Tim Burton and his wife Angie own a 700-hundred maple tree farm in Medora, Indiana, which located just outside of Bloomington. But the two didn't start off in the maple syrup business. In fact, before making maple syrup, the two owned an I.T. company. While the job change seems drastic, it's not completely unexpected.
Coalfire, which will see its five-year anniversary in May, has a style of pizza that's uniquely its own, drawing from regional variations in different ways. Its coal-burning oven is uncommon for pizzerias and harkens back to old school New Haven joints, and yet its thin crust is almost Neapolitan in style, but with more crisp.
Chicago is not much of a doughnut town, so it's somewhat of an anomaly that the most abstract, flavor-packed, and borderline schizophrenic donuts I've ever had are from Bleeding Heart Bakery in West Town. We're talking donuts in serious need of a Ritalin prescription.
Of all of the lobster rolls I've ever had (and that includes four years of eating them when living in Boston), the one that the Mazza brothers have on their menu is hands down the purest, simplest version of the high-priced sammie. At $16.95 the roll comes with nearly a third-pound of lobster meat piled atop a griddled split-top bun.
While it's unique to find soda bread studded with bacon and cheddar (which she also sells), Cynthia has been careful to not stretch the ingredients in her different breads too far. In her Cranberry Walnut bread, the only ingredients that differ from her grandmother's Original Raisin are the chopped specs of walnuts and dried cranberries, and yet every single bite is moist and jumps with sweet and nutty flavor as though the dough had been infused.
There's a Western-style cattle ranch with 1,000 acres of pasture less than 100 miles from the Chicago Loop. We're talking Billy Crystal and Bruno Kirby in City Slickers stuff here. The land itself is the ecosystem and living quarters for Quarter Circle Seven Ranch's nearly 600 grass-fed steers.
You may not consider how much time and careful attention was paid to the croissant when you eat it, but Sandra Holl at Floriole Bakery sure does. From start to finish, her ham and cheese croissants take almost a full twenty-four hours to be made.
The flagship of the City Provisions bacon fleet is its Whiskey Bacon. Using Koval whiskey barrels, Cleetus treats the pork belly in a Koval Dark Millet Whiskey brine before busting up the barrels to get his wood chips that are then used to smoke the whiskey brined pork belly. The result is a sweet and smoky bacon.
Middle Eastern Bakery & Grocery is lined with dried goods and imports that are flat out tough to source (the owner swears by the imported Arabica coffee from Lebanon), but it also has it own bakery and kitchen on site. The shop makes pita and other breads, and has several reach-ins stocked with spreads and dips and salads, all made in-house. But it's the from-scratch pies that are what the market is best known for.