May 21, 2013
We’ve been buggered by our Chef, Derrick, for a long time about curating meat. We’ve been tied up with projects, but recently we let him loose. And, well, he’s gone and done us proud once again. Creating a chorizo comparable to any of the great mexican red chorizos, and a lovely compliment to our breakfast. Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish chorizos in that it’s usually more fatty, contain different spices (found in traditional spanish versions) and ground. This style allows us to create a spicy, rich, fresh chorizo to match our food profile.
It starts with the spices: our own house-made ancho chili and chipotle powders which is met with hot smoked paprika, dashes of garlic and oregano, and Derrick’s “secret” spice: tamarind. With the spice blend created, it’s time for the meat. Our pick: Berkshire pigs farmed out of Iowa and Minnesota. They are brought in and cut down in-house to grind and create some seemingly magical red meat. The same prized pork meat goes into our house-made sausage patties, but with sage and fresh ginger to create a savory, melt-in-your mouth breakfast profile.
Meet our in-store made chorizo in the same named omelette, and paired with scallions, eggs, chips, queso fresco, and chips in a bowl to end any hunger pangs. Want to tell Derrick of his job well done? Leave a message below!
May 16, 2013
We love Bloody Marys; so much so, we carry three very different Bloody Mary mixes from three very different makers. Here then, is each in a line up for easy comparison’s sake.
Starting from the left – Smoke Daddy, a local BBQ place brings a helping of their background in sauces to the mix. It’s a touch thicker than the other two, powerful with pepper and tomatoes. Great with meatier breakfast and lunch foods – always home with a side of bacon. Drink one down during a BBQ, or two the morning after a long night of BBQ. McClure’s take a note from their crazy-good pickles; lots of hot pepper and red pepper flakes coupled together with sweet/bright vinegary pickle flavor. We like this one paired with omelets, a stack of pancakes, or a breakfast sandwich. It matches everything we love about ‘bloodies’ with our unwavering love for pickles. Vintage Vine‘s locally packed and picked bloody mix is like drinking fresh squeezed tomatoes, tossed with vinegar and pepper. Heavenly with a salad on a summer afternoon, finger veggie sandwiches, or popped open for a picnic lunch in the park. Bloody Marys made with Vintage Vine mix are like drinking in the long days of warm vacation.
All are so different and so good – we had have the trio, because a Bloody Mary isn’t just a Bloody Mary, but a compliment to the end of long day or the start of one, the help define a time or mood in a way that only they can. Love bloody mix? Love these mixes? Leave a note below – we’d love to hear from you.
May 13, 2013
We try to say ‘thanks’ to posts every month. So here is our shout-out to those who mentioned us in April.
One of our super-friendly customers gave us some the the highest praise possible – building a dish based off of one of ours. In Rachael’s blog, An Eventful Life, she created a pimento and veggie scramble that makes us hungry to dig in.
Matt Kirouac, a prolific Chicago food writer, gave us another shout out in his post about ‘Picnic Pros’ – getting us super pumped to break out the basket and have a lunch in the grass. Thanks, and great as always.
And finally, we got a shout-out in a showdown between neighborhoods – between Lakeview (our choice) or Pilsen. Racked bridges shopping and style in a highly entertaining blog – so we’re quite humbled to be among those mentioned. Thanks guys!
May 10, 2013
The world of food can be a great place. First came Umami Paste from Laura Santtini, a tube of what could be only described as “magical”. A straight line to give the tongue a mean left hook of smooth savoriness, of umami, in a way that makes your fish dish dance or pasta party. Now, in some kind of antithesis to a coup de grâce of taste exploration, the Taste #5 team brings us Umami Dust.
Like a light from above, our taste buds at the ready and a dash of this ‘dust’ on just about everything. Give a bloody mary a puff for a little punch, or sub out red-pepper flaked pizza for a spellbinding dusting of umami, give your chicken a dry-patting before grilling, or fluff out some on roasted asparagus straight out of the oven – magical indeed. Don’t get us started on the bewitching burgers created by the coupling of ground beef and Taste #5 Umami Dust. From proteins to veggies – and for the adventurous – sweets (like chocolate), it plays amazing rhythm guitar in just about anything you throw at it. But, don’t think it takes a backseat to any other flavor enhancer, you’ll want to keep this on the counter – ready to ‘bring it’.
Between the paste and the dust, we are enamored by their versatility and power. Want to fall in love yourself? Pick up either the dust or the paste off our shelves today – or both to relish in your fifth food sense. Leave a love note for Umami, or share a great recipe addition, we’d love to know how you’ve used them.
May 8, 2013
Mid-August we kicked off a cupcake contest and collected customer ideas. A couple stuck out right away. Something about them made our collective mouths water. Two flavors were pulled: horchata and and churro. Irresistible flavor combos of cinnamon and chocolate and spice and sweetness create what could be a very special cupcake. Have a look at the mexican horchata cupcake yourself.
Pick up one or order a couple dozen, we’d be happy to fill your day with these lovelies.
May 3, 2013
|In the world of breads there are a few treasures, some truly fantastic cuts of doughy goodness that they’re impossible to ignore. We tend to think our rye bread is in that league; it’s part of the ‘multigrain’ subset, where rye pairs with wheat to create a aromatic and flavorful bread. Ours starts with a handful of simple ingredients and the bleeding edge of a sunrise.
Just as with all our baked goods, it begins with the basics. For our rye, we use a splash of cider, brown sugar, and molassis to tease out some of the richer rye characteristics.
Time and yeast help create softness and breathe life into the loafs. After a quick score with a sharp and sure blade the lumps are ready for the oven.
