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daniellewiley

eG Foodblog: daniellewiley - Interactive Wanderings in the Windy City

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Good morning!

Oh, I am so excited for this week. The last time I blogged, I was living in Toledo with one kid (my daughter, Dylan). Now, I am in Chicago with two kids (Max is 14 months old). Things change a lot in just a couple of years!

The move to Chicago was rather unexpected, and came about at the end of August. We had just three weeks to find a place, hire movers, and get here. It was insane. I am just now feeling settled, but one of the things I have NOT yet done is really get to know the food offerings here. We've had some fabulous dinners (Butter was our favorite so far!), and I've seen a few great shops, but I really want to find the best of the best. And that's where you guys come in.

I want your help. Each day, I'm going to explore a different food market, ethnic area of the city or classic style of Chicago food (hot dogs anyone?). And, I want your input. If you know of great Chicago places, please tell me. I also want some input from people with specialties in various areas of ethnic cooking. When I go down to Chinatown, I'd love to do so with an assignment. Tell me what to cook, give me a shopping list, and set me loose. Sound good?

I have some pictures to share of my morning routine, but first I'll give you guys a list of some of the food places I think might be interesting. I still need my itinerary for today, by the way. However, today is a challenge. I work from home and have phone meetings until 2. Dylan needs to be picked up from school at 3. I can certainly go somewhere with here after school, but we can't be gone long (Chicago babysitters are expensive, and I'll have one home with Max). And to make it even more complicated? The baby will be up from his nap by about 4. I can keep him occupied in his booster seat with some food for probably 1/2 an hour. So... we need something easy. Welcome to the world of a working mom who cooks!

Here's the list I started. Please add to it as you see fit:

Italian markets - I cheated and did this yesterday. I have lots of great pics to share. I'm willing to go back though.

Chinatown - I'm excited to go, but this is very far from my house

Koreatown - This is pretty close to my house

Pastoral specialty foods store - I am very eager to check out their cheese selection.

Bread - There is a bakery here called Crust that makes fabulous bread. I have found it at local stores, but I have not found their actual bakery. I would like to do so.

German food - We are very close to some great German stores and German restaurants.

Polish - Chicago has a HUGE Polish population.

Mexican - ditto the above

Farmer's Market - This I'm doing Saturday morning. I will need some help, though. I'll tell you more later.

Meat Market - We live about a block from a GREAT one.

Sam's Wine - Heard this place is the best, but I haven't checked it out yet.

Stanley's Produce - Ditto the above.

Coffee - I need to get some more today. I usually get the Pleasant Morning Buzz blend at Whole Foods (we live a block away), but let's try something more interesting. I'm thinking Intelligentsia or Julis Meinl. Any opinions out there?

Spice House - I've been dying to go here. It's not too far from my house.

OK, I'll leave you with that, and will be back shortly with my morning routine.

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What a smart idea to use your blog as the impetus to get to know your new city! I'm looking forward to accompanying you.

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Danielle! What a pleasure; I've been wondering where you'd been. Where in Chicago are you living; can you say? It's one of my most favorite cities and a place I'd always wanted to live. I'm going to love watching you 'move in.' Some of my very best friends from forever live downtown and in the outlying areas. I just love Chicago.

I suggest that if you ever have the chance to shop with Fresser, you take it. It's quite an experience! :laugh:

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Danielle, I am very much looking forward to this week.

Chicago is very high on my list of 'places in the US I want to go' (I have to admit that this has something to do with a major ER addiction, I've watched the first 4 seasons at least 4 times :shock: ), so I'm thinking this blog will be great for future reference!

Do you like the city after living there since August? What do you miss about Toledo, foodwise?


Edited by Chufi (log)

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Danielle!  What a pleasure; I've been wondering where you'd been.  Where in Chicago are you living; can you say?  It's one of my most favorite cities and a place I'd always wanted to live.  I'm going to love watching you 'move in.'  Some of my very best friends from forever live downtown and in the outlying areas.  I just love Chicago.

