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RISE AND DINE Best spots for brunch and bloody marys



The worlds most perfectly cut diamonds

Diamonds for all occasions

230 West State Street | Geneva, Illinois | 630.232.2085 M-F 10-6; TH 10-8; Sat 10-5; Sun 11-4



8 BRUNCH The brighter side of breakfast

28 TO ITALY AND BEYOND TRAVEL Isacco’s Kitchen creates 43 THE GLASS-HALFworldly dishes in cozy St. FULL GUY: Charles kitchen Simply delicious

12 B.Y.O.B. Fox Valley restaurants, tap rooms allow patrons to bring their own food or beverage

30 SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN The Market at Gracious Hall seeks to connect community to food

14 SUGAR, SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE The Sugar Path’s smallbatch, seasonal treats hit the sweet spot

32 FARM-FRESH FINE DINING Chef Kevin Gillespie of Atwater’s wields locally sourced, seasonal fare

16 THE MUG CLUB Lodi Tap House in Maple Park gets crafty with beer club membership



The Sugar Path’s smallbatch, seasonal treats hit the sweet spot Photos by Missy Donovan



46 JOINT DECISION Carpenter Frank Zafir regains quality of life after shoulder replacement surgeries

20 FOODIE FAMILY For chef Grant Werner of Alexander’s Café, meal time brings people together

34 A GENEVA GEM OUT & ABOUT Falmouth Road jewelry 48 HOIST A STEIN boutique offers For Batavia Oktoberfest! handcrafted, one-of-a-kind 50 WINE DOWN finds At Geneva’s 36th annual 36 WEARABLE ART Festival of the Vine Fine Line to host 31st 53 SEASONAL annual Uncommon SHOWCASE Threads fashion show Hickory Knolls Discovery HOME & LIFESTYLE Center to host ‘Tree38 MADE FOR SHADE mendous Thursday’ fall Try these unique trees programs (without a shadow of a 54 BOOK NOOK doubt!) Sweet and savory reads to

22 DELI-CIOUS! Deane’s Market and Deli – where fresh, handcrafted fare meets convenience

40 SEASONAL SHARING Wine and dine your guests with recipes by Blue Goose Market

24 MENU MAKEOVER Burgers, bloody mary soup among the many new items at Abby’s


18 TAPPING INTO SOMETHING SPECIAL From award-winning ribs to sushi-grade seafood, Stockholm’s is more than a microbrewery


44 EPICUREAN ADVENTURES The best fall food fests in the Midwest

26 VIVA SALSA VERDE From dishwasher to chef, Audel Arechiga turns daydreams into reality in the kitchen of his family’s Mexican restaurant

42 TAKING A STAND Social worker Kristen Kauke uses yoga to champion mental health awareness efforts

sink your teeth into 55 SOCIAL LIFE Chicago Chi.ill “trop-rock” music festival a poolside party with a purpose 56 CALENDAR See what’s happening in Kane County this month! 58 ARTIST SHOWCASE St. Charles artist Carol J. Sluski shares “Causation”

Lung Cancer Screening at CDI EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES. More people in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. In fact, most people discover lung cancer when it is too late. Now, there’s an exam that can help detect lung cancer at its earliest stage, when it’s most treatable.



1416 S. Randall Road, Suite 180 Geneva, IL 60134 P: 630.208.9325

4 Cedar Ridge Drive, Suite D Lake in the Hills, IL 60156 P: 847.458.6736

Editor's Note September’s food and wine issue is always a fun edition to put together, especially in Kane County, as it’s rife with quality restaurants, cafes and bars. I may be biased, but the food and drink scene in the Tri-Cities is one of the best in all of the Chicago suburbs. We have the privilege of having nearly every kind of food at our fingertips, and we believe in small and local business, encourage innovation and are open to trying new flavors and dining concepts. There is much to explore in this area, and it seems that there are always new places popping up, just waiting to be discovered. Just like you, I have my favorite spots. But I always love using a celebration, birthday, visiting guest, girls’ night out, happy hour … it’s a Tuesday … it’s a Wednesday … to try a new place.

it’s stressful; and when it’s successful, it’s stressful. But these are passionate people who put their fears aside in order to turn their dreams of owning a restaurant, a bar, a cafe into a reality. To be able to do something well once is hard enough, to be able to do something consistently good seems even more unlikely, yet – day in and day out – these chefs and cooks manage to wield consistently delicious dishes out of their kitchens, helping to cement the Tri-Cities as a formidable dining destination in the Chicago area.

Published by Shaw Media 333 N. Randall Road, Suite 2 St. Charles, IL 60174 Phone: 630-845-5288

Thanks for reading,

Kara Silva, Editor

I have always had a lot of respect for restaurateurs and chefs. It’s a huge risk to open a restaurant, and when it fails,

DIRECTOR OF NICHE PUBLISHING Laura Shaw 630-427-6213 EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209 DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253

on the

COVER Brunch seems to have exploded in popularity in recent years. As the number of local restaurants now offering breakfast fare (at least on the weekend) rises, so does the challenge in deciding where to go. Find out the best spots for brunch and bloody marys, on Page 8. Cover photo by Sandy Bressner taken at Alexander’s Café in St. Charles Photo provided by Barrel + Rye in Geneva


ACCOUNT MANAGERS Sandra Petti 630-313-0251 Tricia Walter 630-845-5272 CORRESPONDENTS Kelsey O’Connor, Kevin Druley, Jonathan Bilyk, Allison Horne, Peter Stadalsky, Allison Manley, Melissa Riske, Elizabeth Czapski, Yvonne Benson, Vicki Deane PHOTOGRAPHERS Missy Donovan, Ron McKinney

Kane County Magazine is available by subscription for $24 a year. If you would like each month’s edition mailed to your home, send payment information and address to Kane County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at

Get your Tickets NOW! Sunday, O October ctober 15 at Q Cente er - St. Charles Presented by and benefitin benefiting Fine Line Creative Arts Center of St. Charles. See on ne e-o of-a-kind a kind pieces from artists living locally lo to across the country Support the a arts in your community Tickets available online at Or byy phone p 63 30-58 84-9443

Fine Line Creative Arts Center | 37W570 Bolcum Rd | St. Ch harles, IL 60175 || 630-584-9443

BRUNCH It’s the brighter side of breakfast By KELSEY O’CONNOR

On weekdays, most of us are lucky if we can wolf down a bite to eat before rushing out the door. Breakfast might be a banana in the car or a container of yogurt at your desk. But the weekends are a different story. That’s when breakfast turns into brunch.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best local brunch spots in the Tri-Cities:

p Abby’s Breakfast & Lunch A recent expansion has doubled the size of this cheery and cozy eatery. The focus is on fresh, home-style cooking, which translate particularly well to their breakfast menu. Eclectic options range from sweet and savory to everything in between. Order the Mexican chorizo benedict, an English muffin piled high with chorizo, two poached eggs, and avocado, all topped with Abby’s salsa verde sauce. BRUNCH HOURS: Every day from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 11 N. 3rd St., St. Charles 630-377-0797

A proper brunch is a chance to catch up with friends over a long, lingering meal of sweet and savory dishes (and maybe a cocktail or two). And as brunch has exploded in popularity in recent years, the number of places to enjoy it has risen along with it.



¢ Nobel House

p McNally’s Traditional Irish Pub There aren’t many places you can get your breakfast with a pint of Guinness poured right. McNally’s excels at all things Irish, including a simple but delicious brunch menu. For a traditional Irish breakfast, get The Mini Monty. It’s a hearty spread that includes two eggs over easy, rashers (bacon), bangers (sausage), Irish beans, charred tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms and toast. Or try the corned beef hash that comes with braised corned beef and potatoes, and a two-egg topper.

Nobel House focuses on eclectic American fare with an emphasis on seafood and smoked meats. It doesn’t hold back with its brunch menu, serving up plenty carnivore-centric dishes. Try the Lighthouse, a three-egg omelet stuffed with smoked salmon, sun-dried tomato, capers, spinach and goat cheese. Or go for the burnt-end skillet, filled with breakfast potatoes, pepperonion medley and two eggs. BRUNCH HOURS: Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 305 W. State St., Geneva 630-402-0452

BRUNCH HOURS: Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 109 W. Main St., St. Charles 630-513-6300

Early Light Café u You won’t want to miss this seasonal cafe just off the Fox River Trail. The outdoor spot specializes in glutenfree baked goods, but even carbo-holics will find something to love. The most popular pick is The Morning Ride, a build-your-own breakfast sandwich with your choice of cheese, meat and veggies. Another signature item is the Avocado Toast with a Kick, a slice of gluten-free cheddar jalapeno bread lightly grilled and topped with avocado, oven-roasted tomatoes and a cilantro oil drizzle. BRUNCH HOURS: Every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 11 E. State St., Geneva 630-296-6690

¢ The Finery & Blacksmith Bar The Finery has quickly established itself as a gem in the downtown St. Charles dining scene, and that extends to its brunch menu. You’ll find comfort food crafted with local ingredients and a touch of creativity, like the classic eggs benedict served on a handmade English muffin with pork confit. Don’t miss the crème brulee French toast, made with brioche bread, sweet cream custard caramelized raw sugar and homemade seasonal fruit compote. BRUNCH HOURS: Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 305 W. Main St., St. Charles 630-940-2380


p Wildwood The fine-dining spot offers up an indulgent brunch menu. Treat yourself with the Grand Marnier French toast – three slices of Texas toast soaked in the orange liqueur and cinnamon, served with whipped butter, lingonberry jam and maple syrup. Or opt for the lunch side of brunch and try the New England Lobster Roll. A toasted garlic roll comes filled with fresh lobster blended with celery tarragon mayonnaise, served with a hard-boiled egg, grilled lemon and house-made chips. BRUNCH HOURS: Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 477 S. 3rd St., Geneva 630-377-8325

-Continued on page 10 KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 9

Bloody Delicious!

A bloody mary can be a wake-up call, a hangover cure and sometimes a meal in itself. Whatever you need, you can find it at these top local spots to get your bloody fix.

Wildwood u Specialty blood marys, all served with provolone cheese, grape tomato and green olive Garden Bloody Mary: grilled asparagus spear, pickled Brussels sprout

-Continued from page 9

p Alexanders Cafe

BRUNCH HOURS: 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 1650 W. Main St., St. Charles 630-549-0514

p Nobel House Bloody Mary: House bloody served with olives, lemon, lime, celery and a pickle ($8) Noho Bloody Mary: House Bloody Mary served with a meat and cheese stick, crab claw, shrimp, bacon, pickle, celery, olive and a beer back ($12)

Gulf Bloody Mary: grilled jumbo shrimp, peppadew pepper

t Lodi’s Tap House Build-your-own Tito’s blood mary bar

Abby’s Breakfast & Lunch u Abby’s signature handcrafted bloody mary is made fresh from scratch and paired with cucumber vodka, pickled vegetables, a kosher pickle spear and imported cayenne smoked salami.

¢ McNally’s Braham’s Stoker Bloody Mary: Stoli vodka, house-made mix and a splash of Guinness Proud Mary: jalapeno-infused vodka, housemade mix and a dash of hot sauce

¢ The Finery Signature Bloody Mary or Bloody Maria (made with tequila), both served with a charcuterie skewer


Farmer’s Bloody Mary: apple-wood smoked bacon, dill pickle spear


Barrel + Rye u BBQ Bloody: Housemade with wasabi and habanero, topped with Thüringer sausage, gouda cheese, and a bacon slice (available while supplies last)

¢ Spotted Fox Ale House First Down Bloody Mary: Absolute Peppar vodka, Spotted Fox’s “secret” bloody mary mix, garnished with a celery stalk, lime wedge and a cherry tomato

Photos provided

Alexanders Cafe in St. Charles is a great escape for a late morning or early afternoon rendezvous. Its menu has something for everyone. Try the Chipotle eggs Benedict with avocado, roasted poblanos, tomatoes, green onion and chipotle hollandaise with carnitas pork or chorizo; the Bananas Foster Pancakes topped with caramelized bananas, brown sugar, caramel crème anglaise and cinnamon butter; or the delicious Waffles and buttermilk fried chicken topped with bourbon maple syrup.

Italian Bloody Mary: Ream’s Meat Market beef stick, pepperoncini pepper


Fox Valley restaurants, tap rooms allow patrons to bring their own food or beverage By KEVIN DRULEY

Here are a few BYOB and BYOF spots to check out this fall:

¢ BYOB ® E&S Fish Co.

Tusk Thai celebrated seven years in Batavia in August. With its name being a nod to the owner’s hometown of Surin, Thailand – and that city’s affinity for elephants – the restaurant’s interior design reflects a Surin-style atmosphere. Chef Nualprang Lalam completes the experience with various Thai cuisines, including soups, salads, fried rice and noodle dishes, stir fries and curries. The menu offers several takes on duck for palates of all kinds. Ranging in order of spiciness, there is roast duck, duck curry and basil duck (the latter of which comprises crispy roasted duck, vegetables and basil leaves.) Tusk Thai recommends reservations for parties of five or more guests. Patrons also are invited to bring their own alcohol; and there is no corking fee for those who come with wine.

