Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tastings and Foragings

I love lists so my latest list is all the tasting, sampling, discerning, learning you can do about artisanal food products and beverages in Chicago...I always love learning something new...

1.Pastoral Artisan - Greg O'Neil one of the owners sent out a questionnaire to customers and he listened to the feedback. Pastoral was always good about wine tastings and cheese samplings but he has stepped up the schedule. His is a great email list to get on to, he has great relationships with a lot of fabulous artisanl cheese producers in the area, you will always learn something and you will taste some great cheese. And Pastoral now has 3 locations, Lake st in the loop, the French Market at the Ogilvie Center and in Lakeview on Broadway. All 3 locations make sandwiches "to die for", really!

2. LUSH wine and spirits - Lushians as I call them are serious about wine but they also are serious about having fun while learning about wine. LUSH has 3 locations, West Chicago, South Halstead and Roscoe village, I just wish there was a LUSH near me in Streeterville. They are really active about havings tastings and hosting events where you have fun and learn about wine at the same time and they care about quality, value and are really supportive of the sustainable, local food community in I said..I WISH there was a LUSH near me(Streeterville, Goldcoast,Old Town??)...r u listening LUSHIES???

3. House of Glunz - Speaking of Old Town, when I first moved to Chicago after being a NYC whipper snapper, I saw House of Glunz and thought what is it. Little did I know that Barbara GLunz is one of the most supportive women in terms of all things culinary and artisanal in Chicago. Get on the House of Glunz email list. I have not been able to make many of their wine tastings but my most memorable was hearing Nicolas Joly speak and taste his wine, he is considered one of the founders of biodynamism in wine. Hearing him speak to me, was music to my ears and after bicycling through the Dordogne and bicycling through Burgundy his whole point of terroir and the elements that contribute to the wine made so much sense, although I will totally admit, in a world where it is very hard to be authentic and true to oneself and sustainable financially, Joly's philosophy goes to the extreme. But I highly recommend getting on House of Glunz email list because every event they hold is a quality event.

4. The Green City Market - I coudl go on and on about the Green City Market, but I can only say go check it out for yourself. I am just in artisanal and local heaven when I go, so many vegetable, in the summer I challenge myself to learn about a new vegetable a week, all the cheese, bread, and meats,,,,,Go, go, much to taste and learn...GO....ANd have a shot of TinyGreens wheat grass while you are there!!!

5. Dirk's Fish - If you want to learn about fish, taste fish, go to Dirk's fish and the homemade soups his wife makes are incredible. Dirk's is another newsletter you will be happy to get. So many stores and companies are trying to capture our names to send emails some even to our cell phones. Dirk's newsletter is one you will be happy to get. As much as Chicago is the city of Big Shoulders and the basis for The Jungle...Fish and the issue of sustainability is huge and a subject I think a lot of people forget about. Go to Dirk's on CLybourne on a Saturdya afternoon, you will be able to taste fish, pick up a recipe and for me, perhaps, lose my phobia about cooking fish. Dirk's has cooking classes and events to checkout as well!!!!

6. Logan Square Kitchen - It is my understanding, part of the founding of LSK was to help tiny, tiny, artisanl producers have a place to cook. Now LSK is supporting them by having a pastry market once or twice a month. Another place to GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all I can say, go to their website, check it out, read and you will see why you should go.

7. Nacional 27 - Adam Seger at NZ27 hosts cocktail classes primarily focusing on Farm to Bar products. After one of his clasees, you will never slug down a cocktail again and you will under the difference and quality of a real cocktail versus a drink. His classes helped me to understand why cocktails should be sipped and slowly, and it is just no the expense or the alcohol but a respect for the ingredients and the care that goes into making not just a good cocktail but a great one!!!!

8. Uncommon Ground - I can't forget Uncommon Ground. Helen and Mike Cameron constantly have events going on and great music!!! The biggest draw for me are the Green Room sessions they sponsor once a month focused on a them within the green world, UC is also a great venue for music that I REALLY need to take more advantage of!!!

9. Feast and Goddess and Grocer- Debbie Sharpe proprietor of Feast and Goddess and Grocer offers wine tastings the third Wednesday of every month and for $20 dollars you can have a one on one with these small distributors of low yield, organic wines. It is a great place to ask stupid questions all you want and to learn, I went last month and wish I had brought a larger budget with me to buy wines.

10. Green Drinks - Foresight Design coordinates ahost of prgrams focused on networking and fostering ideas and businesses focused on sustainability in Chicago. His email list is a great one to get on.

And there are so many other places in the suburbs, like The Olive Tap, that is focused on educating the customer on delectable condiments and Chicago based businesses like The Spice House that I love to stop into and smell and look and sniff. SO many great places to go, so little time..,,ugh,,,,,


Cat said...

I am following you on twitter now - and - have you ever been to a place called Tank Noodle? It is Thai a bit north of downtown but - amazing food, people stand around and wait for a seat and at first I thought they were nuts, but after trying it I cannot wait to go back!

As for wine tastings, yummy! I love french table wine the best.

Jeannie said...

Yup, Tank Noodle is one of "the" places to go for Pho in Chicago, I call Pho, Vietnamese Chicken Soup, it fills that same comfort place in your stomach!!

I have to finish my list but got interrupted!!!