Blog

Bittercube Bitters – A Cocktail Trove Of Flavor

July 31, 2014

Recently we’ve been intensely focused on cocktails. Couple years now we’ve added some quenching breakfast drinks, picking up more and more cocktail mixers, crafting our own syrups, and putting together special drinks for all of walks of our events. There is just something about cocktails – inching them closer to the peak of deliciousness. At times that inching is more a running jaunt – a rich well to pull from, or in this case, pull an eyedropper from – and dole out with grace and ease into a cocktail. A clear example: A box from Bittercube.

Bittercube

Take one part localvore obsessed restaurateur with a keen eye for cocktails and one part super-powered bartender hell-bent on perfection, mix to create a team of journeymen building slow-crafted bitters. No ordinary bitters either, taking a year to push and develop the full set of six. Each with it’s own personality, able to punch up a litany of drinks without batting an eye. From being hunkered over in glass jars in Milwaukee to being drawn from Yahara Bay spirits where they are painstakingly made by hand – meaning peeling mountains of citrus, individually scraping boxes worth of vanilla beans, just to get it ‘right.’ 100% real raw ingredients without shortcuts, which makes for real flavor.

We carry the boxes, which are packed with 6 bottles with droppers, and three in the ‘shaker’ style. In the shakers, we’ve picked up the Orange – a lovely citrus and caramelized orange bitter, Cherry Bark Vanilla – which is powerful with cherry, cola and vanilla notes, and Jamaican #2 – that couples bright grapefruit with herbaceous hiscious. Those three reside in the small box, as well as the Blackstrap – that the rich molasses as a backdrop for clove, & sassafras, Bolivar – with light touches of chamomile and jasmine, and Jamaican #1 – which is flush with Jamaican spices; making it super easy to reach for when looking for a particular profile.

Pick up a shaker bottle or three, the full box or both and get crafting and building the perfect cocktails for family/friends. Love Bittercube? Can’t get enough of their Jamaican #2? Have the greatest cocktail recipe? Leave us a note below in the comments, we’d love to hear from ya!

Summer ’14, Strawberry French Toast

July 29, 2014

It’s becoming a tradition of sorts, to bring the sun-drenched necked red beauties to our ever-present Stuffed French Toast. We pull from flats of ripe strawberries and get to work making a breakfast worth bragging about.

stuffed french toast strawberry

As always we use local strawberries from our close friends at Mick Klug Farm. This year we’ve blended up a rich maple pastry cream that makes your mouth water with each bite and a strawberry syrup slung across the thick slices of soaked bread as the pièce de résistance. Pull up a seat and get eating before it’s gone till next summer!

Boat Street Pickles – Paired Perfect Preserves

July 28, 2014

Boat StreetAs avid preservers of locally grown produce, we’re always keen on those who do the same. We ran across a couple jars of Boat Street Pickles and were intrigued. A simple label meeting dried fruit preserves, creating a real interesting pickle that pairs sweet with savory, simple and elegant. Meet the new additions to our shelf: Boat Street Pickles.

It starts from the start – where Renee worked in the cafe, making her way to the back of house, and eventually buying up Boat Street Cafe. A labor of love working her way through each part of the business and eventually taking up residence early mornings in the kitchen, crafting the pickled goods. Inspiration was the driving force of those early mornings, tasting the relishes and savory preserves found on european vacations, for some it just takes one bite. It’s the small batch and local-focused aspect that keep Boat Street Pickles grounded to crafting the utmost delicious preserves. Working tirelessly on finding the right place to pack the jars, working close with the farmers, and never compromising on quality. We think that sort of dedication is admirable, and were intrigued by the line up of Boat Street – so we had to share a couple jars.