311 N. 2nd St., St. Charles | 630-444-0168

¢ BYO-food

HOURS: Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and closed Sunday.

® Penrose Brewery

Situated close to the Fox River, E&S promises customers the freshest fish in the Fox Valley region. The intimate seafood restaurant and market also hosts bring-your-own beer or wine dinners on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The E&S culinary team offers plenty of succulent options with which to pair your libations, including one particularly popular and photogenic dish. Many customers can’t help put take a photo of a veritable tuna tower – circular rounds of tuna layered with avocado, topped with a blooming strawberry rose and aioli sauce. E&S offers a separate menu for dinner and lunch – which features items like sushi rolls and a salmon burger.

HOURS: Open 1 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 1 to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

® Tusk Thai Cuisine 102 N. River St., Batavia 630-406-6995 | HOURS: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday; and closed Monday 12 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

509 Stevens St., Geneva 630-232-2115 |

“We leave the cooking to professionals,” Penrose explains under the Bring Your Own Food section of its website. That’s all the better for patrons, because it leaves Penrose time to devote even more attention to detail when it comes to its selection of craft brews. In addition to its year-round staple of core beers – a session sour, IPA and American golden ale – Penrose works painstakingly to develop seasonal offerings, such as the popular wilds and bourbon barrel-aged beers. Feel like ordering a pizza from Gia Mia? Want to grab take-out from an ordinarily busy restaurant, like Bien Trucha, and enjoy it in a laidback atmosphere like Penrose? Go for it. And, if you don’t feel like ordering delivery or grabbing takeout, just step outside Penrose’s front doors. On select Saturdays the brewery plays host to a food truck. The Gnarly Knots pretzel mobile FOOD & WINE

made an appearance in August. (Check Penrose’s website for details.)

® Plank Road Tap Room 39w149 Plank Road, Elgin 224-238-3527 | HOURS: Open 2 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to midnight Friday and Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday Plank Road Tap Room owners Alan and Breanne Moreno, and manager Jeremy Teel, harness their focus on good beer and lively conversation, screening would-be tap selections before patrons enjoy them and leaving TVs off the premises. The folksy location, which celebrated its third anniversary in August, serves as a casual backdrop for those looking to try a new craft selection or simply enjoy an old standby with friends. Openly a Bring Your Own Food establishment, Plank Road Tap Room encourages customers either to have something to eat in hand or have it delivered. Food trucks often sell grub on-site, as well, and rotate on weekends, when the tap room hosts various events.

Other BYOB-spots


he “Bring Your Own” food or alcoholic beverage movement at pubs and restaurants has only refined itself since taking root earlier this decade, most notably with food trucks entering the fray in recent years. While some of the following Fox Valley establishments may not serve food or libations that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your own.

Bangkok Restaurant 119 W. State St., Geneva 630-208-6836 (reservations recommended)

Chamber Red Chinese Restaurant 1554 E. Main St., St. Charles 630-797-5155

Thai Village Restaurant 4 N. Batavia Ave., Batavia 630-879-5495






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Sugar, spice & everything nice

Geneva bakery’s small-batch, seasonal treats hit the sweet spot By ELIZABETH CZAPSKI | Photos by MISSY DONOVAN


verything edible that comes out of The Sugar Path bakery has to fit three criteria: It must not have any preservatives or artificial flavors; it must be baked in small batches; and its flavors and ingredients must fit the season. “You walk into the grocery store and you look at what’s out at that time,” says Michelle Adams, co-owner of The Sugar Path in Geneva. In the summer, it’s berries; in the fall, it’s pumpkin, squash and gourds mixed with flavors like maple and cinnamon. Adams calls this “baking with the seasons,” and it’s out of this philosophy that The Sugar Path’s sweet treats are born. The Sugar Path began in November 2011 when Adams and her sister, Nina Cater, started a business selling desserts at farmers markets.

Their success snowballed, and they started catering weddings and other events. In December 2012, they opened their own kitchen and retail shop at 315 W. State St., in Geneva. “We grew up in a very food-focused family and, because of that, we were always cooking and baking,” Adams says. “We’ve been doing it since an early age.” Growing up, the sisters spent a lot of time with their grandparents, who grew much of their own food and lived a “farm-to-table” lifestyle. Their grandmother always had a homemade pie or cake on hand, and she taught the sisters how to roll pie crusts and let them experiment with their own culinary creations. The Sugar Path sells goods in the store, does catering, sells wholesale to restaurants and cafes, and ships desserts and gift packages nationwide through its online shop, with customers as far away as Alaska, Adams says. According to pastry chef and lead baker, Ariela Saltijeral, the bakery offers “pretty much everything,” including cakes, cupcakes, pies, cookies, quiches, do-cups (a cross between a doughnut and a cupcake), shot glass desserts and cake jars – which are exactly what they sound like, and they work especially well if you want to ship a dessert to a loved one. The menu changes every month to fit the season and feature popular flavors, says Saltijeral. As summer turns to fall, The Sugar Path will be phasing out fruit pies and introducing pumpkin FOOD & WINE

and apple desserts, as well as fall-themed decorated sugar cookies, Saltijeral says. One of the bakery’s most popular fall pies is the bourbon pecan, says Adams. Saltijeral’s favorite desserts are peanut butter

THE SUGAR PATH 315 W. State St., Geneva 630-262-3353

chess pie, pumpkin pie and three-berry pie. Adams has favorites in every dessert category, but, like Saltijeral, she has a soft spot for The Sugar Path’s pies, many of which are inspired by her

grandmother’s pies. When it comes to fall desserts, her favorite is the pumpkin spice cake – pumpkin cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting and a caramel drizzle. “It tastes like fall,” she says. FOOD & WINE


The Mug

Lodi Tap House in Maple Park gets crafty with beer club membership By KELSEY O’CONNOR

Love local beer? Join the club.

The popular Mug Club at Lodi Tap House in Maple Park offers discounted pours and exclusive tastings of its wide selection of Illinois craft beer. The mug club began right when Lodi opened its doors late last year and has already attracted more than 200 members. The idea came from owner Gavin Male and his partners, who had seen similar concepts executed at popular breweries. Male and the three other co-owners thought the program also could work in their new Illinois-centric bar and eatery. “We liked the idea,” says Male. “We decided that we wanted to do one here to create a sense of community and offer people discounts.” Mug Club membership costs $45 for the first year and $25 for an annual membership renewal after that.

Mug Club members enjoy a range of benefits. Their first draft in the Mug Club mug is just one dollar and they get a dollar off all drafts in their mug after that. They also receive $10 off all food orders and invitations to limited-release craft beer tappings. A recent Mug Club exclusive beer tasting drew droves of members to the tap house. From the minute the bar opened until 5 p.m., only Mug Club members could sample from Bent River Brewing Company’s Peach Milkshake IPA, which is released in very limited quantities.

And of course, the Mug Club comes with a mug. All members get their own one-of-a-kind mug crafted by a local ceramic artisan. “They’re all a little different,” says Male. “We intentionally wanted them made by hand so that no one’s is exactly alike.” Last year, Male and his partners ordered 36 mugs to kick off the club. They figured those would last

Wine clubs

“I knew it’d get that popular, but we had no idea how fast.”

Memberships for the more vine-inclined

– Gavin Male, co-owner of Lodi Tap House in Maple Park

WINE EXCHANGE IN ST. CHARLES: The wine club caters to all levels of wine drinkers and includes more than 1,500 members. Enjoy free weekly wine tastings, 10 percent off of all wines and accessories, 15 percent off any wine case, and complimentary admissions to special wine events. A single membership starts at $30 a year and a membership for couples cost $50. † 630-513-5577 | GALENA WINE CELLARS IN GENEVA: Receive three bottles of wine straight to your door four times a year. Choose from a variety of club options that feature different types of wine: dry, semi-dry and semi-sweet; fruit, dessert and sweet; or the mixed bag that offers one from each. Membership is free, but a one-year commitment is required. Each shipment costs $36 to $60 (plus tax and shipping).

awhile – and they were wrong. The mugs sold out the very first weekend. “I knew it’d get that popular, but we had no idea how fast,” says Male.

Today, there are a little over 250 people in the Lodi Mug Club. Most are regulars and area locals, but some members come from as far as Chicago. “People like having something that’s yours hanging on the wall,” says Male. “You walk in, you look at the bar and there are 10 people with their mugs.” Both members and non-members can choose from Lodi’s extensive selection of Illinois breweries. The wine and spirits also are exclusively sourced from the state, and the menu is beginning to incorporate more local ingredients.

Photo provided by Lodi Tap House


† 800-397-9463

“There’s kind of a negative opinion about the state of Illinois,” says Male. “We wanted to do something that focused on all the good things in Illinois.” This means that under-the-radar breweries have the chance to take the spotlight at Lodi. “A lot of these small places are doing really cool things because they can do whatever they want,” says Male. “It fosters creativity, so a lot of these local places are making things that are better than the big boys.” Ready to join the club? Swing by Lodi Tap House at 309 W. Main St. in Maple Park. For more information, visit loditaphouse. com/mug-club or call 815-827-0827.

COOPER’S HAWK IN ST. CHARLES: Enjoy a monthly bottle of newly released Cooper’s Hawk wine that isn’t available to the public. The all-inclusive membership will also get you invitations to members-only events, exclusive discounts, points on purchases and birthday rewards. Memberships start at $19.99 a month. Shipping and pick-up options are available. † 630-940-1000 ACQUAVIVA WINERY IN MAPLE PARK: Become a wine club VIP to enjoy a bottle of wine each month. You’ll also receive a 15 percent discount on any case of 12 bottles or more, a 10 percent restaurant discount and 10 percent off retail wine market purchases. Other perks include free winery tours and exclusive wine club events. Wines can be picked up or shipped monthly or quarterly. Choose from one bottle for $20 monthly or 3 bottles for $54 quarterly. † 630-365-0333 NICHE IN GENEVA: Members of the wine club get first access to special wines from Niche’s cellar. Each month, there will be a different wine available for members to purchase at a discount. You’ll also be invited to members-only wine tastings, classes and wine dinners, and receive a monthly newsletter about that month’s wine. Membership is free. † 630-262-1000 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 17

Tapping into something special From award-winning ribs to sushi-grade seafood, Stockholm’s is more than a microbrewery By KELSEY O’CONNOR | Photos by MISSY DONOVAN

Michael Olesen likes to joke that he hasn’t gone far in life – about nine-anda-half blocks to be exact. He’s lived his whole life in Geneva, residing just a couple of blocks from the hospital where he was born. The many regulars at his local bar, Stockholm’s, are glad that he’s stuck around so long.

favorite is the Seafood Diablo – linguine topped with ocean shrimp, lump crab and a spicy tomato cream sauce.

Olesen opened the downtown Geneva bar and restaurant 15 years ago, something he’d been dreaming about doing since college. The name and décor are a tribute to the area’s Swedish heritage.

Meat-lovers won’t go hungry, either.

“Stockholm’s is the traditional Chicago tavern-type place,” he says. “It’s very casual, very inviting, but with an upscale menu.”

“Stockholm’s is the traditional Chicago tavern-type place. It’s very casual, very inviting, but with an upscale menu.” – Michael Olesen, owner of Stockholm’s restaurant


One of the things that sets Stockholm’s apart from your typical pub is the quality of the food. Olesen makes a point to seek out and use the highest quality ingredients available, opting for local options whenever possible. The kitchen manager, Dimas Montiel, has been helping execute this vision since Stockholm’s first opened. “We’re a from-scratch kitchen,” says Olesen. “We have a very diverse menu and don’t scrimp on the quality and preparation of our food.” The extensive menu includes salads, sandwiches, burgers, pastas, steaks and more. Its seafood options are always popular, such as the Southwestern-inspired salmon fiesta salad with fresh, sushi-grade salmon from the Canadian coast. Another FOOD & WINE

“In my opinion, we have one of the best barbecue ribs in the Chicago area,” says Olesen. “Our filet gets voted the best in the area year after year.” Besides the regular menu items, there’s a rotating selection of monthly specials that allows Montiel, and general manager Jerry Kowalczyk and team, to get creative. “The specials menu let us try out new recipes and new flavor combinations,” says Olesen. “We try to have a lot of fun with the specials and give our guests something different to try.” Some specials are such a hit that they make their way onto the permanent menu, such as the grilled artichoke appetizer with a balsamic reduction, prosciutto, bruschetta and Parmesan. But they try not to shake things up too much. “We might make some minor adjustments, but what we have on the regular menu has a very loyal following,” says Olesen.



Filet Mignons ~ Boneless Ribeye ~ Prime Rib

We dry age choice & prime cuts of American Beef and cut them to your specs!

