Toni Patisserie: New Flavor in The LoopNovember 29th 2011
Footsteps away from Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center and a host of other Chicago landmarks (65 E. Washington St.), Toni Patisserie and Cafe hews to both beauty and substance, and does both well.
Breakfast, lunch and light dinner are served, possibly taking the thrice-daily diner through a day of eating that might start with a "Quiche Lorraine" or a "Biscuit de Jambon"; might segue into lunch with a "Salad Nicoise" or a French/Vietnamese-styled, "Le Banh Mi"; and then into that light dinner with, perhaps, a "Croque Monsieur" and "Salad aux Fines Herbes." And that's just the savory route.
Signature pastries include eclairs, cream puffs, fruit tarts, and--a Chicago favorite--pistachio financiers. "We mostly carry individual-sized desserts," says manager Liam Kimball. "Our location in Hinsdale is more of a bakery; here, it's important to Toni to have a savory menu. It's a quick stop for people in the neighborhood, perfect to take home with you, or to the office."
Kimball says offering a more full menu than is the case at the Hinsdale location is a result of a need and call for just that in and by neighbors, nearby workers and visitors to Chicago milling about one of the most active areas in the entire city--to say the least.
As far as the beverage program: "We're working hard on the fundamentals, putting focus on making serious lattes, cappuccinos, etc.," says Kimball. "[We've] really been focusing on the fresh-roasted aspect of Metropolis Coffee as a way to make sure the espresso and coffee drinks are at the same level as the pastry and the food." Also offering: Rishi Tea and Republic of Tea.
Should the high-level cake and pastry aspect of Toni Patisserie & Cafe be your need of the moment, rest assured they've got you covered. Order ahead for custom cakes and pies, all made from scratch with high-quality products. Try the "White Chocolate Mousse Cake," one of Toni's signature items and only one reason you must let this place cross your palate. A couple more: "Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake," and "Flourless Chocolate Cake," or design your own! Enjoy. Toni Patisserie Website
Push Button Coffee; Push Button ProfitsMay 24th 2011
Demand and supply has been a central tenet of economic life for companies since humans first banded together and began committing acts of commerce. Now, Chicago Coffees and Teas has partnered with Metropolis Coffee Company to offer a time-saving and profit-making alternative to serving stale coffee that's been sitting around too long or comes stale and pre-packaged in a plastic cup.
Our new all-in-one espresso machine creates stellar, consistent versions of coffee drinks--espresso, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, etc. It does so competently and consistently AND takes very little time for employees to master the machine--it's not hard. The real issue: each coffee drink being served at your establishment will be composed of freshly ground beans from Metropolis Coffee Company. You'll quickly notice the difference; so will your customers. One of the country's premier roasters, Metropolis puts love into every bean at their roasterie in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood.
We all know flavor and quality is important these days, especially when it comes to the public's perception of what makes good coffee and the difference a quality coffee situation can make in the workplace or to your customers is apparent. The disparity in taste of coffee fresh-ground from whole beans and coffee that's not is becoming quickly and ever more apparent to a steadily growing percentage of the population. Most often fine-dining restaurants will find their customers solidly in this demographic, so this is a perfect time and way for chefs and beverage program managers to "up their game" without investing resources that could be used elsewhere.
We'd also note that our new whole bean espresso machine keeps waste to a minimum. Open a bag of beans, pour them in the hopper and that's it. And those beans, get them at WHOLESALE PRICES, not a premium--like with those plastic cups. You won't be able to follow the stream of spent plastic cartridges to the trash room and back--you won't even need to, though. Your coffee also won't be coming your way via FedEx, but is a local product all the way. From Metropolis' Roasting Garage to our trucks to your business. Call for samples or a free trial in your fine-dining establishment, office, hotel, or other place of business. 773-252-7000. Contact Us!
Getting Real in a Fun KitchenApril 18th 2011
Working hard and having fun, that's the real trick. Such good times are in evidence at Real Kitchen, a meals-to-go based on the North Side of Chicago. Typical daily inventory here includes a combination of soups, salads, snacks, sandwiches, side dishes and entrees. What you see in the case can be singled out, but the goal is to put out items that go together in a variety of combinations, says executive chef Nick Schmuck. He put in time at Charlie Trotter's while his sous chef, Shannon Dudas, did the same with respected Chicago chef, Bruce Sherman. Pastry chef Andrea Correa has her bona fides in order, as well: Charlie Trotter's, Noma in Copenhagen and El Bulli outside of Barcelona.
