Sunday, November 30, 2008

recipe…3 sugar Palmiers

As I promised here is the recipe for:

Three-Sugar Palmiers (Palm Cookies)


1/2 cup each of Demerara, Azúcar Morena, and Sanding Sugars

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sheets puff pastry
(I made my own a day ahead this time, and refrigerated it overnight.
But I have used pre-made frozen puff pastry many times, with good results.)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the 3 sugars and kosher salt.

Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble.

Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry.

Make certain that the pastry has an even covering of sugar.

With a rolling pin, using even pressure, roll across the dough until the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry uniformly.

Now with the tips of your finger, roll the sides of the square toward the center until you have what looks like 2 side-by-side “jelly-roll” shapes that meet in the middle.

Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes for easier slicing.

Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat silicone mat.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes or until just caramelized and pale brown on the bottom.

Then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side.

*** Watch these cookies carefully as they can very easily burn…!

If you have an older oven as I do, or are unsure about how hot your oven runs, get an inexpensive internal oven thermometer at the hardware store.
I got one last year about for $5.00 USD.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

a tale of 3 sugars…

I was about to start baking Palmiers for Thanksgiving day and noticed that there was periously very little granulated sugar left in my cannister. Palmiers or Palm Leaf Cookies are made from Puff Pastry dough dough that is sprinkled with granulated sugar, folded or rolled and cut into thin strips.

I did have on hand ample amounts of Demerara, Azúcar Morena, and Sanding Sugar. Each of these sugars have different flavors and react slightly different to the heat of baking, but all are larger grained that than the common table or granulated sugar.

Demerara Sugar
Demerara is used as the generic name of a type of specialty raw cane sugar often used in home baking and in sweetening coffee and tea. Demerara is normally brown in color—the natural color of cane sugar.
Demerara has a coarse texture due to its large crystals. It takes its name from the Demerara colony in Guyana, the original source of this type of sugar, which is produced today mainly in Mauritius.
Demerara is a type of unrefined sugar with a large grain. Its colour is pale to golden yellow.
It comes from pressed sugar cane which is then steamed for the juice to form thick cane syrup. The syrup is dehydrated to form large golden brown crystals. As it is not refined much so it has a it is rich and creamy flavor and very crunchy texture.

Azúcar Morena Pure Cane Sugar
A granulized cane sugar common in Mexican regions that is processed into a fine textured sweetener. Slightly tannish-white in color, azúcar morena sugar provides a sweet caramel flavor when added to foods.

Sanding Sugar
Sanding Sugar has a grain slightly coarser than table sugar and is perfect for baking cookies because it does not melt like regular sugar.
It is also called pearl sugar or decorating sugar.
White sanding sugar is slightly silvery in color and "sparkles" because the sugar crystal grains are large and reflect light.

Armed with these three sugars I began the Palmiers, rolling the sugar mixture with a pinch of kosher salt into the Puff Pastry that I had made the night before. The layer of sugars looked like a sparkly fairyland with a soft sheen of the pale yellow Azúcar, the silver sparkle imparted by the Sanding sugar and the Demerara looking like zillions of tiny golden quartz crystals.

I made the Palmiers as usual, but as they baked, my house filled with an incredible aroma of caramel and vanilla.
The fragrance transported me immediately to my corner pâtisserie in Paris.

The taste of the Palmiers has also been transformed by use of the three sugars.
The wonderful part of eating Palmiers for me has always been that first incredible light and flaky bite with a gentle but satisfying crunch of the sugars. They were sweet, but I have to admit a bit bland.
These cookies had a bit crunchier mouth feel with the addition of the larger grains in this sugar combination, but it perfectly highlighted of the lightness puff pastry. They were also far more flavorful with soft and creamy buttery light caramel flavor with a slight vanilla back taste, and held the lovely fragrance that had perfumed my kitchen.

Clearly, the lack of granulated white sugar in my pantry forced me in discovering a new spin on a cookie that has been a favorite for years
all over the world.
Palmiers (palm cookie) recipe to follow tomorrow…

Thursday, November 27, 2008

giving thanks...

Many thanks to my faithful blog readers, supporters and brand new readers.
I very much appreciate that you have taken the time to look at my photographs and read what I have written over the past 3 months.

I appreciate your comments very much, they really keep be going.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you all...! ! !

