July Wine Dinner and More 7/23/14

It’s time for our July Wine Tasting Dinner!  This Saturday we will be presenting wines from Spain accompanied by a selection of Spanish foods.

You will be greeted with a glass of Honoro Vera Blanco–
This white from Rueda exudes intense aromas of white flowers and fresh fruit with exotic tropical notes.  Enjoy while you choose your seat and greet your friends!

To begin our Spanish exploration, sit down to a plate of Spanish charcuterie paired with Atteca Atteca- deep cherry in color, it has intense aromas of red ripe fruit (ripe raspberry) combined perfectly with spicy notes of cacao, vanilla and licorice. It is very fresh and fruity in the mouth with a notable ending of fruit and spice. It is a magnificent expression of an elegant 100% Garnacha from Aragon.

Next, Chicken and Shrimp Paella accompanied by EntreSuelos Tempranillo. From International Wine Cellar “(aged for six months in French oak): Inky purple. Sexy, oak-spiced aromas of black raspberry and cherry, with pipe tobacco and floral nuances building with air. Fleshy, supple and sweet, offering bright red and dark berry flavors and a smoky, spicy quality. Fine-grained tannins help shape the a long, smoky finish. 90pts.”

And, for dessert  Bizcochos Borrachos, Drunken Sponge Cake–topped with Nichols Farm Berries served with Bodegas Dry Muscat-This delightfully dry offering from Juan Gil really shines! Peach, pear, nectarine, lime and orange blossom dominate the nose and palate. Zippy acidity and a super lengthy finish make this a is fantastically food friendly wine.

And, no doubt Keogh will have her own surprises for us!
The cost for the entire evening is $49.50.  Please call for reservations!  As always, Wine Dinner patrons enjoy a 25% discount on purchases.

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Bastille Day and More!

First of all, I want to share this much appreciated email I received yesterday.

“Good afternoon Dawn!
You made three delicious cheesecakes for our General Manager’s birthday (with strawberries on the side). I just wanted to pass along to you that he thoroughly enjoyed your delicious cakes, as did 20 other employees, myself included! ——, our GM, has declared your bakery as the official bakery for birthdays and the like!

The very fact that you were able to impress ——, a Frenchman, is a feat unto itself! I was sold when I had your chocolate brioche, and I’ve heard about your delicious food from friends of mine as well! Bravo!!!

Once again, thank you for doing what you do!! It is greatly
appreciated!! ”

Thanks so much for taking the time to write to us!

Here’s what’s happening this week:

Celebrating the Chicago premier of Suds: The Rockin ’60s Musical Soap Opera at Raue Center, Opening Friday, 7/11

Start the fun Thursday with our 60′s Pasta Dinner–Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs, Green Salad & Bread and for dessert, Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake! $12 serving at 5.
Then at 7pm, Local Author Nite–Reading Phil Denofrio’s play, “A Gents’ Bargain.”

Friday, Pre-Show Dinner, ’60s Fish Fry with Relish Tray and Cole Slaw.  Finish with a Mary Jane Sundae if you like!

Celebrating Bastille Day all day Saturday, July 12.
Enjoy Macarons, Raspberry Crepes. and then a Special French Wine Dinner at 7pm.

Todd Huddleston from Fine Vines & I will be hosting a Bastille Day Wine Dinner.
You will be greeted with a glass of

The first course will be Salad with Walnuts, Pears & Roquefort paired withGRANDE CASSAGNE COSTIERES DE NIMES ROSÉ

The entree will be Beef Burgundy Crepes served with

Cleanse your palate with Super Aged Raw Milk Gouda from Hollands Family Farm & an assortment of grapes while you revisit your favorite wines.

For Dessert–Oversized Raspberry Macarons Filled with Lemon Cream and Fresh Raspberries with

The price for the 4 courses and 4 wines is $45.00. All wines available for purchase at 25% off shelf price. Please call for reservations.



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Blueberry Pie for the Fourth of July!

Since Crystal Lake Fourth Festivities are on Sunday, 7/6, we will be open our regular hours this weekend except we will close at 1pm on Sunday for the parade.  You still have time to order hot dog/brat buns and sandwich rolls, salads and desserts.  Just give us a call–815-477-3296!

