LUSH: Back to Basics

May 26, 2011 at 11:58 pm (BYOB, class, Current Events, Geek, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we are eating, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , )

by Ms. Jessica Tessendorf

LUSH lingo leaving you a little bamboozled? Let’s get straight to the facts. An honest to
goodness list of everything your neighborhood LUSH can provide just for you.

1. FREE booze! If the lights are blinking, you’re drinking. 12-10, 7 days a week. Anything
we have opened is fair game.
2. FREE Scheduled tastings. 2-5 each and every Sunday afternoon. Check out the website
or call your local shop to see what the weekly theme is. Not a wine fan? 25% of our
scheduled tastings are either beer or spirits. We provide the topic, the booze, and some
tasting notes, you provide your face.
3. Personalized tastings. Pick a topic, or don’t. Have it blind, or not. Have some snacks
to pair, or drink your food. Set a date with Ms. Carrie (carrie@lushwineandspirits.com) at Roscoe Village, or Ms. Alica (alicia@lushwineandspirits.com) at West Town & University Village, get
some friends together, and have a more tailored tasting event. Read the rest of this entry »

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LUSH Staff Dinner ’11: Inovasi

January 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we are eating, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

 

Chef John des Rosiers, INOVASI

LUSH Staff Dinner

Wednedsay, January 12th, 2011

Chef was gracious enough to personally cook a 20 course tasting menu, served family style, as well as allow us the very amazing opportunity to share our cellar.  With 20 wine nerds and a few Twisted friends, we were absolutely a force to be reckoned with. Although, I think our chaos was mainly contained and all in good fun.  The menu is listed below. Any mistakes are on me, and Chef, my apologies should I misrepresent any courses. I was writing furiously as you so diligently and eloquently punctuated each dish presentation.  Chef also accommodated a gluten free request. What a  marathon.

The wine list is also below. We had two corked bottles, sigh, but everything showed beautifully. Most paired extremely well with dinner. Brilliant evening. And in good company.  A great thanks to Mr. Mitch Einhorn, as well, for the extravagant treat. Talk about staff appreciation! Thank you.

We hopped the Metra. Sorry daily commuters…but, c’mon, it was probably really FUN, too.  All of us, on the train. We zipped through 3 bottles of Champagne, one of which was in magnum, as well as a sparkling French cider and at least two whites.  Only one cork bounced off the train wall, as Colyn promised to catch it and then ducked.  Not enough practice, I suppose.

A short dash through the snow, past Wisma (looks amazing!) into Inovasi.  The regulars were a tad bit scared of the stampede as we all rushed inside excitedly chattering.

FOOD

To begin:

Charcuterie [Speck, Lomo, and Coppa from Becker Lane, Virginia; pickled cauliflower, mustard ‘custard’, brioche]

Assortment of Chicken Wings [fried, BBQ, with sauce of yuzu skin and soy glaze]

Flatbread [St. Benedictine cheese, black truffle, artichoke, polenta, emental cheese]

Tacos [corn tortilla, grits, carmelized onion, foie gras, chocolate and spice sauce, pecorino cheese]

 

Next:

Warm Beet Salad [shaved, raw brussel sprouts, soy, ginger, macademia nuts, Sicilian blue cheese]

Shrimp/Mussels, Squid/Calamari [coconut, soy, mirin, ginger]

Snails in Prichard’s Bourbon [duck reduction, basil, garlic, marsacpone and pane grille]

 

Main: (complicated, layered ingredients and a loud party made it difficult to record details…)

Haddock Casserole [carolina gold rice, fresh haddock]

Raw Chinese Cabbage [raw cabbage, sake, pecans, pesto]

Beef Sirloin [red quinoa, celery, creme fraiche, sage, brown butter, burned bacon (yes, burned)]

Pork Shoulder [chestnuts, macademia in butter, sea island red pea]

Chicken Leg Confit [goat, chorizo, house thousand island, cognac, cornichon, capers]

Bison [polenta, golden raisin, walnut, cinnamon schnapps]

Cheese & Dessert: (about this time, my writing becomes illegible…)

Tripel Cream Brie skewer [on toothpicks, tempura, egg, cream, sourghum, pistachio crumble]

Bread Pudding [amaretto pudding, vanilla, brioche, custard, tuscany]

Dark Chocolate [hazelnuts, espresso, amaretto, cherry]

Gelato [cranberry, cherry, chocolate]

Majuri Chocolate [I give up…this is totally not right…all well, it was delightful!]