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kitchen tip Tuesday…dicing through history…mirepoix

Most cooks know that mirepoix is the French name for the combination of onions, carrots and celery. In and effort to prepare ahead some of the ingredients for my Thanksgiving feast, I spent some time this morning chopping these three aromatics for the flavor base for some of my dishes.

A layer of these three humble vegetables, coarsely chopped and lightly sautéed in olive oil, is a perfect bed on which to roast my turkey. Chopped in a fine dice, used either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter or oil, you will find mirepoix in my Holiday dressing, sauces amd other side-dishes.

Traditionally, the ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots, but I vary that according to taste of the recipe.

As I washed, peeled and chopped this morning, I wondered why this tridium of veggies was called mirepoix and if it meant different things in other types of cuisines.

My Food Lover’s Companion explained that there are many similar combinations, both in and out of the French culinary repertoire. Other combos may include leeks, parsnips, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, bell peppers, chilies, and ginger.

For the combination mirepoix au gras or Matignon, lardons or bacon are used as additional ingredients. When a mirepoix is used for making a fond blanc or white base, parsnips or pale mushrooms are substitued for carrots in order to keep the creamy color of the resulting dish.
I use fond blanc with mushrooms for making my white chicken stock that I use in risotto for that very reason.

In Cajun cuisine, a mirepoix is called “The Trinity” and is a combination of onions, celery and sweet bell peppers.

Soffritto is made both in Spain and Italy with similar ingredients, of anise seeds sautéed in pork fat then the aromatics of onions, green peppers, garlic are added. Soffritto means sub-fried, so the ingredients simmer in an emulsion of oil and very little water until the mixture becomes thick.

A chef at a local Hispanic restaurant explained to me that he makes Soffrito (slightly different spelling) with red onions, tomatoes and a Goya brand seasoning called Sazon. Sazon Goya is a mixture of salt, garlic, cumin, coloring, coriander, annatto, oregano, turmeric, black pepper, and lemon or bitter orange. He uses this savory starter that is also called a mir pua (mirepoix) as a base for Latin dishes

The Catalan sofregit of olive oil, tomatoes, and slowly carmelized onions is present in almost every sauced and stewed dish.

The town of Mirepoix in the Languedoc region

Mirepoix derives its name as many other elements of French cuisine from the patron of the chef who established it. My Oxford Companion to Food states that the chef de cuisine of the duc de Lévis-Mirepoix established the sautéed three vegetables that served as a basis for his culinary art. Since the 11th century this tridium of vegetables honors his patron.

Lévis-Mirepoix of the Languedoc region was a maréchal de France and ambassador of Louis XV.
The famed 19th century publisher Pierre Larousse called duc de Mirepoix “an incompetent individual…who owed his fortune to the affection that Louis XV felt for his wife.” Sounds as though Larousse had a major case of sour-grapes because he never had a any culinary combination or dish named after him.

I imagine that I will never look at the simple combination of carrots, onions and celery in the same way again, but as finely diced bits of history.

Monday, November 24, 2008

holiday surprise

Today I received a package in the mail.
I did not order anything, nor did I enter a contest, but there it was…
A beautiful, shiny new Wüsthof offset cheese knife…

Did you hear that loud thunk a few hours ago?
Well that was my jaw dropping…!

This cheese knife features an acid-etched blade to prevent cheese from sticking to the side of the blade. It was gorgeous to see and felt like an extension of my hand.
I had to try it out right away…!
Wrapping papers and box scattered, I gave the knife a bath in hot soapy water and a good rinse.
I then pulled out every cheese I had in my chill chest drawer and sliced away.

It was damn perfect…!
Firm cheeses and soft cheeses were sliced thick and sliced thin with my hand on this magical instument with barely an effort.

What a stunningly beautiful knife that handles like a dream and does what it says it does…slice cheese.
And it slices cheese perfectly.

Well…whoever is my magic and very generous gourmet elf, merci mille fois…!
I will thank you whenever I slice a Manchego or a Morbier, a Brie or a blue,
a Camembert or a Chevrotin du Mont Cenis…
and my guests will give thanks you, too.
Happy gourmet holidays...!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

culinary pleasure: professional knife sharpening

"Get a knife that's balanced and weighted for you. There's no reason you shouldn't get fitted for a knife the way you get fitted for . . . a dress, a suit, or a pair of skis."
~ Tom Douglas, Seattle chef and restaurateur.