Summer Never Ends... with our COOKOUT FAVORITES! Homemade Italian or Polish Sausage • Brats

Another Stockholm’s offering that draws in devoted regulars are the variety of homemade beers. The bar has its own microbrewery that currently produces 14 different brews. All beers are unfiltered and naturally conditioned. “The way we approach our brewing is very similar to what you would have found in the 1800s before modern machinery,” says Olesen. “Back then, beer was the go-to beverage that you had with your meals. All our beers are designed to be full-flavored and complement our foods well.”

• Aged Tender Steaks • BBQ Ribs • Jumbo Chops Signature Burgers for the Grill (12oz. each) • Tuscan • Blue Cheese • Bacon-Onion Cheddar • Jalapeno Jack Gourmet Sliders a Summer Favorite, They’re the Talk of The Town! 20 Different Fresh Salads Daily and Our Own Homemade Potato Salad

What’s a party without Josef’s potato salad?

Featuring a full Line of Boars Head Luncheon Meats

Come see us at Festival of the Vine Sept. 8th - 10th to enjoy some of our specialties!

The most-ordered brew is the State Street Pilsner, an easy-to-drink, German-style Pilsner with a crisp finish. The runner up is, surprisingly, non-alcoholic. Stockholm’s small batch root beer is a hit with guests of all ages.

Engstrom Plaza 716 West State St., Geneva (Entrance on 7th Street)




306 W. State St., Geneva 630-208-7070


Call for details.


Tuesday - Friday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM We are closed Mondays



Foodie family For chef Grant Werner of Alexander’s Café, meal time brings people together By YVONNE BENSON

Grant Werner is the executive chef for the Karas Restaurant Group, which includes Alexander’s Café, The Village Squire and Rookies, but he has been focusing on Alexander’s Café in Elgin and the new location in St. Charles. Love and food have been synonymous his entire life.

Going into the restaurant business was a natural step for Werner. Though he began in his grandmother’s kitchen, his professional experience began with the Darden Restaurants group – featuring familiar favorites, such as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille and others.

“My family is a foodie family, and I grew up spending every single Sunday at my grandmother’s house and everyone would cook and gather,” Werner says. “All the men cooked. All of the women cooked. I was taught at a very young age that food is something that brings people together and makes them happy.”

Werner started as a server and worked his way up to being a manager. He went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and worked as a sous chef at Darden’s Bahama Breeze, eventually becoming a divisional corporate chef with Bahama Breeze and Red Lobster, where he traveled all over opening restaurants. The chef describes himself as hardworking and his career as a whirlwind. “I had a turning point in my life, and I was about to go to Italy and go to cooking school in Florence … I was not going where I wanted to go with my career, and I wanted to get into my own place,” he says. “I wanted to be challenged and grow more. The Karas’ [group has] a lot of experience. They helped me learn.” Bob Karas is one of the owners of the Karas Restaurant Group, and he brought in Werner about four years ago when he remodeled and re-conceptualized Alexander’s Café in Elgin. Alexander’s was named after Alexander The Great, who was from Macedonia – or northern Greece – where the Karas family comes from. The Village Squire restaurant was started by brothers, Paul and George Karas, Bob Karas’ Father and uncle. Now the business is a family affair with brothers, sisters, cousins and brother-in-laws working at the family’s various restaurant locations. There are 10 locations – four Village Squires, four Rookies and two Alexander’s Cafe’s – spanning seven suburban towns, including Elgin, West Dundee, Crystal Lake,

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“I was taught at a very young age that food is something that brings people together and makes them happy.”


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When Paul and George opened Alexander’s in 1987, Bob Karas described it as “A typical Greek diner-type place with etched glass, and brass, and carpet.”


A million-dollar renovation later, Alexander’s is completely transformed.

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Bob Karas says that it was crucial to the family that the food matched the ambience.

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“I’m a big athlete, and I played hockey and I still play; I think of cooking like sports,” Werner says. “It’s the joy of participating in sports. You get to cook and see people’s reactions and it’s different every day. You have to show up prepared – practice. That’s what I love, and it’s my passion.”

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When asked which of the Karas restaurants is his favorite, Werner says: “On Saturday, I’d have breakfast at Alexander’s; lunch at Rookies; and dinner at the Village Squire.”



“It’s not the same old Greek diner food. [Now] it has chef-inspired fare – really modern takes on old comfort foods, like meatloaf and pot roast. It’s really cool for today,” says Bob Karas.

Werner challenges himself by developing menus in the kitchen, and he encourages “people to try the specials and features because we change them up,” he says. “I want people to try the new flavors of the seasons.”


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Deane’s Market and Deli – where fresh, handcrafted fare meets convenience with VICKI DEANE


fter a successful year in business, Deane’s Market and Deli has become quite a mainstay in downtown Geneva. “One year, four months, two chefs, “One of the Best” [Best of the] Fox awards, and so many wonderful customers – the first year has been quite an adventure,” says Christopher Deane, owner of Deane’s Market and Deli.

House smoked brisket with jicama slaw and carmelized onions

You’ll often find Deane at the deli seven days a week. Typically, he is head sandwich maker, but the real fun is in the cooking and recipe creation that takes place behind the scenes. Deane’s Market focuses on unprocessed, freshlyprepared foods. Deane, along with head chef Lauren Ferry and sous chef Kirsten Schreiber, believe in making everything in-house to ensure quality and freshness. All meats are roasted or smoked on the premises, and the kitchen is busy keeping up with the demand. In addition to preparing its own meats, Deane’s Market makes all its dressings, sauces and stocks for soup in-house. The roast beef sandwich is the No. 1 bestseller on the menu. Deane’s Market currently roasts at least three times a week to keep up with the demand. The large portion of roast beef is topped with one of the house made sauces – in this case, horseradish sauce – white cheddar, tomato, onion and arugula. The house-smoked chicken salad and the roasted turkey sandwich with a vanilla spiced rum cranberry sauce are also customer favorites. “We had a customer ask us to put the cranberry sauce in our retail refrigerators last holiday season. We could barely keep it in stock it sold so fast,” says Deane. “We listen to our customers’ requests and try to accommodate them whenever we can.”

DEANE’S MARKET & DELI 500 S. 3rd St. Suite No. 141 Geneva The requests for take-home items have resulted 630-402-0139 in Deane’s Market now selling its own dressings, barbeque sauce, compound butters and prepared salads (located in the retail-area of the shop).

Walking into the market on the right day could mean satisfying those barbecue cravings. On Thursday, the deli features Deane’s smoked brisket sandwich topped with Deane’s barbecue sauce, 22 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


Thai Salad

Photos provided

caramelized onions and freshly-made jicama slaw. The brisket took the place of the housebrined pastrami, which is scheduled to return as a weekend special this fall. The smoked pulled pork sandwich is another local favorite. “People will call and ask to order ahead to make sure there is some left,” Deane says. “We are also seeing this with our meatball sub. These two are now in the retail refrigerators for at-home meals.” Deane believes that the fun comes from the challenge of consistently creating new recipes for both daily service and take-home meals. “We listen to our customers and implement their ideas when it is a good fit with our focus on fresh, clean-label and high quality,” he says. The chefs in the kitchen are instrumental in developing new ideas and implementing them. The soups and salads change seasonally, for example.

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Roasted garlic soup The chefs insist on making in-house stock to avoid additives, and they utilize everything available in the kitchen. Soups are made fresh daily and have included Italian wedding soup, roasted garlic, curried carrot, chili and vegan black bean. Chicken pot pie, steak and ale, baked mostacciolli, chili and shepherd’s pie are just a few of the options available as “take and heat” meals, which are found in the market area. The market area has been surprising in its growth since the shop first opened. Initially added on a trial-run basis, the section has become a staple for many clients. All of the frozen meals, soups and pasta sauces are made from scratch in the kitchen and have become staples for commuters and busy families.

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ROOKIES 1 ROOKIES 2 ROOKIES 3 ROOKIES 4 ST. CHARLES THE GROVE, ELGIN HUNTLEY POPLAR CREEK PLAZA 1545 W. Main St. 2486 Bushwood Drive 12220 Princeton Dr. 4607 West Higgins Rd. St. Charles (Rt. 47) Elgin Hoffman Estates P: 630.513.0681 P: 847.551.9006 P: 847-645-0005 Huntley F: 630.513.1030 F: 847.551.9043 F: 847.645.0295 P: 847-669-8600



Deane’s Market also offers vegan, glutenfree and vegetarian options, such as glutenfree bread and usually one of the soup or salad options. The market also makes a black bean hummus available as a wrap or salad, which is a go-to for many vegetarian or vegan customers, as well as a take-home version of a black bean burger (located in the freezer). While waiting for an order, customers can access Wi-Fi, charge their devices at one of the tables or browse the market area for local foods, private label gourmet cheeses and eclectic housewares. If you are unfamiliar with a dish, Deane’s offers samples (except for the meatballs, as there is a waiting list for those), too.






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September 2-4 - Labor Day Weekend Week eken end en September 16 & 17 - Museum Showcase Weekend November 25 & 26 - Happy Holiday Railway ay December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, & 17 - Happy Holiday olid iday ay Railway

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From left: Kirsten Schreiber, Lauren Ferry and Christopher Deane

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MENU MAKEOVER Burgers, bloody mary soup among the many new items at Abby’s By KEVIN DRULEY Photos by MISSY DONOVAN

Abby’s Breakfast and Lunch owner Rob Mondi appreciates the accolades his establishment has accumulated since opening in 2015, but Mondi especially appreciates the competitive nature of the downtown St. Charles dining scene. “After two years, customers are trying other places, they’re trying different things,” Mondi says. “Which is fine, but if you want to stay the best and you want to keep their attention, you’ve got to add more things.” The restaurant, located at 11 N. Third St., is staying at the top of its game by adding 30 new dishes to its menu. The new dishes are available this month, and whether diners wish to eat in, carry out, or host a private party, Abby’s can accommodate. Abby’s started with the basics, which proved to be not so elementary to Mondi, until recently. Many customers who entered the restaurant during its lunch hours – from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – often were surprised to find no burger options on the menu, he says.


packed between French toast– and a spicy grilled cheese sandwich. Mondi recommends pairing the grilled cheese sandwich with Abby’s Bloody Mary soup, which adds a zing to the traditional tomato soup taste. The restaurant also makes the soup recipe available to customers in case they want to recreate the experience at home. “I think it’s just neat, and it’s different,” Mondi says. “Everybody has chicken noodle.” The bloody mary soup was the lynchpin Aug. 1 during the first of a series of Tuesday evening open houses showcasing some of the restaurant’s new offerings. All Mondi asked in return for the open house tasting was that patrons provide their email addresses for a follow-up survey. As a 1987 St. Charles High School graduate, who recalls fondly the Tri-Cities dining scene of his youth and young adulthood, Mondi decided to use customers’ palates for some of the menu overhaul.

The menu’s burger omission cost him several tables over the years, but he and his chefs ensure a savory burger experience going forward, he says.

“Some of the things, based on their response, they might not ever see again,” Mondi says. “Other things, we may add more salt, more sugar, more Nerds in the kids pancakes.”

Also new to the sandwich scene is the Monte Cristo – ham, turkey and melted Swiss cheese

Yes, that familiar tangy candy can be part of the pancake batter. Adults, though, may opt for the


slightly more grown-up tastes found in the Kona Coffee pancakes or RumChata French toast. “And the nice part is, if you’re honest with people and you ask them, then they’ll tell you what they want, and then you give it to them,” Mondi says. The perks don’t stop there. When Mondi caught the end of an inquisitive conversation between a mother and her two young sons during one open house, he instinctively offered the “two future chefs” a tour of the kitchen. Other menu additions include stuffed Reuben balls and quinoa beet salad with red wine vinegar. For the heart- and health-conscious diner, Abby’s offers a new, 10-grain oatmeal among other things. “We’re just trying to meet the needs of everybody,” Mondi says.

ABBY’S BREAKFAST AND LUNCH 11 N. 3rd St., St. Charles 630-377-0797



Viva Salsa Verde From dishwasher to chef, Audel Arechiga turns daydreams into reality in the kitchen of his family’s Mexican restaurant By KEVIN DRULEY | Photos by MISSY DONOVAN

Salsa Verde serves fast-casual Mexican cuisine the Arechigas can enjoy the benefit of being at each of its five locations, but the restaurant’s with family as they work. mission is ultimately rooted in taking one’s time. “On an average day, we arrive at our store And making time, too. around 8 a.m., we begin our prep and start our day,” Audel Arechiga says. “To some, our routine The family-owned restaurant group centers around the Arechigas, whose members include might seem a bit mundane, but repetition is key in this industry where our success comes from St. Charles resident chef Audel Arechiga, who embraces the process of developing menus and the consistency in the product we offer.” recipes as much as the people with whom he shares those tasks.

