Archive for the ‘Sedgwick’ Category

The Fudge Pot Making fudge at The Fudge Pot

I was over in Old Town around the Christmas holidays and I passed the Fudge Pot I looked down through the window to see them rolling out some fudge and making something sugary. I like watching them make stuff and even if though I am not that keen on American chocolate this seems to be the time of year when one finds oneself looking through the window of all those chocolate and sweet shops debating which treats I need to be eating while slumped on the sofa watching those appallingly bad christmas television options. Something has to help me get through it.

Fudge Pot chocolate dogs Chocolate cars at Fudge Pot

On their leaflet they note “We’ll do just about anything in chocolate”. Looking through the display cabinets lining the windows and walls of the shop I can well believe that. They also say that ‘if it’s not listed just ask..we’ll get it!’  On the list the items that I was more drawn too were the ‘bacon and eggs’ and the ‘hamburger’ but then such is my antipathy towards objects made out of chocolate that to be honest I would have rather had actual bacon and eggs or a hamburger. Perhaps I should ask for a ‘bah humbug’ chocolate shape (they don’t make those)

milk chocolate turtles with pecans

I do however like chocolate shaped chocolates and they do a very nice ‘turtle’ with pecan nuts here, milk chocolate mixed with caramel toffee and nuts. It is both chewy and chocolatey and has the added bonus of some saltiness from the nuts as well. Interestingly if I wanted a turtle shaped chocolate I could choose from small, large, or ninja.

If you really like chocolate shaped things then this is the place for you. In their own words “The Dattalo family has been making Chicago a sweeter place to be since 1963”. They picture three generations of candymakers on their leaflet, and there is nothing better than a good family run establishment.

You can check the out at their website and find them at 1532 N Wells Street in Old Town. The nearest El stop is at Sedgwick

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Old TownThe Spice House

I have only been to The Spice House in Old Town a handful of times, but there is just something about the place that takes you on an imaginary journey to a spice warehouse on the old Spice Routes between the old and new worlds. I think it is the aroma of freshly ground spices that hits your nostrils as you walk through the door, this combined with the rows and rows of glass jars all around the somewhat cluttered space. The air is filled with spice, probably as the staff are constantly mixing up blends in front of you and pouring or is it as they are decanting ground spices and spice mixes from the huge jars into smaller vessels and packets for the eager buyers?

Local Spice Blends Tomato Powder

There are so many blends, rubs, spices, teas and all sorts that it would be impossible to list them here, but they are all listed on their website so check that out. Each time I have been in here I have seen something new that I did not even know that you could get. This time is was Tomato powder, I had a taste and it was just the essence of tomato, I do not know what we are going to use it for, but we know have some in the store cupboard ready and awaiting. Apparantly  1 Tablespoon tomato powder is the equivalent of 1/4 Cup ketchup.

File Powder Cajun Creole Mix

What we were actually in search of was some File powder to add to some planned Gumbo. File powder is the powdered leaves of the sassafras tree. To be honest we didn’t know how this was used in Gumbo, or what it tasted like, we just knew that we needed some to get that true authentic flavour. The Staff in the shop were so knowledgable that the lady serving us gave us her personal Gumbo recipe and explained how she used the File powder herself. If you want to know how then you will have to go in and find her yourself, I am not giving up this trade secret just yet. Although I expect that practically every cajun cookbook will give you just as good advice. More details of the File Powder is on their website together with some links to it’s use in recipes; http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/gumbo-file-powder-powdered-sassafras-leaves. If her advice works then I will let you in on her secret.

