Southport Grocery and CafeSouthport Grocery and Cafe Modern, Simple and Fun Food Experiences. Thu, 28 May 2015 17:35:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Behind the Jar – Our Red Pepper Jelly Thu, 28 May 2015 17:35:24 +0000 We’ve noticed only our ‘winning’ preserves garner most of the limelight, but we do a whole slew of canned goods that deserve a few words written about them just as much as those with special stickers. This, then, is the first of those; a bit about it, its origins, and why it deserves its spot on our production calendar.

Our Red Pepper Jelly, as it stands now, came to be through tireless work and frustration. To make sense of the story – we must say that we aren’t firm believers in store bought pectin and most of that has to do with our preservationist‘s animosity toward the thickening agent. It was during her time in Tennessee she first tried making a pectin-free pepper jelly, but it never came out right. The problem with many pepper jellies is that they are quite clunky – too much vinegar and sugar, usually much too much pectin and just ‘some’ peppers. Our pepper jelly, in its infancy, was made with the same packaged pectin, but Melaine made it her mission to make it better. Nay, perfect. In 2013, when summer apples were available from Mick Klug Farms at the same time hot peppers – it clicked. The timing could not have been better – the sweet and tart apples provide a balanced acidity, the natural apple pectin allows for an even jelly that isn’t too firm. The structure, acidity, and sweetness then become part of the overall chemistry of the Pepper Jelly and not simply filler.

So that means our Pepper Jelly isn’t just a blob of mildly spicy goo, but a nice spreadable amalgamation of local ingredients with a focus on making an end product that heightens all the best parts of the jelly. It’s a nice dance of sweet, spicy, and acid – it’s a delicate flavor depth that is impossible to ignore. We spread it on our breakfast sandwiches in the café, mixed into vinaigrettes, and used it in just about every meal of the day. Get your jar, eat out of season, and get a taste of what honestly made preserves are like.

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Summer 2015’s First Menu Refresh Wed, 27 May 2015 20:34:23 +0000 Here we are amongst the heat and rain and unrelenting humidity already and it’s only late May. Welcome to the unofficial start to summer here in Chicago. We thought it high time to shake up the menu a bit and add some freshened up breakfast and lunch picks.
country ham & grits waffleCountry Ham & Grits Wafflehazzard-free farm corn grits waffle with red eye gravy, country ham & topped with a fried egg

smoked fish plate smoked fish platesmoked salmon, Rushing Waters trout spread, house-made cream cheese, bialy & pickled asparagus, & sliced hardboiled egg

baked french toastbaked french toastseasonal fruit, our house-made preserves, & french toast casseroled; side of anglaise

spring beets spring beetsyellow and candy-striped beets with field greens, spicy yellow vinaigrette, house-made goat cheese & cinnamon cayenne cashews

the breakfast sandwich breakfast saladlocal sorrel, red quinoa, granola croutons, seasonal fruit, & yogurt-poppy seed dressing

Sit down and enjoy a day on our patio and soak in the summer sun with our newest menu items.

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Hickory Syrup – Pour A Touch Of Depth Tue, 19 May 2015 17:46:17 +0000 Maple syrup has had its day in the sun, it’s time for another sap-dripping tree to have its share. Meet Hickory Syrup, from the center of Wisconsin near Big Green Lake by the Starshak Family. It’s made in small batches by hand and a focus on quality. Hickory syrup can go and do the same thing maple can – pancakes, waffles, sausages, ham, and the like – but adds a smoky woodiness that maple doesn’t have. It’s rustic and flavorful with depth, but isn’t overwhelming and is easily complimented by savory items. Try it in a homemade bbq sauce, caramelized on pork chops, or in a rustic apple pie​.

Get yours from our shelves today and add a bit of depth to your sweetness.

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SuperSeedz – A Lively Snack Wed, 13 May 2015 18:29:31 +0000 Reaching for a snack can be a dangerous game – keeping your streak of healthy eating or going arms deep into a bag of regret. We’ve all been there. What about if you’ve got an allergy or a family with varying allergies, or heck – want to share some snacks at the kid’s soccer game? Fraught with pitfalls, sure, but there is an easy solution: pumpkin seeds. And what would pumpkin seeds without a bit of flavor? Not much and hence why SuperSeedz stepped up and filled that 2pm snack-attack gap right up.

We carry a few of their super-tasty flavors – each with their own powerfully delicious profile. The Tomato Italiano is nicely packed full of umami, nice tomato and spice profile makes it like a bruschetta by the handful – or spread them in a spring salad for little pockets of flavor in each bite. SuperSeedz’s Cinnamon & Sugar is amazing in the morning’s vanilla yogurt or adding crunch to ice cream; just like their Coco Joe if you are looking for a kiss of chocolate without the guilt. Now the Somewhat Spicy may be a touch intimidating, but it’s a nice spicy treat with a perfect amount of punch to chew through a bag during a binge watch. Best of all, they don’t have the shell so it’s easy eating!

We’re quite keen on SuperSeedz and think they are our ace in the hole in our home pantry, reach for a bag and punch-up a meal or snack time. Get your bag or five of SuperSeedz, now on our shelves.

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Spice Heist – A Prohibition On the Average Fri, 08 May 2015 16:19:43 +0000 After a quick name change, Spice Heist rose above and is pushing out even more delicious spice mixes to our shelves. We have carried their delicious hand-mixed spices for sausages and meats for a while, making for easy and wonderfully tasty vittles. Their rubs are no less wonderful, an easy way to pack a punch to any protein or veggies. The obvious applications include Knock Out BBQ Rub on ribs or mixed into burgers or Lemon Ginger Rub on chicken. So good, and not to be discounted, but their Blackened Rub is magic on roasted asparagus or sprinkled on tofu in veggie fried rice. Or go “nuts”, sprinkle a tiny bit of the Blackened, add sugar and make some delicious roasted snacks with a bit of a right hook.

