March 4, 2014
Sometimes when you have friends for a long time, you don’t take the time to stop and reflect. Not that the relationship is under-appreciated, but they were seemingly always there – that is how it is with our good friends at Nordic Creamery. We’ve been long time fans of their work and have always been fond of their real, honest-to-goodness cheeses from just north in Wisconsin. Our booth-side chats at farmers markets and slicing thick cuts of cheeses for secret suppers, only made us grow to love their whole portfolio all that much more.
Nordic is a family farm in all forms of the word, owning their farmstead and working their heard in the same plot since 1917. That means they are not just farmers but cheese-makers. They’re located in Westby near where many other Norwegian settlers landed in the thick green swells of the Coulee Reigon. Due to the land being glacier-free, it creates ideal cow and goat chomping grounds and is the driving force in keeping the cows happy and in turn creating for first-rate, certified rBGH-free, award winning cheeses and butters.
Their Harvest Butter is like dipping into a flavor kaleidoscope – beautiful and unique every time; it’s a butter pulled from the time at high harvest – when the cows are chewing down hay and grains bringing out an entirely new flavor than their other butters. This is very seasonal and carries us through the deep winter days; at home we allot a portion for from-scratch biscuits or pancakes just for this spread. Nordic’s Harvest butter is simply wonderful.
Pick up your tub out of cooler today and taste what real love and real butter is like from a local family farm. Love Nordic Creamery? Dug into your stash of their Harvest Butter and want to tell the world? Drop us a line below, we’d love to hear from you.
February 28, 2014
Food rivals any other artistry, painting swaths of flavors, drawing from a lifetime of experience to create, a wide breadth of specialties, and so much more. It is this mastery that Julie from Indulgence Chocolatiers draws from for their fantastically tasty bars.
Back in 2007 a new kind of ‘Indulgence’ was established in a Milwaukee kitchen, pulling from the best chocolate they could source and utilizing the local foods when possible. Their aim: to create beautiful and delicious pieces of eatable fine art. From the start, their goal was keeping things as simple and ‘real’ as possible, avoiding any mass production or artificial preservatives, crafting simple handmade confections in classic and unique flavor combos.
And there is where we land – into the depths and highs of meticulously paired chocolate bars. Indulgence Chocolatiers, brings us four of their ‘elevated’ tastes: Raspberry Chipotle Pecan – a smoky/spicy nut and tart mix smattering across 60% dark chocolate, Cream City Crunch – a lighter dark with crispy cookie pieces, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt – a simple and lovely match between sweet and salty, and their White Chocolate Sea Salt – a new-found love of buttery white chocolate and mouth-watering saltiness. Each bar strikes its own personality all while staying connected to the unavoidable style and grace in which ‘Indulgence’ puts into each work (bar). Like any good artist, quality is paramount and it shows.
Pick up Indulgence Chocolatiers on our shelves now, before we eat them all! Have a go at tasty local artisan chocolate with real soul. Love Indulgence? Can’t get enough of one of their paired bars? Drop us a line below, we’d love to hear from you.
February 26, 2014
Our story starts in the Northwest, where Hot Cakes grew roots, sprouting from the work Autumn put into crafting happiness. Her culinary journey grew out of the fog and tree filled lands grounding herself with a formal cooking education and starting a bakery with real goods.
We are pretty big fans of just about everything chocolate around here, and we’re always keen on grown up versions of childhood favorites, so when we bit into Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery’s Bling Blings – we were smitten. The soft chocolate cake are the deep dark caverns of rich heaven while the outer shell reminds us of tearing into a Ding Dong. With these though there is a whole slew of real flavor. A punch of chocolate butter cream inside is the icing of our nostalgia cake. Relive the times of sifting through your lunch for that silver wrapper at the lunch table with an all new affection to perfection. All of ‘Hot Cakes’ confections are 100% natural and use real quality dark chocolate without the catalog of unpronounceables. It’s from there, from the tireless perfection to making the Bling Blings just so, that the ‘Hot Cakes’ folks delve into crafting their smoked chocolate chips. It’s a 10 hour cold-smoke journey using local alder wood, the chips are rotated every 30 minutes. Hard work pays in dividends: a chocolate chip for the ages. Smooth smoke compliments the semi-sweet chips as if chocolate had always been missing something, making for unbelievably tasty chocolate chip cookies.
