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RUSH CREEK DISTILLING A ‘spirited’ adventure PAGE 14




h s e r +f

New bleuroot restaurant brings the farm to the table


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Editor's Note September’s food and wine issue is always a fun edition to curate content for, especially in McHenry County, as it’s rife with quality restaurants, cafes and bars. The food scene in this area is pretty great and, the best part is, it’s getting even better. McHenry County residents have the privilege of having so many kinds of food at their fingertips. The people living here believe in local, encourage innovation and are open to trying new flavors and dining concepts. There is much to explore in this county, 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. I have always had a lot of respect for restaurateurs and chefs.

To be able to do something well once is hard enough, to be able to do something consistently well seems even more unlikely, yet – day in and day out – these chefs and cooks manage to wield consistently delicious dishes out of their kitchens, allowing the area the continued growth of its reputation as a superb dining destination in the suburbs. I hope this issue inspires you to get out there and try something new, or rediscover an old favorite. And, while dining out, if you love something – the food, the service, a cocktail – don’t ever be afraid to tell someone – the chef, your waiter, the bartender. During a time when there’s so much negativity emanating from the Internet and airwaves, receiving a little compliment from a total stranger goes a long way, and it might be exactly what that person (who is probably working really hard to make you happy!) needs to hear. Thanks for reading,

GENERAL MANAGER Jim Ringness 815-526-4614 DIRECTOR OF NICHE PUBLISHING Laura Shaw 630-427-6213

It’s a huge risk to open a restaurant, and when it fails, it’s stressful; and when it’s successful, it’s stressful. Kara Silva, Editor

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.

Published by Shaw Media 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Phone: 815-459-4040 Fax: 815-477-4960

EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209 DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253

on the


The urban chic bleuroot restaurant, a vibrant recent addition to downtown West Dundee, exercises the farmto-table dining concept with gusto. Its menu revolves around locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, and the river views don’t hurt. Read more on Page 8. Photo provided by bleuroot restaurant in West Dundee


CORRESPONDENTS Melissa Riske, Jonathan Bilyk, Allison Manley, Stephanie N. Grimoldby, Allison Horne, Kevin Druley, Elizabeth Czapski, Kelsey O’Connor, Shonda Dudlicek, Elizabeth Harmon PHOTOGRAPHERS Ron McKinney, Nancy Merkling, From Me 2 You Photography

McHenry 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 McHenry County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at subscriptions@

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FOOD & WINE 8 TAKING ROOT New bleuroot restaurant boasts river views and local ingredients


Staying active is the legacy that Fox Point strives to leave with families




At Black Orchid Boutique



To feature epic views, fall foliage and fun

20 GAME CHANGER Acclaimed 1776 restaurant gets fresh new look to match farmfresh menu

22 HONEYBAKED HAM The gift that keeps on giving

24 HOMEGROWN HOSPITALITY From restaurant regular to head chef, Matt Alfus continues to inject imagination into Duke’s Alehouse menu

26 SUPPER CLUB COOL At The Anvil Club, chef Eric Feldbusch creates quality American fare in a sophisticated setting

28 TASTING NOTES Learn how to try wine with tips from Village Vintner’s wine expert

BUSINESS & CIVIC 33 ROAD TO SUCCESS As president of transportation company JA Frate, Jill Dinsmore balances business growth with ‘family first’ mentality



In the kitchen with a chocolatier To chef Mat Lucas, being BOLD means pushing culinary boundaries

Learn how to try wine with tips from Village Vitner’s wine expert


Breakfast dishes sure to get you out of bed Four friends embark on a ‘spirited’ adventure with Rush Creek Distilling



TRAVEL 44 EPICUREAN ADVENTURES The best fall food fests in the Midwest

OUT & ABOUT 46 TAP INTO YOUR WILD SIDE Annual fundraiser to benefit McHenry County conservation efforts

48 ALL ABOUT APPLES All Seasons Orchard to welcome autumn with Honeycrisp Festival

50 POURS WITH A PURPOSE Support breast cancer awareness at Centegra’s inaugural winepairing benefit

52 BOOK NOOK Sweet and savory reads to sink your teeth into

53 RAUE ON THE RISE Fall lineup aims to build on ‘recordsetting year’ with Jim Belushi and storyteller Garrison Keillor

54 CALENDAR OF EVENTS See what’s happening in McHenry County this month!

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g n i Tak root

New bleuroot restaurant boasts river views and local, farm-fresh fare By KELSEY O’CONNOR

Bleuroot is all about community.

The new restaurant, which opened its doors in June, is a vibrant addition to downtown West Dundee. Many restaurants have come and gone in the same spot, but it seems like the farm-to-table eatery is already putting down roots. The restaurant is the brainchild of motherdaughter duo Tammy Coakley and Kathy Dwyer, along with COO of the bleu brand Heather Hazlett. The team already owns Spa Bleu, which they opened in downtown West Dundee more than a decade ago. “We already have a relationship with the community, so, as soon as the word got

out about the restaurant, people showed so much excitement,” says Hazlett.

tagline is local and fresh and, with that in mind, we developed the menu from there.”

Housed in a historic building, the newly renovated space includes a large bar, main seating area and riverfront patio. The second floor has additional seating, and the third floor is available for private events.

The menu offerings include soups, salads, sandwiches, and seafood and meat entrees, all of which are entirely made from scratch.

“It’s just a comfortable, family-oriented dining experience,” says Hazlett. The bleuroot menu features an abundance of farm-fresh ingredients from a handful of local suppliers. “We use as many locally sourced food and beverages as we can,” says Hazlett. “Our

“Everything on the menu is homemade, fresh every day,” says Hazlett. “You wont see any bottled sauces or canned soup.” Guests can expect some classic, go-to dishes – think wings, grilled cheese and avocado toast – alongside a few more inventive options, such as the barbecueinspired bao buns. The fluffy buns, stuffed with Sriracha bourbon pulled pork, are the

-Continued on page 10



“We use as many locally sourced food and beverages as we can. Our tagline is local and fresh and, with that in mind, we developed the menu from there.” – Heather Hazlett, COO of the bleu brand Photos provided

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-Continued from page 8 best-selling item on the menu, she says. Another popular option is the kale salad, which is tossed with seasonal berry quinoa, sunflower seeds and a poppy seed dressing. And the bleuroot flatbread, layered with fig preserve, caramelized onion, blue cheese, arugula and sliced red grapes, has already garnered a loyal following. Along with an emphasis on local-first, the menu also is built on seasonality. Diners will likely see a new fall menu sometime in September, when the restaurant also will begin serving brunch. The bar program is held to the same standard as the menu. Drink options include a variety of wines, local craft beers and a specialty cocktail menu. The Summer Sipper with vodka, watermelon syrup and fresh lemon, has quickly become a favorite of bleuroot patrons. “All our simple syrups are homemade fresh every day,” says Hazlett. “We don’t have any bottled sweetened syrups.” But the focus on local, from-scratch food isn’t the only thing that makes bleuroot shine. “I think what sets us apart is our focus on the guest experience and taking the time to really make sure the level of service and food is at that five-star expectation,” says Hazlett. “Our mission is to have a place right here in the community where people can gather and feel good about knowing where their food came from.”

 IF YOU GO Bleuroot is located at 98 W. Main St. in West Dundee. The restaurant is currently open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight and accepts reservations Monday through Thursday. For more information, visit or call 847-844-0047.

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Bring on brunch!



n 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.

 Public House

 Tony’s Cafe

Located in the historic downtown courthouse, this Woodstock staple is a popular spot for brunch on the patio. One house specialty is the schnitzel and waffles, topped with candied bacon and maple syrup. Another indulgent option is the crème brûlée French toast, made A proper brunch is a chance to catch up with with thick-cut brioche bread dipped in vanilla friends over a long, lingering meal of sweet and savory dishes (and maybe a cocktail or two). And custard and baked until caramelized, then finished off with whipped butter and warm as brunch has exploded in popularity in recent years, the number of places to enjoy it has risen maple syrup. along with it. BRUNCH HOURS: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday Here are several local spots to hit up 101 N. Johnson. St., Woodstock 815-337-6060 as soon as you wake up:

 Brunch Café The name tells you everything you need to know. Brunch Café serves up all of your favorite morning meals, including pancakes and waffles, scramblers and eggs benedicts, and everything in between. The Route 31 crepe is a twist on a French classic, stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, onions and cheddar cheese and topped with hollandaise sauce. Or dig into the decadent banana bread French toast, which is topped with slices of banana and pecans. Brunch Café also has locations in St. Charles, Roselle, Fox River Grove and Huntley. BRUNCH HOURS: 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily 414 S. Route 31, McHenry 815-344-4055

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 spots to get your bloody fix:

This casual spot features a spacious patio and breakfast all day long. The Crystal Lake café has a wide-ranging menu of inventive breakfast creations and was voted “one of the best” breakfast places in McHenry County last year. Its best-selling dish is the stuffed potato pancake. It’s a crisp potato cake stacked with a sausage patty, bacon, eggs and cheddar cheese, and then topped with another potato cake and smothered in sausage gravy. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try the pancake berry burrito, a large buttermilk pancake wrapped around yogurt and fruit then covered with yogurt, berries and granola. BRUNCH HOURS: 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday-Thursday; and 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday 1030 S. McHenry Ave., Crystal Lake 815-477-8118

 The Little Chef With a menu of comfort-food staples, this familyowned joint serves up reliable, classic diner fare in tiny digs. A fan favorite is the Little Benny, which is two poached eggs and ham off the bone on an English muffin with hollandaise sauce. You can opt for a half order if you want to save room for a stack of blueberry pancakes or cinnamon French toast. BRUNCH HOURS: 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily 1332 N. Riverside Drive, McHenry 815-385-9752

 Bulldog’s Alehouse

 Ortmann’s Red Iron Tavern  Route 12 Bar and Grill

1501 S. RT. 31, MCHENRY


37540 N. US HWY. 12, FOX LAKE

The base of this restaurant’s bloody mary is Longbranch Bloody Mary mix, a splash of Guinness, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, as well as a dash of Tabasco. It’s finished off with a sprinkle of celery salt.

