Behind the Seasonings: Lake Shore Drive

Back in the 1970’s, my Dad blended one of his finest spice creations. Most of you will know it as Lake Shore Drive Seasoning, one of our signature ethnic Chicago blends. The blend’s original name is Fox Point Seasoning, and it still goes by that name in Wisconsin. Fox Point is a lovely village that rests on Lake Michigan’s shore, just north of Milwaukee. This seasoning is in our top three most popular blends. We hand-blend at least a hundred other seasonings by the way…

Our ethnic blends all have a tie-in with the melting pot of Chicago’s neighborhoods. This one claims artistic license because it is luxurious like the homes along Lake Shore Drive, and green like the many park areas found there.

We hand-blend Lake Shore Drive Seasoning from freeze dried shallots, chives, and scallions, along with salt, garlic, and, onion. It’s subtle, peppery zip comes from freshly ground green peppercorns. They all combine for a deliciously light and savory blend that is full of onion flavor, without the garlic dominating.

Lake Shore Drive Seasoning is one of our best all-purpose blends. It is a customer favorite, and we love it too. Its flavor is terrific when added to seafood, omelettes, corn on the cob, garden-fresh tomatoes, roasted chicken, and baked shrimp. It is magic when added to sautéed or steamed vegetables, and homemade soups. It also makes a delicious vegetable dip when you whip it into sour cream or yogurt.

My Dad was enamored by shallots, and felt that they represented luxury. French cuisine was all the rage in those days, and shallots and green peppercorns were a prized ingredients. Shallots are a member of the allium family, which includes this blend’s other base flavors of onion, chives and garlic. Shallots are considered the most prestigious of all for some reason.

Just before inventing this blend, my dad discovered freeze dried ingredients. Freeze drying removes the water from a frozen allium or herb—allowing us to mix them into a spice blend. Our freeze dried ingredients are light and fluffy, and putting them through a fine mesh screen by hand is difficult and messy. The blending room fills with a fragrant fog of allium dust. When a batch is finished, the blender looks like the creature from the green lagoon!

We’ve been hand-blending and using Lake Shore Drive seasoning for well over forty years! What are some of your favorite ways to use it? Comment below or feel free to share your recipe with us.

Patty Erd’s parents, Bill and Ruth Ann, started The Spice House in 1957. Bill’s father was introduced to the spice trade in Europe as a boy and brought his knowledge along to America. Spices are a complex trade steeped in history, agriculture, folklore and a love for the exotic and sublime. Patty and her husband Tom have lived the life of modern spice merchants–bringing spices from around the world to your table and home. Patty’s passion for learning, teaching and sharing the joy of culinary spices have made The Spice House what it is today.

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    I have been buying my spices from the Spice House since about 1965. I happened upon it on the way home from the post office one day and decided to stop in and check it out. WOW! I was taken aback by the wonderful aroma of the spices. By the way, this was when they had their store on 33rd Street and West Galena Street in Milwaukee. When they moved to Wauwatosa, I followed them over there. Now they’re on 3rd Street in downtown Milwaukee. I still order my spices from them and my daughter picks them for me.

    I have been to the downtown store but not very often. I still love the aroma you get when walking into there store and on nice days when door is open, you can smell it down the block. YUM.

    I’m glad I happened upon The Spice House in 1965. My daughter and other family members get their spices from there was well. I like to tell them that “I trained them well”.

    Have a great day and keep up the good work.

    Just tonight I used this blend to make salad dressing using about a cup each of mayonnaise and sour cream, 4 teaspoons of the blend, and about 3 tablespoons of seasoned rice wine vinegar. Then I thinned it with some water until it was a good pourable salad dressing consistency. It is delicious!

    I was introduced to the Spice House on Central St. in Evanston by my dear friend many years ago and happy we took that walk. I was in awe of all the spices and the wonderful smells in the store. I still come to the store to get all my spice and needs and introduced my sister to the store several years ago. We truly love everything we have purchased over the years and of course, have our favorites that we get almost every time we stop in. Everyone is helpful and friendly. My friend couldn’t have introduced me to a better store.

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