On Our Shelves

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!

Rancho Gordo’s Cassoulet – California’s Tarbais

Wednesday, June 25th, 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

Friday, June 13th, 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!

Spicemode – A Fresh Take The Real Deal

Thursday, June 12th, 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

Monday, June 9th, 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!

BLiS BLAST Hot Sauce – Pour On A Heat Wave

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Blis Blast Sauce-smOur fandom of BLiS’s goods has been longstanding – and their newest edition is no different.

For their Blast sauce, they’ve paired three powerful peppers with their ever-present barrels and added a touch of umami. It’s a nicely complex hot sauce that does the same wonderful things as many other hot sauces, but also finds it’s place at home in new fun places. It starts with three very different chili peppers: chipotle, arbol and cayenne – making for a depth heat. Once the base sauce is made, it’s not over, it is placed in barrels that have seen the likes of fine Kentucky bourbon for 20 years, BLiS’s maple syrup and Founder’s Imperial Stout, all of these make for a rich heritage of flavors to dance across the palate – vanilla, chocolate, maple, garlic, oak, and spice come wafting in tiers of deliciousness. Do yourself a favor a get a bottle and start shaking.

Get a bottle of this and a handful of other killer BLiS products right here, on our shelves. Have a grand idea for BliS’s Blast sauce? Put it in the comments below!

Seka Hills – Nourished Land Makes Outstanding Olive Oil

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Among the spotted mountains and tucked inside the hallway-style of the Capay Valley, is home of Seka Hills. In the rows and rows of olive trees running from street to the foot of the pinched edged mounds, it’s hard to not lose one’s self in the sheer beauty of the land laid all around.

Seka Hills EVOOSeka Hills millIt is there too that the the story stretches far – for thousands of years, their ancestors lived in the same grasslands and forests of Capay Valley, growing a eternal bond with the land and building long-standing traditions. The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, as it’s known now, has long lived their lives along the spring waters and have preserved the legacy of their land, keeping the culture and history alive all while keeping their home in it’s natural balance. Long did their ancestors lived as caregivers of the land, and long do they intend on keeping it focused on conservation and sustainability, wholly committed to teaching respect to future generations. The tribe always focuses on good environmental stewardship, certifying 250 acres organic, using beneficial insects, cover crops and crop rotation that makes the land workable for countless generations. They are even partnered with Cache Creek Conservancy and the US Fish and Wildlife to remove invasive species that increase erosion and flooding – their land is carefully tended.

It is in that same vein of care and close watch that makes Seka Hills a truly special olive oil – not simply because their estate grown olive oil is wonderfully floral and peppery, but also because they own their own mill. It may seem simple, but in the spirit of bringing together communities and local farmers, they built up their very own mill, a hulking beast of a machine to plow through heaps of ripe california olives. The region is ideal for grape and olive growing, making a mediterranean oil analog with it’s own characteristics worth the ink. The mild winters and ultra-hot summers work together with the dry landscape to make for a super-fragrant oil, fresh cut grass yielding to pepper and fruit – a wonderful ‘everyday’ olive oil.

Pick up Seka Hills olive oil off our shelves today – a wonderfully nurtured and cared for American olive oil. Love Seka Hills? Want to tell the world? Drop us a line below, we’d love to hear from you!