We’ve picked up two of their most popular ones, their pickled Raisin and Pickled Figs – both Sofi award finalist, both pit a squishy dried fruit against a smooth savory herb combination. Their Pickled Figs are the cat’s pajamas on a cheese board, delicious splayed on steak and wonderful on a stack of roasted rosemary potatoes. A jar of Boat Street Pickled Raisins snuggled against a charred pork tenderloin or thick-stacked pork burger is heaven, or tossed in a with a coleslaw salad makes for great cook-out tag-along. Both deserve their notoriety and should not have a problem finding a place on many plates.

Pick up a jar of each Boat Street Pickles today and spoon wholesome goodness all over your next culinary adventure. Love Boat Street’s wares? Have the perfect pairing with pickled raisins? Drop us a line below – we’d love to hear from ya!

Our Summer Sodas – On Tap Deliciousness

July 24, 2014

In the heat, or in the comfort – this year thus far, it’s always nice to pull a draw of soda. A sip of some heat squelching liquid can make any summer day seem that much more bearable.

Soda Summer 01

This is our second year of kegging up a season’s harvest of super tasty soda and this year we moved one line to carbonating our fantastic lemonade – making for the ideal sparkling summer lemonade. Our soda line changes often so keep an eye on the newest flavor – blueberry-thyme, cherry-apricot, fermented grape, and so many more. We’re also preserving a whole bunch to save till next year – winter Rhubarb soda anyone? Get a glass or two for here or to go and taste what fresh local goodness is like!

Our Rhubarb Syrup – Pretty in Pink

July 21, 2014

We’ve been crafting this sweet thing for a few years and now thought it deserves it’s own place here, on our blog, and so welcome our Rhubarb Syrup to the spotlight.

Rhubarb Syrup Replaces Drink Starter

Of course you can pour a couple oz in a cocktail – muddle with mint, use in an old fashioned, etc – which will result in great results. If you want to get really creative, use it as a base for a seafood grill-glaze, blend into a vinaigrette, or add a splash to a fruit salad. Get a bottle and get inventive with your Rhubarb Syrup, it’ll add an almost strawberry sweetness with the tartness of a raspberry, a really lovely mix. Now available on our shelf until it’s gone, seasonality is short!

Metropolis Coffee’s New Skin – Style To Boot

July 5, 2014

If you have had issue finding Metropolis Coffee on our shelves, you may have been looking for the wrong bag – that is because those lovely coffee slingers brought us some fancy new bags not too long ago.

Metropolis new packaging

In pretty, striking colors with their logo draped on the side. Simple and beautiful, just like their coffee. Nothing has changed with the beans and are just as fantastic as ever. Pick up your bags as always off our shelves.

Lucky Peach Magazine – Food Reads for Real Nerds

July 3, 2014

In an era when the majority of our daily reading comes from a glowing screen, either a handheld or wavering block at the opposite end of the desk, it seems those still clutching to the spinning drums of print media are those worth the ink. New print magazines are a fleeting group, and good ones more so – which is what makes Lucky Peach so exciting.

Lucky Peach

Lucky Peach is a quarterly food journal – “each issue focuses on a single theme, and explores that theme through essays, art, photography, and recipes.” We’re enamored. It’s food nerdy, it’s literature nerdy, it’s right down our ally – and we think it could be down yours too.

Lucky Peanch Inside Cover

Pick up your copy next quarter to sink your eye-taste-buds into savory words.

Hazzard Free Farm Grits – Locally Grown Jewels

July 3, 2014

When you taste the real thing, it’s hard to go back. Belly up to real actual corn grits, or small batch rolled oats and the difference is shocking. Heritage is a longstanding cornerstone for Hazzard Free Farm – bringing heirloom grains and unadulterated goodness right to our door and to markets all over the city.