Arechiga’s role at Salsa Verde represents a shift from his previous restaurant work, which included working as a dishwasher at a “The family different establishment. Still, his family roots dynamic is in the business helped him develop a sense, the core of Salsa Verde,” understanding and appreciation for the duties each member of a restaurant team fulfills on a Arechiga nightly basis. says. “We work very As a dishwasher, Arechiga would have healthy well as chunks of time to daydream while washing a team, dishes, and he would often imagine himself as and just chef, readying creations for others to enjoy. knowing the Since then, those daydreams have become responsibility that lies in each, with reality. our different roles, is the force that “He’s very hands-on with [the menu]; he’s keeps us going.” very creative in that aspect,” says Carlos The Arechiga family moved from Arechiga, Audel Arechiga’s cousin, who works in Jalisco, located on Mexico’s Pacific numerous facets of the business. “And definitely West Coast, to the U.S. in 2003. innovative, because he’s always mixing it; he’s Nine years later, they opened always checking out what other people are their first restaurant in Yorkville. doing; and he’s always getting inspired by other The restaurant group since has people in the field.” established a strong Tri-Cities The Salsa Verde team also includes Audel influence, with locations in St. Arechiga’s aunt and cousin. To run a successful Charles and Batavia. kitchen, Audel Arechiga stresses that Hours tend to be longer on many communication is key. days, but it’s all in the name of A staple of each of Salsa Verde’s locations is satisfying customers. And really,



“The family dynamic is the core of Salsa Verde. We work very well as a team, and just knowing the responsibility that lies in each, with our different roles, is the force that keeps us going.�

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– Audel Arechiga, Salsa Verde chef the salsa bar. Located in the middle of the dining room, the salsa bar features an array of salsas, taco toppings and garnishes to augment various dishes, a nod to a longstanding practice at the Arechiga family dinner table. The restaurant serves appetizers, soups, tostadas, tacos, tortas, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, seafood and specialty dishes and desserts. Taco offerings include the familiar chicken and steak, but guests also can enjoy chipotle fish tacos, which represent the Jalisco seaside heritage. Seasonal additions also are common, especially around Christmas and Lent. It’s a cycle Audel Arechiga relishes, and why not? “The process of making all this wonderful food at times gives me dĂŠjĂ vu and it takes me back to my childhood,â€? he says. “And that makes it even more special.â€?

The statements made by Audel Arechiga in this story were translated from Spanish to English by Carlos Arechiga.

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To Italy and beyond

Isacco’s Kitchen creates worldly dishes in cozy St. Charles kitchen By KEVIN DRULEY | Photos by MISSY DONOVAN


hef Isacco Vitali relocated Isacco’s Kitchen from Cedar Street to First Street in downtown St. Charles last year to boost the Italian restaurant’s visibility. It arguably was the biggest shift in Vitali’s TriCities history, but far from the only one. Want proof? Look no further than the menu, which changes seasonally. “More than additions to the menu, I prefer to rotate recipes according to the season, and/or availability of products,” Vitali says. “Introducing new recipes allows our regular customers to always find something new to choose from our menu.” As summer transitions to fall, visitors to Isacco’s Kitchen can enjoy such dishes as Maine lobster and hand-made fettuccini, as well as Atlantic sea bass. Other popular recipes include frog legs sautéed with sweet chile sauce, fruit ratatouille and vegetables; snails baked with fresh herbs and pesto and topped with camembert cheese; and foie gras served with crispy pork belly and topped with a fried egg and balsamic reduction. The pasta and bread are house-made, and all of the restaurant’s dishes are made to order. Working with his cousin and confidante, Fabio Casarini, the Italian-born Vitali says he embraces the challenge of keeping the offerings diverse while maintaining a regular clientele. In nearly 20 years in St. Charles, he has rubbed elbows with many types of people from the Tri-


Cities and adjacent western suburbs. Of course, Vitali is no stranger to the eclectic. “I’ve been involved in the food business since my teenage years thanks to my career background in restaurants and cruise ships,” says the St. Charles chef. “I’ve been working with chefs from all over the world; that’s one of the reasons my menu reflects influences from other types of foods, countries and continents – blended with Italian food. I found out it’s very challenging, offering recipes that are not necessarily ‘oldfashioned Italian,’ or what people think about Italian food.” The inspiration for Vitali’s cuisine isn’t the only thing that is “well-traveled.” In addition to regular catering offerings for corporate and private functions, weddings, graduations, birthday parties, anniversaries, showers, holiday FOOD & WINE

parties and other events, Vitali offers in-home, private cooking for $85 an hour. “The concept of private chef is becoming more and more important at Isacco’s Kitchen,” Vitali

“I’ve been working with chefs from all over the world; that’s one of the reasons my menu reflects influences from other types of foods, countries and continents – blended with Italian food.” – Isacco Vitali, chef and owner of Isacco’s Kitchen

says. “People love to open their house – their kitchens – where I can prepare recipes normally made in the back of the restaurant.”

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Isacco’s Kitchen also offers custom-made desserts and what Vitali calls a “small but articulated” wine list. By surface area, the First Street location also is smaller than its former spot, but Vitali and his team haven’t lacked menu innovation or positive feedback since moving closer to downtown St. Charles. “What our customers and friends say about the new location is that it’s cozier – a quaint place to have a relaxed dinner,” Vitali says. Isacco’s Kitchen is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner is served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Monday.

For more information, visit www. To make a reservation, call 630-444-0202.

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The Market at Gracious Hall seeks to connect community to food By YVONNE BENSON | Photos by MISSY DONOVAN Rebecca Holoman has always been drawn to cooking. “I’ve always felt good about feeding people,” says Holoman, the owner and chef at the Market at Gracious Hall in Geneva. Holoman studied at the French Pastry School in Chicago, but it was while living in Europe for a year that her interest in cooking shifted. “[In Europe] you go to the market or grocery store every couple of days rather than every week,” Holoman explains. “Everything is so fresh. For example, you can buy very fresh farm eggs – that was a big turning point for me because I realized that this is how people live. You can see a better connection between people and the food that they’re eating.”

The Market at Gracious Hall 415 Stevens St., Geneva 630-463-9002


Going to a farmer’s market and getting to know the people who work on the farm is a very different experience than going to Jewel, Meijer or Wal-Mart for groceries. Unfortunately, farmer’s markets aren’t always accessible, so Holoman hoped to provide a space – a market – where community members could have the assurance that the products on the shelves were fresh and sourced from local farmers and producers.

I’m making or buying it,” she says. “There are a lot of things that people do to foods to preserve it that’s not necessary. … I try to do a lot of research on health and the health aspects of food.” At Gracious Hall, for example, the granola bars are made with honey and maple syrup instead of sugar,” she says. For years, Holoman had a catering company where she focused on selling prepared meals made with quality ingredients. Now the Market focuses on providing those prepared meals alongside the ingredients used to make them. The Market opened its retail section June 13, but its grand opening will take place Sept. 16. “We’ve been filling in the shelves gradually when we find products that we want to carry,” she says. The process has been intentional and cautious, she says, adding that she takes the time to build relationships with farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Holoman truly knows where her products come from and feels good about serving them to her family and the community.

Beyond the connection, Holoman wanted a store where its community members could trust that they were getting “real” ingredients.

The market will consist of a mix of things brought in from the local area (including the surrounding states), as well as products she’s made using those locally sourced ingredients. She makes mustard, pickles, salad dressings, granola bars and baked goods, among many other items.

“I have kids and I like to think that I know where their food is coming from, whether

“We sell sandwich bread that we make in-house, [and] all of the baked goods we


Festival OF THE Vine SEPTEMBER 8-10 MARK YOUR CALENDAR! The Market at Gracious Hall will host its grand opening event Saturday, Sept. 16. make uses all unbleached flour,” she says. “We use our bread to make our croutons and bread pudding and sandwiches. It’s all very clean. We try really hard to know the origin of all of our products.” Holoman’s customers know her for her prepared meals but, now, she wants her customers to know that they can come to the Market at Gracious Hall for those same ingredients used to make the products on the shelves. Tuesday through Friday, Gracious Hall assembles a brand new fresh menu for convenient reservation and pickup. “You can get butter, milk, eggs, peanut butter and coffee. … You can get really nice cheeses and a really great milk that we get from a farm in Indiana,” she says. “When you come in, you can buy food that you can take home and prepare at home.” Besides forging relationships with local farmers and producers, Holoman hopes to have a sense of community with her customers, as well. “I want to know what people want to see on the shelves; I want it to be a product they love – even if it’s a soda,” she says. “It needs to be a connection for them. I want everyone to feel as if they can come in and find something – it could be the jam or the Graham’s ice-cream.”

Good and plenty! Geneva’s Festival of the Vine provides plenty of good wine, good food and good fun for the whole family! Taste wines from around the world. Sample mouth-watering specialties from Italy, Mexico and France at our Flavor Fare. Find unique gifts at our incredible Fine Arts and Crafts show. For events schedule and details, go to We hope to see you there!

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evin Gillespie has been the chef of Atwater’s restaurant at the Herrington Inn and Spa in Geneva since December. With roots in St. Charles, having graduated from St. Charles East High School, he grew up cooking in the kitchen with his mom and grandmother. “Food brings people and families together – that’s what I do and why I do it,” says Gillespie. One of four kids – and always surrounded by cousins, uncles and aunts, who would frequently get together for meals – the chef says that he relished the “alone time with mom and grandma – away from the other kids – and getting spoiled.” Now Gillespie has a son and daughter, ages 10 and 11, respectively, and he tries to instill the same family values he had as a kid. But for Gillespie’s kids, it’s not just about enjoying a meal around the table or prepping one in the kitchen; it’s also about getting your hands dirty in the garden. Gillespie rents space from a farm to cultivate crops, and he’s been bringing the kids there for years. “It’s our own little farm. We’ve been teaching them where the food comes from and showing them how it tastes better and is organic with no chemicals,” he says. “Having kids makes you want them to be as healthy as possible.”

“We try to source products locally – a lot of local and sustainable farming. Eating food within the season is the only way to go.” – Chef Kevin Gillespie, Atwater’s restaurant at Herrington Inn and Spa

That desire to have a connection to the food source, and to lead a healthy lifestyle spills over into his kitchen at Atwater’s restaurant. “We try to bring in seasonal FOOD & WINE

products so that it’s fresh and tastes even better,” says Gillespie. “We try to source products locally – a lot of local and sustainable farming. Eating food within the season is the only way to go.” In addition to getting local produce, Atwater’s uses grass-fed beef and wild caught fish. “Customers like to know where their food is coming from, and they’re willing to pay a little more for organic produce knowing that it’s better for them to put in their bodies,” he says. Gillespie shows his guests that good ingredients not only look beautiful on their plates but they taste good, too. “We try to change our menu monthly,” Gillespie says, adding that the development of a menu takes weeks and starts with brainstorming with staff and talking to farmers about ingredients. Then the kitchen staff experiments with recipes and improves upon them until a dish is ready to roll out in the dining room. “Our next menu will probably be the fall menu,” says Gillespie. “We use fall vegetables, like pumpkins and squashes and heavier spices. I definitely like trying new things, but I don’t like


Everything for

Back to School going too crazy. I like to push the envelope a little bit with flavor profiles.” For example, Atwater’s has a menu item with Ahi Tuna, strawberries, blue cheese and a balsamic reduction. Atwater’s also is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and brunch on Sundays. Every couple of months they have a wine dinner or a special tea event with little finger foods and sandwiches. Atwater’s also has a beautiful outdoor space for dining.


“We have a beautiful gazebo that seats up to eight people and is right on the river,” says Gillespie. LOUIS LATOUR WINE-PAIRING DINNER On the evening of Thursday Sept. 21, Atwater’s will host a Louis Latour wine-pairing dinner. The event will begin with a 6:30 p.m. reception in the European-style lobby lounge of the Herrington Inn, followed by a six-course seated dinner at Atwater’s restaurant. Each course will be paired with Louis Latour wines. The cost is $150 a person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 630-2088920 to make a reservation.

ATWATER’S RESTAURANT AT HERRINGTON INN AND SPA 15 S. River Lane, Geneva 630-208-8920 |

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Falmouth Road jewelry boutique offers handcrafted, one-of-a-kind finds By KELSEY O’CONNOR | Photos by MISSY DONOVAN

At Falmouth Road, a new jewelry boutique in Geneva, each piece has a story behind it. The shop is owned by Ellen Oh, who opened the downtown location this past April. Oh has carefully curated a selection of handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings from designers across the country. Her vision is to create a place where local women can treat themselves to beautiful, but accessible, pieces. “I’m trying hard to keep everything handmade and primarily made in the U.S.,” she says. “It’s important to me to know where each piece of jewelry comes from, that it’s not mass produced, and that it’s something you’re not going to find just anywhere.” 34 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

As a single mother, it wasn’t easy for Oh to travel to trade shows when looking for products. So, she got creative, scouring show guides and researching designers around the country online. “I started this cold without a lot of experience being a buyer,” says Oh. “I think I’ve put together a really good selection of designers who complement each other, but also have a unique point of view.” The layout of the shop is just as thoughtful as her selection of designers.

keep things clean and uncluttered with a serene color palette.” Oh grew up in Illinois and lived in St. Charles after college. About 15 years ago, she moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, and returned to the area recently with her three daughters. She immediately missed her favorite jewelry boutique from the East Coast. “I didn’t feel like there was anything like it here,” she says. “I felt like it was a good fit, having something that catered to women who wanted to go out and treat themselves.”