Ortmann’s bloody mary includes house-made vegetable-infused vodka with four types of bell peppers, jalapeños, onions and garlic, all mixed with tomato juice, horseradish, Worchester sauce, hot sauce and pickle juice. It comes served with a pickle, olives, lemon lime and a cheese stick. $6; or $7 (includes cheese stick).

The Mega Bloody Mary is made with house-made mix and a choice of vodka, and then it’s topped with a mini-burger, mini-brat, chicken wing, piece of shrimp, a beef straw, pepperoni slice, bacon, celery, green onion, cheese cube, a pickle, green olive, and more. It’s served Friday through Sunday before 4p.m. $13.



 Benedict’s La Strata Benedict’s is a family-friendly Italianinspired eatery featuring an extensive list of breakfast options. Egg dishes play a starring role, with several types of frittatas, omelets, skillets, scrambles and more. Dig into the Benedict’s a la Munich – two potato pancakes stacked with grilled sausage, caramelized onions, poached eggs and a mustard hollandaise sauce. Or try the blueberry quinoa pancakes, topped with granola, honey and lemon crème fraiche.

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BRUNCH HOURS: 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily 40 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake 815-459.6500

 Café 31 North This cheery café serves up an array of healthy and traditional breakfast dishes. One of the most-ordered options is the Monte-Cristo-style breakfast sandwich, consisting of two Belgian waffles with hand-carved smoked ham, cheddar and blackberry jam, lightly battered, then fried. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, try the quinoa potato latkes that include shredded potatoes, red quinoa, kale and white cheddar, which are formed into lightly browned cakes and topped with apple crème fraiche. BRUNCH HOURS: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily 217 Front St., Suite A, McHenry 815-679-6630

 Main Street Pour House 214 MAIN ST., WOODSTOCK The Epic Bloody Mary comes in a 32-ounce mason jar rimmed with salt from the local farmer’s market, is topped off with a chicken wing, chicken fingers, slider, fried pickles, two grilled shrimp, and two fried hardboiled eggs. $10.

Visit us at For more information, call or visit us online.




What’s on tap at Rush Creek Distilling

The art of craft

Photo provided

Four friends embark on ‘spirited’ adventure with Rush Creek Distilling By SHONDA DUDLICEK

Four guys walked into a bar one night. And Rush Creek Distilling in Harvard was born. It was established by four locals – Jim “Mack” McConoughey, Mark Stricker, Jay Nolan and master distiller Jeff McCarthy – who were looking for a new adventure. The founders had business resources, as well as access to natural resources, to make it happen. On the professional side, they have 100-plus years of accumulated business acumen and connections, along with a commitment to the region. Nearby, there are fields of heirloom grains and a pure, deep-spring water resource from the Rush Creek watershed. Their past experiences were integral for launching a distillery. McConoughey has a background in economic development, venture capitalism and real estate, and he owns farmland in the Harvard area. Stricker comes from a third-generation family of bakers and has an expertise in commercial development. He also owns farmland in the Harvard area. The McConoughey and Stricker farms will supply a significant portion of Rush Creek’s grains. 14 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

Nolan is the former mayor of Harvard – he resigned to start the distillery – and he also is an accomplished businessman who built a concrete business from the ground up. McCarthy is a former Air Force mechanic who loves to tinker. He built several of his own stills and is Rush Creek’s master distiller.

Rush Creek will offer some holiday spirits, and employees are working in the still house and lab to make some standout easy drinking products, many of which will only be available at the distillery. The final 2017 product is a whiskey called the Trophy Series. Employees have diligently searched whiskey barns around the country for eight-year-old and older whiskey that can be finished on site. On every bottle, Rush Creek will tell the story of where it was found and how it was finished. Here are some other options for visitors to sample: RUSH CREEK VODKA Craft vodka made from local corn, distilling until pure in Liberty, the 600-gallon still. RUSH CREEK GIN Slightly citrus flavor with notes toward lime.

Tours will begin after opening weekend from Thursdays to Sundays.

RUSH CREEK WHISKEY Three distinct flavor profiles: rye, Bourbon and light American Whiskey. Local rye is from ancient flavorful seed stock grown just for Rush Creek. Bourbon is made from locally grown corn and American Whiskey and the Young American Whiskey is from a five-grain secret mash bill.

“People get to come and try our products,” McConoughey says. “People have been around spirits all their adult lives and may not know the craft. We’re right out of farmers’ fields and it ends up as spirits. They’ll get to experience the whole journey and meet people who operate the still. They’ll experience it firsthand.”

RUSH CREEK RUM Re-barreling seven-year-old rum from Panama in oak charred barrels. Will let it rest until it’s finished, which could be six months to several years.

Rush Creek Distilling opens Labor Day weekend to coincide with the second annual Harvard Balloon Festival. There will be four spaces at Rush Creek Distilling: a production area, tasting room, venue rental space and store. “We can make this a destination,” Nolan says.


The sweet life

In the kitchen with a chocolatier By ALLISON HORNE


ometimes it’s hard to resist a sweet tooth, and for those who make chocolate on a daily basis for a living, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

with the seasons. The shop’s fall truffles, like bourbon pecan pie, are hitting the shelves soon. It also offers monthly tasting events that include beer, whiskey, cheese and wine with chocolate pairings, and it even has options available daily for any customers who just stop in.

Some chocolatiers stumbled upon a career in chocolate while others were destined to do it, but – either way – local candy-makers in McHenry County have set out to create some of the best treats around (and they’ve succeeded). Mary Ervin, co-owner of Ethereal Confections in Woodstock, originally started working at Anderson’s Candy Shop in high school and continued her passion in college by working at another chocolate shop while studying graphic design. After college, opening up a chocolate business with her friend – and favorite chocolate-making buddy – Sara Miller, seemed like a no-brainer. “We thought we could just try it out and see how it went,” Ervin says. “For Valentine’s Day, we sold 300 truffles, and even though – now – it seems like a small amount, we were originally overwhelmed with how many truffles we sold. It took us the entire weekend to make.” But the duo, which added Ervin’s brother, Michael, to the mix somewhere along the way, has had their chocolate making and business down to a science since they officially opened their doors in 2011. 16 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

For any beer brewers out there, Ethereal Confections also sells its cocoa to make beer.

The trio imports 150-pound sacks of beans, and they hand sort everything to make sure there is no debris left in the beans before they are roasted in a confection oven.

“It’s a little different for us than other people that make confections, because we make our own chocolate from the bean,” Ervin says.

“We roast and sort beans every Other chocolate day,” Ervin says. “After the roasting shop owners, like is done we put it through a winnow Claudia Kendzior machine, which cracks the beans of Morke’s Chocolates in Huntley, more or open and separates the cocoa from the shell, and less stumbled upon a job in the industry. She then we put the cocoa through the grinder.” originally started managing the Algonquin She notes it takes 36 hours to grind, and they location while her son was in fourth grade just have two grinders running nonstop in their shop, as a day job, but ended up buying the business in which make about 80 pounds in a batch. 2008. Her son is now 23. “When we made our first batch it almost seemed Most of Morke’s chocolate beans come from too easy,” Ervin says. “But it really was a natural Ghana and the Ivory Coast before being made progression for us.” into chocolate at the location in Palatine, which has been around since 1920. While the chocolate Now it’s a chocolate destination in the is made in Palatine, all of the handcrafted community that boasts a menu that changes FOOD & WINE

CHOCOLATEMAKING PARTIES AT MORKE’S Forget your basic painting or jewelrymaking classes because you can make edible treats during one of Morke’s chocolate-making parties. Classes can cater to adults or children (think Transformers-theme for kids or chocolate flowers for adults), and range from its original chocolate experience – a fondue party with a half pound of chocolate – and even offsite chocolate parties. Prices range depending on the event and the quantity of guests, and reservations or bookings can by completed by contacting Morke’s at 847-458-8585.