"We've all worked in intense kitchens; it's not necessarily fun," says Schmuck. "Real Kitchen reminds us why we love cooking; we're friends doing good food without pretense." The food itself varies widely, but is largely Mediterranean with some Italy, some Spain, and a little French thrown in for good measure. "It's largely classic American food, but we'll have some choices that are 'out there' and some more approachable." Pastry will be delicious, if straightforward: "Like everything here, we'll take all the technique and refinement we've learned, then cook the food we'd like to eat at home on our day off," says Schmuck. "Our goal is for people to have something they've had before and be like, 'That's good!'"
The wonderful (yes, we're biased) Metropolis Coffee we provide to the Real Kitchen was selected to complement menu selections that change weekly. Goal: beverages that could stand up to a culinary palette that could include any flavor at any time, of a given day. Serving those beverages and dishing the kitchen's output at the front counter on a regular basis is another team member, Rachel DeBruin. Delivery also provided, as well as private event and in-home catering. 773-281-2888. Open Mon.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Real Kitchen Website
London Calling! "Attend" the Royal WeddingMarch 29th 2011
Queen Elizabeth enjoyed "Afternoon Tea" at The Drake Hotel in 1958; so did Diana, Princess of Wales. Now, it's your turn.
Attend "London's Calling--The Royal Wedding Tea Party" and live the "Royals" wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29, 2011, at Chicago's own grand tradition, The Drake Hotel.
There are two seatings: the first begins at noon and includes a fashion show by Chicago's top milliners. The second seating begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes a bridal show by Giselle Couture. Get a taste of the goings-on at the actual event with touches like live harp music and elegant "English Afternoon" tea service.
Chicago Coffees and Teas and Rishi Tea are proud to support this event and the proud tradition of tea as cultural glue, in general. See you there!
Cost is $35-per-person. Contact special events manager Shaun J. Rajah with inquiries at Shaun.Rajah@hilton.com or 312-932-4619. Sign Up & More Info Here!
The Bedford to open April 2011March 28th 2011
We were lucky enough to have Peter Gugni, mixologist at the soon-to-open Chicago restaurant, The Bedford, work with us at our recent "Tea Extravaganza" event, held in conjunction with Rishi Tea at Metropolis Coffee Company's roasting garage in Andersonville.
Gugni worked a popular station, no doubt. Not sure which we enjoyed more, his rye whiskey-based "Jackknife Judy" (Rishi black vanilla tea, a Muscat dessert wine from Australia and Cynar, an Italian bitter made of artichokes. "All the flavors were there to bring out the vanilla," says Gugni. "The whiskey is dry and spicy, so wanted to offset that."). How he made it: "I used about 1.5-liters of water to an ounce of tea, which I let steep for 20-25 minutes, then took it out and reduced it by half to 750-ml on really low heat, letting it slowly reduce."
His "Spicy Buddha": Buddha's Hand Citron with Rishi's organic ginger Pu-Erh tea, lime juice and a house-made 5-spice simple syrup. "This one's more about summer time, refreshing and bright flavors. The fresh ginger makes it pop," says Gugni.
The Bedford is slated to open in late April 2011. Stay tuned for more from this talented crew of restaurateurs! The Bedford By Grubstreet
Tea Extravaganza: Thanks Rishi Tea!March 16th 2011
The whole crew here at Chicago Coffees and Teas wants to thank all the people who made our recent event not only a success, but so much fun. Rishi Tea stepped up with a wealth of personnel, knowledge AND tea. Their reps operated stations separated by type of tea (oolong, black, white, Pur-eh, etc.) and, in addition to serving a range of teas, answered questions, pointed out proper technique and generally took an attitude about tea that everyone there greatly appreciated.
