Tuesday, August 9, 2011
While I really like the sandwiches at Pastoral, if I just talked about their sandwiches, I would be shorting them big time. I first read about Pastoral a few years ago when they had opened in Lakeview but first visited them after they opened a shop in the Loop. I got to know them as a cheese shop. It was very cool to go there because they have a great selection of cheeses and are more than willing to help you learn about cheese. If you buy some cheese without sampling, you either know exactly what you want or you aren't paying attention. It's very easy to browse the cheese selection and I would frequently sample three or four cheeses before choosing what I want. They carry a wide variety of cheddar, Gouda, Swiss, blue, and Bries. Most of their cheeses are cow cheeses but they do some pretty good goat and sheep cheeses as well. In addition to cheese, they also carry olives, charcuterie (which sometimes includes Pata Negra), bread, and some small wines. They have a picnic without the basket. With all of this good stuff, it should make sense that they can make some pretty good sandwiches which they do. Usually when I get a sandwich here, I get Le Canard, which is an herbed duck confit, Fromager D'Affinois, local shallot confit, whole grain dijon mustard, and field greens on a baguette. While I am a sucker for duck, I decided to change things up this time and get something different. This time I got what was called the Blue Pig 'n Fig. It contains Jamon Serrano, Ader Kase Reserve Blue Cheese, local fig and black tea preserve, whole grain dijon mustard, and field greens on a baguette. Basically it was a ham and cheese with fig jam but it was a very good ham and cheese. Even without the great sandwiches, Pastoral has great ingredients and is very willing to teach those who are interested. I always manage to learn something new when I go there and always enjoy going there.