-Photos provided by Ethereal Confections

molded confections and doughnuts sold by Kendzior are made in-house at the Huntley location. “We love the chocolate we use,” Kendzior says. “It’s a really nice creamy blend that’s not grainy. The molding is actually a really wonderful art.” Kendzior’s location also sells fresh doughnuts made daily and it can make custom molds for businesses, although, she notes, they do have everything from anatomical hearts, legs and even noses in stock. “What makes us special is really just the taste of the chocolate,” Kendzior says. “Everyone has their own taste for wherever they like to get their chocolates, and we have a really solid following.” Some shop favorites include chocolate-covered orange peels, sponge candy, toasted coconut clusters and various creams. “We’re really a nice comfortable spot and people like the look,” Kendzior says. “That’s what we’re known for – that nice warm feeling.”


There’s no doubt about it – these local McHenry shops have what it takes to make anyone develop a sweet tooth.

MORKE’S CHOCOLATES 11801 Main St., Huntley 847-458-8585

ETHEREAL CONFECTIONS 113 S. Benton St., Woodstock 815-687-0320

HOURS: Open 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. MondaySaturday; and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

HOURS: Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. MondayThursday and Sunday; and 7 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday


-Photo provided by Morke’s

CUISINE WITH CHARACTER To chef Mat Lucas, being BOLD means pushing culinary boundaries By ELIZABETH HARMON | Photos by RON MCKINNEY


ooking for dishes you don’t see every day? Well, look no further than BOLD American Fare, which opened this May in downtown Algonquin. Mat Lucas, executive chef and partner, describes the restaurant’s cuisine as “American with our own spin on things.” The name reflects the menu’s emphasis on bold flavors and unique dishes, says owner Greg Geigel. “Our menu is very different,” says Geigel. “When was the last time you saw a lobster pop-tart, chicken waffles, fried alligator tale or adult Spaghetti-Os?” BOLD is located in a cozy building that dates back to 1893. The restaurant is open for dinner daily, and its menu includes beef, pork, seafood and pasta entrees, and a large selection of small plates. The small plates – such as the Voodoo Fondue with crab, roasted artichokes and red pepper, and Gruyere and white cheddar cheeses, or the bacon-wrapped blackened diver sea scallops with garlic butter sauce – encourage customers to try more selections. “We’d rather encourage people to order more appetizers and share an entrée than go the traditional route of one entrée and an appetizer. We designed our menu with that in mind, so when people see several dishes [on the menu] that they feel they’ve got to try, they can,” says Lucas. Other small plates include unique items, such as southern fried alligator tail served with horseradish aioli, and chicken and waffles – popcorn chicken served in a waffle cone, dressed in lettuce, tomato and bacon, and homemade ranch. 18 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

“We offer lots of variety, lots of things you can’t find elsewhere, and depth that requires multiple visits,” says Geigel. Lucas also recommends the braised pork belly with jalapeño cheddar grits. “The sweet, crispy pork belly plays well with the spicy, creamy grits,” he says.

Geigel, who has been in the industry for eight years and was the original owner of Martini’s On Main, says that his goal was to create a restaurant similar to those he and his wife enjoy.

“We like small places with a homey feel Shaw Media file photo and dishes that Popular entrees include the are different from what you find at the chain hemp-seed crusted halibut with mushroom restaurants,” he says. risotto; bacon-wrapped wild boar filet; and the Though Lucas is in his 12th year in the restaurant adult Spaghetti-Os. industry, he still has a passion for creating “We use the same type of pasta as used in inventive flavor combinations. Spaghetti-Os, but with a spicy, chunky marinara “I love to push the edge and see how creative sauce. The meatballs are tiny so it has a similar I can be in the kitchen,” says Lucas. “It’s fun look,” Lucas says. to take different dishes and put my spin on it, The restaurant’s weekend specials and weekly then watch people’s expressions when they desserts are posted on Facebook. try something they’ve never had before. I enjoy BOLD American Fare tries to keep things fresh making them happy.” and local, serving beef and pork produced in Illinois and Iowa, and Amish-raised poultry. “Our produce is sourced locally; our lettuce comes from Gotham Greens, which is grown on rooftop gardens in Chicago. Some of the other produce comes from my backyard garden,” Lucas says. FOOD & WINE

BOLD AMERICAN FARE 8 S. Main St., Algonquin 224-678 7589


Acclaimed 1776 restaurant gets fresh new look to match farm-fresh menu By ELIZABETH HARMON | Photos by NANCY MERKLING One of Crystal Lake’s favorite fine dining restaurants, 1776, has a fresh new look to complement the fresh food that has long been the star of its menu. Under the direction of new owner Rhienna Trevino, the restaurant was closed during the month of May for remodeling and reopened in June with a fresh, updated look. “It’s beautiful; they did a nice job,” says head chef Santiago Suarez, who has been with 1776 for 25 years. “With new floors and a new bar area, it looks completely different from what it was. People seem to really like it.”. For more than two decades, 1776 has been serving an innovative American menu, which includes wild game dishes, steaks and seafood. Over the years, 1776 has earned fine dining awards from the Northwest Herald and the Chicago Sun Times; Chicago Magazine named it one of the area’s most innovative restaurants for wild game; it has been Zagat-rated for 20 consecutive years, beginning in 1997; and it has received the Wine Spectator National Award for 22 consecutive years. It was one of the first restaurants in the area to offer a tapas menu, as well as seasonal 100-mile dinners, which feature ingredients all sourced within 100 miles. In fact, using locally-sourced ingredients has always been an emphasis, Suarez says.

Lake, Woodstock and the surrounding area. The restaurant’s beef, pork, chicken and cheeses are produced in Wisconsin, and the nitrate-free bacon is cured in-house. Suarez’s commitment to using locally-grown produce extends beyond the growing season. In the fall and winter, the herbs and greens served at 1776 are grown in a Crystal Lake greenhouse. The fresh look in the dining room means a new look for the menu too, though long-time favorites, such as the Thursday night eightcourse tapas special, the Wild Game Chili, crab cakes, steaks and pork chops remain. So does the area’s favorite off-menu item, 1776’s famous macaroni and cheese. “We can add in whatever the customer wants,” says Suarez.

But new specials reflect innovative new dishes, such as the roasted Poblano pepper and Brazilian “Farm to table is what we’ve been doing all these lobster tail with Wisconsin goat cheese and a noodle-free vegetarian lasagna in a Champagne years,” he says. sauce. The menu lists the local sources for many There also are more gluten-free offerings, as items. Produce and herbs come from Crystal 20 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


well as more homemade items. “We bake our own breads and make everything from scratch. We also make our own ice cream,” Suarez says. Open for lunch and dinner, both menus include several of the 1776 signature wild game dishes. For lunch, there is a bison burger; and, for dinner, there usually is a wild game special, including mixed grill medallions. Selections include venison, duck, boar, bison, rabbit, Alaskan muskox, elk and Australian kangaroo, depending upon the season and availability. The Wild Game Chili is on both menus. “Our chili is combined with what’s available, so it’s different each time,” says Suarez. “The fresher the better.”  1776 397 W. Virginia St. (Rt. 14), Crystal Lake 815-356-1776 |

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oneyBaked Ham may have marked its 60th anniversary in 2017, but the family-oriented company continues delivering on meaty innovations just the same.

The Crystal Lake location – at 5186 Northwest Hwy., Suite 139 (behind Exceed Floor and Home) – is family-owned and operated, and has been in business for 27 years. Karen Vedda owns the Crystal Lake store, while her son, Jake Kuenster, serves as the location’s manager. “We take pride in being family-owned and want to make all of our customers feel like part of our family when they shop with us,” says Jessica Vitel, the owner’s daughter and Crystal Lake store marketing manager. More than 50 years ago, the HoneyBaked Ham founder, Harry J. Hoenselaar, began making hams the gift-giving program is year-round. “It’s like using a special process with secret recipes for marinade and glaze, and introduced his patented sending more than just a gift – you’re sending along our family tradition.” spiral ham slicer. Is it the succulence of the meat or the signature “Since then, Harry’s tradition has stayed in sweet, crunchy glaze? That’s for customers to the family, passed on to his children and decide. Whatever the allure, HoneyBaked Ham grandchildren, who continue to make the best offers something for every palate. hams anywhere – just as he did – one ham at a time,” says Vitel.

