Blog

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!

Zarlengo’s Gelato Cup – Carry A Scoop of Heaven

June 13, 2014

It’s simple enough, real ingredients, churned into a delicious frozen treat powered behind the force of real flavors. Amongst the rumble-stripped Joe Orr road, as if dropped from above, a tiny shack churns incredibly delicious magic. The way you know you’ve made it is a simple sign stating the adventure has just begun. After an order, spreading out in their patio sandwiched between a driveway and a parking lot is reminiscent of our favorite childhood ice cream joints. We envy those who grew up snacking on Zarlengo’s – but luckily, we’ve brought some of their treasure to our place.

Zarlengo's Gelato Horizontal

They’ve pumped out the goods for over 25 years, their background was in construction but knew their area needed a good place for families to get ice cream. At first, mixes were purchased to get them going, but after a renewed focus on crafting their own treats – a focus on quality. Creating ice cream bars, dreamy Italian Ice, and pure exquisite gelato all made up a spread of having the best around – and people took note. It’s important to the Zarlengo’s to carry on the family tradition of small-batch freshest possible quality; each recipe made from scratch by one of Zarlengo boys and made with real pride. They like to say that their “products are handmade by [their] family to yours.”

In that authenticity, in the knowing of making something from one family to another, is real true flavor. Currently we’ve picked up four grab-and-go Zarlengo’s Gelato Cups – each one more yummy than the last. The Salted Caramel features thick layers of sweet-and-salty islands amidst dense and luscious vanilla gelato – force a spoon through and get a bite of both for heaven-in-a-spoon. It may not come as a shock, but in the right place, Nutella is our jam – and Zarlengo’s sandwiches thick slats of nutella between lightly nutty-chocolate gelato, my goodness. Their Almond Joy takes softly coconut flavored ice cream with almonds and pads it between rich dark chocolate; making for a sweet hard to share. If Chocolate is your game (and who’s isn’t?) Zarlengo’s Chocolate Chocolate Chip gelato is for you – simply: divine.

Get your cup and get walking with a bit of heaven or pool a few cups for the family, and know the Zarlengo’s pride and 25+ years went into crafting each bite. Want to give Zarlengo’s a shout-out? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from ya!

Our Patty Melt – A Savory Spring Delight

June 12, 2014

When thinking of our deep love for spring and all that comes with it, we couldn’t help but think of our times wading through the air and pulling up to a plate of rich beef and cheese in the evening glow. Hence we had to put up a Patty Melt.

patty melt

Our version starts with simple and lovely grilled sourdough, and is met with a hoosier grass-fed beef patty topped with charred leeks and Ludwig Farms Sangamon cheese melted across the roof of the patty. It’s simple, fantastic, and perfect for spring. Saddle up to this marvelous wonder while you still can!

Spicemode – A Fresh Take The Real Deal

June 12, 2014

Authenticity isn’t something you can manufacture, pour in, or add a pinch of. It’s there or it isn’t, and one of our newest items on our shelf has it – authenticity in bounds and nothing to hide: Spicemode.

Spice Mode

The thing about Spicemode is that it’s made with fresh ingredients; real herbs and spices grown locally whenever possible. Many of their spices are unground & whole they ground, for the purest flavor possible. They are lovers of midwestern farms and get their aromatic ingredients from them to craft the base – all in small batches, by hand and without using preservatives. There are no shortcuts for Spicemode, it’s all traditionally slow cooked – caramelized onions and garlic, ginger, chillies – culminating into a truly wonderful jar of authentically done Indian sauces. Spicemode say it’s a delicate process, and we knowingly agree – making a great tasting jar of real sauce like these is nearly impossible to come by in such a convenient package. Meats, beans, veggies, simmering sauces, tapanades, spreadables, chilis – anyway you use Spicemode’s sauces they’re delicious.

Right now, we carry three of their mixes. The Madras, is a creamy sauces that mirrors what is crafted daily in Indian homes; it’s tasty in stir-fry, lovely mixed into roasted veggies, or soaked into protein. Their Vindaloo is a twist on the classic, it’s their signature sauce, and takes up a great dance of vinegar, brown sugar and spice – it’s also irresistible with chicken. The Masala is our go-to sauce at home, it’s punchy with real flavor and simple enough to nibble through – top rice or naan, cook with veggies or meat, versatile and great in every way.

Get these jars before we end up eating them all; now available on our shelf. Want to shout to the world how much you love Spicemode? Have a great idea for a use of their spices? Leave us a line below.

SenTEAmental Moods – Hand-Blended Chicago Teas

June 9, 2014

Pick up a container of SenTEAmental Moods and prepare to be whirled into a delicious frenzy of teas, herbs, fresh dried veggies & fruit. Each blend is mixed to an even and stupendous concoction to craft a lively cup of hot (or cold) tea.

Senteamental Moods 01

Currently, we carry three blends from SenTEAmental, each with it’s own character and yummy profile. Their Spirit is their personal favorite, a bulky heap of herbs; a blend of chamomile, lemon balm, rose hips, strawberry leaf, papaya, mint, vanilla, passion flower, red clover, star anise, lemon grass and ginger. It’s like a party of sweet, citrus, fruit in your mouth and they’re all invited. The Chicago Passion bridges black and green tea with help of locally grown apples, passion fruit and sunflower; seemingly simple drinker makes for a simply diving iced tea. SenTEAmental Moods also crafted a popular Jump Over Puddles which pits rich sencha green tea with tomatoes and ginger to make for a surprisingly delicious pour.

Pick up these tasty creations now, available off our shelf and ready to steep right away. Love tea blends? Wish you could swim in a pool of tasty blended tea? Let us know by leaving a comment below!