Second Helping: Good to Go By Lucrezia
Your Source for Italian Delicacies
By Barbara Voris Eastman
posted Part I of our story when this issue of The Beach Coast went live a few
weeks ago, and now we’re back now with a second look at what makes this Beach
Coast business so special. (If you missed the chance to read Part I,
never fear—just scroll down the page and you’ll find it there.)
Good and Good for You
In Part I, we promised to fill you in on why Good to Go by Lucrezia was named winner of The Times Newspaper’s Editor’s Choice Award for Best Signature Sandwich.
It’s pretty simple. You can’t have a great sandwich without great ingredients, and owners Nada and Michael Karas insist on only the best.
enter this charming shop, you’ll see deli cases that contain a wide variety of
prepared foods plus heart-healthy Boars Head meats and cheeses, which contain no fillers, gluten, artificial colors, flavors or
trans fat. There
is a special sandwich featured every day for a Good to Go Box Lunch, which many in
the area have discovered as a healthy alternative to fast food. Each
sandwich is made with a full quarter pound of meat and cheese on fresh rolls or
bread delivered daily by Labriola, Chicagland’s best artisan baker. A Box Lunch also contains a bag of Zapp’s gluten and
cholesterol-free chips, and, for dessert? Heavenly tiramisu.
Take Home Dinner from Lucrezia
If you can’t stop for dinner in the restaurant, you can bring it home, heat it up, and experience the same wonderful food served at Lucrezia Café in the comfort of your own kitchen. One may choose individual size servings of favorites like meat or vegetable lasagna, marinara sauce, polenta torte, braised red cabbage, banana peppers stuffed with goat cheese and sausage, veal meatballs, and fragrant Caprese salad. Hungry yet?
Great Pasta for the Home Cook
Good to Go carries several pasta lines including a recent addition: handmade Marella Pasta that is imported from Italy and comes in a variety of shapes and vibrant colors. It has no artificial ingredients or colorings and when you serve your pasta dish people will think you’re a rock star!
Cheese of the Month
Each month a special cheese is featured and specially priced. For the month of June it is aged (12 month) Asiago from Stella. Although you may have come across the Stella brand, the aged Asiago is not typically available. Nada and store manager, Joyce Stauffer, at Good to Go make every effort to select items you cannot get anywhere else.
Wines and Wine Lovers
Good to Go has a great selection of wines from such places as California, Argentina, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, South Africa, and others. Many customers expressed a desire to learn more about wines, so Nada and Mike started a wine club. Each month they select two bottles of wine that have been rated highly by Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate or Robert Parker; that have been tasted and approved by Good to Go’s own tasting panel; and that are not available at local stores. Typically, there is a white and a red (though members can opt for two reds if they prefer), and the bottles are packaged in an eco-friendly box and are ready for pick-up at Good to Go. The cost for both bottles is around $35 plus tax. Nada provides information about the wine, which may include reviews, recipes, pairing suggestions, and information about the winery and/or winemaker. As an added benefit, members get discounts on purchases, wine club events (held 3-4 times a year), and a special gift for referring others who join.
Dining al Fresco?
This is the season when there are tons of outdoor concerts and other activities along The Beach Coast. Good to Go can pack you an outstanding meal to take to the park, the beach, or just out to your own deck. Who could ask for anything more?
Good to Go by Lucrezia: Part I
Your Beach Coast Source for Italian Delicacies
If you go to the grocery store in search of olive oil, prepare to be overwhelmed by the number of choices. I love to cook and when a recipe calls for “only the best quality olive oil,” I gravitate to the most expensive, assuming like many, that if it costs more it must be better.
Nada Karas, who, with her husband Michael, is the owner of Lucrezia Café in Chesterton and Crown Point, says there is a whole lot more to know about olive oils and she has made it her mission to educate the public on this age old product that is both delicious and good for you. She should know because nearly two years ago she opened Good to Go by Lucrezia in Chesterton, which is a gourmet Italian market specializing in olive oils, balsamic vinegars, pastas, breads, sauces, wines, deli meats, cheeses, and more.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil—What’s That?
You might be surprised to learn (as I was) that most of what is sold in grocery stores as extra virgin olive oil is not (extra virgin, that is). And because it is not what it says it is, it may not contain the polyphenols and antioxidants that make extra virgin olive oil so good for you.
Extra virgin is the first cold press of olives, meaning that the “juice” is extracted from the olives within 24 hours of picking with no heat or chemicals added. The pure, unfiltered oil is then taste-tested and placed in stainless steel tanks for several months and any bits of olive flesh, stems or leaves (which impart flavor) float to the bottom of the tank. Karas imports olive oil from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Australia, and California and works exclusively with artisanal, small batch producers.
When you enter Good to Go by Lucrezia you’ll see rows of stainless steel tanks (called “fustis”), which contain a wide selection of olive oils, some of them fused or infused with fruits, herbs, or spices. Oil that is fused means that the fruit, like lemon or blood orange, for example, is added to the olives before the first press, while infused means that the flavor is added after the olives have been pressed.The former results in intense flavor, while the later produces a more subtle flavor profile.
At Good to Go you taste before you buy! Customers may dispense a small amount of oil into sanitary tasting cups so they know exactly what they are buying. Once they have made a selection, a staff member will fill a 375 ml. green glass bottle (olive oil is light sensitive and therefore best stored in dark-colored glass and never, ever in plastic). Olive oils range from $14 to $18, while specialty oils (like truffle or porcini) range from $18 to $25.
Balsamic Vinegars Galore
In addition to the wide range of olive oils, you’ll find a variety of beautiful, sweet balsamic vinegars at Good to Go. Originating in Modena, Italy, balsamic vinegar (“aceto balsamico”) is made from white Trebbiano grapes. The juice is extracted from the grape, reduced to about 50% of its original volume, and then placed in resinous wooden barrels where it ferments and is aged from 12 to 18 years. The result is a sweet, viscous product that, like olive oils, may have flavor added to it. Very young balsamic vinegar is used in salad dressings, while the 6 to 12 year old varieties are used to enhance the flavor of sauces, pastas, and risottos. Anything over 12 years will bring out the flavor of meat, poultry and fish, and is delicious when paired with fruits like berries or peaches.
As with the olive oils, customers are encouraged to taste before they buy. Store manager, Joyce Stauffer, says she always asks how the customer plans to use the vinegar and this knowledge helps her steer them to the right product. She suggests that, when tasting, a customer begin with tart and move to sweet. And, if tasting both oils and vinegars, she recommends starting with vinegar and alternating between oil and vinegar (the oil acts almost as a palate cleanser).
Good to Go by Lucrezia
420 S. Calumet Rd.
Chesterton, IN 46304
(219) 926-EVOO (3866)
Fax: (219) 926-2244
Lucrezia Café and Catering
428 S. Calumet Rd.
Chesterton, IN 46304
(219) 926-LUCY (5829)
302 S. Main
Crown Point, IN 46307
(219) 661-LUCY (5829)
Barbara Voris Eastman grew up in Michigan City and moved back to the area after spending nearly 35 years working in Chicago. She is both the editor and a regular contributor to www.thebeachcoast.com.