“You’ll know you’re giving the very best that money can buy,” says Vitel. “Not only are our Though HoneyBaked hams are generally hams juicy, moist and delicious, they’re fully associated with the holidays, giving a ham as a gift is a great way to show appreciation, whether cooked and spiral sliced so they offer the ultimate in convenience for your gift recipient.” it’s for Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas, an employee’s anniversary, a birthday, a Oven-roasted or smoked boneless turkey breast, congratulatory celebration – like a new baby, or an entire turkey, are other options for gift new home or retirement – or any other occasion giving. that calls for people to gather together and enjoy “We have plenty of tasty sides to pair with your delicious food. HoneyBaked Ham gift,” she says, adding that “Once the holidays approach, it’s just a great way to say thank you to your staff or to any of your customers that you have throughout the year,” says Vitel, adding that even though there is special emphasis around the holiday season,

desserts, such as cheesecake or rum cake can also be added to the order. “Your order may start with a ham, but can end up as an entire gourmet meal.”

Hams are fully cooked, and come in large or smaller sizes. “And, remember, you’re giving the ease of a meal prep for the receiver, because it is fully cooked for them,” Vitel says. Often customers will just stop by the store and pick up a ham for school lunches, picnics or for football tailgating. Gift plans start at $55 for a seven-pound HoneyBaked ham when purchased in quantities, and climb by $5 for each additional pound up to 10 pounds. Boneless ham options include four-pound half hams for and nine-pound whole hams. For turkey lovers, a smoked or roasted turkey breast package costs $30. Paired ham and turkey options also are available.  HONEYBAKED HAM 5186 Northwest Hwy., Suite No. 139 Crystal Lake 815-477-4426

 For more information on the gift giving program, contact the store at 815-477-4426 or visit 22 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


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From restaurant regular to head chef, Matt Alfus continues to inject imagination into the Duke’s Alehouse menu By KEVIN DRULEY | Photos by NANCY MERKLING The Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen chef, Matt Alfus, associates his employer with comfort, if not comfort food. An earlier connection paved the way.

Photo provided

Alfus began frequenting Duke’s, in his native Crystal Lake, about a decade ago. He calls the restaurant “one of my first inspirations for good, local food” that has “always been a homestead for me.” Before he could so much as make a simple sandwich, Alfus, 30, cultivated a passion for food at his own home. He credits the support of his parents to “always be able to put food on the table for me” for sowing the seeds of culinary imagination. He never worried about being fed, so he dabbled with the idea of feeding others. Then, he delivered. “You get to a point, you’re like, ‘Well, why don’t I pursue this? Let’s try to make something out of it,’” Alfus says. “And sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but, thankfully for me it’s been working out fantastic, and I’m very, very happy.”

DUKE’S ALEHOUSE AND KITCHEN 110 N. Main St. Crystal Lake 815-356-9980

Alfus joined the staff at Duke’s, 110 N. Main St., in 2016 after various stints at other restaurants around the Chicago area. At NEAR Restaurant in Barrington, he took the advice of chef Gaetano Nardulli, when he said: “Basically keep it simple, but make it delicious,” Alfus says.


At Schwa in Chicago, he absorbed additional cooking intricacies. “Schwa helped to bridge my talents between classic cooking and using your imagination,” says Alfus. “It showed me anything is possible.” Such lessons bolstered the basics of sauces, stocks and cuts that he learned at the McHenry County College Culinary Management Program around 2010. And during an internship in the fine dining atmosphere of the Disney World resort system, Alfus learned the importance of being able to work with others in the kitchen. At Disney, “the food, in retrospect, wasn’t anything fantastic,” Alfus says. “But it was a good learning experience to work with people. I think that’s a huge, important thing with food. Sometimes people don’t understand how much you interact with people and how important it is to have a team that works together. So, that was a real big learning experience for me.” Spending his early 20s at Duke’s offered Alfus a peek at the camaraderie aspect of the restaurant business. Something about owner Zak Dolezal’s approach struck Alfus as refreshingly different. The craft beer offerings and adventurousness of the menu always kept him coming back. So, too, did the collaboration. Tracing the roots of his Duke’s


appreciation, Alfus remembered a handful of anecdotes, including when Dolezal served Alfus and his friends tempura fried green beans as a prospective menu addition. These days, it’s a staple starter. Fast forward a decade, and he’s taken his informal career chats with Dolezal and his friends’ urgings to heart, enticing Duke’s guests with his own creations on the specials menu. Recent selections include east Asian shishito pepper with cucamelon, brown butter vinaigrette, miso Mayonnaise and baby mustard greens; as well as a broccoli dish with Caesar dressing, roasted garlic, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. “[It’s] kind of like a wild card, just because the suburbs aren’t as easy of a market as the city is for adventurous foods,” Alfus says. “So, I do like to see if people will go for certain things.” With the rise in popularity of cooking as a career, mostly due to TV shows, Alfus says that it has always been hospitality that has drawn him to the industry. “I mean everybody gets caught up in these reality shows and everything. It was never really my reasoning for going into cooking,” Alfus says. “I mean, I thought Gordon Ramsay is as funny as everybody else. But I think it was, more or less, I like to take care of people. I like treating people and making people happy.”


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At The Anvil Club, Chef Eric Feldbusch creates quality American fare in sophisticated setting By ELIZABETH HARMON | Photos by RON MCKINNEY

Fine dining in a unique, historical setting has been the trademark of The Anvil Club since it opened in 1956. The private club is located in a renovated 1872 blacksmith shop in downtown East Dundee. With seven unique dining spaces, including the Saddle Room, the Wine Cellar, two lounges and an outdoor veranda, The Anvil Club offers something for everyone.

Prime rib and an 8-ounce filet are the two most popular menu selections, though Steak Fernando, available on weekends and as a special, is a close rival. “Fernando is one of our chefs, and he’ll come and cook Steak Diane at tableside. If we served it daily, it would be our most popular dish,” Feldbusch says.

Feldbusch trained in a top-rated seafood restaurant in California and loves to experiment with different seafood dishes. The summer menu includes Baja Striped Seabass topped with a “When the internship was over, I asked for a job,” light salad of oranges, fresh fennel and cherry tomatoes. says Feldbusch. “I’ve been a busser, a server; “It’s light; it’s vibrant. If you’re a seafood lover, I went away to school and then worked in a couple of different restaurants, but always find it’s fantastic,” he says of the dish. my way back here.” The dinner specials change frequently to keep Executive chef Eric Feldbusch has been with The Anvil Club off and on for 14 years, starting as a high school intern working in the kitchen.

The Anvil Club feels like home, Feldbusch says, and the longtime staff feels like family. “They’re nice people who enjoy their work and want to make the experience of coming here the best it can be,” he says of his co-workers.

things interesting for the members, many of whom dine at The Anvil Club weekly or more. The specials menu is revamped seasonally.

The restaurant’s dinner menu focuses on high quality steaks and seafood.

As a professional chef, Feldbusch likes the large kitchen and the newly planted kitchen garden, which he fashioned from a former loading dock outside the kitchen door.

“For our steaks, we experimented with various cuts and suppliers,” he says. “One stood out as consistently the best, across each cut, so that’s what we use.”

“I love having [the kitchen garden] because when I’m plating a dish, I can walk outside and get a garnish that’s as fresh as it can possibly be.”



Members also can rent wine lockers to store favorite wines, which they can enjoy with their meals. While dinner at The Anvil Club is exclusively for members, the restaurant is open to the public for Friday lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday brunch, served 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Our lunchtime flatbreads are baked in a stone pizza oven, and are really popular. My favorite is the Anvil Flatbread with steak, mushrooms and blue cheese,” he says. Sunday brunch is served buffet-style and also is off the menu. “It’s a way for people to get a taste of what we have to offer,” he says.

 The Anvil Club

309 Meier St., East Dundee 847-426-7710

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Learn how to try wine with tips from Village Vintner’s wine expert By ELIZABETH CZAPSKI

It comes as no surprise that Americans like wine. Apparently, Americans like wine so much that they consumed 949 million gallons in 2016, according to the Wine Institute – an advocacy and public policy organization. However, just because you are a wine drinker does not mean, necessarily, that you know how to do a proper wine tasting. Whether you’re new to wine or a seasoned enthusiast looking for a refresher, Steve Boyer, wine expert and owner of the Village Vintner Winery, Brewery and up, you’re Restaurant in Algonquin, is here to help. ready for the The winery produces more than 40 different next step: wines: dry reds and whites, sweet reds and smelling the whites, and fruit and dessert wines. All of the wine. This step winery’s grapes are sourced from vineyards on is especially the West Coast, and other fruit is imported from important, Chile in the spring, Boyer says, adding that his Boyer says, favorite wine made by the Village Vintner Winery because “you is the Pinot Noir Reserve, made with high-quality can’t taste a wine unless you smell it.” grapes. To demonstrate just how essential smelling When it comes to tasting wine the right way, the wine is, try Boyer’s experiment: Pour two Boyer outlined the five S’s: Sight, Swirl, Smell, Sip glasses. Smell one without swirling it, then swirl and Slurp. the other glass and smell that one. Taste the “Sight” comes first, and is perhaps the simplest first, un-swirled glass, then the swirled one. The difference, Boyer says, is significant. step. Look at the wine after you pour it into a glass. Boyer says you should observe the color of After you smell the wine, you can finally sip it the wine, its clarity (cloudy wine is a bad sign), and taste its flavor. and whether it has a light or a heavy body. The fifth, and last, “S” is slurping the wine. To Next, swirl the wine around the glass. Swirling it do this, Boyer says, hold your chin down, inhale “releases the bouquet of the wine into the bowl through your mouth and gargle the wine in your of the glass,” Boyer says. Make sure to note the mouth. This opens up the wine to all of your “legs” of the wine – the streaks that stay on the tastebuds. Then, you can either swallow the sides of the glass – after swirling. wine or spit it out. Now that the wine’s “bouquet” has been opened 28 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


Photos provided

Tasting wine is important, Boyer says, because it’s best to know if you like a wine before you buy it, especially if it’s an expensive bottle. He advises to taste in small samples, however, if you taste more than five different wines at once, they will all start tasting the same. The vintage of the wine is also important and can greatly affect taste. “Every year you get something different,” Boyer says. A rainy year can sometimes produce a weak grape, which can result in a weak wine, he says. Winemakers often will blend the weaker wine with a previous vintage to improve the taste. So, in order to find what kind of wine you like, you have to start tasting. It’s a tough job, but you have to do it.