Nestled beneath the elevated train Green Line on Halsted and Lake Streets sits Northwestern Cutlery.
It has been rightly called "The Candy Store For Cooks".

This gem of a store is in a part of Chicago where restaurateurs used to do all their shopping for meat, fish and produce. Although it has an out-of-the-way location, it is easy to reach by the elevated train from most anywhere in the city and if you drive there, it has a super-convenient parking lot right next door.

I cannot think of a better recommendation for this store than that all of the restaurants, chefs, culinary students and meat markets in the surrounding west loop area come to Northwestern Cutlery for knife sharpening. Their prices are a bargain as they charge $3.50 for each knife.

I come here a few times a year to get my Le Cordon Bleu Wüsthof knifes expertly sharpened ”while I wait”. But for me, a consummate lover of all things related to food, I also come here to drool over and purchase a few of the very reasonably priced cookware, knives, kitchen gadgets and culinary supplies as often as my budget allows.

The carry a mind-blowing selection of the finest cutlery, at prices better than I have seen surfing the net for bargains.
The wide variety of knives includes Global, Henckels, Wüsthof, Mac, Shun, Masahiro, Kershaw Wasabi, and Messermeister. They also have a wall that is chock-full of colorful Victorinox Swiss Army knives.

They have the best prices on a great selection if cooks tools and other unique and often hard-to-find kitchen items (like fish spatulas and real crepe pans.)

I also found the best prices on my favorite, Le Creuset. I love the colorful enameled cast-iron cookware that comes from the foundry in Fresnoy-Le-Grand, France, since 1925.
This cookware has a worldwide reputation for its cooking excellence and the pieces are made to last a lifetime. They are safe for use in refrigerators and with all heat sources; gas, electric solid or radiant plates, vitroceramic glass, induction, and ranges fired by gas, oil, coal or wood.
I know where I am going to spend my “money from Santa” this year…

Northwestern Cutlery also supplies the culinary students at nearby Kendall College with their gear. They have a separate room for Chef Wear: chef jackets, shoes, pants, aprons, toques and hats.

When I arrived to have my Wüsthof knife-set sharpened there were several chefs and culinary students in line ahead of me. However, for a kitchen tool aficionado like me, there was so much to see so the 20-minute wait flew by in what seemed like seconds.
After my knives had their beauty treatment, I spent a great deal of time asking questions and talking to the very personable and very knowledgeable staff.

Eddie packing up my "babies" in their knive case after their beauty treatment and ready for Holiday slicing and dicing...

In particular, a man named Eddie, was more than helpful and very patient answering my questions on knife maintenance and care. He has worked at Northwestern for many years, assisting and educating customer and skillfully sharpening knifes for customers form celebrity chefs to humble home cooks like me.

He was also so kind to take out some of the most expensive knives in the store for me to photograph. Eddie gave me a bit of history about how and where each knife was forged and manufactured. These knives were gorgeous works of art, hand-crafted artifacts form another era but yet right here in front of me.

This kind of customer service and attention is rare today and was very welcoming and welcomed. I know from past experience and from local chefs that this is the norm at Northwestern Cutlery.

If you think Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table is a cook's mecca, here is a place where you can shop along side people who cook for a living and know where to find value and quality.

If you live in the Chicagoland area or planning a trip here soon and are crazy about food and kitchen tools, Northwestern Cutlery is well worth a visit. It is a great place to find a gift or a stocking-stuffer for the foodies on your Holiday gift list.
For those of you that live elsewhere in the foodie universe, they also have a marvelous website so you can visit from the comfort of your home.

Northwestern Cutlery
810 W Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 421-3666

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

kitchen tip Tuesday…a sharp knife is a safe knife

Your knife should always be sharp.

But when faced with a dull knife, use the portion of the blade that is closest to the handle. This part of the blade sees less use, it will be much sharper than the mid-portion of the blade that that gets a workout everyday. A small tip to help you work smarter and safer.

But as soon as you can, especially with the upcoming holiday season, when we foodie people cook to excess, do your self a favor and get your knives professionally sharpened…
a sharp knife is a safe knife...