WINE

BUBBLES

NV Michel Arnould Brut, Verzeney, Champagne, France

2002 Launois Pere et Fils Grand Cru Special Club Blanc de Blancs, Mesnil, Champagne, France

 

WHITE

2008 Ermacora, Collio, Italy – Pinot Grigio

2006 Muros De Melgaco, Vinho Verde, Portugual – Alvarinho

 

2007 Domaine Huet ‘Le Mont’ Sec, Vourvray, France – Chenin Blanc

2004 Fichet Puligny-Montrachet, Cotes de Beaune, Burgundy, France – Chardonnay

2003 Parent Corton Grand Cru, Cotes de Beaune, Burgundy, France – Chardonnay
1996 Rolly Gassman, Alsace, France – Tokay-Pinot Gris

 

2000 Diel ‘Dorsheimer Pittermannchen’ Spatlese, Nahe, Germany – Riesling

 

Scholium Project White, California

 

RED

2006 Rolly Gassman, Alsace, France – Pinot Noir

2006 Gros Tollot ‘Carretals’, Minervois, France – Carignan

1997 Chateau Beaucastle Chateaneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre

 

2007 Umathum, Burgenland, Austria – Pinot Noir

2006 Moric ‘Neckenmarkter’, Austria – Blaufrankisch

 

2008 Lo Triolet, Vallee D’Aoste, Italy – Gamay
2002 Fattoria Le Terrazze ‘Planet Waves’, Marche, Italy – Merlot, Montepulciano

1997 Perzalo ‘Vulcano’, Campania, Italy – Aglianco

 

2000 Fra Fulco, Priorat, Spain – Carignan

2003 Esporao Private Selection Rouge, Alentejo, Portugal – Garrafiera

 

2000 John Alban Vineyards ‘Estate’, Edna Valley, California – Grenache

2006 Tablas Creek ‘Panopolie’, Paso Robles, California – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise

2005 Couer d’Alene ‘Opulence’, Couer d’Alene, Idaho – Syrah

2004 Peay ‘La Bruma’, Sonoma Coast, California – Syrah
2005 Demuth Kemos ‘Bei’, Napa, California – Cabernet Sauvignon

BEER, CIDER and SHERRY

2010 Eric Bordelet ‘Granit’, France – Apple Cider

30 year Tradicion Palo Cortado, Jerez, Spain – Palomino Fino

And, after all that, we skeedaddled back to the last train.  And proceeded to do train burpees and cartwheels and pull ups. A train dance party also ensued…while we sipped on a flask of amaro.

Some of us went home. And some of us went on over to the Twisted Spoke for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon Manhattans. And another dance party.  Good times. Wild times. Check lushwine.smugmug.com for detailed pictures documenting our suburban dining and drinking adventure. Our apologies to clients the next morning…

Gotta love kickin’ it with the Lushes. Another good party. Another good year a’comin.

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Scotch Class 2010

December 8, 2010 at 12:21 am (class, Current Events, What we are thinking) (, , , , , , , , )

by Ms. Erin

This past Friday, Ms. Jane Lopes and I taught a rousing Scotch class to a private group of eight, partly populated by a Real Live Scotsman. To note that I was nervous, particularly given the audience, is a a gross understatement. Would I pronounce all those difficult words correctly? Would I remember the names of all the small parcels of land known as “The Islands,” when discussing the regions of Scotch production? [They are Jura, Arran, Mull, Orkney, and Skye, for what it’s worth.]