Photo by Carol Manderfield

IT’S TASTING TIME! Every month, the Village Vintner Winery and Brewery in Algonquin changes its wines on the tasting menu. A tasting consists of seven wines for $7 (club members receive a discount on tastings.) The standard wine tasting includes two whites, three reds, one fruit-sweet and one dessert wine. The winery also offers a fruit-sweet tasting which includes two semi-sweet white wines, four fruit sweet wines and one dessert wine. The tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

 IF YOU GO Village Vintner Winery and Brewery 2380 Esplanade Drive, Algonquin 847-658-4900



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As president of transportation company JA Frate, Jill Dinsmore balances business growth with ‘family first’ mentality By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by FROM ME 2 YOU PHOTOGRAPHY When Jill Jennings Dinsmore was named president of JA Frate Transportation in Crystal Lake, she took on more than a leadership role within the company; she became the steward for ensuring that the values and goals her father set forth 46 years ago – when he established the company – would continue to be upheld. Her father, Doug Jennings, started the company in 1971. Dinsmore was just 7 years old at the time, but she vividly remembers how her father started the company with a vision of having it serve as a transportation company for local businesses. “There were other transportation companies, but no one was really serving the area,” Dinsmore says. The company has grown through the years, and serves as a trusted local carrier, nationwide 3PL broker, warehousing and distribution partner and does international freight forwarding. In those early years, Dinsmore remembers how she and her three siblings pitched in, washing trucks and sorting paperwork. Today, all four continue to work for the company. “My dad is very proud that we can all work together,” she says. “What he started, and the enduring values, we want to make sure that lives on.” After college, Dinsmore left home and found work in North Carolina, Colorado and Washington before returning to the area 20 years ago to take on a larger role with JA Frate. She was able to bring her work experience to the family business and, in 2012, she was named company president. Dinsmore balances the need for business growth, while making a point to provide a good working environment for staff, including the drivers who cope with traffic, weather and other assorted road obstacles, to make sure deliveries

arrive on time. “My brother is a driver, so I’m very aware of what it takes to get this job done,” she says. “We understand family sacrifice and, being a family business, we really do try to put families first. That’s something I learned from my dad. And those are some of the values we look to pass on.” As a woman leading a transportation-based business, Dinsmore is a minority, but she continues to prove herself through her years of hard work and dedication. Anna Saville, controller for JA Frate for the last 10 years, says Dinsmore dives in heels first and holds her own in the profession, and also makes a daily effort to connect with the employees. Dinsmore spends a part of her day walking through buildings, talking with mechanics, drivers and office staff because of her genuine concern and care for their well being and families, says Saville. “She really cares,” Saville says. “She knows every single one of her employees.” It may seem like a small gesture, but Saville says that it reminds an employee that he or she is a part of the company, part of the family, and that builds loyalty. It had seemed daunting at first, the idea of her taking the role of company president, but Dinsmore says that taking part in the Leadership Greater McHenry County was one of the best investments she could have made in herself. “LGMC really helped me define what kind of leader I could be,” Dinsmore says, adding that she was named company president shortly after completing her term with the LGMC. “It gave me confidence to do it, and I think it really did help me to step into that role,” she says. Kathleen Anderson, office manager with JA

Frate for the past 14 years says that Dinsmore exemplifies the company’s core values: integrity, team before self, optimism and customer focus. “Jill has done a fabulous job of instilling the core values throughout the whole organization,” Anderson says. “When you have focus like that, everything is so clear.” While the company was founded as a way to serve the transportation needs of local companies, it has also proven itself as a valuable resource to several nonprofits in the community, such as providing a truck for use for the Crystal Lake Food Bank and collecting items for delivery for the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots Toy Drive and Operation Support our Troops. The company has a strong interest in supporting Veteran groups and projects, Dinsmore says. It has been a sponsor of the Patriot Run in McHenry and supported local veteran programs. “That’s what we do, because the community has supported us,” Dinsmore says. “It is the least we can do.”

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Community engagement Staying active is the legacy that Fox Point strives to leave with its families By STEPHANIE N. GRIMOLDBY Photos by NANCY MERKLING When you walk into Fox Point Manor at Senior Lifestyle community Fox Point in McHenry, you may notice a few seniors relaxing or taking a snooze. But what you may not realize is that moments ago, they were taking an exercise class or they just got off a bus that took them on a fishing trip to the McHenry County Dam. Those who live in the assisted-living memory care facility at Fox Point may suffer from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, but they don’t simply wait out their days doing nothing, says Judy Nordschow, director of sales and marketing. “We know – it’s a proven fact – when you have someone who is active and gets moments of [personal] satisfaction, that’s where you see longevity,” she says. “The more they’re out and engaged, [the better]. Even if they’re just listening … it just makes them feel good [to be a part of something].” Fox Point Manor still has some of its original residents who moved into the community when Fox Point opened nine years ago, Nordschow says.


Whether it’s attending an adventure camp in Barrington and participating in archery, paddle boarding and sing-a-longs, or simply enjoying a Tuesday “action station” – where a Fox Point chef might put on a show and bake a special treat – residents have ample opportunities to FAMILY in FOCUS

engage in the things they once loved, while also trying new things. Nordschow says the daughter of a resident once visited her father at Fox Point Manor to play Bingo – a game he had long-loved, but one she wasn’t sure he remembered how to play. After

hearing him call out his familiar, “I got it!” when he scored a Bingo, she left with a full heart. “[She told me], ‘I always thought this was a scary place, but it’s not – it’s full of life and fun,’” Nordschow says.

 Always something to do Stephanie Sheckler, director of resident programs, schedules numerous daily activities for the Fox Point Manor community. She breaks them down into six different categories: 1. MOVE – Getting residents involved in different exercise routines, including Zumba classes, drumming on stability balls and more. 2. GROW – Finding ways to stimulate residents’ minds with crafts or paint-and-sip classes, where residents enjoy mocktails as they create artwork. 3. FEEL – Inviting family and friends to enjoy activities with residents, which can rekindle memories. 4. REFLECT – Providing spiritual opportunities, such as Wednesday morning Bible studies or Saturday communion.

6. CONTRIBUTE – Giving back to the community by writing letters to soldiers or making toys for animal shelters.

That’s one of the ways Fox Point and Fox Point Manor stand out among other senior living communities, Nordschow says.

What’s important to Sheckler is that the activities are personally geared toward residents.

Every resident has a “legacy package” that includes information about his or her past, passions and other things that may help staff members engage a resident in helpful activities during his or her stay at Fox Point Manor, she says.

As a way to contribute to the community, Sheckler and Fox Point Manor residents recently decided to bake cookies for local firefighters. The group baked the treats at Fox Point then brought the cookies to the Spring Grove fire station. Fox Court Manor resident Jack was a former fire chief of Deerfield and was treated like a king as he and his fellow residents visited with firefighters on site, Sheckler says.

“We want to give them the best quality of life,” 5. CONNECT – Exploring social activities she says. outside the walls of Fox Point Manor with weekly trips to places like Lake Geneva, local parks and more.


“We really get to know the residents, so we talk to them like we’ve known them forever,” Nordschow says. “That really helps them.”