It may seem like an excess expenditure in these days where everything seems to cost more, but it makes your work easier and much safer. And it saves time...more time to spend with your family and friends and less time spent in the Emergency Room.
Dull knives are the greatest danger in the kitchen.

my babies after their "beauty treatment"

Kitchen rant…
I was watching one of my favorite cooks on TV produce a complex recipe and she scraped the ingredients that she had just julienned with the blade end of her knife…screech…………..


She was using a beautiful and very expensive knife.
But I imagine on TV you can do that to your knives…sigh….
But in my world, in my small kitchen, that would be a major faux pas and mortal sin of the highest degree.

Bonus kitchen tip:
After slicing and dicing whatever you need to cut for your recipe, turn your knife over and use the knife’s spine side of the blade to scrape your cutting board into the vessel that is awaiting the ingredients.
Naturally, your knife will stay sharper and be safer much longer.

I imagine for me, this kitchen tip goes back to a basic premise.
As I strive to become a better cook with each dish that I do, as I try to learn to cook wonderful and tasty dishes, the bonus has been that I have learned to respect my ingredients.
In the process, I have also learned to respect and take very good care of my tool.

These are the very same tools that get my food to…the yummy and the "this tastes marvelous"
and the general chorus of "mmmmm's..." heard all around the table…!

My next post will be a field trip to Northwestern Cutlery, a Chicago culinary mecca and my friendly neighborhood professional knife sharpener.

Do not miss it…!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

kitchen tip Tuesday…faux buttermilk

Today was a very cold day.

A very cold and miserable day compared to last weeks temperatures of 70+ degrees.
Rain and sleet came down all day on the frosted covered grass dotted with red and yellow leaves. I could see my breath above the layers of scarves around my neck.
Yes, it is the season for this change in weather, but I am still not ready for it.

I wanted to make something in the oven for my guest from Berkeley, California for dinner and to warm the house a bit more as she is not used to these chilly Midwestern temperatures.

I had purchased a beautiful free-range chicken from my butcher this morning and Country Buttermilk Oven-fried Chicken came to mind. But, horrors…I had forgotten to replenish my buttermilk supply.

Then I remembered a little kitchen tip that my mother used for her baking when she did not have buttermilk on hand. Buttermilk is wonderful for baking as it produces a light texture and crumb in baked goods.

She made her own substitute for buttermilk using the ratio of one cup of whole milk to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or white vinegar).
Let the milk/lemon juice mixture stand on the counter for 5-10 minutes and...
there you go…buttermilk.

Merci maman…

I know, it sounds like a no-brainer, but I would have not thought of it out of hand.

The Country Buttermilk Oven-fried Chicken marinated in the
faux buttermilk came out moist, tender and juicy and full of flavor.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

gourmet surprise

I received a wonderful surprise in my mail this week…!

Each day (or as I remember), I enter a cookbook sweepstakes at Gourmet Magazine Cookbook Club. There I enter to win a Gourmet Cookbook Club selection of the month. There's a new winner every day, so you can come back and enter each day...
and I finally won a cookbook...! ! !

The book that I won was the cookbook for the month of October, The Art and Soul of Baking. It took me very little time to discover what a very informative and beautiful baking guide that I now owned. (In addition, the book was autographed by the author…!)

The author of my new book was Chez Panisse alum, Cindy Mushet. She has been a Pastry Chef and teacher for 20 years and has put her best tips, tricks and techniques in this book.

Her recipes strike just the right balance and her writing style is quite engaging and never intimidating. There are new takes on old recipes, but the recipes are approached with simplicity. The recipes are broken down into sections in a very appealing and easy to follow graphic layout.
The two colors on each page, text selection and colors make this large 454 page tome a pleasure to use. It also opens and lies flat for easy reading as your are working on a recipe.

I also appreciated the many sidebars "what the pros know”, equipment lists, and getting make-ahead tips for each recipe.
It gave me a feeling of empowerment, and made me feel that I could confidently tackle each recipe. They were also interesting reading when I was just perusing the book, stating what recipes freeze well or what steps of the recipe could be done in advance.

And for those of us who love to photograph food and look at superb food photography…this book is a must have for insipration. The stunning images of Maren Caruso take you into the kitchen to see beautiful vignettes that would not capture the attention of most. For me, the images of flour being sifted, the layers of a banana crème pie, a collage of pans, silpat whisks eggshells, knives, spoons and spatulas after a hard day baking were so captivating, I was in awe and definitaely inspired.