Thanks to all the Chicago hospitality industry and trade folks who came out to learn and have a good time; we appreciate your business. By the way, the drinks from mixologist Peter Gugni from The Bedford (new Chicago restaurant, opening spring of 2011) were absolutely delicious; just goes to prove that whiskey or vodka, there are a profusion of flavors in tea that can take cocktails in many interesting directions. Thanks to Dylan Lipe, executive chef at True Cuisine/Sweet Baby Ray's--a top-notch caterer serving both Metropolis Coffee and Rishi Tea.
Find us on twitter at @chicagocoffees for info and quick response to any/all questions. More on the event here!
Industry Tea Event at Metropolis Roasting GarageMarch 14th 2011
A serious look at high-end tea as it relates to individuals and hospitality operations, this in-depth event isn't for casual observers, but those who already know their tea and are looking to increase and improve their knowledge of tea and how to make a profit on the business of tea. From high-end, specialty teas to iced tea (which can be all of the above, by the way), if tea is part of your work life, this is the event for you. Look for Chicago Coffees and Teas representatives when you get there! All Info You Need, Click Here
Tortas Frontera Opens At O'HareFebruary 14th 2011
Chicago's airport dining situation just got a little more distinct and authentically Mexican with the opening of Tortas Frontera by Chicago stand-out chef, Rick Bayless.
Chicago Coffees and Teas is proud to announce that Tortas Frontera will be using various products from our partners, Rishi Tea, including a "Summer Lemon" iced tea. The menu covers breakfast, lunch and dinner with choices like the "Chipotle Chicken" with poblano rajas, black beans, chihuahua cheese, cilantro creme avocado, and arugula. Both the freshness and flavor here are classic Bayless.
There's a full yogurt bar AND a guacamole bar. In short, head out a little early for your next flight and stop by, say hi to Rick! More Info Here! Menus & More!
Tweet Much? Chicago Coffee Scene Does!January 6th 2011
We tweet to stay in touch with our clients. You?
We debated for a while before deciding we even belonged there. After all, it makes sense for the folks at @mtropoliscoffee and @RishiTea to engage with every single lover of coffee and tea in the world. They sell their products around the globe--and also right here in Chicago, of course!But we mainly work with businesses--restaurants, hotels and offices, mainly--where the twitter account is more about customer outreach than working with vendors.
We're hoping to change that, at least where it works for our clients. We just heard that the folks at @SouthportGrocer communicate with Metropolis Coffee Company deliveryman, @metrowheelman, a.k.a. Johnny Loftus, via Twitter. We'd love to hear about whether or not Twitter has worked for your business, especially if you're a wholesaler debating your role in this new communications forum. Chicago Coffees and Teas Twitter
SPECIAL EVENT! "Behind The Label"January 6th 2011
Together with the Chicago chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, join Chicago's own all-star chef, Charlie Trotter and the owners of Metropolis Coffee Company and Rishi Tea for this special event, "Behind The Label: From Seed to Table."
Chicago Coffees and Teas is proud to co-sponsor this unique event, taking place Feb. 7, 2011, at 6 p.m. Trotter, Tony Dreyfuss from Metropolis and Joshua Kaiser of Rishi Tea will speak about the proliferation of terms like "fair trade" and "organic" and how to tell truth from fiction when it comes to your food and beverage choices.
Cost per person, $125. The dinner will be held at Charlie Trotter's (816 W. Armitage, Chicago). Dessert will be provided by Chef Keli Fayard of Vanille Patisserie and you can purchase tickets through her website, http://www.vanillepatisserie.com. See you there! Event Info & Tix Here!
Girl and the Goat Using Rishi TeaJanuary 4th 2011
Just about any Chicago food and fine beverage lover has heard some of the biggest restaurant news of the year, i.e. the opening of Girl and the Goat.
Well, we're pleased to announce that Girl and the Goat is now carrying Rishi Tea, one of our partners in the high-quality tea business. For a start, they're carrying the Jasmine Pearl and the Peppermint. We hear mixologist Benjamin Harrison has also experimented with using Rishi Masala Chai concentrate in a "Goat Egg Nog" cocktail. Sounds good to us.