It’s a real thing of beauty, adding flavor without shuttering out the sandwich laid between. Alone, it sparks full of mellow spicy flavor – great as a side of toast to sop up after a plate of Brisket and Gravy. Order ahead and take home a loaf, or chomp through some in the cafe – we know we will be.
May 3, 2013
We’ve been headed to the way-back machine to pull up posts to say ‘thanks’ to those we missed in months past. We’re trying to catch back up to current months, and hope those who mentioned us don’t think we ignored them. We hear ya! So let’s get to the great posts, away we go!
Two sisters came into our place and snapped a load of truly gorgeous photos. Many thanks to Allison and Ashely, who have a hip and very pretty blog Zucchero & Butter.
Anne came into our place with a City Walk card in hand, and gave us some love, so we’re sending some back her way. thanks so much, and keep up the great blog!
The Chicago Reader did a story about sweet tasty nuts, Mama’s Nuts to be exact. They also mentioned we carried them (which we still do with pride). Big ups for the shout out and giving these lovely nuts the credit in which they are due.
The minimalistic, photo rich blog Dinner Was Delicious gave us a holler in their “What’s Good In Chicago” post for that month. Big thanks go to them for calling out one of Chef Derrick’s favorite dishes: the brisket and gravy.
In a show of force on the awesomeness of Heritage Bicycles, the spotlight was once again splashed on us in a post from ‘It’s Me, KP’ on them. Kick’n rad blog with a very cute style – keep it up Kelly!
April 29, 2013
We could go on till we’re blue in the face just about how good Happy Hemp is for you. But we really love the way it tastes. Our grocery currently has two versions, the raw and the toasted. The raw is fantastic in salads, salad dressing, mixed into chocolate cake, added to a meat rub, or well… you get the idea. Their like go-anywhere do-anything nutty little seeds that bring another layer of flavor the party. We really get all riled up about the toasted seeds too, they are incredible. The light roast Happy Hemp puts them raises the nuttiness to a whole new level; use the toasted seeds just as the raw, but these you can eat by the handful, sprinkled on top of plain cheesecake, or a nice layer between a PB&J. With all this flavor it’s also great to know they are gluten-free and vegan so just about anyone can enjoy the great flavor packed inside these tiny seeds.
Get a bag of either, or pick up both to experiment your way through pretty much any dish. Give Happy Hemp a go, we’re sure you’ll love the coupling of marvelous flavor with astonishingly goodness. Tried Happy Hemp and want to leave a recipe idea? Drop a line below – we’d love to hear from you!
April 27, 2013
Lovely beer menu for the cutting edge of spring.
Founders – Breakfast Stout ∙ 5
One of the best stouts brewed today. Made with oats for a thick mouth-feel, bitter & sweetened chocolate, & of course coffee. 8.3% ABV
Bell’s – Oberon ∙ 5
Easily welcome spring with a real American wheat beer; doses of sweet graininess meet aromatic hops complimented by orangey/lemon yeast attributes. Drink in the warming sun, for full effect. 5.8% ABV
Grand Teton – Sweetgrass ∙ 5
A fantastic example of what American pale ales can be. Crisp and clean, hoppy from a nice amount of dry hopping. Citrusy, resinous and spicy – hello taste town! 6% ABV
Kasteel Rouge ∙ 6
dark red to match the aromas of cherries, mild cherry taste coupled with a slight malt sweetness; nicely mellow, tasty, full bodied & creamy. 8% ABV
Leipziger Gose ∙ 7
wheat beer brewed with a bit of coriander, salt & lactic acid bacteria; sharp & refreshing with a dry finish; unpasteurized, unfiltered & bottle-conditioned. 4.6% ABV
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen ∙ 7
dark, bottom fermented smoke beer; the malt is smoked with beech wood for a delicious aroma of smoked bacon & taste to match perfect with a burger or a plate of bacon. 5.1% ABV
Monks Café Sour Flemish ∙ 6
Will shock you at first; the aroma is sour, one smell will make your mouth water & tongue pucker; the flavor starts off sweet which balances the tart notes. 5.5% ABV
Breckenridge – Vanilla Porter ∙ 5
A combination of roast/chocolate notes with vanilla to sweeten things up; dark & deep but easy drinking – a porter soft enough for the masses, but complex enough for any scrutinizing palate. 4.7% ABV
Breckenridge – Oatmeal Stout ∙ 5
Roasty & malt heavy with slick oatmeal to coat your palate. Smooth, but doused with coffee aroma with flavors. Great with red meats & late winter. 4.9% ABV
Samuel Smith – Organic Cider ∙ 6
Coming to your table from across the pond, one of the quintessential hard ciders; tart dryness & a whole lot of carbonation: a perfect complement for any fall lunch. 5% ABV
April 27, 2013
It seems like the team at Co-Op have a mine where they just have to reach in and pull out gold; they make it seem so effortless. It’s hard not to love everything they do, from their staple hot sauces to their rubs and more. Now they bring the same hand-made “do you have more in the back because I finished this bottle” flair to portley bottles of BBQ sauce. Between creating their own miso with their own koji, smoking all their peppers, and listing the farms they partner with – it’s hard to not see it’s a ton of work. The proof, to coin the phrase, is in the sauce. The Maple Miso is a tomato and maple syrup match made in heaven, and the dosing of miso creates depth unlike any other; use it as a soaking sauce or potent ketchup replacement. Co-Op’s Blackstrap on the other hand is dense with sweetness alongside brush strokes of that home-made miso – makes for flawless slathered ribs.
Get yourself some of Co-Op’s newest line up: great BBQ sauce. Get them now, on our shelves and eager to sweep you off your feet. Can’t get enough of Co-Op’s sauces and want to give them a holler? Want to name your favorite Co-Op hot sauce? Leave it below!