If you love to bake and want to refine your skills, or are like me, a green novice that needs all the help they can get, or just love beautiful food photography in a well crafted text that feels good in your hands, this book is worth a look.

This is the time of year that baking warms our homes and hearts, and this book provides ample inspiration.
Splurge on yourself and get a copy of this book to help with your Holiday baking.
It will inspire you to bake something new for friends and family.
Or perhaps put it on your Christmas list and hope Santa will put it in your stocking for a new year of baking joy. This is a book that is a must-have in the library of every baker; those with many years of experience or the green beginner.

This green beginner baker was so glad to welcome this book to my humble library.
I hope that I will have many future posts on the recipes that I have tried from this book.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

North Pond Restaurant (part two)…the chef and the food

When I last left you dear readers, I was sitting contentedly near the fire in warm and autumnal atmosphere of the Arts and Crafts-style interior of the nationally recognized 3-star restaurant, North Pond. My friends and I were enjoying the vintage travel posters, quotes from Thoreau and Chaucer; the stunning views of the gold and red foliage in Lincoln Park, the flock of mallards that were playing in the sapphire-hued pond that reflected the Chicago skyline beyond.

I was elated to have been seated in this cozy nook where I would have a clear view of activities in the open kitchen. From my comfy oak Arts and Crafts chair, I was able to view the busy prep and line cooks and Chef Bruce Sherman at the pass where he meticulously checked each plate before it was served to diners.

the chef

Chef Bruce Sherman's Seasonal American cooking is a style that makes the most of organic and locally sourced ingredients. He integrates seasonality into its menu, but in a modest way. The Chef a member of the board of the Green City Market and has a strong commitment to environmentalism and local foods. In that respect, North Pond is easily closest thing to Chez Panisse in philosophy in Chicago.

In 2003 Sherman was named one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine Magazine. He has received multiple Best Chef pf the Great Lakes nominations from the James Beard Foundation, including one this year.

But instead of telling you what I know about Chef Bruce Sherman and North Pond,I will let him tell you about his food and the restaurant himself:

the food

The menu at North Pond manages to be interesting and exceptionally delicious without pulling any culinary slight of hand. After much deliberation, our party of three decided to choose the Five Course Seasonal Tasting Menu. After consulting our server, I choose a red and a white wine that would compliment all the courses.

The wine list of 100 or so selections focuses on boutique vintners.
The red I selected was a Pinot Noir, 2006 Cristom "Mt. Jefferson Cuvée” from Willamette Valley, Oregon. For the white wine, in honor of my friend with Alsatian roots, I chose a Albert Dirler, Grand Cru, Muscat from Alsace, France.

Crab / FennelChilled Stone Crab Claw, Fennel-Apple Salad, Smoked Caviar, Crab salad Profiterole

Intermezzo I
Prosciutto / Grape
Shaved Acorn Prosciutto, Root Vegetable Sformato, topped with Shaved Black Truffle, Concord Grape Preserve, Jupiter Grapes. Pea Shoots, Shaved Fennel, Parmesan Tuiles

Prawns / BeetSautéed Sweet Prawns, Candied Beets, French Heirloom Squash Puree, Pistachios, Parmesan

Ricotta / Pear
Sheep's Milk Ricotta Bosc Pear Raviolo, Smoked Bacon-Shell Bean Puree, Rosemary, Pickled Pears

Intermezzo II
Grape / Lemon
Concord Grape Sorbet, Lemon Verbena Gelée, Jupiter Grapes

Lamb / Carrot
Herbed Stuffed Saddle Medallion, Roasted Baby Carrot, Sweetbreads, Ginger-Carrot Reduction

Chocolate / Hazelnut
Gianduja Mousse Dome, Apricot Jam and Gelée, Malted Milk Ice Cream, Candied Nuts

(I learned form the Chef that Gianduja is a sweet chocolate containing about 50% hazelnut paste. It takes its name from gianduja, a Carnival marionette character who represents the Piedmontese Italian region where hazelnut confectionery is common. A related product is Nutella.)

Chocolate Crunch and Pear Gelée Squares
Chiogga Beet Seeds to take home and plant.