“I’m going for a really open feel,” she says. “I have things really spread out. One of my Her daughters, ages 12, 14 and 16, have played pet peeves is going into a store and being an instrumental role in the creation of Falmouth overwhelmed by merchandise and clutter. I try to Road. FASHION & BEAUTY

Women’s fashion boutique in Geneva

“They’ve been really active in helping me put all this together, giving me their input and ideas and opinions,” says Oh. One important area in which the girls contributed was the boutique’s name. Falmouth Road was the name of the street where the Oh family lived in Massachusetts. “We all wanted to have something that meant something to all of us and represented where we were coming from and where the idea came from,” says Oh. “It’s a little piece of home.”

Fall Fashions Arriving Daily Including: OSKA, Black Label, Spirithouse, Clemente, Bryn Walker, SKIF, 525 America, Planet, Alembika 219 W. State St, Geneva ~ 630 457 5445 ~ Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5 | Sunday 12-4 | Closed Monday


Along with jewelry, the shop also carries a range of accessories that aren’t carried elsewhere in the area. Shoppers may find Kent Stetson clutches, Debbie Martin scarves and trendy hats from Hat Attack. Just like the jewelry, Oh knows the designer’s stories, too.

Special Tastings of our Products Every Weekend

“I think people care about that. They want to know where their things come from,” says Oh. “It helps them feel good about the money they spend.”

Are You An Artist? See your work in the

pages of Kane County Magazine! ¢ FALMOUTH ROAD 226 S. Third St., Geneva 630-457-5606

To submit an entry to Artist Showcase email artwork, title of piece, name and village of residence of artist, a two- to three-sentence description of the piece, short bio and artist photo to, subject head “Local Artist Submission.” FASHION & BEAUTY

Come taste 60 different extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from all over the world. Unique Gift Baskets Available. Homemade Skincare Products made with Olive Oil: Soaps ~ Lip Balms ~ Lotion Bars

See Us For O Our Monthly Special

Our bout rs! A k s o A Flov New

Store Hours

Mon-Fri 10am-6pm ~ Thurs 10am-8pm ~ Sat 10am-5:30pm ~ Sun 11am-4pm

315 James St. • Geneva, IL • (630) 262-0210



art p Hand-painted silk scarves made by artist Joanna Clecholewski u Wearable art made by Tiffany Tihany Harris Photos provided



Fine Line to host 31st annual Uncommon Threads fashion show By KELSEY O’CONNOR

The event will feature a raffle, luncheon and runway fashion show.

“Guests can interact with [the artists],” says Caldwell. “Artists are coming for the experience of seeing their art on the runway.” The raffle will feature “jewelry, quilts, shawls, pottery, pictures, gift certificates and over 50 items – very cool stuff,” she says.

After perusing the raffle area, executive “It’s a great girl’s day out,” says coordinator Eileen Collins says that, in the Fine Line executive director boutique, a sea of colors will greet guests. Lynn Caldwell, who will be the The boutique will feature items available event’s MC. “The show is in for purchase at various price points, such its 31st year, and I’ve been as hand-woven scarves, leather bags, and the MC for 10.” more. Many of the countrywide artisans will be on hand at Fine Line’s boutique, too. Last year, about 480 The boutique will be open from 10 a.m. to guests attended the noon. fundraiser and more than 100 volunteers The luncheon will take place at noon, worked hard to make followed by the fashion show at 1 p.m. it happen. This year’s During the luncheon, each table will be event is slated to fit with a centerpiece featuring a Papierbe even bigger, mâché mannequin dress-form decorated with artists by Fine Line artists. The centerpieces will hailing from be auctioned off at the end of the event. New Mexico, “We have a lot of over-achievers and they Colorado, say, ‘I’ve got to make this amazing,’” says Texas, Caldwell. “They have hand-dyed ribbons, Florida, Arizona and leaves – every one is different and every one is adorable.” more. Many local fashion shows feature clothes from area boutiques and Caldwell and Collins both explained that the Uncommon Threads fashion show is different. The


fashion pieces are one-of-a-kind artist creations that are very wearable. “Most of them are pieces that you can wear places; it’s not costumey,” Caldwell says. “The pieces you see on the runway you can buy afterwards. You can buy it straight away.” Guests return to the boutique where they can see the garments from the show on display and talk to the artist who made them. “The very cool thing is that Fine Line teaches a lot of classes and some of our teachers have work on the runway,” says Caldwell. “If you’re inspired by what you see, you can come out [to the arts center] and learn those things. Equally, you can just buy it because it’s finished and makes you happy.” Tickets to the Uncommon Threads event cost $65. “I think people will walk away saying that it was $65 well spent; that was a good day, and I helped a [nonprofit] organization,” Caldwell says.

If you go

Next month, fabulously dressed people will be greeted by tuxedoed gentlemen during the Fine Line Creative Arts Center Uncommon Threads fashion show Sunday, Oct. 15, at the Q Center in St. Charles.

Uncommon Threads fashion show

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 15 WHERE: Q Center, 405 N. 5th Ave., St. Charles TICKETS: $65 each INFO:

Made for shade

Try these unique trees (without a shadow of a doubt!) with MEAGAN PROVENCHER Shade trees are one of the best investments in any landscape. Of course they provide shade, but they also can provide flowers, texture, fall color, winter interest, cover for wildlife and more. With the devastation of the Ash tree due to the Emerald Ash Borer and, now, the decline and death of Colorado Spruce and Austrian Pine, we’ve learned a valuable lesson in diversification. When we replace a dying species, we need to be introducing a new and interesting species into the yard – different from what our neighbors have. Sometimes trees get overlooked because they don’t have the “bells and whistles” that the popular trees have. Some trees also have an “awkward teenage phase,” and you might not give them a second glance when you see them young but they mature to beautiful specimens. (The tree world can be kind of like high school.) Below are some of my favorite shade trees that should be given a second look to if you are in the market for a shade tree or two. (All of these trees will grow to be at least 30-feet tall or more at maturity.) BEECH – This unique tree species has striking colored leaves. ‘Tri-color’ has pink, white and green leaves while ‘Riversii’ has dark burgundy and copper foliage and its gray bark looks like “elephant knees”. There are many large specimen of copper beech in the Fox Valley – some are more than 100 years old. KENTUCKY COFFEETREE – This is one of those “awkward teenagers” I discussed earlier. It has an open canopy with large compound leaves (think Honeylocust on steroids) that have a golden fall color; it’s tough and native and becomes more gorgeous as it ages. ELM – Hybrid versions (many developed in Chicago) grow fast and have a one-of-a-kind vase shape. They are tough, resistant to Dutch elm disease and serve as an excellent parkway tree. The ‘Frontier’ has red fall color and all others are yellow. KATSURA TREE – This tree is one of my favorites! It has small, heart-shaped leaves and tiny reddish flowers in early spring. It emits a smell like cotton candy when the leaves fall in autumn, and it tolerates moist soils. It’s rare and stately.

92 Years A Growing Legacy Quality Plants, Professional Service & Expert Advice . . . Since 1925

FALL is for PLANTING... TREES - Did the summer heat make you realize you need more shade in your yard?

Tag trees in our growing fields for planting later this fall. CATALPA – This tree has HUGE, heartshaped leaves followed by gigantic white/ purple flowers in early summer. It’s a tall, narrow tree, long lived, has gold fall color, and it also comes in a purple leafed variety. BLACK TUPELO – This native tree has amazing red and orange fall color (It puts Maples to shame!), as well as shiny leaves. GINKGO – Geneva has some of these beauties along Route 38. This pre-historic tree with beautiful fan shaped leaves, has stunning gold fall color, but it has a slower growth habit.

PERENNIALS - Do some of your beds have color only in the spring? Plant perennials that bloom in the summer or fall!

LONDON PLANETREE/ SYCAMORE – This beautiful, stately tree has very large, fuzzy leaves. It also has unique camouflage bark, and is a medium to fast grower. TULIP TREE – A Wasco Nursery favorite, it has unique hand-shaped leaves, yellow/orange flowers, and is tall and narrow. The tree has yellow fall color, is a very fast grower and also is excellent as a street or yard tree. CHINQUAPIN OAK – This is a sawtooth type of Oak with narrow serrated leaves. It’s very tolerant of suburban life, has excellent fall color and a nice shape with dark, attractive bark. ¢ Meagan Provencher is the Senior Landscape designer for Wasco Nursery and Garden Center in St. Charles. She can be reached at 630584-4424 or design@

BULBS - Plant your spring blooming bulbs now to have a burst of vibrant color early next year.

92 “Meeting your growing needs since 1925.” 41W781 Route 64 | St. Charles | 630-584-4424 | HOME & LIFESTYLE



WINE AND DINE YOUR GUESTS WITH RECIPES BY BLUE GOOSE MARKET This fall, focus on seasonal fare and bring your family and friends together to enjoy a home-cooked meal paired with wonderful wines and brews. Blue Goose Market in St. Charles is offering its expertise on the subject, sharing a recipe and advice on which varietal (or style of beer) to pair it with.

¢ ROASTED TENDERLOIN WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOT BUTTER FOR THE COMPOUND BUTTER: • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature • 2 large shallots, minced • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped • 1 teaspoon lemon zest • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper FOR THE ROAST: • 1-4 to 5 lb. tenderloin roast • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper DIRECTIONS: 1. Make the compound butter a couple hours ahead to two days ahead. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until browned – 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. 2. In a small bowl, combine the shallot mixture with the remaining butter and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until completely combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Scrape the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap, roll into a log and wrap in the plastic. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve the roast. 3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place on a rack on the second slot from the bottom. Rub the roast with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Flip the roast over and cook for another 10 minutes. 4. Remove the roast to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve into half-inch slices and serve with a pat of the shallot butter. PAIRINGS: Bordeaux, cabernet, American amber ale and American brown ale 40 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

¢ BLUE CHEESE MASHED POTATOES • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, rinsed and peeled (or not if you prefer) • 4 oz. English Stilton • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 2 tablespoons chives, minced •3/4 cup whipping cream • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: 1. Bring a stock pot with 6 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil until a knife slides easily to the center of a potato, 20 to 30 minutes. 2. Drain the potatoes and put them into the bowl of a stand mixer that is fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on the lowest setting. While the mixer is running, add the butter, Stilton, cream, chives, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings. PAIRINGS: Chenin blanc, riesling, porters

¢ MAPLE GLAZED ROOT VEGETABLES • 2 lbs. rutabagas, peeled and large diced • 1 1/2 lbs. turnips, peeled and large diced • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and large diced • 2 tablespoons olive oil • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables evenly over two rimmed baking pans and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of vinegar over each pan of vegetables and toss thoroughly. Roast another 3 minutes, or until you hear sizzling. 2. While the vegetables are roasting, place the chicken stock and the maple syrup in a small skillet and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to ¼ cup, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. 3. When they are done, transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and toss with the glaze. PAIRINGS: Riesling, gewürztraminer, stouts and porters



Social worker Kristen Kauke uses yoga to champion mental health awareness efforts By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by RON MCKINNEY For the last 18 years, Kristen Kauke has reaped the physical and mental benefits of yoga. She sought an outlet for the stresses of graduate school and work, and soon discovered that her “time on the mat” helped her to find stillness in an otherwise hectic life. Four years ago, she became a certified instructor and today, she combines the health benefits of yoga with her work as a clinical social worker to help young people find an outlet for tension as well as renewal in themselves. “I see a lot of overlap between the yoga world and the therapy world,” Kauke says. “Mindful meditation can be the missing picture to help people resolve issues – getting out of the head and into the body can heal the pain, in much the same way that talking alone.”

The program has received a positive response, and Kauke says that she hopes to continue working with young adults. Growing up in Arlington Heights, Kauke says that, from the time she was a teen, she knew she wanted to work in the area of counseling services. As a young adult, she sought ways to build experience with helping others and it gradually grew into a career. Along the way, teachers, professors and those in the field have served as mentors to Kauke, providing support and encouragement, while continuing to spark her interests.

Kauke supports a greater awareness of mental health and, in May 2015, she launched the St. Charles Regional Effort of Change Direction. Through the imitative Kauke says that she would like to see more – Lisa Bertke, Kauke provides people talking about founder of Prana Yoga counseling services at and being aware of Creekwood Associates, Center in Geneva mental health needs a private practice in St. in the community. Charles. Last year, she During the program’s launch, she coordinated a offered her skills as a yoga instructor to those at screening of the film “Love & Mercy,” which tells the Youth Detention Center, where young men the story of Beach Boys musician Brian Wilson. volunteer for her classes. She describes many The event included a post-film panel to discuss of her students as intense, brooding young men mental health concerns. who, over the course of the program, learn to

“She teaches [yoga] from the heart. She just has a beautiful spirit.”

move with steadiness, find balance and discover an outlet for stress and tension. “They tell me, ‘I feel better after some time on the mat,’” she says. “I’ve found a blend of my passions that meet my mission of service.”