I suggest that if you ever have the chance to shop with Fresser, you take it.  It's quite an experience!  :laugh:

Hey Fabby,

Yes, I've been a bit absent. Life was a little crazy for a while. We are in the city, but northwest of downtown. We say that we live in Roscoe Village, but we are technically in Lakeview (if you walk half a block west, you hit the border of Roscoe Village).

I can just imagine the experience of shopping with Fresser. :laugh:

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Danielle, I am very much looking forward to this week.

Chicago is very high on my list of 'places in the US I want to go' (I have to admit that this has something to do with a major ER addiction, I've watched the first 4 seasons at least 4 times  :shock:  ), so I'm thinking this blog will be great for future reference!

Do you like the city after living there since August? What do you miss about Toledo, foodwise?

Hi Chufi! Yes, I'm hoping to make this blog a reference - that would be awesome! Funny about ER - I haven't watched in years. I do remember them walking around eating street food and drinking coffee. Can you think of any particular food references?

I just love this city. I can't say enough good things about it. I don't know that there is too much I miss from Toledo foodwise. There is just so much here. But, I kind of miss our favorite Lebanese restaurant, The Beirut. And, I miss our favorite Japanese restaurant, Kotobuki (but part of that might be due to the very cute owner, Dennis). What else... oh yes. I absolutely miss my favorite produce store in Toledo - Rhode's. It is a phenomenal little produce shop with tons of local offerings. I'm hoping that I can find a Chicago replacement this week. The Farmer's Market is phenomenal, but it's a bit of a chore to get there (you'll see why on Saturday), and is only open Wednesdays and Saturdays, May through October. They have an indoor market in November and December, but January through April there's no market at all. I'm hoping that the aforementioned Stanley's Produce will be wonderful.


Edited by daniellewiley (log)

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Danielle, Welcome to Chicago! Although I'm in the suburbs, my daughter lived in the Lakeview, Roscoe Village area for a time and we got to know it well. Stanleys is great. It has "gentrified" since we first started going there but still a great source for reasonably priced produce. You'll see people from all walks of life there. You won't be far from Sam's when you go so you should try to combine the two. Pastoral cheese is phenomenal. Be sure to go on a day when they have the fennel, raisin bread available (maybe Tuesday - call ahead, it's great with the cheese. Intelligentsia is also nearby so there's another thing you can combine! Good luck. I'll be following your adventures.

Jean

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Danielle,  Welcome to Chicago!  Although I'm in the suburbs, my daughter lived in the Lakeview, Roscoe Village area for a time and we got to know it well.  Stanleys is great.  It has "gentrified" since we first started going there but still a great source for reasonably priced produce.  You'll see people from all walks of life there.  You won't be far from Sam's when you go so you should try to combine the two.  Pastoral cheese is phenomenal.  Be sure to go on a day when they have the fennel, raisin bread available (maybe Tuesday - call ahead, it's great with the cheese.  Intelligentsia is also nearby so there's another thing you can combine!  Good luck.  I'll be following your adventures.

Jean

Hey Jean,

I'm looking forward to seeing you Friday (we are having a dinner with some eGullet people at Hot Chocolate on Friday night - I'm VERY excited).

Combining Sam's and Stanley's is a great idea. I have another (non food-related) errand in that area as well. Perfect.

Regarding Pastoral, I probably won't be doing that bread. Raisins are one of those foods I do not like! But... I'm sure they'll have other great stuff!

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What about the famous Chicago pizza. I like thin pizza, but I have heard that it is quite something to see.

Isn't Lou Malnati's the place to go or Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder for their pizza pot pie :shock: ?

ah.... pizza.

Here's the official eGullet thread on Chicago pizza: click!

ronnie_surburban can't understand it, but I didn't love Lou Malnati's. I really liked the crust (we got deep dish), but the cheese/sauce/sausage bit weren't my favorite.

I liked Pequod's a lot, but here, the crust was a bit lacking. I loved their sausage, cheese, sauce. (I also loved their salad). Pequod's is definitely my favorite deep dish so far.

We tried Gino's East last week. I hated it. The crust was tough. There was hardly any sausage. Big thumbs down.

I'm eager to try Due. If I can catch the kids in a good mood Thursday night (we love doing pizza on Thursdays), I might haul them downtown to try it out. I wish I could get them to deliver to my house.

