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Toronto Chow visiting Chicago

For morning snacks and juice, you can also try Corner Bakery on St. Clair. Good selection of juices, cut-up fruit, etc., and frankly, the grocery prices in that neighborhood are so stellar that you won't save that much by going to the White Hen or Dominicks.

IMHO, Treasure Island (a couple of blocks away) is a much better grocery store than Dominicks.

Sep 07, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Pie in Chicago?

Try B.J.'s at 87th & Stony Island, south side. Go hungry. And you might want to do a two-dessert run, because even if what your heart wants is pie, you really, really should have a spoonful of the peach cobbler. Open until 10 (I think they close earlier on Sundays). If you are still desperate, you could do a four-hour road trip to the Cherry Hut near Interlochen, Michigan. Last time I was there, the owner told me they sell about three hundred pies a day - the big problem is letting them cool enough so they can wrap them for takeout.

Sep 07, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Thoughts on Bistro 110?

I used to love this place - esp. the veal medallions over angel hair pasta, which seem to have disappeared from the menu. But last time I went, I got cassoulet that looked (and tasted, I fear) like roadkill. The pates are still pretty awesome, though.

Sep 07, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Eating and Cooking Well in Chicago - HELP!

Shopping - big second to Fox & Obel and Treasure Island. Supermarkets are not that great in Chicago, really - two big chains had a lock on the city for a long time, and the pickings ranged from slim to sloppy. But other stores are finally starting to muscle in around the suburbs (if you're out west, go take an hour's tourist walk through one of the Woodman's Markets).

One terrific city grocery is Caputo's on Harlem Ave, Elmwood Park. Best produce in Chicago (certainly the best variety), and they still have real butchers in the meat department, not just re-wrappers. Watch your feet near the veal counter - that's usually where they put the big tin buckets of water with fresh snails swimming around. Neighborhood is mostly Italian/Polish, so you'll see a lot of imported specialties on the shelves.

For cheese, my mecca is Caputo's Cheese Mart on 15th St. in Melrose Park (west of city). I have not seen a comparable variety (and quality) of domestic, imported and homemade cheeses anywhere in Chicago. Love Binny's, but I make special trips out of my way to the Cheese Mart. Also they have great Italian deli items and cheap, cheap imported house brand pasta. P.S. the prices are way cheaper than the stores named in previous posts, which are located in primetime real estate. Cheese Mart is in a mostly-industrial working class area, across from a mattress warehouse. Call for hours before you go.

Don't know anything about Ann Arbor, but there is a very nice supermarket chain in Michigan called Meijer. Don't be put off by the superstore appearance - they generally have decent produce (not as good as Whole Foods, but Meijer can sometimes surprise you by bringing in produce from local growers) and good meat.

Sep 07, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Good shawerma in Chicago?

Pita Inn, 3910 Dempster in Skokie (north shore suburb), 847-677-0211, lunch and dinner only. It's a long cab ride, and not readily accessible by El or Metra. Clientele is mostly Middle Eastern, college kids and chowhounds (average tab is about $8). This is not a hip foodie place - tables are battered, and don't take a real close look at the floor. But the shawarma is awesome, unless you're a purist who needs to eat shawarma from a pushcart. Expect to wait for a table, unless you go about 3-4 in the afternoon. If you speak Arabic, you may have more leeway in ordering specials. Have fun in Chicago -

Sep 07, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

ISO Cadbury Fingers

I didn't even think about World Market, and there's one 15 minutes from my house. I'm going to go get my car keys right now.

Aug 23, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Kansas/ Kansas City food souvenirs

Did I miss a mention of Andre's cookies? The pastries won't travel, but the tea cookies pack. If I think about how much I miss the pretzel-shaped ones, I'll start to cry.

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in Great Plains

etiquette question

I'm new around here, and am puzzled by one of the responses I got to a post. I was looking for a food item, and one responder offered to send me some if I would give him my address. ??? I certainly have no plans to disclose personal ID of any kind, but don't wish to be rude to established members of this community, and certainly don't want to bring down wrath on this person (whose post was otherwise quite polite). Are such offers common here?

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in Site Talk

ISO Cadbury Fingers

I am addicted to the Cadbury Fingers sold in the U.K. There is no methadone substitute. My old neighborhood market in Oak Park used to have them occasionally... and I've spotted them for sale on British-import websites, but am dubious about ordering from online companies I've never heard of. The UK import stores I've found in Chicago carry real Cadbury bars, but not the Fingers. Isn't there any retailer in Chicago that understands my weakness?

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Good Italian - Elmhurst area ?

Can't believe I forgot this one - Vincitori on Cass Ave. in Westmont. Odd neighborhood of dry cleaners, etc., but the restaurant is nicely done inside, and the food is great (esp. the shrimp diavolo).

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Good Italian - Elmhurst area ?

Roberto's, Roberto's, Roberto's. Wonderful ambience, great menu, and the chef is incredibly accommodating ... and their marinara is incredible.

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Favorite commercial ice cream treat?

Haagen-Dazs dulce de leche ice cream bars, with caramel coating.

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in General Topics

Best Pizza in Chicago?

Bacino's is good, yes, Lou Malnati's is fine, Gino's East is wonderful, but with a big crowd, go for Giordano's on Rush (in River North, just north of where you will be staying). Am I risking libel by saying stay well away from Uno and Due? Sorry, but I've been to Uno twice with out-of-towners who insisted we go there ... both times on a Saturday night, both times we were REQUIRED to place our order at the same time we put our names down for a table, both times had to wait more than two hours for a table, and when the pizza was brought (both times, before our drinks were served), it was clear that the pizza had been waiting under the hotlamps for at least an hour. Disgusting. Anyway, Giordano's has the best cheese deep-dish, and is darned respectable on other-topping pizza. Have a great time!

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in Chicago Area

Question on types of Polish food

I grew up in a Polish/Russian/Lithuanian family in Kansas City ... povitica is Czech/Croatian, but a lot of KC Poles make it, and Strawberry Hill Povitica (once featured on Food Network) is a great mail-order outlet. See www.povitica.com. Also, my great aunt wrote a Polish/Lithuanian-influenced cookbook. Out of print now, but a library might have a copy - it's Nela's Cookbook, by Nela Rubinstein. If she included the recipe for mazurka, try it! It's a shortbread crust topped with crushed plums, then broiled to caramelize the top. Oh, my gosh ... Our version of nalesniki was different - ground roast beef and mushrooms tucked inside a crepe, then sauteed in butter and topped with a mushroom cream sauce. Call the cholesterol police, but they're awesome.

Aug 22, 2006
Grenouille in General Topics