Pick up a jar of Hot Cake’s smoked chocolate chips and get experimenting or unwrap on of their Bling Blings and have an experience – both available on our shelf now. Tried either (or both)? Drop us a line and let us know how much you love their stuff!
February 21, 2014
Everyone’s a doodler, in lecture halls, or sitting in on conference calls, or watching a bit of tube – when the mind wonders it seems the hand is free to explore. That is where our newest featured artist comes in.
Robert Bain sees his works as “the result of [his] effort to abandon conceptual intent.” All of his pieces begin with that abandon, a simple doodle, where the mind wanders and somewhere in the space between head, hand, and paper – magic happens. He says he can “remember as a boy finding small drawings next to the phone at [his] grandparents’ home, which [he] now recognize as [his] earliest exposure to abstraction.” His desperate attempt to focus on recreating the true nature of a doodle was fruitless, which is how he happened to find that the “best doodles… require distraction.”
So when does he do his work? Robert starts by doing something else. A simple mind misdirection, keeping the focus at bay while creating pieces “free from the weight of meaning.” From his phone-doodles and couch potato-scribbles he moves them to a working surface where he uses them as a base to build the full paintings. Abstract as his work is, it’s beautiful with contrasting sharp colors and playful geometric shapes.
We are honored to have Robert’s work on our walls and hope you enjoy their time on our walls. If you want to take one home, he’s just a mouse click away at his blog.
February 21, 2014
In the doldrums of a deep winter, it can be a monotonous line of plain food. Now is the time to breathe life back into your dinner and Urban Accents is here to help with their Veggie Roasters.
We carry a whole slew of Urban Accents, each more impressive than the last and the Veggie Roasters are built of the same ilk. Each pack comes with enough tested spices to roast three pounds of veggies, meaning they’ve got your side dish covered. Don’t let the idea of a side dish think that the Veggie Roasters take a back seat, their rich and paired flavors make for a compliment to a meal that is impossible to ignore. On our shelves are three of these alluring mixes: Parmesan Mediterranean – a perfect cheesy match with squash, Asian Curry & Honey – adds great sweetness and interest to root veggies, and Balsamic and Roasted Onion – wonderful on potatoes or Brussel’s Sprouts.
Pick up these three and get roasting with real taste. Love Urban Accents? Drop us a line below and tell us!
February 17, 2014
We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge our newest baked good hitting our shelves as of late: our peanut butter white chocolate cashew cookie.
It starts with our dense peanut butter cookie base, from there we add whole cashews with rich chunks of white chocolate to create a crunchy and tasty baked good we can’t help but brag about. Get yours out of our bakery case today!
February 12, 2014
When it’s party time you want something fun, interesting, and delicious to drink down. Sure, beer and wine are just fine, but setting up a few mixers gives it whole fresh feeling. Just like the freshened up mixers from Owl’s Brew – they aren’t your typical drink mixers – their tea based and crazy good.
In the dusty shelves of some super markets, where old bottles of thick syrup and faux-flavors impersonate “drink mixes,” it’s easy to see why Owl’s Brew stepped up to create something better, something with delicious purpose. They take all natural whole leaf tea as their base and add in real fruit, real spices and let them do their thing. From there they add in agave for sweetness, which lends it self to add flavor and depth instead of just one note of syrup. Another nice thing about Owl’s Brew is their ratio is dead-easy, a 2:1 of mix to booze makes for fool-proof delightful drinks late into the night.
We currently carry all three of their flavors in the big bottles. Their ‘Classic’ is like a traditional English breakfast with a twist – a dash of lemon and splashes of sweet agave to bring it all together; making for easy mixing – we like to shake with gin for a spruced up martini. Pink & Black brings in a tart mix of lemon and strawberry with Darjeeling and black tea as it’s backbone, a lovely dark pink color when poured up – it’s wonderful over ice with bourbon in the warm days of summer or the days you wish were summer. For those wanting a more island adventure in their cocktail, Owl’s Brew’s Coco-Lada brings coconut, chai, pineapple, and black tea together; it just begs for vodka, a pineapple wedge, and a tiny umbrella.
Pick up one or all three and start exploring the more natural way to create super-tasty cocktails. Have a great idea on how to use Owl’s Brew? Drop us a line in the comments below – we’d love to hear from ya!
February 12, 2014
When it comes to coconut, it’s pretty much everywhere at this point, well save for spread on your sandwiches. Well, luckily Hey Boo is here to fix that.