Tonight’s pasta will feature all the basil I picked this morning plus garlic, pea pods, bok choy and other Nichols veggies, some wine, some olive oil, a bit of Italian sea salt and grated Romano.  And then there’s all the lettuce I picked for the salad!  Join us anytime after 5pm!

Celebrate the Fourth by stopping in for BLUEBERRY PIE ALA MODE all day Friday.  We will also have BLUEBERRY PIES for $15.00 to take home for your celebrations.

For Lunch,  we will be serving MANHATTAN CHOWDER  then our Fish & Chips or Grilled Haddock & Veg for after 5.

Upcoming Events

WRITERS’ NITE–Thursday, 7/12, 7pm–We will be doing a reading of Phil Denofrio’s new play,

BASTILLE DAY CREPE DINNER, SATURDAY, JULY 12. Crepes all day!  Savoury and Sweet!  Then at 7pm, we will be hosting Todd Huddleston from Fine Vines & I will be hosting a Bastille Day Wine Dinner.
You will be greeted with a glass of MAS DE LAVAIL TERRE D’ARDOISE VDP BLANC
The first course will be Salad with Walnuts, Pears & Roquefort paired with GRANDE CASSAGNE COSTIERES DE NIMES ROSE
The entree will be Beef Burgundy Crepes served with D’OR ET DES GUEULES COSTIERES DE NIMES LES CIMELS
Then there is our amuse bouche
For Dessert–something Raspberry served with CH D’ORSCHWIHR CREMANT D’ALSACE ROSE BRUT
The price for the 4 courses and 4 wines is $45.00.  Please call for reservations.

GREEN CITY BBQ–Thursday, 7/17.

MEET THE ARTIST Marian Stamos’s lovely oils grace our wall this month.  She will be here to speak to you on Saturday, July  19th, from 6-8pm.

GET LIT(ERARY)–DATE CHANGE–Thursday, July 26th. 7pm–We will be finishing “The Admirable Crichton.”

WINE DINNER –July 26, 7pm.  We are featuring Spain this time.  We will be serving a Spanish cheese and charcuterie course, Paella, and dessert (yet to be determined!) As well as some surprises from Keogh, our Heritage Wine pairer/presenter.

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Here Comes the Fourth!

We will be open 7/4, 930-9 and 7/6, 930-1 (gotta get to the Parade!) Call in your order for hot dog & sandwich rolls, salads and desserts for your perfect Fourth of July weekend!

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It’s Strawberry Time!

We are celebrating Nichols Farm STRAWBERRIES this week!  We will be serving Strawberry Shortcake–homemade shortcake with Nichols Farm berries and whipped cream for $4.25. Will be making Strawberry Tarts (and who knows what else?) for the weekend, too.

Get Lit(erary)
get lit

The “Group” will be reading the first two acts of “The Admirable Crichton” this month. Listen to J.M. Barrie’s views on class and social order this month and hear what happens next month-July 24th (fourth Thursday)when we finish reading the play.
And, if you are interested in being a part of Get Lit, stop in to talk to Dawn (or call).

Third Thursday in DTCL!
Downtown Crystal Lake will be hopping this Thursday.  Join in the fun from 5-8pm.  LPM will be serving Springtime Lasagna full of Nichols Farm veggies and hosting a wine tasting between 5 & 7.  Then at 7pm we will begin Get Lit(erary)!
at 8:30pm:
“New Day! New Time! It’s Summer and we’ve still got laughs to get out of our systems. You bring: yourself, friends, neighbors, strangers and suggestions.
We bring: the hilarity.”
$5 at the door.


Meet the Artist

Join us from 5-630 on Saturday, June 28th to meet this month’s artist, WEG Thomas.  His beautiful photos of McHenry County have been gracing our wall this month.  Stop in to see them, if you haven’t, and talk to him about his vision and technique. We will be serving our Czech Dinner beginning at 6pm, if you would like to stay.


Thursday Pasta-Springtime Lasagna
Friday-Haddock & Scallops

Served Saturday 9:30-Noon
Sunday 9:30-2

June 28th-Czech Dinner Serving from 6-9,
prepared by Zuzana Sumberova (Radka’s mom!)

