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Call us at one of the numbers below or use the accompanying form to contact us.

The Irish Boutique - Long Grove, IL (847 634 3540)

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The Irish Boutique - Crystal Lake, IL (815 459 1800)


847 634 0339

The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

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Visit our blog to read about Michelle Barry's adventures in cooking and eating Irish cuisine and to learn about new products and upcoming events. 


Happy Saint Patrick's Day

john barry

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 

What are you doing to celebrate? It's funny to me because growing up in Colorado, I don't remember St. Patrick's Day being a big deal like it is in Chicago.  But now, in our neighborhood, so many people host parties, there is a big parade and so many other Saint Patrick's related festivities.

Every year we go to a friends' party here on the Northwest side of Chicago.  It's always a big event with trolleys that take you from the party site to the parade.  We haven't made it to the parade for the past few years because of the weather, nap schedules or both, but we intend to start going in the coming years.

We usually spend a little time in Long Grove checking out what Paddy's on the Square and the rest of the town have going on for the Holiday. Last weekend, they had live music at Paddy's which was incredible, but not topped by the 45 minutes spent arranging doorstops (pictured below). 


Then we go home and eat corned beef with cabbage, parsley saucebrown bread and have a cup of tea with something sweet.  And without fail, every year, we vow to do a better job of wearing green to represent both our Irish heritage and the stores.  

This year, St. Patrick's day falls on a Saturday, so we are definitely going to be spending some time at the Irish Heritage Center's St. Patrick's Festival. I've already informed the kids that if they want to go, they have to help their dad and uncle, so we'll see how that goes. More information on the festival and the Heritage Center can be found here. 

In terms of St. Patrick's Day recipes, there are more than a few I'd like to try but here are some from around the web to keep in mind for next year's festivities:

Irish Coffee Cupcakes.  I would eat these any day, for any occasion. (My birthday is May 6th in case you have your calendar handy).

Pan Boxty.  These Irish potato cakes look delicious.  I would love these with eggs and bacon for breakfast.

Guinness-Glazed Lamb Chops.  Why didn't I think of this? These would make an incredible, and different St. Patrick's Day entree. Fancy too!

Shepherd's Pie from My Irish Table.  I've cooked from this beautiful book on a few occasions (posted about here) and just love it. This recipe might be next. 

Whatever you are eating, I hope it's delicious and that you all have a fun, happy, and safe St. Patrick's Day weekend. 

Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake with Super Simple Chocolate Frosting, Ganache Glaze and Chips Ahoy Crunch

john barry


Boy am I glad that I was on maternity leave for both Isla and Emmett’s birthdays. Kids’ birthdays are no joke. I don’t feel like we celebrate more than the average family but when you are a little kid, birthdays are legitimately a BIG DEAL. And Emmett just turned five. FIVE! I can’t believe I’m the mother of a five year old. It really is bittersweet. I’m so proud of the little guy he is becoming but devastated that time is going by so fast.  

I’ve been letting the kids pick a birthday cake on Pinterest for me to recreate for their birthdays. I, of course, steer them away from the ones that are way out of my league in terms of difficulty. And thankfully, so far, so good. This year Emmett wanted a dinosaur cake.  He was so set on his plastic dinosaurs being part of it, he has been keeping them in the kitchen “cake” drawer ever since Christmas.  

The cake itself had to be chocolate.  I don’t feel like I’ve ever found a go-to chocolate cake, although the basic Hershey’s one is pretty close. But this cake may have changed all that. It was super tasty and very easy to make. I covered it in super simple chocolate frosting, a ganache glaze and chips ahoy crumbles.  Oh yeah, and dinosaurs. Even though there were a few steps involved, putting it all together was a breeze.  I’m pretty sure I could have pulled it off even if I was back at work - though I’m glad I didn’t have to.

I made the whole evening even easier on myself by making slow cooker corned beef with cabbage, carrots and potatoes for dinner.  You can find the recipe for that here.  I plated the corned beef and vegetables on a big platter and kept it warm in the oven until we were ready to eat. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.  Also, this allowed me to pay attention to the kids and get the low-down on Emmett’s big birthday at school instead of standing over the stove.

Emmett was pretty thrilled with his cake and his birthday in general. It was nice to see him so happy and excited. And most of all, grateful. He must have thanked me a hundred times for his cake, his dinner, his presents. I was super proud of my little man.


