Friday, September 6, 2013

Old Town Oil and Spice House

Last Wednesday I went to a really cool event called "Olive Oil, Spices and Wine, Oh My!" hosted by Brooke Schantz of Bitchin' Nutrition. She is a registered dietician and president of the Chicago Dietetic Association, so she puts on events like this to provide networking for dietitians, bloggers, and foodies. I actually heard about Brooke from Linda Samuels, the sports nutritionist that spoke at the NTC LP marathon crew team huddle at Centered Chef (blog post).

We started of the evening at Old Town Oil. I was late because of work/commuting so I missed their presentation but I still had a chance to try some of their infused olive oils and vinegars. You can just go around the store and taste everything they make. I really liked the chocolate balsamic vinegar but ended up choosing the oregano olive oil for my complimentary gift to take home (the entire event was $40).

We then moved on to Spice House right next door on Wells St. The couple that owns the store gave us a presentation and I loved how they had a map to show us where the spices were from. We learned a lot about different types of pepper, cinnamon, and salt, and the role of the spice trade in history. It was a really interesting presentation! I seriously just want to go in there again to learn more about spices.

The owners also talked about the health benefit of some spices. Dr. Oz is really big into recommending spices for different remedies and weight loss solutions. Spice House said that they sometimes have an abnormal amount of people asking for a certain spice and then figure out that it was featured on Dr. Oz. I believe in any natural remedy so I do use a lot of good spices in my cinnamon in my morning smoothie to control blood sugar or turmeric for anti-aging.

We also got to taste lots of different spices. The most interesting one was Sansho Pepper. It was like nothing I've ever tasted and left my mouth tingling for a few minutes. I'm really curious as to how they use it in recipes.

Then, we got to pick out a free spice and a got a discount on the whole store. So, I picked out the three above. The Sunny Spain is a salt-free lemon pepper that has quite a kick to it. Taco seasoning always comes in handy, and I go the BBQ seasoning for Ryan. I'm definitely going back to Spice House again to learn more about spices and get some interesting blends.

The group then went to O'Brien's to chat and drink wine. I met some wonderful women in the health industry and some bloggers. I can't wait to go to more events like this and thanks to Brook for hosting!

What is your favorite spice?

Do you buy expensive high-quality olive oil and vinegar?


  1. I didn't know that cinnamon controls blood sugar levels! Now that it's (almost) fall cinnamon is going to be everywhere - yay! haha!

    The chocolate infused oil sounds interesting - but where would you use it? :)
    Great post!
    xoxo, BerryBloomXO

  2. Cinnamon is good for you but it's often associated with bad foods (like sugar). I think you could use the chocolate balsamic vinegar in some interesting sweets or maybe a dressing recipe? I'll ask when I make a trip back there!


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