Our favorite pizza overall in Chicago (not just deep dish) has been at a local place called Frasca's. This is a wine bar with a wood burning oven. They have thin crust individual pizzas. They are phenomenal. This is a terrific restaurant. It's at the corner of Roscoe Street and Paulina. We can walk there in about 5 minutes. This is probably a more likely candidate for pizza out this week. Since it's so close, one of us can take a kid home if we have horrible behavior.

One of our biggest struggles lately has been eating out with the kids. Max is just at that age where he grabs at everything and fusses all of the time if he is not entertained. And then Dylan gets jealous of the attention he is getting and she starts to throw a fit as well. We have had some luck lately with bringing him a ton of snacks and toys. But.. it is not relaxing. We usually prefer to order in if we are eating with the kids these days. By the way, I NEVER thought I would say that. I am a huge proponent of exposing children to eating in restaurants. Things changed a bit when we had a boy.

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So... my morning routine. Sorry this is so late - it's been a particularly crazy morning.

gallery_19707_3742_89014.jpg

Above is my coffee corner. The coffee is kept in that big Trader Joe's tin, but it's not the Trader Joe's coffee (I don't care for their coffee very much). I just love the tin.

The Splenda is Michael's - I hate the stuff. My sweetener is in that colorful little sugar bowl - it's Turbinado. My coffee maker is a Hamilton Beach - I needed one in a hurry last year when my old one started leaking. This was really cheap and it works wondefully.

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I try to always drink my coffee in the above mug from the San Diego Zoo. It's my lucky mug.

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This morning I added some EmergenC to my morning drink lineup. Michael has a terrible cold, and I am very afraid. I also had some of those Get Well Soon vitamins up there.

gallery_19707_3742_10202.jpg

Here is Mr. Max eating his breakfast. He loves the cereal bars from Trader Joe's. This one is called, "A Strawberry walks into a bar." He eats nonstop. After the bar he had cheerios and then an entire orange. (He was sneezing this morning, so I'm pumping him with vitamin C as well.) He also had a big bottle of milk.

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Here is Dylie helping me make her breakfast. She wanted Quesadillas. I let her sprinkle on the chili powder. She has only burnt herself once. :laugh:

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And, finally, my breakfast. I don't eat until Dylie is at school and Max is down for his morning nap. I had Total Fage 0% yogurt with frozen raspberries and honey. I added too much honey this morning, but it was still pretty tasty.

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Hey Danielle, Happy to see you're blogging.

How are the bagels in Chicago? Thats one of the first things I like to find in a new place. I'm currently in Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and the bagels are fabulous.

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What a lovely way to start the day! I had the same yogurt and some raspberries this morning, too, minus the honey.

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What a gorgeous girl that Dylan is!

I'm really excited about this blog.

ER food references: Doc Magoos, as far as I can recall, and then lots of donuts as treats every now and then.

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Danielle, I'm so excited to see you blogging! I'm afraid I've only made one trip to Chicago in my entire life, to look at Northwestern, and that was many more years ago than I would like to think about. Can't wait to watch you explore your new home (though we're sad not to have you here in the Big Apple, of course).

Your kids are so cute!

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Hey Danielle, Happy to see you're blogging.

How are the bagels in Chicago?  Thats one of the first things I like to find in a new place.  I'm currently in Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and the bagels are fabulous.

So far they have been crappy. I hear the good place is in Lincolnwood, just north of the city. Haven't had the chance to make it up there though.

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What a gorgeous girl that Dylan is!

I'm really excited about this blog.

ER food references: Doc Magoos, as far as I can recall, and then lots of donuts as treats every now and then.

thank you! I will try to get a picture without her hamming it up (not easy with a kid who is almost five). When she is smiling, she is even prettier. :smile:

We have the best donut joint in Chicago about a block from my house. That'll be breakfast on Saturday. We LOVE donuts in our house!

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Danielle - great to see you blogging! I've been to Chicago and always enjoyed it, but my food experience there is limited. I always stay with family friends when I'm there - and when staying with a Rabbi's family, you stick to kosher restaurants. (Having said that, there are some pretty good kosher places in Chicago)

I'm looking forward to exploring through you!

