Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Did You Know

Topics That May or May Not Show Up

  • The best paczki's I've tried were at Oak Park Bakery. Make a note for next year.
  • Pasticceria Natalina has justifiably got a lot of renown since its opening last year, but what about Giuseppe, who recently took over the operations at Claudio Bakery in Elmwood Park (7308 North Avenue). His products may not be as fancy. He does bake up some great breads, especially the classic Sicilian bread called malfada.
  • There's such a thing as local shrimp in the Midwest. And do you know Eric Villegas. When we were in Michigan a couple of weeks ago we found Villegas's great celebration of Michigan foods (Fork in the Road: a book/PBS series). We also learned about the shrimp farm in Okemos, Michigan.
  • Cassie's not selling Michigan shrimps yet at her new store, Green Grocer, but hopefully she will soon. She's hell bent on local, quizzing her potential suppliers for her new market. All ready she has a great stock of Michigan beans, local beet chips (worth the visit alone), Bennison's bread, one of my favorites, meat, eggs, Tomato Mountain products...
  • Like Cassie, Robin Winters did not just talk about local. Inspired by a few events, she pretty much single handily; OK with Tony of Scotch Hill Farms, she's brought local to the Chicago area while the farmer's markets hibernate.
  • I'm willing to buy a non-local cheese if (only?) it's as good and as special as Jasper Hill Farms Constant Bliss, as close as possible to true Brie in the USA.
  • At one time, Maywood had a Cuban community. Today, a bodega called Oriente is one reminder. Another is the cafe, El Prado (612 Lake). It's like eating in Senora's home. You order what she has each day. Which more often than not consists of flat breasts of chicken/beef with tons of garlic and onions or something long cooked and on the side, plantains, yucca and the necessary beans/rice. Boliche is a braised round roast stuffed with ham, a bit on the touch side. Carne asada is not steak but another form of stew, with potatoes. Garbanzo soup is emblematic of her touch.

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