 Space to move Fox Point Manor is specifically designed to allow multiple activities to take place at once, which gives residents more opportunities to engage in something that they really enjoy, Nordschow says. -Continued on page 36


“We know – it’s a proven fact – when you have someone who is active and gets moments of [personal] satisfaction, that’s where you see longevity.” – Judy Nordschow, Fox Point director of sales and marketing

-Continued from page 35 The all-enclosed, 40-apartment community has a circular footprint with an outdoor courtyard at its center and multiple open areas inside for activities to commence. It’s also mere steps away from the rest of the Fox Point senior living community, and residents – specifically those who have transitioned from the independent living building to Fox Point Manor – are encouraged to continue the activities they enjoyed at their old residence. “One resident sews pillowcases for kids with cancer at the other building,” Nordschow says. “And one guy still goes over to the other building to play poker with the guys. It makes all the residents [feel more connected].” Residents also always have the freedom to continue the daily activities that were once part of their routine, like washing dishes, sweeping, folding clothes – anything that provides a sense of comfort and independence – says Sabrina Powers, director of Fox Point Manor. While staying active is beneficial for the minds and bodies of residents, there are additional perks. After a busy day full of activities, staff members notice a decided decrease in depression and behavior problems, says Powers. Friends and family notice the difference, too. Valorie Hobson of McHenry visits her friend Elaine at Fox Point Manor often. “She really likes it there!” Hobson recently wrote of her friend. “There are activities and field trips often. There are several activity rooms where the residents can interact, watch TV or be involved in the daily activities, such as sing-alongs, chair exercises, etc. … . She loves to get her hair done


in the beauty shop. The various staff members are warm and friendly, and the facility is inviting and clean. Thanks for taking good care of my buddy.” Memory care communities don’t have to be scary places where family members go to live out their lives in solitude, Nordschow says. Embracing each moment with each resident – and encouraging each resident to contribute and stay active within the community – is the legacy that Fox Point strives to leave with its families. “Coming into memory care is not coming into the final stages of existing,” Nordschow says. “It’s coming into a community where you’re continuing life to the fullest you’re capable. We challenge [residents] within their limits.”



3300 Charles J. Miller Road McHenry 815-759-9300

Fox Point fundraising fun Help Team Fox Point raise money for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The walk will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake (registration begins at 8 a.m.; ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m.), but Team Fox Point will host several fundraising events prior to the walk that are open to the public. The team has a goal to raise $2,500. Donate or learn more at foxpoint.

PIN-UPS Fox Point will sell Alzheimer’s Association pin-ups for $1 throughout September. See the concierge for the pin-ups.

WALKING TACO FRIDAYS Every Friday in September, Fox Point will sell tacos from 3 to 4 p.m. in the main building. The cost is $2 each.

FALL BAKE SALE From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sept. 11, Fox Point will host a fall bake sale in the main building. Purchase great tasting, fallthemed baked goods provided by staff and residents.

VENDOR FAIR Local vendors will sell their products to residents, staff, families and friends during Fox Point’s Vendor Fair, hosted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 12 in the main building.

BUDDY Z’S Join Team Fox Point from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 13 at Buddy Z’s, 1138 N. Green St., in McHenry. Fifteen percent off all sales will benefit Team Fox Point. Invite your family and friends.

Our mission is to create great places to live. Our signature WELCOME HOME program was designed to help us listen and learn what matters to you and what makes you happy. We incorporate feedback from our one-onone customer engagement throughout the transition of settling into your apartment. We’ve enlisted to survey our residents twice per year, and for online testimonials and unbiased first impressions. As a matter of fact, at Senior Lifestyle, your happiness matters.


ARTRAVE Join Team Fox Point for a “Paint ’N Sip” party! The event will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 14. Tickets are $45 a person; a portion of the sales will benefit Team Fox Point. To register, visit






ith the arrival of fall comes a whole new color palette – the leaves on the trees turn red and yellow; corn stalks dry to a warm gold; and pumpkins ripen to a variety of shades. Fashion, too, changes with the seasons, not just in color, but also in look as the weather cools off and more layers are needed.

Photos provided



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Carol Chrisman, owner of Black Orchid Boutique, 1226 N. Green St., McHenry, has been keeping an eye on fall fashion – carefully observing the trends she sees in fashion capitals like Paris and New York – and making predictions on how trends might translate to the Midwest.

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According to Chrisman, the trendy colors this fall are navy, red, “tawny port” burgundy – which she described as “sophisticated and tasteful” – pale “ballet slipper” pink, gray and golden hues, like “buttered rum,” she says.


“They’re using the navy as the new black statement,” Chrisman says, adding that popular patterns include florals, neutral plaids, denim, fringe and shirts with political statements on them.

Back To School Fall Fashions

Another trend for fall, Chrisman says, are unique sleeves. Some have details on them, others have little ties, and some pieces have one open shoulder.

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“Going into fall, [shirts] need something to happen in the sleeves that’s different and unique,” she says.

Jeans • Dresses • Shoes Sweaters • Jewelry

On-trend accessories can vary widely from delicate necklaces to bolder jewelry, and also include purses with detail as well as backpack purses. These small touches can completely transform an outfit, Chrisman notes.

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“You can make a very casual outfit into a very dressy outfit, and you can take a dressy outfit and bring it down

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-Continued from page 39 to casual depending on what kind of jewelry and accessories you put with it,” she says. At Black Orchid Boutique, that versatility extends to its customers, as well. Chrisman says that she can put a dress on a 10-year-old child, then take the same trend and apply it to an older customer so that the dress becomes a tunic with leggings. “We’re very eclectic and very accommodating to a lot of people,” she says, adding that her oldest customer is 92 years old.

Black Orchid Boutique 1226 N Green St, McHenry 815-322-2624

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Chrisman pays close attention to trends to stock her boutique, which opened in August 2011. Fashion trends in Paris, New York and California influence style in other parts of the country, she says.

“It’s all different; if you go to New York, it’s very fringey, and very sherpa, and gold and silver,” she says. The Midwest picks up on trends a little later than everywhere else, Chrisman says. Some more overthe-top pieces don’t catch on in the Chicago area, but the basic ideas behind the pieces can migrate over. “There’s a lot of stuff we would not wear, but we would wear the colors,” Chrisman says. If you’re looking for inspiration as you pack away your warm-weather clothing, keep colors and details in mind, and you’ll be a fall fashionista in no time.

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Run Wild Race for Open Space to feature epic views, fall foliage and fun By JONATHAN BILYK

Lora Petrak and her counterparts freely admit that they really want to show off a bit. As Petrak, a community relations specialist with the McHenry County Conservation District, sees it, who wouldn’t want to show the world – or at least the 5K fun runners in the neighborhood – the rugged natural beauty just minutes from their front door? “We’re all about promoting healthful, active lifestyles and building awareness of the outdoors, in a stunning landscape, right here in our backyard,” says Petrak. This fall, the MCC District will welcome what they expect to be several hundred runners, their families and guests to the Hickory Grove Highlands in Cary for the inaugural Run Wild Race for Open Space 5K on Saturday, Sept. 30. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., the race will take runners, including adults, teens and children ages 5 to 13, along a moderately-challenging course through the nature preserve’s wooded areas, prairie grasslands and other terrain.

a.m. Petrak says that the race will be timed, but not chip-timed.

All proceeds from the event will benefit MCC District programs and will help the district “The fall colors will be popping out right around maintain sites like the Hickory Grove Highlands that time, particularly the hickory trees, which and other nature preserves in McHenry are usually a brilliant yellow,” says Petrak. County “for the benefit of present and future “Wildflowers will line the course, and the grasses generations,” Petrak says. will be tall.” The race, she adds, has been in the works for No one, she says, will lack for a view along the nearly two years after it was first suggested to route. The view will be a little more stimulating district officials by delegates to the McHenry and the course a little more adventurous than is County Conservation Congress in 2015. In the typically offered on a 5K run. months since, district officials got to work researching and learning how such races are Registration for the event will begin at 7 a.m., organized, and began investigating a race site and costs $40 the day of the race, but racers and organizing and promoting the event. also can register online in advance for $35. Children’s registration costs $20. To register, visit “[Hickory Grove Highlands] was perfect for this, we believe,” says Petrak. “It’s got Awards will be presented after the race at 9:30 42 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

accommodate the turnout we are expecting, and to get the full 5K run in, on site. “And the views,” she adds. She notes that the nature of the trail will make it unlikely that runners will attain a new personal best record, as runners will need to watch where they are placing their feet along the route. But, that’s part of the attraction, says Petrak. “We really want people to see this, and know this is here,” she says. “And we want them to come back again and again to enjoy this place and see what else they can find in their own backyard.”  For more information on the Run Wild Race for Open Space 5K, visit the event’s website bit. ly/RunWild5k_web or its Facebook page. General questions about the event can be emailed to

challenging and varied terrain, enough space to HEALTH & WELLNESS

Fall fun runs Throughout the fall, McHenry County and surrounding communities will be home to a cornucopia of 5K races and fun runs of all kinds. And they’re all for a good cause.