We should start by saying it’s not ‘just’ coconut, it’s a slow cooked emulsion of premium coconut milk, eggs, and cane sugar. This creates what is also known as Srikaya – a traditional, delicious and wholesome treat that goes from breakfast to dessert and all points between. And that is where the creator’s story starts, on the Sumatra and Java islands in Indonesia where she grew up. When Cristina came stateside at the age of eighteen to go to college and pursue a carrier in a subsequent carrier in the tech industry she became aware of her deep love for gourmet foods. From that point she started her creating her long loved Coconut Spreads with an eye on keeping things green and supporting her neighborhood.
As for the spreads, they are magical. Just a few simple ingredients makes for a natural and lovely honey-like consistency that makes it’s way into many a dish, from waffles and yogurt to ice cream and coffee. Hey Boo’s Coconut Jam is slow cooked to perfection, with a deep coconut backbone that is a nice compliment to enriching eggs and sweet sugar – it’s simple and heck even the name means “rich.” Their Coconut Caramel is nearly everything to love about caramel sauce but without all the dairy. A deep nutty coconut to slather on cheese, dunk a cookie in, or bake with is fantastic.
Get yourself a jar of Hey Boo Today, either or both! Love Coconut Jam? Overjoyed at the prospect of delving spoon first into a container full of this stuff? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from ya!
February 11, 2014
For ages we were hesitant to pick up truffle oil. First, a lot have additives or flavor enhancers or strange ingredients that didn’t seem to fit, or they just weren’t up to par. But finally now, we found one that meets and exceeds our expectations: BLiS White Truffle Oil.
First a word of advice – this truffle oil, as with all real truffle oils, is best with a light hand. As it is with any truffle oil, the strong musky flavors can overpower quickly and a diligent keen eye for exacting the amount of flavor is almost always visually meager. Fear not, the depth of the white truffle rings true and is even strongly complimented by the grape seed oil used in these bottles. BLiS extracts by 100% natural cold pressing Alba White Truffles at peak ripeness. A chef driven kitchen add-in, as with all of their products, shows true skill and knowledge of the culinary world and craftsmanship. That is just what BLiS does – gourmet, at the highest caliber. We like a spot of the truffle oil in a vinaigrette for a special dinner or a dash added to macaroni and cheese when we’re feeling homey-but-fancy. It’s always fun to dress scallops or add to a lightly dressed pasta – explore and expand upon your savory dishes.
Pick up a bottle of BLiS’s White Truffle Oil and put a drop into tonight’s dinner to start creating delicious food memories. Have a favorite use for truffle oil? Want to give BLiS a shout? Drop us a line in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
January 29, 2014
This year we’ve tasted our share of drink mixes. From syrups to all-in-ones to stir-ins and addons, we’ve got all grounds covered. In the hustle were round apothecary-style bottles, blends of of tasty hand-crafted cocktail mixer compounds: Bittermilk. They were hard to ignore, and impossible to forget; amazingly flavorful and created an impact on all those who got a taste – now we bring them to you.
We’re industry people, and so are the folks at Bittermilk they just happen to hail from South Carolina. We think their bar/restaurant work shows through in their use of balance with bitter, sweetness and acid – which every creation has has. A combo concoction bridging together three strong parts of the tongue, in one simple bottle. They use their knowledge of roasting, smoking, barrel aging, percolating and macerating – to create easy and super-tasty cocktails at home. Coupled with all-natural and unique ingredients the Bittermilk folks have created something quite special.
We carry all three of their hand-made mixes, the Tom Collins with Elderflowers & Hops, Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned, Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour. Going through them in finer detail in numerical order: the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned brings together the flavors already found in old fashioned and exemplifies them playing up bitter orange and mellow ‘roasted’ notes. The Tom Collins mix pulls tufts of white sweet flowers and complex bitter/floral hops, a traditional drink with true interest and depth, a wonderfully simple execution to the glass makes it an ideal Saturday dinner drinker. Their number three cocktail is a powerhouse of tart and smoke, wisps of spice compliment the barrel kisses of vanilla, The Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour is a drink to sit and relax with, lovely.
Pick up all three off our shelves today and drink in superb classic cocktails with a modern twist. Have a favorite Bittermilk mix? Want to shout to the mountains your unwavering love for barrel aged cocktail mixes? Lend us your voice in the comments below!