I'll never go back

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I'll never go back

Postby Howard » Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:15 pm

We recently moved into Chicago from the suburbs. We're not in our house yet, it's still being built so I don't have access to my new kitchen yet. We're renting a place a few miles from our new neighborhood. What has changed, however, is the way we shop for groceries. I found a lovely little butcher shop about 3 blocks from where we will live. The same guys who have been behind the counter for the last several decades are still there making homemade sausages of every kind. I've found wonderful Italian, German, and French styles, of course. I knew Kosher salami when I grew up but I've never seen so many dried sausages. I've had portuguese linuria, hungarian paprika, and of course those little beef/pepper/garlic bombs that come in little pencil shaped strips. So many sausages, so little time. That's not to mention (which I will) the smoked duck breast, duck legs and bacon all smoked in the store in the back smoker. I've never (until this morning) had bacon smoked in the store and sliced in front of my eyes. (I cooked it in the microwave - fabulous but that's another post). Mmmmmmmm

And if I don't get a chance to bake my baguettes, my daughter will pick some fresh ones up at the boulangerie across from her school. There's a cheese shop too. It's very easy to get very spoiled quickly. I'm still exploring and haven't really found excellent local produce yet but I missed the farmer's markets in Lincoln Park this season. It's only a matter of time. And there's a Costco nearby for the paper products and the stuff I need to buy in bulk to save some bucks as well.

And I can't wait to start exploring the restaurants near by. I've been to a Columbian Steak house which is next door to the Bosnian place. There's an authentic Naples style pizzeria 1/2 mile from our new house along with a dozen new creative places that seem to open every weekend. If Chicago is not known as foodie heaven it should be. It's different than the foodie heaven of California with the open markets and plethora of all produce all the time. I think I have to look a little harder than the left coast folks but so far it's been well worth the effort.

It's great to be here.
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:15 pm

Hey, fellow urbanite! Even here in a smaller metro like Louisville, living in the urban area is <i>so</i> much more interesting than the 'burbs. I've got similar specialty-shop and eatery rounds that make me happy every time I head out. The 'burbs in this town aren't that badly served, but it does make a difference to be so close to the best foodie shops that it's no real problem to run out and pick up some necessaries at 5 p.m. and have them for dinner.
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Joel Sprague » Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:00 pm

So be really nice and share the name of the butcher shop Howard. Still live in suburbs myself, but downtown every day for work. One of other wonders of urban life is public transportation, and blueline station right outside office, plus train stations few blocks up, keep me from having to drive down here. :) Though I do still drive down at times too. Have a butcher shop I relaly like in NW suburbs(bit far from where I'm currently living), but always interested in a new one. When I was in Oklahoma City closest butcher shop was 30 miles away. That may even have just been butcher shop in name, not a real butcher shop, could never talk myself into making the drive to find out (should ahve taken the motorcyle on a nice day).
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:18 pm

Well you can't get too much sticky than the sticks we live in. Like most of our neighbors we live in the middle of a five acre woodlot with a year round stream running through it. Our town does not have a school or a post office. The nearest gas/convenience store is five miles away.

Yet just twenty minutes away there is a guy who gave up urban life to become a farmer. He is a multi-diversified farmer with grain, veggies, fruits, livestock, and poultry. He runs a year round farmstand/butcher. What he doesn't raise or grow himself he gets fresh from nearby sources including elk and bison. Sausages galore. All very nice, thank you.
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:37 pm

Carl Eppig (Middleton, NH wrote:All very nice, thank you.


As the saying goes, "different strokes," and of course that's also why they make ice cream in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry so people have a choice. :)
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Howard » Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:49 pm

Joel,
It's Paulina Meat Market 3501 N. Lincoln. (I have no relationship with them except as a newly devoted customer) They have apparently been in business since 1949 and have recently moved from their old store into their new modern looking one but service and goods are still quite traditional. Here's their website:

http://www.paulinameatmarket.com/
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Howard » Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:15 pm

Carl,
In my next life, I'm going to move to New Hampshire or Vermont or Maine and be that farmer friend of yours. I'd love to be so close to that kind of market and therefore so close to the earth and seasons. My comments are not meant in any way to denigrate farm fresh food or the rural lifestyle. I'm just amazed at how desolate the suburbs seem to me now that I can compare them to the truly urban markets. My whole previous life has been spent in some very nice suburban locales but still suburban - strip malls, Jewel and Dominicks, mass produced produce, etc. Over the last few years Whole Foods Market has arrived and that's been nice but the clearly well researched psychological manipulation of the consumer is getting on my nerves. The stores are all about making you feel good about what you're buying, which is OK but a little like going on an African Safari at Disneyland. It's fun but seems unreal. I'm experiencing "real" for the first time with regard to food shopping and I'm enjoying it. Rural farm stands in New Hampshire and small tavern restaurants in the French countryside are very different but still "real" in my view. Those experiences make me feel good in sense that is more long lasting and satisfying than Whole Foods.

And if I can't go on and on about the psychological satisfaction of grocery shopping here, where can I?
:wink:
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Howard » Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:18 pm

Robin,
The ability to zip out for a few items ON FOOT rather than having to gas up the automobile is a real fine dividend of our new lifestyle. We walk more - to our final destination, to the CTA, to the bus, whatever. That's something Sandy and I had talked about before we moved and to a large extent has happened. I love not having to drive through suburban traffic jams to get a few things I need for dinner. When we finally get into our new house, things will be even more convenient.
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:21 pm

I'd love to do the urban thing too, except for the $2MM pricetag on a rowhouse in SF...
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Joel Sprague » Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:03 pm

Wow Howard. I haven't had a chance to stop by there yet, and not sure when I will, but the selection on their site(particularly the sausages, as you had said) is certainly impressive to me. Can't wait to get up there sometime for a bunch of different sausages and some smoked duck and goose.

Thanks.
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Re: I'll never go back

Postby Howard » Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:39 pm

Joel,
Believe it or not, there is stuff in the store that's not on the website!

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