Spanish Wine Dinner
7pm Saturday, July 26

Green City Market BBQ Thursday, July 17th


One of the best summer events in Chicago, this grand picnic is held every July in picturesque Lincoln Park, with the fabulous Chicago skyline as a backdrop.  All dishes served at the BBQ feature items offered from the bounty of the market with nearly 100 chefs/restaurants creating culinary magic. In addition to food, locally made beer, wine, hand-crafted cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages will be available.

$125 General Admission$150 General Admission & a copy of the Green City Market Cookbook    Contact LPM if you would like to go as a group.  Thinking about limosine or bus from LPM.

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It’s Summer & We Are Busy!

Farmers Market begins in Crystal Lake this Saturday from 8-1 and continues on Sundays in Cary, 9-1.

Join us for readings by local authors at 7pm next Thursday, June 12th.  Mary Gustafson, Elizabeth Harmon, Rick Copper and Ivan Ewert will be reading from their works as well as hosting a discussion on writing, publishing and whatever else you would like to talk about!

And, Get Lit(erary) is on Thursday, June, 19th, also at 7.  We will be reading from “The Admirable Chrichton,” by J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.  Act One is set in Loam Hall, the household of Lord Loam, a British peer, Crichton being his butler. Loam considers the class divisions in British society to be artificial. He promotes his views during tea-parties where servants mingle with his aristocratic guests, to the embarrassment of all. Crichton particularly disapproves, considering the class system to be “the natural outcome of a civilised society”.

Stop in to see WEJ Thomas’s striking photos of McHenry County.  This month’s artist.  Our “Meet the Artist” reception will be from 5-6:30 on Saturday, June 28th.

Congratulations to Michael & Mark!  Last Sunday, It was our pleasure to help them celebrate their marriage.  And what a great surprise to see them in the Herald on Tuesday!

We need a new helper! A wine lover would be great–that means over 21. Friendly, multi-tasker, some evenings and weekends (15-20 hours per week). Stop in or call if you’re interested.

Upcoming Dinnertime Treats!
iconPasta tonite–Creamy blend of cheeses, wine, and asparagus over noodles.
Haddock & Scallops on Friday
Flatbreads on Saturday
Plus our Petit Plates every evening after 5.

Wine Dinner on Saturday 6/14, 7pm.  Reservations required. Presented by Keogh Hepp from Heritage Wines.  She will be serving wines from Argentina paired with Roasted Beet Salad; Beef Wellington; British Cheeses and English Trifle for dessert.  Please call for more info and reservations.

June 28th–Food from Czech Republic prepared for us by Radka’s mother, who is here visiting.  I will update you on the menu as we get closer to the date.

Art Bra Austin is a charity fundraiser like no other. Every year, Austin’s talented community of artists, designers, and jewelers submit their original works of wearable art to be showcased by a dynamic group of Art Bra Austin Models – all breast cancer survivors and clients of BCRC. This feisty group of BCRC clients reflect the diversity of the thousands of women we serve annually.

From Lisa:

By supporting me, you will ensure the next woman diagnosed with breast cancer has the knowledge that she’s not alone and the support she needs to make it through.

 Thank you,

Lisa Viets

  Click on the link to go to Lisa’s page.

Eat Like a Champion!
DTCL’s own Kamil Suran of Suran Built came in first (48:08:23), besting 17 other top athletes in the Triple Enduroman UK held at  Avon Tyrrell, Hampshire this past weekend. That’s right–it’s a TRIPLE Ironman. We are bragging a wee bit because we get to feed him so often!  Come in, try our soups and pastas, Kamil’s faves, and eat like a champion!

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William made a scrumptious CARROT & GINGER Soup we will be serving for lunch–a perfect accompaniment to our Banh Mi sandwiches.

Thursday Pasta is RIGATONI with ASPARAGUS, SORREL & BACON in a light wine & cream sauce.

Friday Fish is HADDOCK & SCALLOPS prepared English style with French Fries or grilled with sauteed fresh vegetables.

Saturday–the day many have been waiting for!  Deepika’s CHICKEN  CURRY DINNER. Dee always presents a delicious dinner but even more so when she has recently returned from India!  In addition to the curry, she is preparing tomato chutney, yogurt raita and rice.

We will also be serving our FLATBREADS  in case curry is not your thing.


