Sweet Leaf Tea

>> Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I received an email a while back from my new friend Monica, at Sweet Leaf Teas about sending me some samples for their Citrus and Lemon Iced Teas. While I am not a huge iced tea fan, I did live a majority of my life in the South and understand what constitutes a good iced tea :) Upon receiving her email I immediately went to their website to do a little background research on the brand...

Wow! Being in the digital industry, websites are a huge deal for me and I was really impressed with theirs. Playful, yet clear navigation, led me throughout all the sections of the site and I learned all about their tea flavors and history. Yes, I'm a complete dork. I'll summarize the history very quickly: in 1998 Clayton decided that he wanted to make a tea like his Granny's (hence the bottle design) and by 2002 they had sold 10,000 at Austin City Limits (ironically this year at Lollapalooza was my first taste of Sweet Leaf). 

Anywayssss, my teas arrived and I was excited to dive in. I let the 100% organic citrus tea cool off in the fridge and then took my first sip. What I immediately notice was how incredibly refreshing it was AND there was zero aftertaste. A while back I tried the Lipton citrus teas and all I could think about was that horrific aftertaste like something died in the bottle. Ugh. Anyways, my point is this citrus tea had none of that. It was crisp, cool and refreshing! The Lemon tea was equally as refreshing, however if I had my pick I would definitely choose the citrus. 

If you see Sweet Leaf definitely give it a try, they have a ton of different flavors, less calories and more flavor  than soda. Best part is that they only use natural ingredients (none of this aspartame junk). If your aren't sure your store has Sweet Leaf use this handy dandy drink finder.  


Gapers Block

>> Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Well dear followers as you may have noticed I have dropped off blogging for a bit. Recently, I have started blogging for a Chicago food blog - Drive Thru. Drive Thru is the dedicated food section of the larger Gapers Block site, a  phenomenal resource for all of Chicagoland.  I am completely thrilled and honored to be apart of their team! It's a lot of work trying to balance both (which I am learning as I go), but I am so lucky to have this opportunity. So bare with me as I embark on this journey and check out Drive Thru! There's great stories, pictures, recipes everything you would want to know about Chicago and food :)


The Southern

>> Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To start last week off right, my cousin, co-worker and I headed over to Wicker Park to check out the unveiling of The Southern's new fall cocktails and free appetizers.

Being that it was a lovely fall night, I knew that several drinks were in order. Upon first glance at the menu I became very nervous. Here's a fun fact: I don't drink whiskey/bourbon. Haven't since 2005 and for good reason. The dark demon makes me mean and, oh, very drunk. Needless to say I try to avoid at all costs. However, there was something about this night that made me want to throw caution to the wind and say hi to my nemesis.

I figured if I am going to do this, I might as well start off with the most intimidating of all the whiskey drinks: The Souther Apple Pie. Sure the name is cute, but it's an oxymoron. This house infused apple pie bourbon is served neat in a snifter glass. Generally when a cocktail is presented, I drink it rather quickly. This would not be wise with the Southern Apple Pie. Definitely meant to be sipped on and enjoyed leisurely, the SAP was sweet and very fragrant. I am shocked to say this, but I really liked it! Despite the fact that I ordered it first, this is definitely an after-dinner drink. One that I will be  having again...

Beef Skewers
While I was sipping on my bourbon, the manager Evan, was passing by with a tray of appetizers. The first pass consisted of a beef skewer with a djion aioli. The meat was cooked perfectly and you can't go wrong with a slightly spicy mustard and combining it will a fatty mayo. You just can't. We only got one skewer and this was lucky as I definitely could have eaten them all.

Sassy Sasparilla
Next, we ordered the Sasparilla. Described as a "spicy root beer" this drink did not disappoint in the sass department. While I personally wouldn't describe the galliano, kahlua, cola, soda water, lime and rhubarb bitter drink as "spicy," it definitely had a lot of kick and flavor, begging me to question: where's the alcohol? Drinks like this are deliciously dangerous. Kind of like a classier long island ice tea, but much, much better.

And like clockwork, the second round of appetizers passed us by at the same time. Chef Cary Taylor apparently has some strong feelings about chicken wings and doesn't like their lack of meat. So he took the idea of a chicken wing and apply it to a drumstick. A drumstrick-wing if I may. I grabbed the largest drumstick they had and went to town. While I can appreciate dark meat, I am more of a white meat gal and found the drumstick slightly overwhelming. After one I swear I was kind of full (which is shocking). The flavor was great, but for someone like me who likes to nibble on a lot of different things it was just a tad too much. With all that being said: this is the perfect appetizers for the gents. Fact: guys love wings. Fact: guys will love these "wings."

Texas Mocha
By now we've been drinking and eating for a little over two hours and it's time to move on to another cocktail. To round out the evening we went with the Mississippi Milk and the Texas Mocha, both slightly more decadent drinks. The Mississippi Milk is a combination of house infused pecan vodka and oh-so-delicious cream. The pecan flavor came through along with the unmistakable slight burn of vodka. Again, this is a drink meant to be sipped. The cream was a lovely balance to the sharp vodka taste and the pecan flavor reminded me of my Texas days (the Pecan is the state tree!). Additionally, we also tried the Texas Mocha, a concoction of coffee, tequila, kahila mocha, grand marnier, and whipped cream. Tequila is another one of those liquors that has done me wrong in the past that I am not sure I can get over, but the combination of tequila with the  coffee and whipped cream was just delightful. I would happily end or start my day with this drink :)

Being southern and going to The Southern was a wonderful experience. The staff is incredibly patient and helpful. What I appreciated the most was the time and energy put into each drink and entrĂ©e. There is so much thought behind each drink and dish that you can taste the love put into it.

If you are over in Wicker Park definitely take the time to stop by and grab a drink and little bit to eat. Southern or not, everyone can appreciate good food.

The Southern
1840 West North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622



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