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A few local runs of note include: • SEPT. 24 FOX CHASE In support of the Scholarship Fund for the Fox River Grove Recreation Council, the USATF-certified and chip-timed 5K and Youth Mile race will begin at Stanger Park, and continue along the streets of Fox River Grove. The cost is $25 for the 5K and $10 for the youth mile, until Sept. 10, when registration costs will increase $5. Register at • SEPT. 24 CAL’S ANGELS 5K Beginning at Tomaso Sports Park in Huntley, the 10th annual family-friendly 5K will also include a 2-mile walk and kids’ Fun Run. Proceeds benefit the Cal’s Angels Foundation, which has raised more than $6 million since 2007 to support children and families battling childhood cancer. Registration is $30, plus a $2.50 signup fee. Top male and female finishers will be awarded a $50 cash prize. Register at

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• OCT. 15 WORLD’S LARGEST CORN MAZE RUN Every three seconds, runners (and walkers) will be released into the 33-acre corn maze at Richardson’s Adventure Farm near Spring Grove, and challenged to weave through the hundreds of twists and turns as fast as they can along the clearly marked course in the maze. Organizers are expecting thousands of racers to take part in the chip-timed run, which benefits Special Olympics Illinois. Early bird registration is $35, and is limited to the first 250 people who register by Sept. 20; full registration costs $50. Register at cornmaze5k.

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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 food fests in the Midwest:

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


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 beef-




TAP INTO YOUR WILD SIDE WHEN: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 WHERE: Glacial Park’s Lost County Visitor Center 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood TICKETS: $50 each INFO:

Annual fundraiser to benefit McHenry County conservation efforts By ALLISON HORNE


n October, the McHenry County Conservation District will throw a big party all for the benefit of the local community.

The third annual “Tap Into Your Wild Side” fundraiser, which costs $50 a ticket, will take place from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at Glacial Park’s Lost County Visitor Center in Ringwood. Funds raised will go toward preserving the community, wildlife and recreational amenities in McHenry County. While in the past, the event has hovered around 180 people, organizers are hoping to hit the 250-person capacity this year. “It’s just an evening of entertainment and soulful conversation amongst folks that have a common interest in the outdoors and recreation and wildlife and conservation,” says Brad Semel, president of the McHenry County Conservation Foundation. “It’s really an overall event to gather together and enjoy an evening of socializing.” This year’s event will feature live music from MacKenzie O’Brien, auction items, raffle prizes, hors d’oeuvres, two free drinks and an etched

glass. Raffle prizes and the silent auction items vary from Wisconsin getaways, fishing poles, fishing trips and bikes to smaller items, such as soap and jewelry. Another added perk is the wine wall, which consists of 50 concealed bottles of wine for $10 each. Some are worth more than $50, while others are worth less than $10, but that’s all part of the fun. “What I like about this event is that the proceeds get turned around right away and go toward special conservation projects to assist in the preservation of wildlife habitat or enhance a user’s experience,” says Wendy Kummerer, communications and marketing manager for the McHenry County Conservation Foundation. She notes that in the past two years, attendees were directly responsible for the Brookdale horse trail, solar aerators for fishing ponds, a portion of the Ridgefield Trace trail, rebuilding a log cabin at Glacial Park and even the construction of a Blanding’s Turtle enclosure. “There are so many species of wildlife, plants

“We’re just trying to stay ahead of the game and protect as much as we can because once it’s lost, it’s lost forever.” – Brad Semel, president of the McHenry County Conservation Foundation



and bees and flowers that it’s like a living museum,” Semel says about the county. “The conservation district has all these parks that provide habitat for animals that are communities that exist nowhere else.” In the past 15 years, the conservation foundation has protected more than 800 acres and successfully runs two Open Space Bond Referendums, which helped to raise $141.5 million in funds to purchase open space for the public benefit. Kummerer says that the foundation’s goal over the next three to five years is to fund more than $30,000 worth of projects each year. “We’re just trying to stay ahead of the game and protect as much as we can because once it’s lost, it’s lost forever,” Semel says. Whether you live in the community or simply want to enjoy a night out, Tap Into Your Wild Side gives attendees a taste of what can be done to protect McHenry County’s future. “It’s just a nice event whether you specifically want to help the foundation or just want to get out and enjoy the music,” Semel says. “Just think of all of the different opportunities to get out and enjoy McHenry County. Not only are you enjoying the evening, but you’re helping future generations enjoy the quality of living we all enjoy in McHenry.”





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ALL ABOUT Seasons Orchard APPLES toAllwelcome autumn with Honeycrisp Festival



f you want to check off everything on your autumn bucket list, All Seasons Orchard is your one-stop shop.

While All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock boasts an impressive 15,000-tree apple orchard that covers 40 acres, it offers so much more than that. In addition to the 11 different varieties of apples, there are two different kinds of Asian pears, pumpkin picking, a cider mill, barnyard and more.

Photo provided

grow in clusters, which means that for U-pick, three or four apples might hit the ground for each one pulled from the tree. “It’s such a valuable apple and, when one is picked and five fall, it’s an expensive loss for most growers,” Hong says.

delicious. But that’s not all – Hong says that many people even take their donuts and make a pudding by ripping up pieces of the donut and putting it in vanilla yogurt, or even taking cider from the shop and making it into hard cider.

While picking apples is the main attraction, the farm also has more than 30 different activities to partake in while visiting. This year, the orchard added a human-size hamster wheel, as well as a “gem” mine for kids to pan for “gold” and “We definitely love to celebrate our most popular “gems.” apple here,” Hong says. “When it’s a crisp autumn day and you’re in Other family-favorite activities include launching sweater weather, and you’re coming out to a While the apples are delicious on their own, fallen apples with the orchard’s giant potato beautifully manicured farm, it’s a great feeling,” often when entire families come to pick apples, launcher, a 12-acre corn maze (which is Super Hong says. “We have a really great familythere’s far too many to consume before they Mario themed), pig races, pedal cars and the friendly atmosphere, and it’s an activity everyone go bad. But not to worry – Hong says there are petting zoo. seems to enjoy.” plenty of delicious treats to make with all of their “We really focus a lot on basically having apples. One of the big attractions for All Seasons everything to check off an autumn bucket list,” Orchard is the Honeycrisp Festival, which kicks The go-to, apple pie, is delicious with any Hong says. “We are the place to do every single off Saturday, Sept. 16. kindd of apple, but Hong says tart apples, like thing you can think of, from a cider mill, pumpkin McIntosh, Cortland or Golden Delicious, are All attendees are welcome to pick their own patch and animals – we try to encompass the best for pies. Applesauce is another easy Honeycrisp apples, which is a rarity in the everything.” orchard business, Hong says. Honeycrisp apples way to incorporate extra apples into something Orchard and production manager Eddie Hong has been helping out ever since his parents, James and Sue, bought the land when he was a child. He’s been responsible for overseeing production for the last six seasons.


But guests are welcome to pick their own in addition to enjoying all of the apple products made from Honeycrisp during the fest, including cider, cider donuts and caramel apples.


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Pours with a Purpose Support breast cancer awareness at Centegra’s inaugural winepairing benefit Oct. 7

With Breast Cancer Awareness month fast approaching, the world will soon be awash in pink, from the ribbons that will be sported on lapels and emblazoned on banners, to the socks, shoes, hats and other accessories worn by By JONATHAN BILYK professional athletes.

Admission to the event will cost $50 a person, with all proceeds benefiting breast cancer awareness and prevention programs and breast cancer care at the Centegra Sage Cancer Center in McHenry, the Centegra Gavers Breast Center in Crystal Lake and throughout the And, this October, Centegra Centegra system, according to is asking the members of its community to similarly support Centegra. those caring for those fighting Cancer ranks as McHenry breast cancer in and around County’s leading cause of McHenry County, as McHenry’s death, according to the local health system hosts its McHenry County Healthy inaugural Pours with a Purpose Community Study 2017, which event. was released this January, and stands as the top cause of “Breast cancer affects one in death among those between eight women at some point the ages of 45 and 74. It was in their lives,” says Centegra the second highest cause of CEO Michael Eesley. “If death among those ages 15 caught early, breast cancer and 44, the report states. is treatable. Educating our community about prevention and treatment is a priority for Centegra, and Pours with A Purpose provides community members an opportunity to spend time with friends while supporting an important cause – breast cancer awareness.”

Almost one-third of McHenry County cancer deaths from 2010 to 2014 occurred in people under the age of 65, and the county’s cancer death rate has risen.

According to its 2016 annual review, Centegra’s Cancer Pours with a Purpose will Program has responded to the take place from 5:30 to 8:30 local challenge by supporting p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at a range of cancer screening the Boulder Ridge Country efforts. Centegra has hosted Club, 350 Boulder Drive, Lake community educational in the Hills. It will feature workshops designed to help “chef-inspired food and people overcome leading wine pairings,” according cancer risk factors, as part of to a description provided by a comprehensive approach to Centegra. The event also will community care in support give those in attendance the of the health system’s cancer opportunity to “mix and mingle treatment programs and and learn about breast health therapies for those already from Centegra experts.” fighting the disease. 50 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


And local support of those efforts has never been more important, Eesley says. “Centegra has cared for patients in McHenry County for more than 100 years,” says Eesley. “As a not-forprofit health system, local support has helped us develop programs that serve our whole community, including a full range of breast cancer services that address the physical, emotional and financial needs of our patients.” Pours with A Purpose is for guests ages 21 and older, and attendees are asked to wear cocktail attire. More information about the event, including how to purchase tickets and register for the evening will soon be available at Centegra’s webpage for Pours with A Purpose at

Pours with a Purpose WHEN: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12 WHERE: Boulder Ridge Country Club 350 Boulder Drive Lake in the Hills INFO:

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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!).