Rather that comment on each individual course, I want to comment on the presentation and flavors of Chef Sherman’s culinary point of view.
His inspiration is clearly the changes in the seasons. And that inspiration translates to something that the diner not only tastes and smells, but imbues you with a sense of the season.

Everything that we ate was simple…simply beautiful and delicious.

The dishes were prepared in such a way that the flavors in each did not mask or convolute the pure flavors of the ingredients. The flavors of the fresh seasonal products in the individual courses were complimented by the sauces and the vegetables. The combinations of ingredients really shine and each stands out on their own for what they really are.

Each course was comprised of several small bites.
I believe that the chef was using the ”law of diminished return” where the more that you have of something, the less you like it.

You finished each dish feeling that you wanted just ONE MORE bite.

I hope that you will have the opportunity to experience this restaurant.
I am certain that it wonderfully changes in every season to delight you.

I am looking forward to dining here by the fire as the snow swirls outside and tasting winter…
And in the spring when the whole park is alive in blossoms and be fed on new pale sweet green flavors…
And on a sweltering summer night, I want to sit on the terrace, sip a sparkling drink, catching the breezes off the pond as rich summer aromas hang in the air.
I image by now that you can tell that I am quite smitten with this restaurant for all seasons.

2610 North Cannon Drive ~ Chicago ~ 773 477.5845
Valet parking on Lakeview and Deming.

Tip: Make a reservation for an early dinner on a weekday or for the amazing menu of the Sunday Brunch from 10:30 am - 1:30 pm.
After the Sunday Brunch at North Pond, you are an easy stroll to the Caldwell Lily Pond, Peggy Notebart Nature Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo to work off all the delicious calories.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I will be away from the blog tomorrow as I will be volunteering at my local polling place. It will be exciting to view the process first hand from the inside.

Whoever is the candidate of your choice, stop thinking about it...

do. it.

Go out and vote as it is your right and privledge...!

Take advantage of your right...

be heard...


Saturday, November 1, 2008

North Pond Restaurant…(part one) architecture

The space within becomes the reality of the building. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Earlier this evening, I was very fortunate to dine at Chef Bruce Sherman’s North Pond Restaurant. I had snagged a coveted reservation for today back in July and I wanted to report that my long wait was well rewarded.

It was not just a meal, but a total dining experience...!

From where I dropped my auto with the valet on Lakeview and Deming, the North Pond Restaurant was an easy walk under a beautiful rustic stone bridge into Lincoln Park. Along the path to the restaurant I was greeted with a riot of red and gold foliage circling a calm grey-blue pond alive with the colorful mallard ducks cavorting and calling to one another in the sunset. The scene was as welcoming and engaging as the warm lights and inviting aromas from inside the stunning restaurant set into the soft curve of the hill.

The warm and inviting restaurant structure appears as part of the landscape of the park.
It is a perfect place to enjoy a stunning view of the city over the pond, but was exceptionally beautiful this autumnal evening. My first view of the restaurant brought to mind a quote form Frank Lloyd Wright that he designed his structures and interiors to reflect the warmth of a “perennial autumn”.

The structure that houses North Pond was originally built in 1912 as a warming shelter for ice skaters. When Lincoln Park pond no longer froze in the winter, the Chicago Park District converted the building to a to a storage facility. During the 1970’s and 1980’s the building served as a concession stand for the park.

In 1998, North Pond Cafe opened. The interior was designed Nancy Warren featuring a classic Arts and Crafts motif. The new kitchen and dining room design was incorporated the original brick structure. In 2002 this same designer oversaw the enclosure of the outdoor patio and new fireplace and bar.
The restaurant re-opened as North Pond Restaurant in May of 2002.

The key elements of Arts and Crafts architecture in America were focused on craft, the use of local materials as close as possible to their natural with the design that reflected the surrounding environment. This design philosophy is evident in the Fond du Lac stone in the chimney and fireplace, and original wood and metalwork that produces a harmonious profile of the restaurant’s structure that is built into the side of a hill.

The culinary point of view of North Pond restaurant holds true to the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts ideals. The chef and his staff support local farmers and producers. In the North Pond kitchen these products are treated with respect and the path from the earth to the plate is clearly evident in the delicious food that is served here.

Next post, the chef and the food…