Posted by: Kath Usitalo | April 11, 2011

Road Food Report: Cheese And Charcuterie In Chicago

A sampling of the cheese selection at Pastoral

After a few drizzly and chilly days in Chicago the sun made an appearance just as our conference program ended on Saturday afternoon, and I hit the streets along with a gazillion folks strolling Michigan Avenue and hanging out at Millennium Park.

On my walk I came across a little escape from the crowded sidewalks, a quiet European-style cafe/market named Pastoral.

The charming shop specializes in artisan cheese, wine, freshly baked bread and handmade sausages. There’s an olive bar that invites sampling, and special products like small-batch preserves, honey and sweets.

You can pick up picnic fixin’s or have a seat at one of the handful of tables and enjoy a made-to-order sandwich. I opted for the BLTA, which features house-made prosciutto, tomato, avocado and greens on a baguette. Delish.

Bryan Bland and Jennifer Heaton at Pastoral

And it was fun to chat with the folks behind the counter: two former Michiganians, Bryan Bland of Ann Arbor and Jennifer Heaton, who lived in Detroit.

They may have put the Great Lakes State in their rear view mirrors, but at least they have the good taste to work at Pastoral.

Note: Pastoral has three locations, in the Loop, Lakeview, and at the Chicago French Market.

The Loop spot, at 53 E. Lake Street, is perfect for taking out a quick, quality meal to enjoy while people-watching at Millennium Park.

Check out the Pastoral blog for good information on cheese, including wine pairing tips.

Visitor Info Click: Explore Chicago

Note: I’m beginning to bust out of Michigan, THE Great Lakes State, to explore and occasionally share stories from the other states (Illinois, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Pennsylvania) plus Ontario, that touch the freshwater seas.

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