“The board and staff are incredibly proud to wrap up the most successful year in Raue Center’s history.”

Raue on the rise

– Richard Kuranda, Raue Center executive director

Fall lineup aims to build on ‘record-setting year’ with Jim Belushi and storyteller Garrison Keillor | By JONATHAN BILYK Looking to continue to build on what it has called a “record-setting year,” the Raue Center for the Arts is preparing to continue its 2017-18 season with a fall lineup that includes an iconic American storyteller and live radio legend, an improv luminary and a giant singing bloodthirsty plant. The third week of September promises to be a special one at the Crystal Lake playhouse and theater. For two very different special evenings of art and entertainment, the Raue Center will welcome comedian Jim Belushi and his “Board of Comedy” on Sept. 22, followed – two days later – by Garrison Keillor, former host of the live radio phenomenon, “The Prairie Home Companion,” on Sept. 24. In October, the Raue Center, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, will continue to follow that impressive lead with a nearly month-long run of the musical comedy classic, “The Little Shop of Horrors,” presented by the Williams Street Repertory – McHenry County’s only professional theater company. Leaders at the theater say that they hope the community seizes the opportunity to experience this year’s fall lineup, as strongly as it embraced the Raue Center’s offerings this spring and summer. In June and July, for instance, crowds started strong and continued to stream into the theater for the Williams Street Repertory’s production of “Guys and Dolls.” The local presentation of the classic Broadway musical featured the company’s largest cast to date, including a broad mix of talent ranging from seasoned

professionals and Equity actors to local college students. And WSR hopes to only build on that success in this fall’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” which recounts the story of Seymour, a boy with a crush, and his unfortunate encouragement of a blood thirsty plant with its mind set on global domination. To help advance the company, Williams Street Repertory also is welcoming resident musical director Evan Swanson, a Crystal Lake native who has served as music director for a previous Raue Center production of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play,” and he has worked with Sage Studio – the Raue’s arts education program. But before Seymour feeds his psychopathic plant, the theater will host Belushi and his improv comedy sketch show, including fellow national touring improv comic artists Megan Grano, Larry Joe Campbell and Joshua Funk, promising an evening of hilarity and laughter. And two days later, humorist, author and radio personality Keillor will take the stage for a quieter session of “insight and stories from his journey as one of America’s greatest storytellers,” according to a description offered by the Raue Center. “The board and staff are incredibly proud to wrap up the most successful year in Raue Center’s history … ,” says Raue Center executive director Richard Kuranda. “We hope the patrons and artists had as much fun as we did last year, throughout over 300 events. “Crystal Lake and McHenry County are a great OUT & ABOUT

community, and the arts are a huge part of our life,” says Kuranda. “I hope more people will continue to join us.” And, for Oktoberfest fanatics, the Raue Center will host its fourth annual Rauetoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style community fundraiser event to benefit the Raue Center directly. The event will take place from 2 to 10 p.m. at Beyond Stable Farms, 11129 Illinois Route 176, Woodstock. It will offer traditional Bavarian German music, food and beverages, including – of course – beer. And Rauetoberfest will include fun for the kids, as well, with special activities planned during the afternoon. Admission costs $5; and children ages 8 and younger will be admitted free of charge.


 For more information about tickets or upcoming events at the Raue Center, visit



SEPTEMBER 2017 CALENDAR OKTOBERFEST AT CRYSTAL LAKE BREWING WHEN: 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 9 WHERE: Crystal Lake Brewing, 150 N. Main St., Crystal Lake Crystal Lake Brewing will host its third annual Oktoberfest, which will feature the release of its traditional Oktoberfest beer, food and live music. Other Crystal Lake Brewing beers will be available at the festival, and all brews will be served in a half-liter, take-home souvenir festival mugs. There will be food served from 5 to 9 p.m. both days. Food options include Duke’s Blues and BBQ, Snacks by Pop’s Corn Crib, Best Truckin’ BBQ (Friday only), Crystal Lake Rib House (Saturday only). Admission is $5. For more information, visit WOODSTOCK AREA AUTUMN ART TOUR WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10 WHERE: Woodstock and the surrounding countryside (Maps available at 103 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock) Artists and fine craftsmen in Woodstock and the surrounding countryside will be opening their homes and studios to display and sell their work. The selfguided tour will showcase the art and fine crafts produced in the region. Maps are available at Material Things Artisan Market on the Historic Woodstock Square or can be downloaded at The tour will feature a wide range of work, including pottery, painting, art glass, jewelry, photography and mixed media. HOME OF THE SPARROW’S ‘BIRDIES, BRATS AND BEER’ GOLF OUTING WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 WHERE: Bull Valley Golf Club, 1311 Club Road, Woodstock The Home of the Sparrow will host its 12th annual golf outing, “Birdies, Brats and Beer.” Tickets for the Oktoberfest-themed golf outing cost $175 each or $660 for a foursome, and include greens, fees, cart, driving range, grill out-style lunch, select beer tasting on the course, dinner and silent auction

items. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m. Home of the Sparrow is a nonprofit organization that provides transitional shelter, affordable housing and supportive services to hundreds of homeless women and children within McHenry County and Northern Illinois each year. For tickets or more information about the event, visit CRYSTAL LAKE PARK DISTRICT HALF MARATHON WHEN: 6 a.m. to noon Sunday, Sept. 10 WHERE: Lippold Park, 851 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake The Crystal Lake Park District Half Marathon is a competitive USATF-certified course, which runs through Lippold Park, Crystal Lake and Lakewood. Awards are given to top finishers for males and females in each age division, as well as the overall male and female winner. Race details can be found on CRYSTAL LAKE HOUSEWALK WHEN: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15 WHERE: Various locations (four homes in the Crystal Lake community) This year’s theme of the Service League of Crystal Lake’s 43rd annual Housewalk is “Building Dreams,” and it will showcase four homes featuring the individual design visions and dreams of each family. Each open house represents many thoughtful design features and personal touches that are reflective of the homeowners’ style. Tickets cost $30 in advance and $40 the day-of. For more information, visit IT’S OUR RIVER DAY: 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 WHERE: Cornish Park, 101 S. Harrison St., Algonquin Celebrate the Fox River during its 10th anniversary. The event will include a keynote speaker (former Governor Pat Quinn has been invited), a river cleanup, and a celebration with food and music. The event is free to attend. The Sierra Club will sponsor the river clean-up and provide gloves. More details will be posted soon. For more information, visit www.

32ND ANNUAL NORGE AUTUMN SKI JUMP WHEN: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 WHERE: Norge Ski Club, 100 Ski Hill Road, Fox River Grove The event will feature ski jumpers from around the world and food and beer, wine and Jägermeister. MCHENRY DOWNTOWN UNCORKED 2017 WINE WALK WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 WHERE: Downtown McHenry Walk through McHenry’s downtown business district during McHenry Downtown Uncorked, which will include more than 30 sample tastes of wine (served at various locations) along with food samples from McHenry-area restaurants. Participants will receive a bottle of wine at the end, along with a commemorative wine glass and a swag bag full of wine-related gifts. Go to to register. CARY MAIN STREET FEST WHEN: Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 WHERE: Downtown Cary, 445 Park Ave., Cary The two-day outdoor festival in downtown Cary will feature live music, family fun, food, vendors and more. For more information, visit www.carymainstreetfest. com. RICHMOND FALL WINE WALK WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 23 WHERE: Downtown Richmond Sip wine and shop downtown Richmond. For more details, visit MCHENRY COUNTY FARM STROLL WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 WHERE: Various sites in McHenry County McHenry County will host its third annual Farm Stroll, a self-guided tour of 12 of the county’s diversified family farms. Apple orchards, vegetable growers, dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, alpacas, honey bees, perennial plants, hydroponics and more will be featured at farms. There is no charge for the Farm Stroll and Market, but most farms will be selling food, produce or other farm-related products. Bring cash to purchase items directly from the farmers. For more information, visit McHenry County Farm Bureau at or at JOHNNY APPLESEED FESTIVAL WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 WHERE: Downtown Crystal Lake

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The 25th annual Johnny Appleseed Festival is a fall celebration that will feature pony rides, wagon rides, a pumpkin train, children’s games, a moonwalk, craft fair, pie-baking contest, pumpkin bowling, storytelling, face painting, temporary tattoos, dancing, live music, food and a visit from Johnny Appleseed. A pancake breakfast to the lineup this year, too. For more information, visit




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