She’s also worked on suicide prevention programs in Batavia. Her work is considered a grassroots effort, with no budget. Fundraising helps to support programs in the community.

course – “Eat, Breath, Thrive” – at The Prana Yoga Center in Geneva, which will include yoga practice and discussions about food and health. Lisa Bertke, founder of the Prana Yoga Center and an instructor, says that Kauke has a way of meeting her students at whatever level they are at and helping them grow in skill and understanding. “She teaches [yoga] from the heart,” Bertke says. “She just has a beautiful spirit.”

This fall she’s planning to teach a six-week


The Glass-Half-Full Guy:




ood and travel go together like the beach and sunshine.

It’s through food that we can get to know a place and its people on a deeper level. Seeing the way other people do the exact same thing that we do – cooking and eating – is a great way to expand our horizons. During my travels through Europe, what amazed me was not the exotic flavors and five-course meals, but the simplicity that is embraced with cooking. I was fortunate enough to be invited into many people’s homes and experience how locals prepared their food. Most people’s kitchens had less gizmos and gadgets; spice racks had only a couple of herbs; there were only a few fresh vegetables on the counter; and refrigerators were a quarter full. Despite the lack of complexity, the food was incredible. Each ingredient was carefully selected. There was no excess lying around. A separate pantry for preserved foods wasn’t necessary. Markets sold what was in season – not foods shipped from halfway around the world. By keeping less food in the house, people made more frequent trips to the market. Regular trips to the market allowed them to always have fresh produce and meat on hand, rather than stockpiling large quantities of packaged foods. There was a distinct difference in the quality of flavors and liveliness of foods because everything was fresh. And, when it comes to health, there is no question that the quality of food that we ingest will have a direct effect on our quality of health. Witnessing other the cooking styles of other cultures and people broadened my perspective. Back at home, I had grown accustomed to some of my own habits and, while aboad, used other people’s habits as a way of challenging my own. The simplicity I experienced in other people’s kitchens seemed like a great model for my own. I borrowed some of the philosophy that circled

around clean eating and mindful food choices. All around our own country farmer’s markets have been sprouting up in smaller communities. And many people are tired of hearing the negativity associated with the preservatives and additives in our food. A great way around this is to shop more locally and prepare our own food. Pockets of our society are reclaiming their independence and appreciating the labor of love in growing their own produce. There’s a fine line between the modern convenience of fast foods and the price we pay later – with our health. A common excuse in our culture is that there simply is not enough time to cook. It’s undeniable that preparing your own fresh dishes demands more time.

to shift my perspective on how I shop, cook and eat. Change is always a process of small changes adding up to a larger one. Little by little I carved out more time in my schedule for learning new recipes, and I started preparing fresh food for the coming week. After spending time cooking with other cultures, as well as my own family, it seems that – more than anything – it’s our attitude toward food that is the most important.

u Peter Stadalsky is an Aurora resident and adventurer. He shares his travel experiences with a “glass-half-full” view of the world.

Rather than trying to compete with time, I had TRAVEL




The best fall food fests in the Midwest By ALLISON HORNE

It almost seems like every weekend a new festival pops up or blocks off a street – but some stand out among the rest. From bacon to beer and pumpkins, too, we’ve rounded up the best of the best in the Midwest in food fests.

Windy City Wine Festival in Chicago Photos provided

WINDY CITY WINE FESTIVAL Chicago | Sept. 8-9 No need to travel to wine country to taste the finest wines from around the world. A quick stop at the Buckingham Fountain with a $50 ticket ($40 in advance) will get you 20 tastings from more than 300 wines. Tickets also include a tasting wine glass, music, seminars and more. A designated driver ticket is available for $15, and features two non-alcoholic drinks and a tasting wine glass souvenir. For those interested in an upgrade, a Cadillac Connoisseurs Club Ticket is available for $120 in advance or $140 at the gate, and includes access to the VIP tent, exclusive wines, as well as hors d’oeuvres and small plate foods. For more information, visit 44 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

KENTUCKY STATE BBQ FESTIVAL Danville, Kentucky | Sept. 8-10


You might have to make a bit more of a trek for this one, but the weekend is usually capped off with an eating triathlon and barbecue slip-andslide, so who can say no? Held this year at the Wilderness Trail Distillery, the event will feature Kentucky’s finest barbecue, beer and bourbon. For more information, visit

Hosted in the “Pumpkin Capital of the World,” the Morton Pumpkin Festival has no shortage of treats, activities and competitions all revolving around the beloved pumpkin. After being inaugurated in 1967, the festival now welcomes more than 70,000 visitors to the grounds each year and features a pumpkin parade, bike tour,


the Pumpkin Classic Walk and Run, a craft fair, pumpkin princess pageant, boxcar derby, pieeating contest and more. For more information, visit WORLD FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL Des Moines, Iowa | Sept. 15-17 Head to downtown Des Moines for a weekend full of food and drinks from more than 25 countries around the world. Food ranges from Dumping Darling (Korean) and Karam’s Grill (Moroccan) to Pupusas (Salvodoran) and Chocolaterie Stam (Dutch), while music entertainment will be highlighted by the Bottle Rockets and Walker McGuire. The event is free to attend, while tastes cost $1 and all entrees are $6 or less. For more information, visit

World Food and Wine Festival in Des Moines, IA Photos provided

SAM ADAMS TACO FEST Lakeview, Chicago | Sept. 16-17 For one weekend, the Southport Corridor is turning into a taco heaven. Chorizo, chicken, steak, beef or something more imaginative, they’ve got it all at the Sam Adams Taco Fest. Local favorites like Tuco and Blondie, Taco Joint and D.S. Tequila have joined in on the fun this year. In addition to food, the festival also features two music stages, Mexican wrestlers and activities for kids. Each visitor is also invited to vote for “Chicago’s Best Taco.” Admission is a $10 recommended donation to the Friends of Lakeview and the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit

World Food and Wine Festival in Des Moines, IA Photos provided

eating contest, a cow pie shop, chainsaw carving exhibition, mechanical bull and much more. If beef is your thing, this is the place to be. For more information, visit

BACON BASH River Falls, Wisconsin | Sept. 16-17

APPLE AFFAIR Galesville, Wisconsin | Oct. 7

There’s no such thing as too much bacon, and River Falls’ Bacon Bash exemplifies that notion. The two-day fest highlights local restaurants’ bacon dishes, which can range from baconwrapped dates to pig wings. It’s not just the food that’s pig-related – there also are pig races, a pet costume parade and even plastic pigs floating down the Kinnickinnic River. Don’t miss out on your chance to go hog wild with more than 60 merchandise vendors and local microbrews and wines at this epic event. For more information, visit

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, you may as well live forever after visiting Galesville’s Apple Affair, which has been a staple event in the community since 1983. Held the first weekend in October, the fest kicks off with a massive breakfast in the square, and is followed up by a 10-foot pie baked specifically for the fest. But it’s not just about the food, there’s a craft show, music and the highlight, the Apple Affair Bike Tour. The tour can range from six to 75 miles and showcases the area’s orchards and scenic roads. For more information, visit appleaffair.php.

GREAT LAKES BREW FEST Racine, Wisconsin | Sept. 16 Throw back local Midwest brews while chilling on the shores of Lake Michigan at the Racine Zoo’s Great Lakes Brew Fest. With more than 250 beers to be enjoyed from more than 100 brewers and brew clubs, there’s literally something for everyone. Tickets cost $50 per adult and $18 for a designated driver, while VIP admission is $89. All paid attendees receive a souvenir drinking glass, and music will be provided by the Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps. For more information, visit


Founder LaVell Peete first started this fest in 2015 in honor of his mother, Selma (Knox) Peete, who – he claims – was the best cook ever. Now, the full-fledged barbeque festival features the best barbeque from local vendors, as well as a food competition for locals. In addition to barbecue, there’s bourbon and craft beer tastings, a car show and plenty of prizes for the Backyard and People’s Choice barbecue BEEF-A-RAMA competitions. All proceeds from this event (after Minocqua, Wisconsin | Sept. 30 expenses) will go toward the Selma (Knox) Peete Scholarship fund, which helps students attend Name any kind of beef – they’ve got it. For 50 years, the streets of Minocqua have been flooded Richland Community College’s culinary program. for the annual Beef-a-Rama, which kicks off with For more information, visit attendees dressed up as cows for the 10K and 5K Rump Roast Run and Walk. More than 70 vendors attend the fest, which also features a beefTRAVEL


Joint decision Carpenter Frank Zafir regains quality of life after shoulder replacement surgeries By KELSEY O’CONNOR

When Frank Zafir was 19 years old, he had the knees of a 70-year-old.

Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group Orthopaedics.

Zafir says. “My arms feel like they did when I was 25.”

Osteoarthritis had ravaged his joints and made daily tasks, including doing his daily work as a carpenter, extremely painful. Zafir had to have both his knees replaced 11 years ago. Then his shoulders started to hurt.

They tried cortisone injections, a common treatment for osteoarthritis pain, but the condition was too far advanced. That’s when Dr. Watt suggested a shoulder replacement.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when cartilage between the joints breaks down. This can cause swelling, stiffness, pain and a limited range of motion. While it’s one of the most common chronic joint conditions, its causes are generally unknown and treatment options are limited.

“About a year ago, I could only raise my arms up to 90 degrees,” remembers Zafir. “The pain was unbelievable. When I laid down, my arm would go numb.” When the pain made it difficult to continue working, Zafir decided it was time to seek treatment. In June 2016, he started seeing • David H. Watt, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon at 46 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

“They’re quite successful for pain relief,” says Dr. Watt, who has practices in Carol Stream and Warrenville. “We typically don’t get all the mobility back, but it will improve the function.” Zafir had his left shoulder replaced in October last year, then had the right one done a few months later. He noticed a difference almost immediately. “I had full range of motion within a day or two,” HEALTH & WELLNESS

Compared to knee replacements, shoulder replacements are much less common, says Dr. Watt. It’s also a tricky procedure due to the complexities of the shoulder area. Because of that, it’s important for patients needing a shoulder replacements to seek out a surgeon who has significant experience with them.

“I had full range of motion within a day or two. My arms feel like they did when I was 25.” – Frank Zafir

“Most orthopaedic surgeons don’t do very many shoulder replacements,” Dr. Watt says. “It’s a complex procedure and it takes someone who’s experienced with all the intricacies of the shoulder.” Dr. Watt specializes in shoulder procedures, performing about 50 shoulder replacements a year. With movement restored to his joints, Zafir had to focus on restoring their strength. He did a few weeks of at-home physical therapy after each procedure, then several weeks of outpatient rehabilitation. He was able to return to work just eight weeks after the second procedure. For Zafir, the procedure was a total success. “It’s unbelievable,” he says. “It’s pretty amazing how it turned out. My quality of life is just 180 degrees from before. I’m completely pain free.” Zafir isn’t the only one to notice a difference. His kids, ages 9 and 10, are thrilled to be able to play with their dad again. “I hadn’t shot a basketball in years because I couldn’t even hold the ball above my head,” he says. “Now I’m back shooting hoops with my kids – I can do that kind of stuff again. Those everyday things I took for granted before, I can do them again.” u For more information on Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics, visit orthopaedics. To set up an appointment with David H. Watt, MD, call 630.225.2663.

BETTER BY EVERY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION. Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage and Delnor hospitals offer highly-specialized orthopaedic care, close to home. From advanced arthroscopic procedures and microsurgery to leading-edge joint replacement and reconstruction, our team provides world-class, comprehensive care and rehabilitation services. What makes us better, makes you better. Learn more at




Hoist a stein for Batavia

Oktoberfest! By JONATHAN BILYK


ast year, Batavia Mainstreet brought Oktoberfest back to River Street. And the event was such a barrel of fun, the organization couldn’t help but roll it out again this year. “There’s no other true German Oktoberfest in the area,” says Debby Foote, a volunteer who serves as the event’s chairperson this year. “We said, ‘Let’s bring it back; let’s do it again.’” More than 5,000 people came to downtown Batavia in early October last year for Batavia Mainstreet’s Oktoberfest offering. And Foote says that organizers are expecting even more to come by during the two-day festival, which takes place Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7.

Orchestra. The Chardon band also has appeared on various TV shows, including their own reality series, “Polka Kings.”

