By Lee Barrie and Cindy Kurman
First published in StreetWise Magazine
As we write this, we’re gearing up to attend the second annual Chicago Luxury Ice Cream Festival at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Center in Lincoln Park, July 30-31. By the time you read this, the festival, the brainchild of our friend Jeff Reid, will have become history, but an even bigger annual foodie event. This leads us to consider our topic of the week: artisan ice cream.
Almost everyone who likes dairy loves ice cream or a suitable variation like frozen yogurt, frozen custard, and gelato. Whether you’re a purest and prefer your ice cream plain or an adventurer who will try any and all types of flavors, mix-ins and toppings, Chicago offers up many great places to try an ice cream creation that refreshingly rises above the typical supermarket ice cream experience.
Here are some fun places to try when it’s hot out and you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive fix of frozen delight.
The Chocolate Shoppe
5337 W. Devon Ave., Chicago 1823 Waukegan Rd, Glenview, IL
773-763-9778 (847) 998-0809
We stumbled upon the Glenview location when it first opened last year, taking over a former Baskin Robbins space. What a difference! They feature more than 40 flavors, with a very helpful, enthusiastic staff. Their Zanzibar Chocolate, a dark chocolate scoop of guilty pleasure, is the best chocolate ice cream we’ve ever had. Our advice: go there and get two flavors, one being the Zanzibar and the other a suitable, but lighter accompaniment. There is nothing better.
Black Dog Gelato
859 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
Using fresh, locally produced ingredients, this gelato and sorbet shop offers traditional flavors such as vanilla bean, milk chocolate and pistachio, or more adventurous choices such as salted peanut, goat-cheese cashew caramel and roasted red pepper.
Gertie's Ice Cream
7600 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago
If you’re nostalgic for an old-time ‘50’s era ice cream parlor, Gertie’s is the real deal. They make their own ice cream and their signature dish is an old fashioned banana split, with three scoops of ice cream, strawberries, pineapple, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, chopped nuts and a cherry. Sometimes classics withstand the test of time for good reason.
Homer’s Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream
1237 Green Bay Rd., Wilmette, IL
We know you’ve heard of it, but now is as good as any time to actually give it a try. Homer’s is family owned, award-winning, offering 35 flavors of premium frozen joy. Rave reviews for the Fresh Peach ice cream, and many say that the simpler flavors are so good that they are worth ordering over the more complex flavors. Either way, you’ll get your fix of pure pleasure. Don’t forget the shakes and malts, either.
2951 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 880-7372; www.bobtailicecream.com
Bobtails is another delightful retro journey back to the days of yesteryear’s soda jerks. The ice cream is made on-site; you can even view the factory while you’re there. Choose from about 20 original flavors, including the “signature sunset”, which is a merlot ice cream with dark chocolate chips. It’s also a great place to try a special ice cream creation such as a sundae.
Artisan Micro-Creameries for your Ice Cream Radar Antennae
We’re the first to admit that it would take page after page to describe all of the wonderful ice creams available in Chicagoland. So here’s a shortcut: peruse the following list of micro-creameries and then keep your eyes open for a restaurant or ice cream shop that carries these brands. You’ll enjoy some of the finest ice cream made in the Chicago area, some with offbeat flavors and unusual ingredients. Then enjoy the brain freeze:
Blue Marble Dairy of Chicago
Sibby’s Ice Cream
Trader’s Point Creamery
Ruth & Phil’s Gourmet Ice Cream
Mayfell Farms (sheep’s milk ice cream)
Cindy Kurman Barrie and Lee Barrie are the principals of Kurman Communications, Inc., a Chicago-based marketing and public relations agency. Please visit their blog at www.gotbuzzatkurman.com and check out all DineWise articles at www.dinewisechicago.blogspot.com. Follow us on Twitter @Dinewise.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Tel: (773) 478-7785
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday - Saturday
You have to love and respect a neighborhood restaurant that's been around for 62 years. Such is the case with popular Lutz Cafe and Pastry Shop. This internationally inspired cafe opened in 1948 as a pastry shop influenced by the Black Forest region of
. Lutz is a Germany tradition. Just mentioning the name elicits stories and memories from childhoods passed. While the pastry shop is a destination for fabulous pastries, cakes and tortes. A menu staple includes Chicken & Mushroom Crepes ($8.95) and Spinach Crepes ($8.95) both finished with hollandaise sauce. Always delicious and worth coming back for return visits. The lovely outside garden in back is one of Chicago 's most charming. Chicago
Crepes A Latte
1840 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago
Tel: (773) 549-4444
We were pleasantly surprised at Crepes A Latte with blue "clouds" suspended from the ceiling, a clock tower and a caricature of a Parisian street scene on the back wall, Crepes A Latte is whimsical and fun. We don't think that you'd find Crepes A Latte in France but the broad crepe selection is impressive if not confusing. With breakfast crepe options ranging from egg and cheese to the enticing crumbled blueberry muffin with vanilla bean sauce for under $5, there's something for everyone. We have to note that we were confused by the printed menu. While it appears that there are choices other than crepes, the perhaps too cleverly worded menu packages everything in a tasty light wrap. For lunch, dinner or an afternoon snack, there are a variety of savory options ($6.75), Avocado, Tomato & Cheese, Baked Apples with Brie, or Chicken Peanut Satay. There's also a Smoked Turkey and a number of veggie selection. Visiting Crepes A Latte for dessert? You won't be disappointed. Try a twist on an old favorite, Bananas Foster or Caramel Apple Pie or be more European and enjoy our favorite, Nutella Banana (all $5.75). They have a nice selection of "hot stuff", i.e. coffee, tea and hot chocolate drinks, as well as drinks to "chill out" with including frappes, iced, smoothies and milkshakes. Crepes A Latte is a perfect for a multi-unit operation. Look for more coming to Chicago. This is one concept with legs worth the run.
410 S. Clark St.
If you can dream it, you can have it at Crepes Cafe. They offer a large variety of traditional and not-so-traditional crepes, sweet and savory, including Beef Stroganoff ($12) or Frutti di Mare ($11), Spinach and Feta ($7), Sweet Lemon ($4), Maple Syrup ($4), Vanilla Cheese ($7), PB&J ($7), and Fruit Preserves ($7), among others. If you're a hot dog ($7) fan, you don't have to go elsewhere. They wrap theirs in a crepe. You can also have a Polish Sausage ($10), Chili ($7), Corned Beef ($12), or Lasagna ($10). And, if you haven't guessed, you're welcome to "create your one."
Other's worth mentioning:
Crepe Bistro & Martini Bar
186 N. Wells, Chicago
www.crepebistro.net - (312) 269-0300
FliP Crepes at Chicago French Market
131 N. Clinton, Chicago
www.flipcrepes.com - (312) 504-2541
Crepes and Coffee Palace
2433 N. Clark, Chicago
Crepe Crave & Gelato
1752 W. North, Chicago
www.crepecrave.com - (773) 698-8783
Cindy Kurman Barrie and Lee Barrie are the principals of Kurman Communications, Inc., a Chicago-based marketing and public relations agency. Please visit their blog at www.gotbuzzatkurman.com and check out all DineWise articles at www.dinewisechicago.blogspot.com.