We have it!  THE Rosé from Provence, featured in the latest issue of Wine Spectator. The 2013 Miraval Rosé  released by French wine producer Famille Perrin’s Chateau Miraval from the estate owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The rosé has garnered positive critical acclaim, particularly from The International Wine Report and Wine Spectator. (WS May. 20, 2014):  JOLIE-PITT & PERRIN Côtes de Provence Rosé Miraval 2013 (89 points) A light, pure, steely style, with a rose petal and strawberry core, featuring white cherry notes backed by savory and stony hints on the finish. The finely beaded acidity lets this stretch out into a sneakily long finish. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. Drink now.  -James Moleswort)


There is good, long finish and its natural acidity suggests that it will be a versatile match with a wide range of meals.  It sells for $35*, and is offered in a Champagne-style bottle with a small, attractive, and unassuming front label–but wait til you see the back label!


It’s the end of the month so the art wall is changing!  Bill Schmiel’s exhibit will be making way for the photographs of WEG Thomas. As Mr. Thomas states in his photo journal, “Welcome to the woods and waters, the fields and skies of my journey in McHenry County Illinois. Share the things that catch my eye as I roam the streets and paths and prairies. When my mind is empty, my eyes burn and I capture what is and never will be again. It is bittersweet.”  Can’t wait to see what he chooses to hang.

We have a new display of the works of Jurgita Mekyte and Susan Sieber. Jurgita’s pottery and Susan’s silk work are all offered for sale. And, they are so beautiful. All one of a kind works of art by two of our favorites!

Join us on Thursday, June 12th, at 7pm, for readings by more local authors!  Mary Gustafson, Elizabeth Harmon, Rick Copper and Ivan Ewert will be reading from their works as well as hosting a discussion on writing, publishing and whatever else you would like to talk about!

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New Picnic Wine & Holiday Hours (closed Tuesday, 5/26)

Shania Monastrell  & Shania Blanco from Murcia,Spain. Stop in for a taste!

Shania (pronounced with a short “a,” like the Dania) Blanco is a delicious wine made from Grenache  blanc grapes.  Wines made with this grape are characterized by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and herbaceous notes.  We fell in love when we tasted both these wines–the white is bright & flavorful with fruit notes of melon and apple.  Easy drinking and full of summer.

The exciting new Monastrell stands head and shoulders above the current deluge of so-called wine values.  Monastrell is indigenous to the province of Murcia in southeast Spain. The 2012 Shania grapes were hand-harvested, gently crushed, and then fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel. Since Shania was created as a bright, fruit-forward wine for immediate enjoyment, there was no need to package the wine with traditional glass and cork, hence THE BOX. The convenient, anti-oxidizing wine bag protects natural resources and curtails waste. Inside its recyclable cardboard case, the strong, non-reactive wine bag shrinks as wine is poured – since air doesn’t enter the bag, the unserved wine does not oxidize and rapidly decline in quality as it does in opened bottles. Each box contains 3 liters of wine, the equivalent of 4 fifths, or standard wine bottles. Our price is $30. per box or $7.50 per bottle.Shania MonaStrell
With a lively yet deep palate of ripe cassis and blueberry, fine tannins, and bright acidity, this juicy, fruit-forward, medium-bodied Spanish Monastrell presents far more completely than typical ‘fine wine values’: impressive depth of character, considerable length and a savory finish.
Shania Monastrell is a splendid complement to paella, roasted vegetables, grilled meats, sausages and choucroute, spicy pork and chicken dishes, and soft to very ripe cheeses.

Back of the Box: (from Forbes Magazine) A few things to consider when enjoying boxed wines: Keep it refrigerated after breaking the seal; it will retain freshness even longer than four weeks.
Allow some time for the wine to open up after dispensing, boxed wines get absolutely no air after bottling, as a wine with a cork might, and can initially come off tight and brassy.
Recycle it!

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Get Lit(erary)

William found some morels so we will be serving them with pasta Thursday after 5, while they last.  Thursday Dinner will be Asparagus, Mushrooms (morels and  button) & Spring Onions Sautéed in Butter & Olive Oil with a Splash of White Wine Served Over Pasta–with salad & bread, $10.

Since the 15th is the third Thursday in May, its time for WSRep’s, Get Lit(erary)!  We will be commemorating the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the birthday of L Frank Baum. Stop in at 7 and stay awhile to hear our selections.

