Not-quite-an-IPA, it’s still bound to please hop lovers while still approachable. 7.5% ABV

Left Hand – Sawtooth

Light and extremely sessionable ESB ale, complex in its maltiness evenly paired with herbal, earthy hops. Light enough to enjoy a few on a hot summer day. 5.3% ABV

Victory – Summer Love

A handsome amount of flowery hops and a crisp, lemony finish make this a great summer beer; the perfect sipper before a trip to the ballpark. 5.2% ABV

Left Hand – 400 Pound Monkey

This beer doesn’t man-handle the hops; it’s an English-style IPA not like the others. Earthy and herbal with a balance against a bready backbone. Nice. 7% ABV

Passion House Coffee – Perfectly Pitched Beans

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

In a city where it almost seems that our cup runneth over with luxurious coffee beans, from the “big” coffee folks down to the tiny places, all feeding our desire for more, better, and all the things you want or even don’t expect from coffee we are handed one more shot in the dark [roast]. It’s these things and exquisitely roasted beans culminate together in a coffee roaster that we love to bolster – Passion House Coffee Roasters.

We enjoy that Passion House lets the coffee do the walking, not over-burden the beans with a heavy roast or shoe horn them to fit a ‘style’. Their expertise allows them to speak to the beans in a way we only wish we could understand, hitting the right notes of the coffee symphony. Their green beans aren’t just sacks of weight waiting to be broiled up and pushed out; Passion House isn’t just a name, but a way in which they seek out the correct beans, bring out the high hats and the bass drums in ideal crescendo. Because, a full orchestra can play Led Zepplin and vice versa, but there is a good reason why each play their accompaniment so well. But, and this is a big one – Passion House does not mock or step on those who don’t equal their super power coffee brains. They’re in the business of teaching as well, bringing up well rounded coffee lovers and spreading the joys of perfectly toasted beans. And so, it is because of all these things that we are proud to carry their coffee on our shelves.

Pick up a bag and drink passionately made coffee.