Friday, February 18, 2011

Ode to Lemon Tree Fans..

Who loved the Chicago blizzard we literally had 2 weeks ago? Maybe you had a day off work to drink a few 10 beers, made an amazing snowman (whom is now a puddle), or had fun shoveling out your parking space (which you decorated with your child-hood rocking chair in order to claim your spot) Then, how cold was it last week...20 below zero? So why am I wearing ONLY a long-sleeved shirt out today? huh...Oh we live in the Midwest I forgot;) Well, let's hope this sunshine is here to stay, and that nobody pissed the groundhog off enough to lie to our loving faces!

You all know what this means for Lemon Tree: closer to opening the patio up! Yes! Also, we have our newly opened cafe that everyone must experience. So, everyone wants to know when the winning name will be chosen: March 12th! You think it's going to be you who is $300 richer in Lemon Tree cash? Well, you will just have to wait until March 12th to find out!

This is a just the start to a great spring/summer/fall for Lemon Tree! You have all done a great job coming out of hibernation and supporting us all winter, and we truly do appreciate it. We'll continue to say it: we wouldn't be here without each an every one of you! We're lucky to have such a great town that continues to support us! Thank you Downers Grove!

Please, continue to share your opinions with us in the store, through Facebook, Twitter, and our blog! We want to know what YOU think we can do to improve YOUR experience. We also appreciate all the kind words, and have many more fun ideas for contests and giveaways coming in the near future.

On behalf of Lemon Tree; we hope the warmth is here to stay, and we hope to see you at the store soon!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day Special...

Who's ready for Valentine's Day this year? If you haven't a clue, and you have someone special in your life: you better get on it! If you answered yes to having the perfect Valentine's Day planned- do tell: heart-shaped chocolates (old news), cute Teddy Bears (maybe for your infant), or even a heart-shaped balloon? (I think I just gagged a bit)

Valentine's Day is all about what you make of it; so be creative. Now, what's more inventive than some heart-shaped meat? Not just any meat: Lamb Loin Chops!!! Not from just any grocer either: Lemon Tree baby. Oh, and how can I even forget that it's not just any meatress that will prepare you and your snookums for a day filled with juicy meat, and some even juicier...well you fill in the blanks there: MEAT MOLLY ya'll!

So, if you want to really WOW you're sweetie: get off your tush, and do something that takes a little thought, and of course- a lot of HEART;)

Here's Molly....Love is in the air (for some of us at least). I’ll try to keep my Valentine’s Day bitterness at bay. For those of you who are feeling the love this weekend- I have good news. I rustled up a sweet deal on some lamb loin chops for your sweetheart meal. Normally these lil lovelies go for around $14.99 lb. here at Lemon Tree. I’m chopping off a few bucks to help you out with your Valentine’s gift purchases. I’ll have them on sale at $11.99 lb. This gives you a few more dollars to spend on that diamond you’ve been eying for your snookie! (not the one on Jersey Shore of course)

Lamb loin chops are super easy to prepare. I made it for a date too with huge success! Hey, I’m the Meatress, I’m here to help so, here’s a link to a recipe I tried and loved:

So, here's where I get corny- The shapes of the chops lend themselves well to looking like a heart shape, if you place them with the fat sides facing the outside. Since Valentine's Day is all about being a romantic cheese ball; this should help in accomplishing this goal. Feel free to use these tactics, yet remember where you learned them- and please let me know how the night turned out (at least the part about the lamb chops: the rest you can keep to yourself because you shouldn't kiss & tell)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Greetings from the Cheese Monger....

So, it may be hard to talk about Cheese these days if you're a true Chicagoan and Bears fan. Yet, instead of boycotting it because we at no cost want to do the Cheese head's (dare I mention their name) any sort of favors than we already did; we should take this chance to demolish and devour all sorts of cheese. We need to show those Cheese head fans that we know there are more types of Cheese than Cheddar and American..(I know it's hard to believe, yet shockingly true)

Therefore, I'd like to introduce Stephanie Link from Lemon Tree; who is also known as: the Cheese Monger! Yep, that's right: she likes her name, and she's sticking to it. So, let Stephanie tell you about her cheese experience, and see if you can withhold yourself from falling in love with cheese all over again!

Here's Stephanie: I grew up in VERY southern Illinois, about 20 minutes from Paducah, KY. I graduated from high school there and briefly attended college at Murray State University. I then moved to St Louis, Mo. Then, in 2001 I moved to this area to be near family. I've worked in the food industry my entire life, I've been a roller skating carhop, a server, bartender, prep cook, hostess, manager pretty much everything.

About 5 years ago I decided to attend culinary school and after a bit of research I decided on the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. After school, I started working at Sam's wines and Spirits in the Gourmet Market. While working there I learned a LOT about cheese. I studied all of the different kinds of cheeses, where they come from, what pairs best with wine or beer or food. How to cook with it, How to make the perfect cheese plate. In the meantime I had taken a management job at a restaurant and wasn't too excited about working there.I found the Lemon Tree ad on Craigslist and the rest is history. Here at the Lemon Tree I'm trying to create a place where people can come to buy REALLY good cheese. We do lots of sampling, cheese and wine pairing, beer pairing, cheese plates.

Now for the reasons on why I love cheese so much: First, the reason I love cheese...It's fascinating. Like most people in the US, I grew up thinking cheese came in "singles" and made great sandwiches.When I started to learn about all the cheeses that are available, I was hooked. I'm a bit of a dork and wanted to learn all I could, I read books, did online research, I learned all I could about the cheese making process. I learned how cheese is made, what it's made of, how long it takes to make. Cheese is a living organism, there are so many steps in the process that have to go just right or it doesn't work.

Now, I want to share what I've learned, I want everybody to love cheese too, and there is something for everyone. Nearly every country in the world produces some sort of cheese. Cheese tastes good, it's nutrient dense, it helps build strong bones and teeth. You can eat it at any stage of a meal, from appetizer to dessert. There are a million reasons to eat cheese. What are some of the reasons you love cheese?