And the kids are gorgeous! :wink:

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Your first assignment:

I need to figure out what we are having for dinner tonight. I would like to stay local, if possible. Your choices are (and I can combine these):

meat market - one of the best in Chicago

Whole Foods

regular supermarket (boring!)

German market

Also, I do have some leftover ingredients from yesterday's trip to the Italian markets. We have some fresh ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and two dried sausages (one hot, one mild).

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On bagels - Not exactly one of this town's strong suits.

On pizza - I can't stand the pizza out here. Gino's, Malnatti's, doesn't matter. It's probably because I grew up in NJ, raised on NY style pizza. Happily, this style (or things close to it) are starting to creep into the city. I'm rooting for the trend to continue.

Oh, and even if you don't like raisins, definitely get to Pastoral. Their olive bread is also fantastic. Also this time of year they get in some great apple cider from Michigan.

Looking forward to the rest of the blog!

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Great idea to have the masses help you explore your new city.

One Chicago food-related activity that I recommend hightly but doesn't seem to get much play in eG is the Maxwell Street Market (actually it is now on Canal Street) on Sundays.

Part swap meet, part farmers' market, and what's most interesting for food opporunitsts is the fantastic concentration of prepared Mexican foods. Restaurants are put together in the morning from carboard, blue tarps, cheap church-basement tables, and shrink wrap. Many have picnic tables under cover for sitting down and eating. Think tamales, tongue tacos, chicharrones, fresh tortilla pressed in front of your eyes and quick grilled into quesadilla, and more more more. All sorts of good stuff for everyone from adventurous to timid eaters.

Especially worthwhile if you get a decent weather-day this coming Sunday.

Oh, here's a little more information that is a bit dated: click.

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ugghhh...

I identify with restless toddler boys in restaurants. (I had Dax a month after Danielle had Max. :smile: ). Madeleine (who's almost 4) has always been great in restaurants. Dax just has to keep moving. I can't say it's forced us to eat in entirely, but dining out isn't worth it unless he's in the right state.

Did you freeze those raspberries yourself? They're beautiful.

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Hot Doug's also popped into my head as worthy of attention if you haven't been there. It has been some time since I was there but it was spectacular. The fries fried in duck fat stole the show.

Their original store was in Roscoe Village and I'm not sure how far away their new store is from you.

Hot Doug's website.

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On bagels - Not exactly one of this town's strong suits.

On pizza - I can't stand the pizza out here.  Gino's, Malnatti's, doesn't matter.  It's probably because I grew up in NJ, raised on NY style pizza.  Happily, this style (or things close to it) are starting to creep into the city.  I'm rooting for the trend to continue.

Oh, and even if you don't like raisins, definitely get to Pastoral.  Their olive bread is also fantastic.  Also this time of year they get in some great apple cider from Michigan.

Looking forward to the rest of the blog!

OOoohhhhh Olive Bread - awesome. We are olive lovers here. My daughter's favorite food, actually.

I think my pizza problem might be the same as yours. I'm from NY originally, so it all seems sub-standard. :wink:

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Great idea to have the masses help you explore your new city.

One Chicago food-related activity that I recommend hightly but doesn't seem to get much play in eG is the Maxwell Street Market (actually it is now on Canal Street) on Sundays.

Part swap meet, part farmers' market, and what's most interesting for food opporunitsts is the fantastic concentration of prepared Mexican foods.  Restaurants are put together in the morning from carboard, blue tarps, cheap church-basement tables, and shrink wrap.  Many have picnic tables under cover for sitting down and eating.  Think tamales, tongue tacos, chicharrones, fresh tortilla pressed in front of your eyes and quick grilled into quesadilla, and more more more.  All sorts of good stuff for everyone from adventurous to timid eaters.

Especially worthwhile if you get a decent weather-day this coming Sunday.

Oh, here's a little more information that is a bit dated: click.

Great idea - I've been wanting to check it out. If the weather holds up, and the kids are amenable, that will definitely be an option.

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