And then there’s the “other” Third Thursday–Downtown Crystal Lake Merchants invite you to their shops for a unique event every third Thursday this summer.  For LPM’s special event, we will be tasting three wines from 5pm until 630.  Stop in for a taste.

William Schmiel–Artist of the Month
This month’s art wall features the drawings of Bill Schmiel, also featured in the current issue of McHenry County Living.  Come in and see how he designed the set for Raue Center’s “Barefoot in the Park.”   Then move on to his concept drawings for several buildings from his “6 Flags” days.

May 31-Dinner by Deepika
One of our most popular dinners!  Dee will be preparing a chicken curry dinner for us.  Serving will begin at 5pm and continue til we run out!  Mark your calendars, ’cause this one doesn’t come around very often!

June 14-7pm-Wine Dinner 
Keogh Hepp and Heritage WInes will be hosting another wine dinner.  This one will feature wines from Argentina and foods from Britain.
We will be serving Beef Wellington as the entree and Summer Trifle for dessert.  I’m sure there will be some English cheeses in the mix as well!  The cost in $45. for food and wines.  Stay tuned as we fill in the details. Reservations are required.

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Mother’s Day

We are having a great WINE SALE this weekend.  Spring is finally here and we have too much red wine! And,it’s Mother’s Day, so we decided to put all our red & pink wines on sale at 25% off.  Buy a case and get 30% off! Beginning at 11am Thursday thru 3pm Sunday.
This Week’s Specials

Author M. E. May
Picked lots of asparagus and FIDDLEHEADS Wednesday to use in  tonight’s (5/8) Pasta Dinner beginning at 5pm.  Join us for a tasty spring meal of these lightly sauteed spring delicacies joined with fresh mushrooms, olive oil, herbs and a splash of white wine.
Then at 7pm, four local mystery writers will read from their latest works. M. E. May will be reading from Ensconced, the latest installment of her series. Fellow mystery authors, Gunter Kaesdorf (Buried Truth), Sue Myers (Deception), and newcomer E. M. Kaplan (The Bride Wore Dead) will be reading from their latest works, as well.
It all starts at 7:00 pm and books will be available for sale through Brains Snacks.

Friday we will be serving Haddock and Scallops either English-style with fries or grilled with fresh mixed vegetables sauteed in olive oil.

Saturday Bread & Breakfast–Enjoy a great breakfast or just some luscious pastries and pick up a loaf of fresh bread.  Choose from Sourdough Italian, Cranberry Walnut, French Country (whole wheat), Whole Grain, and more.  And don’t forget Mom–pick up some cookies, French macarons or other goodies–all made by us, FROM SCRATCH with all natural ingredients.

Mother’s Day Brunch
Beginning at 930 Sunday.  In addition to our Brunch Menu, we will be serving Fresh Berry Crepes flavored with Orange Blossom Liqueur and–back by popular demand–Scallops au Gratin.
Reservations recommended.

In the Neighborhood 
Closing Weekend of “Barefoot in the Park” at Raue Center

Perfect for Mother’s Day!! Paul and Corie Bratter are newlyweds in every sense of the word. He’s a straight-as-an-arrow lawyer and she’s a free spirit always looking for the latest kick. Their new apartment is her most recent find – too expensive with bad plumbing and in need of a paint job. After a six day honeymoon they get a surprise visit from Corie’s lo0py mother and decide to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor-in-the-attic Velasco, where everything that can go wrong, does. May 9 and 10 @ 8p; May 11 @ 3p
Tickets start at $25 


43 E. Crystal Lake Ave   815-444-9010

OPEN FOR GIFT CARD PURCHASE, Saturday 5/10. 9am-1pm
FREE 30 MIN MASSAGE WITH THE PURCHASE OF 60 MIN MASSAGE (purchase 60 min massage Gift Card, come in May to redeem it and receive additional 30 min massage FREE)

Check website for more specials!

Support Lupus and Downtown Crystal Lake 

Crystal Lake is going PURPLE for the month of May, in honor of Lupus Awareness Month. Make plans to come downtown on Saturday, May 10th (9am-4pm) to purchase flowers (a portion of the sale of purple blooms will be donated to the Lupus Foundation) and for the HUGE Lupus fundraiser! Visit our website: www.DowntownCL.org for additional information.
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