On top of that to assist us with our attempts of some Southern style Cajun cooking  we got our hands on a pack of the “King Creole Lousiana- Style seasoning” which is “Hand mixed from: salt, paprika, high bulk garlic, onion, black and red pepper, Greek oregano, and thyme“. We actually had to make a second special trip all the way back down to Old Town just get some of this, as we regretted not buying a packet when we got the File powder. More details of the seasoning on their website; http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/king-creole-seasoning#content

Brisket Rub

I have recently become addicted to brisket, or is it obsessed? One or the other or probably both. As a result I could not resist getting one of the many rubs for meat that they have on mass in the jars at the Spice House. I was drawn to the “Brisket  of Love ” Barbeque Rub  – It’s quite hard to read the ingredients off the label so to make it easier they are as follows “cane sugar, brown sugar, Hungarian sweet paprika, salt, ancho chile, tellicherry pepper, worcestershire powder, cayenne, celery seed, garlic, New Mexican chillies, coriander, green onion, citric acid, and mesquite smoke powder.” I have no idea of the proportions, but it gives you an idea of what is in there. I am going to try this one out by rubbing onto my brisket , leaving to cure a bit and then slow cooking. I will let you know how good it is.

You can get more detail on the story of this particular rub on their website. It is a nice story worth reading and they give advice on how to use it as well. Advice that I will be taking, so thanks guys for that help; http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/brisket-of-love-bbq-seasoning-rub#content

The Spice House has one of the best websites by a purveyor that I have seen for sometime. Not only do they give a pretty comprehensive details of all their spices and rubs, but they also give links to recipes that people have used these spices in. I was particularly interested in the southern section and the different gumbo recipes. Well worth checking out, even if  you are not interested in buying any spices, it is worth it just for the cooking tips that are left in the comments sections of each recipe. http://www.thespicehouse.com/

This was a lucky find, never having ventured into Old town before it was great to find a multitude of places to eat and drink.  The Twisted Baker signage stood out straight away as something a little different and perhaps a little bit quirky. When you enter you can see down into the kitchen and with the display case full of caskes, biscuits and cookies, you half expect to see Mrs Miggins come out of the back room all red faced and covered in flour. Instead I was warmly welcomed by a young lady and encouraged to spend my time looking at her wares, too much so, as I ended up getting far more than I had planned (just one cookie, that’s all we are getting today OK?…er yeh right!).

In the end I walked out with;

A small cheesecake

 A Cheese Scone (or biscuit as you would call it)

 and a savoury bread pudding .

Everything was totally awesome, and as an Englishman I am not even sure if I am allowed to use the word ‘awesome’, in fact I think that it may seriously affect my green card application. Maybe I will exchange it for supurb. Located at Wells Street, just south of North Avenue in the heart of Old Town at 1543 N Wills Street, about 10 mins walk from the Sedgwick Brown El station (maybe 15mins but don’t stop walking)  website:http://www.thetwistedbaker.com Don’t take my word for it though I am just trolling up and down the el eating hot dogs and burgers, I would actively encourage you to make the effort if you are down (or up) this way

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5 Boroughs Pizza Company

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Sedgwick
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On first inspection of this blog entry you may wonder why bother to go to a NY style pizza shop next to the Sedgwick El station when Old Town and all of its many resturants is a mere 5 minute walk away. Well several reasons, firstly this is right next to the El station in sight as you walk out, secondly having spent many happy years eating my way through New York I do miss their floppy cheesy pizza slices, and thirdly until I walked for 5 minutes after eating here  I didn’t know that Old Town was there.  If I had known would have have eaten here? probably not, glad I did? Yes.

If you have only eaten Chicago pizza and never bitten into a New York slice you may not get excited about getting your hands on a slice so you may find me a little crazy.  In general the characteristic of a New York slice is that it is large, wide, thin and foldable. The slice here was all four. I just took a standard slice of Pepperoni and it had a good crust with that slightly charred taste from the oven, when I bit into it and pulled away I got a good strand of cheese between me and the pizza, if I was to be at all critical it would be that the base was too solid and not as floppy as in New York. All the same it was pretty tasty and as close to being authentic as I have found in this city.

I am not saying that this is the greatest gourmet experience in the world or that I will be making a special trip down here any time soon but I was glad I stumbled across the place.

Located at 1543 North Sedgwick Ave, by the Sedgwick CTA Brown El station.

website: http://www.5bpc.com

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