On Our Shelves

Fine & Raw Chocolate – By Hand Happiness

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

We are lovers of chocolate here at the store, always open to trying something new and different. There are well knowns, the up and comers, and the super-tiny batch producers. It’s there, in a small shop with a handful of specialized equipment that Fine & Raw is made.

Fine & Raw

In the ‘local crafts’ made hallows of Brooklyn, cacao beans are slow roasted at low heat to pure-perfection. It started with an inspired and seemingly chocolate-obsessed artist wherein he made very small batches of pure rich goodness. Then he offered some to friends, then began delivering it by bike to small shops and it really kicked off. They do a heap of leg work getting shade-grown cacao which lives in harmony with the rain forest – which also means it grows organically, as they should be. Fine & Raw make sure to do things right by the earth too, using recycled paper and veggie-based inks for their packaging, as well as doing everything they can to reduce their footprint wherever they can.

Their chocolate is crafted in tiny batches – raw cacao arrives at their place and it’s roasted over a long period to keep a lot of their natural flavoring intact, making a truly rich eating experience. Ground super-fine in their own machines and poured, molded, formed, all by hand. Wonderful chocolate from people with a keen eye for making the best possible bar or bonbon.

We currently carry a few of their bars and boxes of the bonbons, pick them up today off our shelves to get yourself some of the best chocolate made.

Wildfire Honey – A Sting of Heat

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

It starts with a spark – a little idea that kindles it’s way onto your plate. A spread of sweet sauce with a bit of punch and the first bite brings new and fanciful ideas, your off like a shot in the dark with thanks from Wildfire Honey.

Wildfire Honey

From a small family company in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, comes certified True Source organic honey. For the folks at Wildfire, it’s about combining unique ingredients to make for an ideal food experience. And what an experience – it’s a lovely spread on ribs or grilled chicken, making for a spicy/sweet glaze with a quick brush. Get crazy creative and use wildfire in your fudge brownies to bring some heat to the party, or drizzle on cheesecake or ice cream for a warming addition to your desserts. They also suggest using it on your corn bread, and we like it with grainy mustard for a sharp honey mustard. An exciting addition to any home pantry, a thin ribbon here and there with this honey creates intrigue in just about any dish.

Get your jar (or three) today off our shelves! Love Wildfire Honey? Want to send them some love from afar? Have ‘the next big idea’ for using their honey? Drop us a line below, we’d love to hear from ya.

Three Queens Maple Syrup – Pancake Royalty

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Simply put, maple syrup can be the touchstone to a perfect pile of pancakes. We think a good, quality maple syrup will lead your taste buds to a new level of pancake transcendence. Welcome then to the fold, pick a bottle of Three Queens Maple Syrup.

three Queens Syrup

Midwest made with a focus on giving back the arts Queens Maple Syrup is fantastic. 15% of all profits go to art programs in their area, helping foster the community at large. The syrups are born on a 184 acre farm outside Westby, WI by 1000 maples – 30 gallons of drip makes just one gallon of syrup. We carry their Dark, which makes for rich eating, and wonderful on pancakes/French toast. Very Dark is robust and does a nice job of adding depth on top of cheesecake or added to your breakfast sausage recipe.

Pick up a container or two today in our grocery of wonderful locally made syrup from Three Queens – it’s sure to take you to a new plane.

Prohibition Spice – Criminally Tasty Dashes

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Picking up a seemingly innocuous package of Prohibition Spice, you’d not think you were holding one of the finest meat spice crafted here in the city – but the truth stands. When you want to craft up the perfect patty of delicious sausage, you’d get the best cuts of meat you could, but what about the spices? That is there Prohibition Spice steps in.

Prohibition Sausage 01

Locally made here in the city, they craft secret spice blends to make any clump of meat turn magically into a wonderfully tasty sausage. Mash up a bunch of pork and beef with a dash of Prohibition tossed and splay it on a grill for the fastest and most delicious sausage patty. The spices are pulled from the best known sources making for most excellent eats. Simply mix into ground protein, be it beef, pork, chicken, turkey and away you go! Dash a bit on a steak or use their blackened rub on veggies for a easy punch of flavor.

Currently we carry three of their sausage blends: The Family’s Italian Mild – for rich ‘sausage’ without the burn and all of the flavor, Jalapeno Bratwurst – is a ‘biting’ german-style profile that makes a brat burger worth the pain, and the Smoked Polish – with bright garlic kick and ease making it a go-to spice add on. Sausage not enough, need something smokier? Prohibition’s Blackened Rub is for you, a simple mix of all those delicious ‘grill’ spices plus the added benefit of not having to light one – veggies, fish, and fantastic sprinkled on oven-roasted broccoli.

Pick these great spices from Prohibition Spice off our shelf today, before grill season passes you by! Have a favorite grill item? Want to let the world know how much you love Prohibition Spice? Leave us a comment below!

Bittercube Bitters – A Cocktail Trove Of Flavor

Thursday, July 31st, 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!

Boat Street Pickles – Paired Perfect Preserves

Monday, July 28th, 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 Rhubarb Syrup – Pretty in Pink

Monday, July 21st, 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

Saturday, July 5th, 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

Thursday, July 3rd, 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

Thursday, July 3rd, 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!