“This is their first time in Batavia, and we’re really excited to get The event will kick off Friday evening at 4:30 p.m. Two hours later, Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke, them here,” says Foote. “They are just so fun.” in his Oktoberfest role of “Bergermeister” will officially launch the festivities with a ceremonial On Saturday night, for the second Tapping of the Keg. consecutive year, the fest will be closed out by Mike Knauf and Die Musikmeisters. Chicago’s Johnny Wagner Band will take the stage again this year, and will perform a mix However, the music is only one part of a proper of Bavarian and Austrian polkas, rock and Oktoberfest. jazz, complete with yodeling performances, Foote notes that the event also will feature beer and a 15-foot-long Swiss Alphorn and Austrian from the event’s presenting sponsor, Samuel cowbells. Adams, and an array of authentic German foods The Wagner band will be the first of three from restaurants and food suppliers, including headlining bands to entertain. On Saturday Marengo’s Café 20; the Wurst Kitchen in Aurora; afternoon, the Chardon Polka Band will bring Gaetano’s in Batavia; Monika’s Organic Bakery in their quirky, unorthodox take on “Cleveland-style Sycamore; and Enticing Cuisine in Batavia. polka” – straight from Ohio – offering traditional “They’ll be serving that warm, delicious, true polkas with a bit of a punk rock influence, Foote traditional German, Bavarian food,” says Foote. says. And in addition to the music, beer and food, The band’s style has earned them appearances the fest also will feature an assortment of across the country, according to their other family-friendly contests, activities and online biography, including at a NFL game, entertainment, including a special entertainment performances at some of the country’s largest area for the kinder (children.) Oktoberfests and even opening for the Cleveland 48 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


On Saturday the Batavia Academy of Dance, A Step Above Dance Academy and the Egerlander Dance Group of Chicago, will offer traditional German dances. Festival-goers can participate in a German spelling bee, too. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their best takes on traditional Bavarian garb, as the fest will again offer a lederhosen and dirndl contest. And, on Friday, attendees will have a chance to compete in the Sam Adams Stein Hoisting contest, and potentially advance through later stages of the national contest to win a trip to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Admission to the event is free, and the event will be entirely enclosed in heavy duty tents, so rain, wind or early autumn chill won’t slow it down, says Foote. For those traveling to the event, abundant free parking options are available throughout downtown Batavia. A map of the parking areas is available on Batavia MainStreet’s website.

If you go BATAVIA OKTOBERFEST WHEN: Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7 WHERE: North River Street in downtown Batavia INFO: oktoberfest Photos provided


DOWN at Geneva’s 36th annual Festival of the Vine By JONATHAN BILYK The family at Graham’s Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream has always loved offering its assortment of sweet treats to Geneva regulars and visitors alike.

Last year, the Festival of the Vine drew 75,000 attendees to the area around State Street and Third Street in Geneva, offering visitors the chance to sample dozens of wines, while nibbling on a wide range of foods offered by local restaurants.

But it’s during Geneva’s annual fall festival, the Festival of the Vine, that Graham’s – just as all of downtown Geneva – gets a chance to “truly shine,” “We started three dozen years ago with a card says Jayni Wunderlich, Graham’s vice president and table and a couple of restaurants,” says Rush. “To see what this has become, it’s really something daughter of owner, Beckie Untiedt. truly special.” “Our wine and chocolate tasting is such an anticipated event, both for our customers and our family [and] our staff,” says Wunderlich. “We enjoy presenting our chocolates in such a sophisticated way, and we very much enjoy creating a fun date night, ladies night, couples night, family night, for so many people who really embrace this event and come every year. It’s a tradition for so many, and it’s just a fun beautiful night out in Geneva.” As Graham’s marks its 30th anniversary purveying fine ice creams, chocolates and other delectable goodies in downtown Geneva this year, Festival of the Vine also will welcome visitors to the downtown area for its 36th consecutive event, which take place from Friday, Sept. 8, through Sunday, Sept. 10. Through the years, the event has grown, both in size and sophistication, says Laura Rush, communications director for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the festival.



This year’s event will offer visitors an official assortment of 26 different wines from California, New Zealand, Italy and elsewhere, paired with food from 16 different Geneva shops and restaurants, including Graham’s and its associated 318 Coffeehouse; Altiro Latin Fusion; Bien Trucha; Claddagh Irish Pub; Firehouse Pizza; FoxFire; GenHoe; Geneva Ale House; Inglenook Pantry; Josef’s Meats and Deli; Kernel’s Gourmet Popcorn; Kilwins; Riganato Old World Grille; Sergio’s Cantina; and Stockholm’s. “We again have a nice assortment of kinds of food, and at different price points,” says Rush. While admission to the festival is free, anyone wishing to sample wine or food at the event must purchase tickets for food and drink. Tickets cost $1 each and can only be purchased with cash. Food entrees, for instance, will cost 1-7 tickets each, while glasses of wine will range from 5-16 tickets.

Festival of the Vine WHEN: Sept. 8-10

“We’ve been doing this for 36 years, and we think this one will be the best yet.” – Laura Rush, Geneva Chamber of Commerce

The festival also will offer free musical entertainment, both on the lawn of the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street and at the fest’s mainstage, located at Fourth and State streets. On Friday evening, The Moods will perform its tributes to Motown and other golden oldies. On Saturday, the mainstage will feature singer/songwriter Gregory Hyde followed by the Hiline Band, which will perform Motown and an assortment of dance hits from the ’70s and ’80s. And, on Sunday afternoon, the Geneva-based band The MacCartyns will take the stage, followed by country/rock singer and guitarist Drew Clausen, who will close out the mainstage entertainment. Festgoers also can step out of the main festival area to take part in special private associated events hosted by Geneva shops and restaurants. Graham’s will host, for the 28th straight year, its “Bacchus Meets Quetzacoatl” wine and chocolate pairing event. In partnership with Geneva Wine Cellars, the

TICKET BOOTH HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday WHERE: The courtyard of the Lannert Group building, 215 S. Fulton St., Geneva MORE INFO: www. festival_of_vine.php

event will offer guests fortunate enough to obtain the hard-to-get tickets the chance to sample “the most interesting combination of our decadent handmade chocolates with their delicious wines,” says Wunderlich. “We partner with the wonderful new owner Al Buchanan of The Geneva Wine Cellars and Tasting Room, and his insights into our pairings is exceptional,” Wunderlich says. “We decide each pairing around a table together as a group, with much scrutiny and lively debate.” While the wine and chocolate event has become a tradition for many, the event will be relocated this year to the courtyard of the Lannert Group building, located at 215 S. Fulton St., which Wunderlich says will be “transformed” for the Festival of the Vine event. Kids also will find much to do, with complimentary face painting, a sidewalk chalk art contest and trolley and carriage rides around downtown Geneva. Rush encouraged visitors commuting to Geneva to consider riding Metra from the east or west for easy access to the festival. Otherwise, visitors can find parking in Geneva’s downtown parking garage, on the streets and in-surface lots behind the county courthouse, or north of State Street. “We’ve been doing this for 36 years, and we think this one will be the best yet,” Rush says.


TASTINGS AROUND TOWN According to the Chamber of Commerce website, eight other restaurants and shops also will host special wine tasting and culinary events during the festival, including: ¢ ALL CHOCOLATE KITCHEN (33 S. Third St.) will offer an evening of chocolate and wine with executive chef and owner Alain Roby, pairing truffles from the Chocolate Kitchen’s “Exotic Aroma Line… with sublime, sensual wine.” Admission is $50 a person, and is limited by reservation. ¢ CHEZ MOI (415 W. State St.) will offer its annual Polenta Pour, serving polenta with sides of sauces, vegetables, sausages and cheese. The cost is $30 a person. ¢ FIORA’S (317 S. Third St.) will host its annual Festival Wine Tasting, “featuring exceptional wines individually selected” by Fiora’s sommelier. The cost is $1 per taste. ¢ GALENA CELLARS VINEYARD AND WINERY (477 S. Third St., Suite 100) will offer sangria and 40 different wines by the glass, with live entertainment on the shop’s patio on Sunday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. ¢ GENEVA WINE CELLARS (227 S. Third St.) will allow visitors to “taste 5 wines for $5 ‘under the tent’” on the shop’s Third Street patio, with special presentations of “luxury wines” in the shops VIP room. ¢ THE LITTLE TRAVELER (404 S. Third St.) will offer visitors the chance to sample more than 75 wines from Illinois, the U.S., Europe and South Africa, along with a “curated selection of lager beers and hard ciders.” The first three samples are free, with additional samples available “for a nominal price.” ¢ SAVWAY FINE WINES AND SPIRITS (515 W. State St.) will host a wine and cheese presentation, allowing visitors the chance to “find your new favorites” and “reacquaint with the old.” The presentation costs $10. ¢ WILDWOOD RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE (477 S. Third St., Suite 190) will offer a “$10 Wine Grab Bag” and “Wine Flights” throughout the weekend, with a complimentary cheese tasting in the restaurant’s lounge on Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

ADOPTIONS • HUMANE & PET EDUCATION • DEMONSTRATIONS • PET-THEMED CONTESTS Join us for an exciting day of pet-centered activities, contests, vendors and lots more! Our annual family and pet-friendly event celebrates the joy and love pets bring to our lives.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th 11am–4pm MOOSEHEART CHILD CITY & SCHOOL 255 James J Davis Drive, Mooseheart, IL

This message brought to you by DePaw Canine University

DePAW Canine Campus

Stop in at DePAW to check out our gourmet pet food items! We offer an extensive variety of quality dog and cat foods such as Natural Planet, Pure Vita, Fromm, NW Naturals Frozen Pet Food, Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried & Frozen lines, and Bosco & Roxy’s Gourmet Bakery Treats & Frozen Yogurt. If you do not see your preferred flavor, we will order it special for you at no extra charge! Looking for the perfect treat for your pet? Check out our wide selection of Fruitables and Nutri Source packaged treats, Pig Ears, Bully Sticks, Bully Horns, Smoked Knee Caps, and Himalayan Dog Chews.


Seasonal showcase Hickory Knolls Discovery Center to host ‘Tree-mendous Thursday’ fall programs

It’s that time of year! Fall is just around the corner, and the days are getting shorter. Autumn weekends can be a madhouse scramble of soccer matches and errands – too many things to do in one 48-hour time period. So, why not get a jumpstart on the weekend by having some fun on “Tree-mendous Thursdays” at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles? The center is even offering extended hours (4 to 8 p.m.) through Oct. 26 to help maximize the time you can spend outdoors. With the extended hours, the Discovery Center will offer programs that showcase the best of the season – everything from hands-on projects to scavenger hunts and campfire fun to critter visits.

Critters” and “Fall Fireside Fun,” when narrators from center’s staff and the St. Charles Public Library, respectively, encourage children to listen closely to stories about animals and nature. Other programs – such as “A Tree-mendous Recharge, “Tree-mendous Leaves” and “Things That Make You Go Ewww” – are scavenger huntbased programs that encourage participants to get out and explore the center using lists that might ask attendees to look for an animal track, smell a fragrant blossom or touch the bark of a tree. The challenge, says McCoy, is to go out into nature and forget about phones, TV, homework and deadlines for a bit.

Of course, fall in the Midwest is a glorious time of year. It’s when “Everyone gets so busy and over-committed with things,” says Laura McCoy, nature programs colors are both muted supervisor. “We want to make it easy for people and vibrant, the air is crisper and the to fit some more fun into their lives.” temperatures are in “Tree-mendous Thursday” programs will that “just-right” range. offer something for all age groups – from And just as families grandparents to toddlers, and busy 9-to-5-ers are transitioning from looking for a way to unwind at the end of a summertime freedom hectic day. Anyone who wants to get outside to back-to-school and enjoy a few more hours with Mother Nature responsibilities, so, will be able to do so, since most of the programs too, is Mother Nature are free and operate on a drop-in basis, which is transitioning from the perfect for those looking for something exciting, lush growth explosions educational and a little out of the ordinary. of summer to winter’s With most programs starting at either 6 or 6:30 restful dormancy. p.m., the decision about what, where and when Many of these seasonal to have an evening meal is also easily solved on changes are being “Tree-mendous Thursday” nights. Participants effected by changes in are encouraged to bring a picnic supper to enjoy climate and, for those on the grounds before program activities start. who are curious about “I know how hard it is to try to fit in a meal and go to an event that starts right around dinner time,” says McCoy. “We want to make it simple for someone to get to do it all.” The “Tree-mendous Thursday” programs help participants connect to all five senses as they explore the facilities and grounds at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center. Some events will include storytimes, such as “PJ Party with the

how climate change impacts life right here in St. Charles, educator Allison Briddell will discuss the local effects of this global problem during the “Climate Change: A Hot Topic” program Sept. 14. Briddell will offer

tips about environmental changes that can be implemented in the home and in the garden that can help make a difference. Make a difference in another way during the “Bat House Helpers” program Oct. 26, when participants will work together to paint a bat house that will be hung on the Discovery Center grounds. Painters will then be invited to come back to the center to discover what bat may have decided to make the house its home. Painting bat houses is not the only artistic event offered during “Tree-mendous Thursday” programming. Join a “Pumpkin Painting Party” on Oct. 5. The center will supply the pumpkins and paint, while attendees will supply the artistic inspiration to create a make-andtake seasonal centerpiece. From ghosts and campfires to foliage and pumpkins, autumn abounds with things to do, see, explore and experience. “I think fall is the best of all seasons,” says McCoy. “The Tree-mendous Thursday programs let people enjoy it to the max.”

