Some Summer Cheese for your Wine

I’m not reaching too far to come up with today’s post – it’s what we enjoyed last night. Jeff & I have friends in from out of town (with more coming) to enjoy some Cubs games. Two friends, Deb and Donna, arrived last night and since Deb lives near a fantastic farmers market in Michigan, she brought a bounty of fresh fruits and veggies (and home made bread from her friend Alice) for us to enjoy. Jeff and I stopped by Sam’s Wine to pick up some cheeses and wine to accompany the spread.

We selected our wine after attending a sauvignon blanc tasting at Sam’s a couple of weeks ago. After the tasting (and subsequent recovery), I declared Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice by favorite of the night (Jeff loved it, too). If you enjoy a fruity sauvignon blanc with a lot of juicy flavor, you’re sure to enjoy this wine, too!

As for the cheese, we simply guessed. We bought a tasty cheddar and a jack with chives from the cheese case. The only pre-packaged cheese, though, was the hit of the evening. We easily polished off the Moondarra honey pistachio cheese on the home made french bread – YUM! Jeff & I randomly chose the honey pistachio flavor but now I’m excited to try some of the other flavors, like fig and walnut (I don’t like figs but my mom makes a yummy cheese spread with figs so I guess I like them with cheese!) and mango and melon, that Sam’s carries. BTW – for the out of towners – you can order both the wine and the cheese from Sam’s Wines – just click here for the Sam’s site.

Now that we’re in full-on summer, consider the Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice and the Moondarra honey pistachio cheese for your next outdoor picnic or rooftop gathering.

Now I want to hear from you – what are your favorite summer wines and cheeses? Add them to the comments section and I’ll post them all together next week!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!


More Weekend Fun

Summer in Chicago doesn’t officially start for a few weeks but the first of the summer festivals takes place this weekend – Mayfest. Personally, I’m not a fan of Mayfest but if you have a jonesing for a fest, then there you go!

Tomorrow (Friday) there are two really fun events. The first, Manifest, takes place downtown (kick off is at 640 S. Wabash and the fest extends south on Wabash to Congress) and celebrates the fantastic local Columbia College artists. Check out visual artworks, see performances and don’t miss “the next big thing” on the music stage. For a map, click here.

Jeff & I are hitting the second Friday event – The Goose Island Summertime Shuffle. The pub crawl begins at 6PM at The Globe Pub on Irving Park and continues throughout Lincoln Square. We figure it’s a good way to check out the places in our own backyard. Join us!

If you’re feeling more sporty or you need to recover from Manifest or the Summertime Shuffle, then hit the Self Magazine Workout in the Park (Butler Field in Grant Park) and get your booty kicked by Jillian from “The Biggest Loser.” Tickets are $15 but you do get 4 hours of working out (if you’re up for it – me, not so much) and a year-long subscription to Self magazine.

Finally, and I’m personally very excited about this one, the Modern Wing at the Art Institute opens on Saturday. From the outside, the building is beautiful and I can’t wait to see the interior. Plus, this whole week admission (regularly $18) is FREE!!!! Don’t miss this one!!! Oh, and bring a can or two of food – the Art Institute is holding a food drive in conjunction with the opening.

And PLEASE send me some outdoor dining suggestions! Thanks to those who have sent/posted and I’m waiting to hear from more of you!!!

You Can Actually Drink Summer!

Sorry for the delay everyone. I had an eye doctor appointment and, as a result, I spent most of the afternoon with my eyes dilated and unable to see much on the computer. But, now I’m back and it’s time for a beer – specifically, a Leine Summer Shandy.

I have my brother-in-law, Brian, to thank for my new summer drink. Last summer he visited us in California and raved about the Summer Shandy. Jeff and I spent the rest of the summer on the search for the elusive beer in SoCal. Once we returned to Chicago, in February, we searched again – and again no luck. Then Cubs Opening Day (yes, it’s capitalized on purpose – it’s a holiday at our house), we spotted it in the bar – the Summer Shandy season had begun! Leine Summer Shandy mixes wheat beer with lemonade (the Leinenkugel site has a much more elaborate description) for what tastes like summer in a bottle!

We have since learned that Summer Shandy is only available from April – August. Supposedly it is sold nation-wide but we never saw it in SoCal – let me know if you find it outside of the Midwest.

For those who can’t find it, I wanted to supply a recipe to make your own. In searching for a recipe, I came across what may be the history of the Shandy, aka the Radler, on The Splendid Table Web site (The Splendid Table is on Minnesota Public Radio and I loved listening to it when I lived in the Twin Cities. Lynne Rossetto Kasper is over the top in her love of food – in a good way).

Here’s Lynne’s take on how this yummy beverage came to be: The story goes like this: in 1922, an innkeeper in Bavaria didn’t have enough beer to accommodate the bicyclists and other guests, so he cut the beer with lemon-lime soda and it was a hit. He named it “radler,” which means “cyclist.”

And here’s the Shandy recipe from Epicurious:

Lemon Shandy:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • four 3-inch strips lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs
  • chilled beer, such as pale ale

In a small saucepan bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and stir in zest. Cool sugar syrup to room temperature. Transfer syrup to a small pitcher and stir in remaining 2 cups water, lemon juice, and mint. Chill lemonade until cold. (Makes about 4 1/2 cups lemonade.). Pour 1/4 cup lemonade, or to taste, into each of 4 chilled beer glasses and top off with beer.

Or, the easy-peasey way to do this – mix 1/2 a can of light or wheat beer with 1/2 a can of lemon-lime soda and splash of lemonade.


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