And the cake. The cake was awesome. Then again, it was covered in frosting, ganache and cookies. How could it not be? Paul said it tasted like Portillo’s chocolate cake.  Lest you think I would be offended, that is actually high praise around here. Portillo’s was our wedding cake and how we celebrated the birth of all of our children (there’s a Portillo’s directly across the street from Lutheran General Hospital).  No fancy cake for me. It’s Portillo’s all the way.

This cake would be great with no embellishments, just the cake and super simple frosting. Here’s how to do it with the ganache and cookie crumbles too.

Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake with Super Simple Chocolate Frosting, Ganache Glaze and Chips Ahoy Crunch

Make 1 Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake, just the cake part.  Recipe here.

I made ½ a recipe which worked perfectly in my 6” cake pans. I also made the cake ahead, wrapped each layer separately in saran wrap, then foil and froze them until the big day.

Make one batch of Super Simple Chocolate Frosting. Recipe here.

Again, I made ½ batch, enough to fill and frost my 6” cake.

Place about 16 (or 8 for a 6” cake) chips ahoy cookies in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

When ready to assemble the cake. Place one cake layer on a plate, lazy susan or turntable, removing any dome off the top with a serrated knife. Repeat with the second layer.

Slather about 1 cup (½ cup for a 6” cake) of frosting in the center of the first layer and place the second layer on top.  

Now, crumb coat your cake by covering the top and sides with a very, very thin layer of frosting all over to seal in the crumbs.

Place cake in refrigerator for about 20 minutes for crumb coat to set.  

Remove cake from fridge, frost top and sides and place back in the fridge to set.

Meanwhile, make ganache. For a full-size cake (halve these amounts for a 6” cake), heat 4 oz heavy cream in a microwave of over a stovetop until simmering. Stir 4 ½ oz dark chocolate pieces (I used chopped baking chocolate) into cream and whisk until completely melted and ganache is shiny and smooth. Allow to cool to room temp.

Once ganache has cooled slightly but is still pourable consistency, take cake out of fridge and pour ganache on top, nudging some over the sides with a spatula for the drippy effect.

Coat with cookie crumbs and top with dinos. Viola!






Dead Simple: Parsley Sauce for Your Saint Patrick's Day Meal

john barry


Hi there. How are you? I'm having a hard time believing that March is around the corner. Where did the last few month go? I am totally looking forward to the days getting longer and longer and  it warming up around here.  Plus, we are all psyched that the next major Holiday (besides Emmett's birthday, as I am reminded EVERY.SINGLE.DAY) is Saint Patrick's Day!

Spring means mixing things up with evening trips to the park, more eating out (even though that has been scaled back by the arrival of this), and possible getting the grill out. But for the next few weeks it's business as usual around here.

My father-in-law, Paddy, and I take turns hosting Sunday dinner. It’s an informal affair, just Paul and I, the kids, Paddy and my brother-in-law, John.  Nothing fancy, more often than not, dinner is just what we would normally have.  But, it’s nice to sit down to a meal together, and it’s a part of the week that we all look forward to. Last week, Paddy and John did more than their fair share. They drove to our house so we wouldn’t have to get the kids bundled up AND they brought an Irish bacon. There really wasn’t much for me to do to make dinner happen.

We typically eat our Irish bacon (and corned beef for that matter) with Coleman’s mustard on the side.  But since I was only responsible for vegetables, I decided to make some parsley sauce to go with the bacon.  This sauce is a basic bechamel with chopped parsley and lemon juice mixed in. It goes great with bacon and would probably be nice with fish (fish Friday idea!) or to spruce up some simple steamed broccoli or spinach.

You can make this sauce in the time it takes to cook some carrots and cabbage on the stovetop. I will definitely be making it again with my corned beef on Saint Patrick’s Day. With some Coleman’s mustard on the side, of course.

Parsley Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt to taste

Place butter and flour in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.  I like to use a high quality salted Irish butter, such as Kerrygold, for this.  If you use salted butter, you won’t need to add much salt at the end.

Stir butter and flour together until if makes a homogenous paste and bubbles but does not brown, about 2 minutes.   

Pour milk in slowly and cook, whisking constantly, for 4 or 5 minutes, until sauce thickens.  I add milk a little at a time, keeping in mind that sauce will be slightly thicker when taken off the heat. You may or may not use all the milk.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Season to taste.  

To say I love Irish bacon would be an understatement.  If you are looking for something to do with leftover Irish bacon, look no further. 

I've used it in all of these: 

Bacon and Pea Risotto

In soup with white beans

In split pea soup

Dublin Coddle

and, it makes a regular appearance at our house in fried rice, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, even biscuits, cornbread and scones. Bacon is my weeknight, breakfast, anytime hero.