When faced with lemons—or many other fruits—the proprietors of Oh, Olive! don't contemplate lemonade. Instead, they envision freshly pressed batches of extra-virgin olive oil, such as their tangy Eureka-lemon variant. The family-run shops specialize in this flexible condiment and stock their shelves with estate-produced Delizia oils. Their catalog covers both plain and fused types with flavors that range from the spicy notes of chipotle peppers to the sweetness of blood oranges, a fitting complement to cuts of chicken and fish. They also vend balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy. Fruits feature heavily in the imported collection, which includes pomegranate, blackberry-ginger, and cinnamon-pear vinegars in addition to a dark-chocolate infusion and the 18-year balsamic—a traditional vinegar aged in oak barrels and given a high-school diploma.
Often, the staff members don't separate the acts of purchasing and cooking with their wares. They prefer to interact with customers and host tastings, classes, and contests to encourage innovative recipes. Amid more than 60 kinds of oil and vinegar, Oh, Olive! sells meal add-ons as well. Tiesta Tea produces soothing, toasty brews, and stuffed olives contain hidden servings of jalapeños, sharp cheddar, and asparagus.
WineStyles’ inspiration for its wine-tasting parties began, of all places, at a backyard barbecue. Some friends at the barbecue found themselves with too many bottles of wine. As an experiment, they decided to taste the wines blindly, so as not to be influenced by price or packaging. This impromptu tasting became the template for WineStyles, a boutique designed to help you choose a wine simply by taste. That is, wines here aren’t categorized by varietal or region, but instead by one of eight taste profiles: crisp, silky, rich, and bubbly for whites; fruity, mellow, bold, and nectar for reds. However, patrons interested in knowing more about their selected bottle can still do so—each bottle comes with a description of its characteristics and suggested food pairings.
Those looking to learn even more about wines can attend one of WineStyles’ weekly tastings or discovery classes. During these events, certified specialists explore everything from the history of different varietals to current trends in wine drinking, such as which wine goes best with texting. Different levels of wine-club membership give participants two to three bottles a month (each selected by a Masters Wine Panel), invitations to private tastings, and discounts toward additional purchases.
Since 1964, Scandinavian Ski and Snowboard Shop has been outfitting its Chicagoland clientele for wintertime adventures. In 2011, readers of the Daily Herald singled out the shop as being among the best in the area. Inside its warm, wood- and brick-walled space, customers can peruse boots, bindings, snowboards, and skis, as well as cold-weather attire from brands including Burton, Patagonia, Spyder, Arc’teryx, and more. Additional accessories such as goggles, gloves, stocking caps, and helmets keep outdoor explorers bundled up more securely than King Tut before lying down for a fateful afternoon nap.
FamilyVideo.com furnishes customers with a wide selection of new and used entertainments to feed ravenous DVD, Blu-ray, and gaming consoles. Bolster personal film caches with acclaimed romances from the bygone era of when men wore bonnets, such as Zorba the Greek ($10.99 DVD) and Howard the Duck ($10.99 DVD), or pick up a classic steal with the site’s Steal of the Day offer. New releases on DVD, including The Social Network ($16.99 new) and Inception ($6.99 used), act as shelf indicators of a contemporary cinema connoisseur and proud proponent of the talkie trend. The virtual aisles of FamilyVideo.com also boast an array of video games, including Xbox 360 offerings ($10.99+) and PS3 discs ($19.99+), and casual gamers can pick up Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy ($19.99) on Playstation 2.
Blake Standard's casual but on-trend swaddlings––which have earned praise from several publications such as Lucky magazine and Time Out Chicago ––outfit women in soft, beautifully hued garments, beguiling prints, and inimitable details. The three-quarter-sleeved Rachel jacket displays a single gold-colored button that shines like an over-achieving shoe polisher ($142), and the Baylee tee's pleated shoulders add a little drama to any casual ensemble ($82). Show off necklines in the Addison swing top ($92), or greet in-between seasons with the short-sleeved Sarah cropped trench ($142) that boasts a crossover lapel, a tie belt, and cuffed sleeves.
For more than a quarter-century, Merry Richards Jewelers' experienced gem gurus have helped patrons repair beloved baubles and add pizzazz to their soul vessels with a number of high-fashion ornaments including diamonds, pearls, and heirloom-quality watches. Snatch up elegant trinkets from designers such as Dolceoro (starting at $175) and Andréa Candela (starting at $200), who skillfully craft silver jewelry that sparkles brighter than a constellation made of neon beer signs. Lau International fashion jewelry gives wearers virtual access to catwalks and dogstands all around the globe (starting at $125), and dress-shirt sleeves looking to tame split, flat ends can find solace with a pair of classy cuff links (starting at $300).