My fears turned out to be largely unfounded, with the group genial, and the Scottish guest happy to help with the quirks of pronunciation, and sharing stories about his childhood in the Outer Hebrides–where there are few Scotch distilleries–and summers cutting peat to be used for the family home’s source of fuel come winter. And, despite my initial apprehension, the result was a cozy little class peppered with many anecdotes, Jane’s encyclopedic spirits knowledge, my wisecracks, and a whole lot of new information floating around that jumble that is it my winter brain.

Now, we Lushies love to share new and exciting tidbits. Here are a few of my favorite facts and figures learned while prepping for and teaching the class:

* Scotch is always aged in used barrels. Happily, those Scots who brought their distilling techniques to the US are now benefiting from a beautiful cycle: since American bourbon can only be aged in new oak barrels, the Yankee distillers can recoup some costs by sending their once-used barrels over to Scotland, where they will contain another generation of whisky.
* I already knew this, but: in Scotland, it’s whisky. Not whiskey. Don’t even try it.
* Scotch took over Europe as the premier spirit of choice when the phylloxera louse destroyed grape production in the Cognac-producing parts of France.
* Once known as the “upper Highlands,” the Speyside region is only about 10 miles by 50 miles, yet contains the majority of Scotch distilleries in the nation. It’s named for Scotland’s longest river, the Spey, which is 200 miles long.
* A Scotch can be smoky but not peaty: there are many ways of drying malted barley, and peat is only one of them. That said, peat expresses a definitive sense of terroir, from both the water flowing through it, and the composition of the plant life decaying into peat [or, as Jane calls it, “unsquashed charcoal”].
* The more you know, the more you want to know. Time to go do some more research. Sip!



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I heart Snacks #1

November 14, 2010 at 11:53 am (Our Favorite Things, What we are eating, What we are thinking) (, , , , , , , , )

by Snack Master Kelly Cosgrove

Snack Blog 1:

Well, it’s been an exciting few weeks getting the snack side of LUSH open.  From hours and hours of tasting cheeses (harder than it sounds!), meats, olives and anything you can think of, we’ve created a fun menu that I like to say is changing by the minute!  We have broken down our menu in to a few different sections: snacks, fermented milk products (aka cheese), cured pig parts, pasta and sandwiches.  One of our customers recently asked what the best item on the menu asked, and honestly, I don’t really know if I can answer that. Maybe it’s because everything’s so new, but I really and truly love it all!  I mean, how can you not love duckfat popcorn? Or thin slices of Prosciutto di San Danielle or Jamon di Serrano?  Or the fancy version of grilled ham and cheese using the delicious Colonel Newsom’s Preacher Ham?  Oh my goodness, I had better be visiting my gym often or I will have no clothes that fit!

Be sure to stop by often, there will new additions as the seasons change and most likely a “snack of the day” offering which will be super fun and exciting!

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LUSH: Secret Wine

September 27, 2010 at 9:54 am (Current Events, French Wine, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , )

I love contests. I am fairly competitive, and always love a good game and friendly challenges.  And, if wine is involved, all the better.  Thus, when Ms. Cara of Decant Chicago blog mentioned the Secret Wine contest, I just couldn’t resist.  Exhilarating!

http://en.secret-wine.com/Reglement

The simple rules involved registering as one of the first 85 bloggers, eagerly awaiting 3 bottles of blind wine, and then voting.  At stake, a trip to France! Awesome. I am SO in. And game.

The wine arrived, re-bottled, re-corked, and labeled with ‘Secret Wine’ and a number.  Instructions were to guess the appellation. Just the appellation. Not the grapes, or the year, or the producer.  Seems simple, right?  Not so much.

After completing some very brief research into the host company, Clare de Lune, a French wine PR company, I surmised that the wines are most likely from the regions the company represents in France.  However, even with all that narrowing down and focus, it is still extremely difficult to pick just one. And, yes, I am also well aware that making assumptions when blind tasting is involved is risky business.

