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zinfandelfan's Profile

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Companies or individuals in Portland, ME, who would buy bakery goods and ship?

My wife and I just returned from five wonderful days in Portland (a last minute scramble to find a good vacation destination) and ate and drank our way through the best that Portland had to offer. Five Fifty-Five, Ri-Ra, The Front Room, Broad Arrow Tavern (in Freeport)...we did good.

We also fell in love with the charming bakeries around town like Big Sky, One Fifty Ate and Two Fat Cats. Big Sky, particularly, in the old firehouse was just tremendous. We're in Chicago and not that there isn't great stuff here, but I wanted to have some shipped back to me here.

I just got off the phone with Big Sky and, sadly, they don't ship. They want to insure maximum quality and freshness and be sure it doesn't get damaged en route. I can respect that. But I was willing to give them my FedEx account number to have it shipped here overnight. They still declined.

There's always a market for someone to do something, but does anybody know of a company or individual who if I sent them the money by Paypal or some other means could manage purchasing for me at the bakery and ship it back here to Chicago?

Thanks in advance for suggestions or ideas.

Coffeehouse in Oak Brook / Lombard area?

So I want to meet a vendor this afternoon and the toss-up was between alcohol or caffeine. While I love the Caribou close to my house in Bolingbrook, I do my best to patronize true neighborhood-style coffeehouses wherever and whenever possible. Yeah, there are any number of places to get an espresso and linger, but I'm looking for a place with big comfy chairs, a decent bakery selection and a means to just chill.

Suggestions / ideas welcome and thanks in advance for whatever ideas come out of this.

Jul 27, 2007
zinfandelfan in Chicago Area

Technique suggestions for thick chicken tortilla soup

While the soup didn't have a 'gloss' to it, the consistency didn't seem to be like thickening a gravy...the liquid had a translucent quality to it. Would a thickening agent have that type of effect?

Jan 25, 2007
zinfandelfan in Home Cooking

Technique suggestions for thick chicken tortilla soup

Thanks. I'll give it a shot and see what happens.

Jan 25, 2007
zinfandelfan in Home Cooking

Technique suggestions for thick chicken tortilla soup

The stuff that I had was still greenish-tinged...so I don't think the paste or puree option is what I'm looking to go forward with. Plus, thinking about adding the chicken at the end so it has a chunkier quality to it. Thanks for the tips, though!

Jan 25, 2007
zinfandelfan in Home Cooking

Technique suggestions for thick chicken tortilla soup

I was on travel in Ft. Worth and had a nice, thick, chicken tortilla soup. The menu said that they fire roasted the tomatoes they put in there. It had a nice smoky flavor, a thickness of a good chowder (or a notch or two down from oatmeal) and it's something I'd like to reproduce in the home kitchen as I stockpile for an arriving baby.

I'm thinking of using tomatillos instead of regular tomatoes to give it a different flavor; and hopefully the consistency that I'm seeking. The goal isn't to "cheat thicken" either with corn starch or flour.

Is using tomatillos instead and then either throwing it in the blender for a bit or using an immersion blender during cooking the trick?

Thanks in advance for tips / advice.

Jan 25, 2007
zinfandelfan in Home Cooking

Is there such a thing as a good combination espresso / coffee maker? If so, whose?

So, my parents gave us a food processor for Christmas (baby en route, so we wanted one for our cooking as well as for slicing / dicing / pulverizing homemade baby food). Got one from my in-laws too and because size matters, I'm keeping the 14 cupper and returning the 11-cupper from mom and dad for another appliance.

I'm an espresso fiend. I don't drink coffee; I drink espresso. Hopefully that doesn't sound like an addict's loser crutch. But since I have to get an "us" appliance; we need a coffee maker, too. We've seen a couple of appliances (Braun, Krups) who have both the coffee brewing and espresso making features combined into the same appliance, but the concern is this:

Bugger how the coffee will turn out, I want damn good espresso.

So in order to maintain marital bliss (and in some foreign policy circles I believe the more actual term is 'appeasement'), can I have my cake and eat it, too?

If the answer is 'no', then I'll drop dime on Mr. Coffee for those rare times when we have company that drinks coffee (we don't) and lobby for a quality espresso machine.

Any thoughts on the Illy Francis! Francis! machine and coffee club racket? By the time you're done buying Illy coffee (pods, grounds or beans) for twelve months, you pay about what you'd pay retail for what I think is a quality espresso machine.

Happy Holidays and thanks in advance for the advice.

Dec 27, 2006
zinfandelfan in Cookware

Cheesemongers / NZ camembert in Chicago?

My wife and I went to NZ for our honeymoon and one of the things she fell in love with was the various dairy products down there, inclusive of camembert cheese.

We're expecting our first in early February and on the short list of foods she is looking forward to eating again (inclusive of good Rieslings and tuna melt sandwiches from The Patio) is unpasteurized cheese.

There are plenty of good French and American camemberts, but being the devoted, loving husband and future daddy that I am, I wanted to try to do it up right.

I'm in the import / export biz so I already know what a huge pain the a** Customs, Food & Drug and Agriculture / USDA can be. Does anybody know if NZ dairy products are permissible for entry or can recommend a good cheesemonger who might know? Whole Foods has got some good stuff in their place, but I'm looking for somebody whose core business is cheese who can hopefully provide me with the right answer.

Thanks in advance.

Dec 20, 2006
zinfandelfan in Chicago Area