Girl and the Goat is an always-packed eatery both casual and very serious about it's food at the same time, a situation that seems to occur when chefs are at the top of their game and 'Top Chef' winner Stephanie Izard (http://www.stephanieizard.com) definitely is that. In addition to owning and operating Girl and the Goat, along with her partners at The Boka Group, Izard finds time to travel the world and we couldn't think of a better representative for Chicago on the global food stage. More on Izard Here!
The Hungry Hound Visits Metropolis CoffeeDecember 29th 2010
We really loved the recent piece on our partners, Metropolis Coffee Company, by Chicago's own foodie reporter, Steve Dolinskey, a James Beard Award-winning journalist with ABC-7 News Chicago.
He took the time to come by the Roasting Garage, do a cupping, and get to know their operation. He takes a good look at coffee, in general--and finds out how much fun it is to do a coffee cupping with Metropolis Coffee Company co-owner, Tony Dreyfuss.
Want Metropolis in your hotel, restaurant or office? Contact Andrew Wajntraub at 312-310-1123. We provide the beans, the machines and on-going service and know-how to make sure your customers enjoy Metropolis Coffee to the fullest. Thanks, Steve! View Hungry Hound Segment Here!
Vanille Patisserie On Board with Rishi TeaDecember 14th 2010
One of a bumper crop of unique, serious and incredibly tasty pastry shops in Chicago recently, Vanille Patisserie stands out thanks to a husband-and-wife team (Dimitri and Kelly Fayard) with impeccable credentials and a license to live their dream.
Good news for all of us? It's a dream we can taste. You'll also taste Rishi Tea at Vanille Patisserie. They'll be carrying a full line-up of organic and fair trade-certified loose leaf teas from Rishi Tea and we're sure their customers will enjoy Rishi's phenomenal tea as much as we do here at the Chicago Coffees and Teas offices every day.
On the menu? Special holiday desserts, classic and perfectly executed petit fours, mousse cakes (entremets), tarts, custom center pieces (showpieces) and also inventive custom cakes so good that Kelly has an upcoming spot on a Food Network cake competition.
We'll be sure to let you know when it airs so you can see her work. Fan us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @chicagocoffes. And stop by Vanille Patisserie, enjoy the sweets AND the tea. More Info on Vanille Patisserie
Five-Star Dining On A BunNovember 4th 2010
Hot dogs and sausages have never had it so good as they do these days in Chicago, and we're talking about Chicago here--the home of the Vienna Beef Factory and a city that's consumed more Polish sausages than any other but Warsaw. That's a long-winded way of telling you about one of our newest clients, Franks 'N' Dawgs.
Owner Lillian Brunacci works with Joe "Dawg" Doren, the chef--and we mean chef. He's a grad of the New England Culinary Institute and of Chicago restaurants like Blackbird and Sixteen.
The menu hits the classics (the "Jumbo!" and the "Chili Dog"), then heads into virgin territory with twists on classics like the "Spoiled Brat," a brat with red cabbage, beer mustard and red pepper relish, or the "Knocked Up," a Knockwurst, grilled eggplant, goat cheese & salsa verde.
And now you can pick up Metropolis Coffee and Rishi Tea along with your five-star "dawns." See you there. More on Franks'N'Dawgs Here!
Living the Chicago Food SceneNovember 3rd 2010
The crew over here at Chicago Coffees and Teas (CC&T) worked the Rishi Tea booth at Chicago Gourmet, a dream event for Chicago-based foodies. It's great to have partners like Rishi, because it's a best-in-the-world type of product and we could tell at the event that it's gaining name recognition amongst the public at large. It's carried at Whole Foods now, so a lot of people by the booth had already tasted it.
What they hadn't tasted was Rishi's newest offering, Coconut Oolong. Everyone is loving it, across the board; it's flying off shelves and it's reception at Chicago Gourmet was no different. It was something people hadn't seen before and the smell just makes you happy; it's a fantastic tea.
Overall, the event was a big success all around. The first day was busy; the second was jam-packed. Our crew from CC&T learned much about Rishi Tea throughout the weekend, and a lot of beverage directors from local hotels and restaurants heard about what we're up to, as well. Next year's Chicago Gourmet takes place Sept. 23-25.
Another great summer in Chicago, another great event; now, on to the next one.