The contest is still running, but we have been encouraged to share, in detail, our tasting experience and reasoning process.  Much tasting.  Very fun.  And surprising.

One vote only. Apparently, all guesses thus far are not quite correct. So, the waiting continues while the remaining bloggers catch up and vote. Until then…the wines are still secret.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Things I heart, take 7

August 19, 2010 at 8:48 am (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

by Ms. Kelly

Things I heart, take 7: 2007 Vinedos de Ithaca ‘Odysseus’ Pedro Ximinez

Sigh, this wine is so good.  It’s so good that I’m tempted to take a bottle home with me and skip my plans for the gym!  Hailing from the Gratallops in the Priorat region of Spain, this is one winery not to be overlooked.  I am not alone in my love for this winery as it seems to be a constant favorite among the lushes.  The young rockstar winemaker, Silivia Puig, is creating some fascinating wines that are truly unique – I mean, how many other dry Pedro Ximinez do you find around?  This wine is just beautiful with a little hint of petrol on the nose, lots of minerals with some nice floral notes and citrus fruit while being soft and pretty on the palate.  It is really well balanced with a little hint of oxidation coming through.  BEWARE though, this wine is so delicious that when followed with a…hmm, lesser quality wine I suppose I would say…it really shows how extremely well balanced and beautiful the PX is and makes it a little sad to drink anything but that!  As normal, my recommendation would be to stop by and pick up a bottle of this as soon as humanly possible, you never know when I’m going to win the lottery and buy all that’s left!!

Cheers, KC

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School of LUSH: Summer courses

July 23, 2010 at 10:15 am (class, Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we are thinking) (, , , , , , , , , , )

RSVP to kelly@lushwineandspirits.com

SCHOOL OF LUSH:
Class is in session. Get schooled, LUSH style. Our classes are firing up, so check out our course offerings below for a good schoolin’. Plaid skirts are NOT required, but an open mind and palate is. Stay after class for extra tutoring and chat with the geeky squad of Lush lecturers. Come on in to see how Lush does school, a no-nonsense, down to earth wine course that is perfect for those who enjoy drinking wine, eating delicious food, and talking about it. We will taste through a carefully chosen selection of hand-crafted wines designed to demonstrate the simplicity of understanding vino while breaking it down Lush style. Come to our class and find out what wine is all about! Please email or call Kelly (kelly@lushwineandspirits.com, 312.666.6900) to ask questions or reserve your seat in class by credit card. All classes are 6:30-8pm, unless otherwise noted. All classes will be taught at our WEST TOWN location (1412 W. Chicago), unless otherwise noted. *Read the fine type or suffer the consequences! The class in non-refundable, so go all in or not at all. CLASS costs $35. MINIMUM of 10 students.

THE WIDE WORLD OF SAKE — rescheduled, stay tuned!
We are excited to welcome guest lecturer Mason Horowitz to LUSH to talk about all things sake! Mason works for Joto Sake, one of the premier sake importers to the United States. Joto is Japanese for ‘highest level’ and it quite aptly describes Joto’s producers as well as their aspirations as their importer. Joto’s breweries could also be described as jizake, or ‘local.’ They are located in different regions of Japan, produce their sake in small batches and primarily use locally raised rice. They have unique stories and contrasting flavors and styles. Joto makes a point to not only select the finest breweries, but also put an emphasis on educating the public on the oft-misunderstood sake. Join us as Mason takes us through the ins and outs of this delicious rice beverage and snag a bottle or two for your next BYO sushi excursion.