Hazzard Farms

It starts with a history; growing up in the drawn out lands and rolling creeks of farmland USA, taught the right way to plow, plant and live within the surroundings from a young age – our Hazzard Free host lived it. Sat with her grandmother making jams and jellies, preserving the food for eating through the year, squirrelling away jars in the basement cupboard. Put into 4-H, stuck it out in nature no matter the weather, and questioning everything – it was a building of change like the swelling of winds across an open field that put the start to the Hazzard Free Farm idea. Put against a backdrop of knowledge and timing, just like the best things in life, it just seemed inevitable. So in the Pecatonica, IL – Andrea kicked off a farm of her own, plowing and seeding the same land-area her family has worked since 1847. Chemical, non-gmo, and organically practiced farm from the beginning – crops are rotated, grains are stone milled & un-bleached, think au-natural with a focus on quality, preserving the plant’s natural state.

We’re quite happy it all came together the way it did. Currently, we carry three of their choice grains. Hazzard Free Farm’s oats are fresh and tasty, with real flavor without comparison – they are fluffy and rich that taste almost nutty due to them containing their natural oil. Two of their grits adorn our shelves too, a Red Flint grit that is an italian heirloom which is the best of the best for polenta, and a pinkish Bloody Butcher grits that are fine and sweet that is a cross between native and settler’s corn.

Pick up these from our shelves and get tasting really tasty local corn grits and oats that make any meal wonderful. Have a favorite grits recipe? Want to give a shout out to Hazzard Free Farms? Drop us a line below!

Our Goods at Hot Dougs – On Top of The [encased] World

June 30, 2014

We’ve been kicking up our preservation efforts and started rolling out to wholesale. For our first accounts we wanted to go big and thought of our beloved encased meat purveyor: Doug.

Ever the culinary wayfarer, he was ecstatic to start working with us, and of course we were humbled honored and needed to plan a trip. In the ever ebbing Hot Doug‘s menu, it was a quick-moving target we had to hit and were greeted with a lovely plethora of meaty-goodness. Much to our sorrow, Doug announced his closing just days before our arrival, but we headed on – filling out hearts with knowing we still had time to get our fill. And so, on a rainy May day, we lined up and got to waiting.

Hotdougs-line

Once inside we found it, in the lower right corner of the specials: “Smoked Onion Marmalade.” We had missed the boat of the mustardo de fruitta addition to Doug’s menu, but we’d dare not miss our Good Food Award winning marmalade atop an encased meat creation. Always at the helm, Doug took our order – just like everyone else’s – with a massive genuine smile and sincerity.

hotdougs-doughotdougs-case

The SPG featured sausage – Smoked Texas Pork Hot Link with Ancho Pepper Mayo, Garlic-Cheddar Cheese Spread & Smoked Onion Marmalade. Simply put, wonderfully balanced; between sweet, smoky, meaty, creamy and a bit of cheese – there was nothing not to love. Of course, that perfection is par for the course for Doug.

hotdougs-dog

Get in while he’s still bringing the goods to our lovely city, and keep an eye on Hot Doug’s upcoming menus, you may see a touch or two from us!

Rancho Gordo’s Cassoulet – California’s Tarbais

June 25, 2014

rancho gordo cassouletFor many, it just isn’t a cassoulet if it doesn’t contain the Tarabis bean, which can be priced $30 or more per pound when not in season. Thankfully our old pals Rancho Gordo has stepped up and began growing and selling their own “version” of the famous beans.

For the Cassoulets, everything starts with a seed from the same southwest area of France where traditional Tarabis beans are grown. It’s a regional specialty, and so to the California based Rancho Gordo, didn’t grow “real Tarabis” but still grew the perfect cassoulet beans – thus the name. The same thin skin and ability to stay whole are there. Just as with all Tarabis beans, the cassoulet beans carry a bit of the distinct California terroir. Don’t be afraid to break from their namesake; these beans are perfect for baked beans, ideal for salads, keep together in soups, or make a wonderful dish with just tomatoes and garlic. A well rounded and wonderful many-use bean.

Pick up a bag or three of Rancho Gordo’s Cassoulet from our shelf for you next traditional french dish, or delicious white bean salad. Love the beans by these lovely folks? Have a favorite Tarbabis/Cassoulet recipe? Drop us a line in the comments below!