Autumn = apples, and the Midwest and Washington State generate some pretty great ones.
The Honeycrisp–perfectly sweet and super crunchy. (You can thank the University of Minnesota for creating this variety.)
The Opal. Knockout color and great apple taste.
And Lady Alice–a touch sweeter than the Honeycrisp but very satisfying. And a great name.
Halloween is in full swing, and Illinoisans really know how to celebrate/decorate. Local homeowners festoon their yards with all sorts of interesting pumpkin/ghost/graveyard features. At work we had a spooky foods contest, and this was a winner. Spiders never tasted so good or looked so cute.
Pie shops have a strong butter smell. Or should, anyway. Hoosier Mama Pie Company on Chicago Avenue smells exactly that: butter and more butter.
Owner/baker Paula Haney, an Indy native, opened her pie shop on Chicago Ave. in 2009, and her pies might be the best in the city. The pie crust is buttery, flaky goodness. The fillings range from strawberry rhubarb (my fave), apple (classic), Fat Elvis (chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas, natch), to different custards and chess arrangements. Dieters beware, pie lovers rejoice. You can fork the pie menu here.
If you have a hankering for savory pastries (who doesn’t?), empanadas could/should be your thing.
The Ham & Cheese empanada from 5411 Empanadas is kind of heavenly. A baked turnover containing slices of smoked ham with bits of oregano swimming in melted mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. That’s the Ham & Cheese.
5411 Empanadas started out as a delivery-only enterprise 10 years ago and now has a bunch of locations in the city. And Houston. Your tastebuds can thank me later.
Another summer day, another opportunity to try ice cream. The line at Brown Cow in Forest Park was longish, but the ice cream was worth the wait. Ice milky in texture.
This one melted quickly. Messy but fun to eat when the temps are in the 90s.
The indoor lighting was dim, but the ice cream tubs were so bright. The yellow one in the lower right corner is vanilla cupcake.
Norske Nook. If you’ve hustled your way north to Eau Claire, you might know to pull off at Osseo for this Norwegian American bakery and restaurant.
My family has been pulling over for the Nook for more than 30 years because PIE.
I pulled over yesterday and promptly plopped myself down by the counter. Wanted to try something new, and Strawberry Sour Cream looked like a good wager.
It was. Very light, with a strawberry whipped cream topping. I ate the entire slice.
Osseo is a small town; approximately 1,700 people call it home. I don’t live in a small town but admire the persistence of places like Osseo. And bakeries with pie.
I had resigned myself to ordering iced coffee when I wanted ice cream, and I stuck to that goal for… about three days. Ice cream somehow tastes better in the summer, so why not take advantage? Petersen’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor in Oak Park was a new place to try, so try I did.
Mackinac Island Fudge was the flavor, and the ice cream was surprisingly fluffy.
This ice cream is 18% butterfat. Pretty decadent. Kind of makes me want to visit Mackinac Island for their storied fudge. Summer goals.