Hickory Knolls Discovery Center is located at 3795 Campton Hills Drive in St. Charles. For more information about fall “Treemendous Thursday” programming, contact Laura McCoy at 630-513-4393 or visit



Book Nook


My first job out of college, I worked in a chocolate shop and I remember tasting a small piece of a citrus truffle because I had to sample everything we sold. I remember my first glass of Gewürztraminer, and the pronunciation lesson my first boyfriend paired it with. And I remember the first bite of the almond cake I ate at my high school graduation dinner. It’s no wonder that the world of food and drink has been the subject of so many books – they’re closely tied to memory, emotion and love. This September, check out these sumptuous food-filled stories.

¢ ‘SWEETBITTER’ By Stephanie Danler In “Sweetbitter,” Tess, a recent college graduate from Ohio, moves to New York with no plans, no friends and no money. But a new set of worries occupies her mind during her first year as a back waiter in a ritzy New York City restaurant. Tess learns the ins-and-outs of the restaurant world with the help of Simone – a sophisticated but suspiciously-kind wine manager, who takes Tess under her wing – and Jake – a brooding bad-boy bartender and the object of Tess’s ill-fated infatuation. Since she’s only 22, we see her make youthful mistakes and, as much as she learns about the restaurant industry, her biggest education is learning about who she is. Danler’s writing is elegant and gives an apt juxtaposition to Tess’s messy life. ¢ ‘CORK DORK’ By Bianca Bosker

Allison Manley was born in Georgia and raised in Island Lake. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing. She loves opera, craft beer, and (of course!) reading.


Bianca Bosker takes us on a sensory adventure while studying for the Certified Sommelier exam. The language she uses to describe wine tasting is as delicious as the wines themselves, and she shows how the world of wine tasting depends on a sommelier’s ability to describe wines beautifully and accurately. She also shows how the world


of wine is filled with contradictions: classy wine-tasting events often end in debauchery; wine managers drink from vintage bottles that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but live in tiny apartments; and a sommelier’s enjoyment of wine is often matched by the stress that comes with learning about it. “Cork Dork” shows that sommeliers aren’t just people who like being snobby about wine – they are psychoanalysts, historians, biologists, poets, businesspeople, chemists, and servants – and there is an art to what they do. ¢ ‘LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE’ By Laura Esquivel “Like Water for Chocolate” tells the story of Tita, the youngest daughter caught in a family tradition that forces her to take care of her aging mother instead of marrying and raising a family of her own. Despite her duty, she falls in love with Pedro, who marries Tita’s sister Rosaura so he can be as close to Tita as possible. Tita’s role as caretaker also includes cooking duties, and her meals have a magical effect on anyone who eats them. The story doubles as a cookbook. Esquivel weaves Mexican recipes, like mole and quails in rose-petal sauce, into the story to highlight the tension and emotion within Tita’s family. Esquivel’s novel is pure passion and will leave you dreaming of romance (and dinner!).



Summer Chi.ill

Chicago Parrothead Club hosts poolside party with a purpose The second annual Summer Chi.ill “trop-rock” music festival took place Aug. 3 through Aug. 6 at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. The charity fundraiser and live music event is a grassroots effort between the Chicago Parrothead Club and Cornerstone Services, which provides comprehensive services to people with disabilities. Last year’s event raised $16,000, and proceeds are still being tallied for this year’s event, according to Chicago Parrothead Club president Billy Brehm. For more information, visit www. Photos provided by Chicago Parrothead Club




BALTRIA FOURTH ANNUAL CAR SHOW WHEN: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1 WHERE: Baltria Vintage Auto Gallery, 4200 E. Main St., St. Charles The fourth annual Baltria Car Show will feature food, awards and live music by Rick Lindy and the Wild Ones. For more information, visit www. KANE COUNTY FLEA MARKET WHEN: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 WHERE: Kane County Fairgrounds 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles Considered “The Best in the Midwest or Anywhere,” the Kane County Flea Market will feature up to 1,000 dealers who will display and sell antiques, collectibles, furniture and more. A country breakfast is served on Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults, and children ages 12 and younger will be admitted free of charge. For more information, visit www. JAZZ WEEKEND WHEN: Sept. 7 through Sept. 10 WHERE: Various restaurants and venues in downtown St. Charles Jazz Weekend is a four-day event that coordinates and promotes live jazz music in different downtown establishments. For more information or a schedule of events, visit downtownstcharles.or/events/stcjazzweekend. FESTIVAL OF THE VINE WHEN: Sept. 8 through Sept. 10 WHERE: Downtown Geneva Taste the autumn bounty in downtown Geneva while enjoying the flower market, arts and crafts show and live music entertainment. Sip wines from around the world and sample international specialties prepared by Geneva restaurants. For more information, visit SIXTH ANNUAL ARTSFEST WHEN: Sept. 8 through Sept. 17 WHERE: 2 E. Main St., St. Charles The sixth annual ArtsFest will feature 11 art galleries and various programs that will take place all over town, including the All Things Art Studio, Arcada Theatre, Downtown St. Charles Partnership, Fine Line Creative Arts Center, Norris Cultural Arts Center, Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles Park District, St. Charles Public Library, Steel Beam Theatre, 116 Gallery and Gallery of Nature. For more information, visit


‘100 YEARS OF BROADWAY’ WHEN: Sept. 8 through Sept. 24 WHERE: Steel Beam Theatre 111 W. Main St., St. Charles

HERE FOR LIFE WALK WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 WHERE: Pottawatomie Park 8 North Ave., St. Charles

Steel Beam Theatre’s season kickoff musical review will be “100 Years of Broadway,” which was conceived and directed by Douglas Orlyk. Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit or call 630-587-8521.

Every fundraising dollar of the Here for Life Walk goes directly to Suicide Prevention Services, a nonprofit organization that aims to prevent suicide. The 3.1-mile walk will take place along the Fox River. Registration is at 8 a.m., the balloon launch is at 8:50 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. For more information, visit

ILLINOIS BREWS AT BOWES CREEK WHEN: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 WHERE: Porter’s Pub at Bowes Creek 1250 Bowes Creek Blvd., Elgin The event will feature Illinois craft beers and home brews to sample and enjoy, along with food, live music and raffle prizes. All of the proceeds will go toward creating recreational opportunities to Elgin at-risk children. UNITED FALL FEST WHEN: 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 WHERE: Congregational United Church of Christ 40W451 Fox Mill Blvd., St. Charles The seventh annual United Fall Fest is a fundraising event organized by the Congregational United Church of Christ and Fox Mill Community of Campton Hills. The family-friendly event will feature live music, a classic car show, a bags tournament, Kids’ Corner, food and beer tents, an outdoor movie and a fireworks show. New this year is lunch and football under the tent from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10. Proceeds will benefit local charities. Admission is free. For more information, visit BEADS OF COURAGE CHALLENGE WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 WHERE: Kavanagh Gallery at Fine Line Creative Arts Center 37W570 Bolcum Road, St. Charles The ninth annual Beads of Courage Challenge supports the mission of Beads of Courage to provide innovative arts in medicine programs that will improve the quality of life for children and teens coping with cancer and other serious illnesses, their families and the clinicians who care for them. The 2017 Bead Challenge will feature a friendly competition among all 50 states to earn the title of “Most Inspired State” by raising the most funds and donating the most beads during the Bead Challenge. The winning state will be honored with a commemorative Beads of Courage legacy bead showcasing the state. For more information, visit


ST. CHARLES OCSA 5K DOG WALK WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 10 WHERE: Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve 37W700 Dean St., shelter No. 1, St. Charles Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness is a unique awareness campaign designed to share the silent symptoms of the deadly disease in a program called the Veterinary Outreach Program. The late co-founder, Susan Roman, believed her own dog alerted her to the cancer, which eventually took her life. So, the idea to tie dogs and this mission together evolved into a unique awareness campaign. The VOP now partners with veterinarians around the state, who also spread awareness about the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer through symptom checklists provided by OCSA. The cost is $35 for adults, $25 for students, $20 for children, $10 for Scouts and $10 for Dogs. The event will includes lunch, an OCSA T-shirt for the walker and a teal bandana for the participating pooches. For more information, visit www. PETS-A-PALOOZA FESTIVAL WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 WHERE: Mooseheart Child City and School, 255 James J. Davis Drive, off Route 31 between North Aurora and Batavia Anderson Animal Shelter will host the third annual Pets-a-Palooza festival, which attracted more than 3,000 people last year. The free, family- and pet-centered event will feature various activities for pets and children, as well as humane and pet education sessions and training demonstrations. Anderson Animal Shelter, along with other local rescue groups, will have dogs and puppies available for adoption. FOX VALLEY MARATHON WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 17 WHERE: Downtown St. Charles, along South First and Illinois streets in St. Charles The Marathon is a USATF-sanctioned event. Get ready for a shady river course that runs through towns, across bridges and incorporates waterfalls, parks, an authentic Dutch windmill

and plenty of shade. For more information, visit COUNTRY FOLK ART FESTIVAL WHEN: Sept. 22 through Sept. 24 WHERE: Robinson Hall at Kane County Fairgrounds 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles The show will feature handmade reproductions of antique country furniture, folk art, primitives, and seasonal Halloween and Christmas décor with an historic flair. For more information, visit www. GAMER GRACE WHEN: Sept. 22 through Sept. 24 WHERE: Pheasant Run Resort 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles Gamer Grace is a three-day event that brings the best of gaming to the Chicago area. There will be special guests from the gaming industry and a variety of paneling throughout the weekend; video and board game rooms; video game tournaments; and other special programming. For more information, visit ELGIN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 WHERE: The Hemmens Cultural Center 45 Symphony Way, Elgin The ninth annual Elgin Short Film Festival will feature short films by some of the best up-and-coming filmmakers. Mike Toomey, comedian and integral part of the WGN TV morning show, will return to Emcee the event. Filmmakers will begin arriving on the red carpet in advance, and there will be pre-show entertainment, including a special chamber music performance of a new score to accompany the screening of Charlie Chaplin’s silent film, “The Tramp,” presented by Chamber Music on the Fox. Each film run no more than 20 minutes long and is rated PG. The screenings include a showing of the finalists. Winners will be selected by a judging panel and audience members. In addition, there will be a People’s Choice award based solely on audience votes. BATAVIA HOUSE WALK WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25 WHERE: Various locations in Batavia During the Batavia House Walk, tour four unique Batavia homes, enjoy tea at the historic Newton House and attend a cocktail hour with live music from 3 to 5 p.m. at Water Street Studios. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Batavia MainStreet office, Salvaged Heart Vintage Wares, and K. Hollis Jewelers. For more information, visit downtownbatavia. com/the-batavia-house-walk.





Carole J. Sluski credits her mother for her artistic prowess. “I started painting with oil at the young age of 6,” she says on the website, “My mother was my first teacher, and she gave me the biggest gift of all which is the chance to hold a brush in my left hand and paint on a blank canvas. I dedicate all my paintings to my beautiful mom, and I also cherish her paintings she left me.” To this day, Sluski paints in all media and various styles and subject matter, including abstract, contemporary, landscape, seascape, still life and portrait paintings.

“I find abstract my greatest challenge in painting because I have to visually see objects as forms and not reality,” she says. “In essence, my abstract art is an expression of my creativity as nonrepresentational compositions.”

were lithographed on canvas and thousands were sold to a party planning company in the Midwest.

Sluski has studied at the Chicago Art Institute, with the LaGrange Art League, DuPage Art League, Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles and has shown her work all over the country.

Lately, Sluski has been concentrating on abstracts and contemporary art in acrylic and oil. The St. Charles artist has her paintings displayed in homes all over the country.

In the 1990s, one of Sluski’s largest accomplishments in watercolor was having nine of her paintings published by an Illinois Art Company, Artistic Impressions. The originals

“I give back to others by sharing my art,” she says.

u To view more of Sluski’s work, visit or call 630-513-7605 to make an appointment to visit her personal gallery.

To submit an entry to Artist Showcase, email artwork, title of piece, name and village of residence of artist, a two- to three - sentence description of the piece, short bio and artist photo to, subject head “Local Artist Submission.” 58 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


It’s not too late to make those Curb Appeal Improvements to your home! It’s also the time to think about improving energy efficiency! Take advantage of the next couple of months of warm weather to get those projects done & rest easy when Winter arrives!

Bathrooms Kitchens Basements Siding Windows Doors Rooms Additions Three Season Rooms Decks Architectural Enhancements (inside & out) Whole House Remodels Whatever the project, the McDowell team looks forward to helping you through every 630-584-2255 step of the process... 521 West Main Street St. Charles




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