AUSTRALIAN WINE 101 — Sunday, August 1st

There is more to Australian wine than meets the eye. Between the mass-produced world of Yellow Tail and the cult-status stylings of Penfolds and Ben Glaetzer lies a whole world of terroir-specific, hand-crafted, artisinal wines that you don’t hear much about. Shiraz is the big name grape, but Australia also puts out some of the finest New World riesling, cabernet, chardonnay, grenache, and semillon. Australia is also a treasure-trove of experimentation: you’ll find such grapes as zinfandel, albarino, verdelho, pinot gris, and gamay being planted. There is much to know in terms of regions too: Barossa Valley might be the most famous, but the regions of Australia offer a case study in different climates and landscapes. From Hunter Valley to Margaret River, Adelaide to McClaren Vale, there are distinct regional differences around the country. The wines of Australia have gotten a reputation as being flashy and chock full of alcohol and fruit, but they can also display finesse, elegance, and a distinct expression of place and variety.

AMERICAN WHISKEY — Sunday, August 22nd
Scotch has certainly earned its spot at the top of the whisk(e)y hierarchy, with centuries of distillation and tradition, but American whiskey is nipping at its heels. Right now, if you haven’t noticed, there is a bit of an aged American whiskey shortage. No one knew ten — or even five — years ago that these spirits would be so popular! Bourbon and Rye are taking center stage in the American cocktail Renaissance, along with being many connoisseurs’ sippers of choice. We are also seeing incredible innovation — ‘single malts’ from Oregon and Colorado, wheat whiskey from Kentucky, and small batch ‘four grain’ bourbon from upstate New York, among others. It is an exciting time to be making and drinking American Whiskey, and there is much to know. We’ll go through the history of our homegrown spirits, how they’re made, and how best to drink them (this will be the most fun part!). Jump on the bandwagon, and discover what all the fuss is about.

VINOS DE JEREZ — Thursday, August 26th
The ultimate wine geek wine, Sherry — aka ‘Vinos de Jerez’ — is one of the most (if not THE most) misunderstood beverages on the planet. When I say Sherry, you think of something that Grandma drank or Mom added to her cooking. But there’s another side to these wines that the Spanish cognoscenti has been trying to tell us about for years. In the multitude of sherry types and styles lays a plethora of mind-blowing, meal-matching, and palate-pleasing wines. Slightly fortified, with varying degrees of oxidation caused by the mysterious and elusive yeast film called flor, vinos de Jerez are perhaps the most unique and site-specific wines made. Trust us on this one. This class will open you up to a whole world of wines you never knew existed.

*CUSTOMIZE your own class. Bring some friends…pick a date and a course topic. Email kelly@lushwineandspirits.com to find out more details.

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Field Trip: Puerto Rico

July 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Travel, What we are eating, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Ms. Rachel Driver

Recently, I ran away on a brief whirlwind of a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a wedding and mini-vacation.  And, I realized how easy it is to get to PR, minus a passport, and within about 6 hours of travel.  Must go back. Often.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Green Tea Meets Ginger Meets Beer–Happiness Ensues: Tasting Ineeka’s Organic Green Tea Bier

June 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm (Beer, Current Events, Geek, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

by Rachael Thompson

I have to admit to being a little perplexed when we got our first batch
of Ineeka beer in at Lush–I knew Ineeka as  the locally based company whose tea we
sell in the shop– now they were making beer? My confusion grew when I saw
“Product of Holland” stamped on the beer bottles–so Ineeka
was making Dutch beer? Was Ineeka Dutch? Had they always been Dutch? Eeek! Confusions! Read the rest of this entry »

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Road Trip: Paso Robles

May 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm (Our Favorite Things, Travel, What we are eating, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Cara

A lesson in Wine, a lesson in Driving.

This is the travelogue of a 9-day road trip out West with 5 German guys, a Honda luxury minivan, and three imperatives:

1) Stay one night in a Las Vegas hotel suite

2) See the Grand Canyon & Death Valley Nat’l Parks

3) Visit vineyards in Paso Robles, CA

My German friends are prudent travelers, skilled cartographers, and expert drivers.  I cannot stress enough how accomplished I felt during these 9, haste free days. Read the rest of this entry »

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