Explore the Spice Heist’s line on our shelves and get yourself involved in a flavor spree all your own.

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Our Cruffin – Layers of Perfection Thu, 07 May 2015 18:38:55 +0000 We love combining flavors (like our pretzel cookie, brisket and gravy, and so many others) here at Southport Grocery and Cafe, and ever tinkering bakers pulled inspiration – and out baked up some cruffins. We roll a seasonal house-made preserves in with croissant dough and stuff it into a muffin tin – resulting in fresh fruit flavors buried in crusty, thin layers of buttery goodness nearly a tiny pie and croissant had a lovechild. We only make so many cruffins a day, so get in and get yours.

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TCHO Chocolate Bars – The Squares Have It Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:02:39 +0000 We have been carrying TCHO chocolate bars in their many forms for a very long time – and they always floor us with their attention to delicious detail. We now carry their larger format bars to satisfy our pangs for their cocoa prowess.

Our current lineup of their offerings are a good cross section of best chocolate available today. We carry two of their pairing bars: “TCHOtella,” which blends hazelnut butter with little nuggets of hazelnuts against a luscious milk chocolate background and the just-right amount of oomph from a pinch of sea salt & “Mocaccion,” which bridges the famous Blue Bottle Coffee with TCHO’s super-smooth Seriousmilk Chocolate. Don’t crave a splash of java in your bar? That’s cool, we carry SeriousMilk™ in it’s classic form, just amazingly designed milk chocolate with buttery caramel notes. For those dark chocolate lovers we carry 65% dark TCHO bar – aptly named PureNotes™ – with nice nutty notes, making for easy late-night nibbling.

Get your TCHO bar(s) right here from our shelves and taste why they’ve been a solid chocolate bar staple of ours for so long.

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Wondermade Marshmallows – Delight Cubed Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:48:23 +0000 There is just something so whimsical and lovely about a handmade mallow. When making it home, it takes all kinds of self-control not to stick a finger in the scalding hot fluff. Not everyone has the time and wherewithal to craft the perfect marshmallow. Thankfully that “can’t help yourself” yummyness comes in a pretty box labeled Wondermade.

It’s an easy way to dress up a seemingly simple nugget of sweetness – make the mallow more than just the sum of their parts. Toss in some bourbon, sprinkles of salt, chocolate layers or dashes of cinnamon – Wondermade does all of that and more, but it’s their complementary taste profiles that make them shine. The way they work to create a little puff that makes us stop in our tracks and ponder the wonderful world of candy creation. We like to put them on dessert plates, give them a light roast and eat them with melty chocolate, or drop on top of a cobbler. It’s easy to get lost in the perfected little cubes just as the makers obsess over each step and ingredient (like using 100% cane sugar) so don’t fret.

Get your box now, available on our shelves and get ready to enjoy the wonderful world of Wondermade Marshmallows.

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Our Carrot Ginger Shrub – A Bit of Brightness Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:08:56 +0000 We’ve been keen on the sour side of things for a while and when we came across the magic of the shrub we had to try to make a few of our own. In the summer of 2014 we pushed out a handful of shrubs as our on-tap sodas and always sold out after a short period. We knew we were on to something. In strode fall and winter and we still had a bit of that summer spirit in our hearts and the hankering for something with the acidic brightness we’ve come to love. Our preservationist whipped up something that fit both keyholes – Our Carrot Ginger Shrub.

It’s a meandering flavor combination that makes for great sippers; low earthy carrot flavors and sprinkles of acidity and ginger play along – the kind of profile that makes for easy drinking and quenching goodness. We made two kegs full for the café and bottled the rest and plowed through the kegs in no time. That means the stuff we saved for the shelf will be gone quick too. Get your bottle of our Carrot Ginger Shrub from our shelves, or get it from our online store, and start experiencing flavor.

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Baker Miller – A Fresh Grind Is Best Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:21:22 +0000 There can be, and should be, much ink spilled in spotlighting the work Baker Miller is doing, has done, and will do for grains – for grains here in the Midwest, for our definition of “whole grain”, for crafting an awareness of grains the same way coffee existed ten years ago. We will not do their work justice in this short post – but we’ll return to them again, this is simply a primer to all of that is Baker Miller.

Baker Miller is about the bridge, between you and your food, between your loaf of bread and the farm, between the oven and soil – it is there, that common disconnect, that they are putting things together. They’re packaging has the name of the farmer and where it’s grown printed right there on the front. For them, it’s a big part of the understanding, the connection to the farm that they pursue, work closely with, and tie their business to that makes Baker Miller’s grains what they are. We’re quite glad they are – rich nutty flavors are pulled from their stone-cut oatmeal like we’ve never had before – making for a super-special meal time, and great oats to add to muffins or cookies. Their bread flour makes the greatest and rich sourdough for those with starters. The pastry flour does soak up a bit more liquid than you may be used to but it’s dense and deep flavors really do allow whole-grain cookies to make their mark. We like to use the all purpose flour when making pizza doughs worth bragging about. The thing to not forget about Baker Miller’s flour and grains is that it’s alive, a thing not to beat into remission, but to allow it to breathe, allowing the bread to live. All of their wares are non-GMO, all organic, sustainably grown from environmentally conscious farmers.

There is a good reason we fell so quickly for Baker Miller and why their little bakery churns out consistently stellar baked goods – it’s their fine tooth comb approach to details, making sure it’s right all the way through. Pick up a couple of their flours from our shelves and get living!

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