A Squared: My Favorite Things: Oh Olive!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Favorite Things: Oh Olive!

I have a new favorite place and it is called Oh Olive!

Alex and I were up in Lincoln Park the other day (on these City Walks #22 and #23) doing a little shopping and enjoying the nice weather when we decided to stop in here.  We both had so much fun playing here and chatting with the staff.  Oh Olive! is a fantastic little shop specializing in-- you guessed it-- olive oil.  They carry a huge variety of regional oils, flavored oils, and flavored vinegars too.  The oils and vinegars are available in these perfect little 60 mL sampler bottles so that you can experiment in the kitchen with a variety of flavor combinations and infusions.  I inherited my love of cooking from my mom, so I knew that a selection of vinegars and oils would be the perfect Mother's Day gift for her.

I felt a little overwhelmed by all of the flavors at first, but the staff was great and encouraged us to sample the products which they have out on the salesfloor in large dispensers.  They were also great with offering suggestions on how to incorporate each different product into your recipes.  For instance, I sampled an espresso-infused balsamic vinegar, which was really good, but had me scratching my head wondering how you'd actually use it.  The saleswoman suggested using it in a marinade or glaze for beef or to cook it down and use it as a syrup on ice cream.  Brilliant!  They were also serving samples of air popped popcorn with a totally vegan/dairy free butter-flavored olive oil. I don't know what they did to it, but it tasted just like buttered movie theater popcorn and is actually a really healthy at home alternative.

After much sampling, I decided on a combination of fun oils and vinegars for my mom including a maple balsamic, basil oil, and chipotle oil, among a few others.  I spoke with her this week and she already used the chipotle oil in a salad dressing, so I think it was a successful gift!

While I was busy sampling vinegars and oils, my husband was quietly wandering the back of the store stocking our basket with all sorts of other food products.  Oh Olive! also carries a variety of locally produced and specialty food products like salsas, sauces, loose leaf tea, and chocolate. Of course I found Alex picking out pastas from the selection of Rossi Pasta products. We ended up heading home with packages of citrus and spicy "deviled" angel hair pasta in addition to our own bottle of olive oil.

If you're looking for a unique gift for a food lover or if you're just a food enthusiast yourself (like me!), then stop into Oh Olive! After visiting their location at 904 W. Armitage in Lincoln Park, I was very excited to find out that they have a stall in the French Market near me in the West Loop.  Hurray!  They also have suburban stores in Libertyville and Glenview as well.

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