Nanas New York Deli Review – Crystal Lake, IL

Nanas New York Deli
Nanas New York Deli Review

“Ga-Ba-Goo” Italian sub

Nanas New York Deli Review: Tiny take-out featuring “New York Style” overstuffed sandwiches. The “Waldorf” is corned beef, pastrami, swiss, Russian, and slaw on marble rye.  Exceptional deli meats.

The “Gabba-Goo”  is salami, mortadella, hot capicola, lettuce, tomato, onion, vinegar, and oil on an 8-inch roll.  Again, exceptional on the meats.

The slaw is creamy and the vegetables in it crisp. Pickle included with the sandwiches is you ask, kind of a half-sour, and half size, larger than a gherkin, smaller than a big kosher dill.

Build your own is an option, of course, choosing from a variety of breads, meats, cheese, vegetables.  Soup, salads, and hot dogs round out the menu.

Half dozen flavors of chips from Deep River chips in Connecticut and bottle drinks, Pepsi products.

Couple of tables inside and on the sidewalk if you can’t wait until you get home to gobble these beauties.  Menu below or online.  Click to enlarge.

Nanas New York Deli Review: Tiny take-out featuring “New York Style” overstuffed sandwiches. The “Waldorf” is corned beef, pastrami, swiss, Russian, and slaw on marble rye.  Exceptional deli meats.

The “Gabba-Goo”  is salami, mortadella, hot capicola, lettuce, tomato, onion, vinegar, and oil on an 8-inch roll.  Again, exceptional on the meats.

The slaw is creamy and the vegetables in it crisp. Pickle included with the sandwiches is you ask, kind of a half-sour, and half size, larger than a gherkin, smaller than a big kosher dill.

Build your own is an option, of course, choosing from a variety of breads, meats, cheese, vegetables.  Soup, salads, and hot dogs round out the menu.

Half dozen flavors of chips from Deep River chips in Connecticut and bottle drinks, Pepsi products.

Couple of tables inside and on the sidewalk if you can’t wait until you get home to gobble these beauties.  Menu below or online.  Click to enlarge.

Nanas New York Deli Review

Menu Page 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nanas New York Deli Review

Menu Page 2

 

Nanas New York Deli Review

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

The area around Harlem Avenue, just south of Interstate 90, about twenty miles NW of downtown Chicago, has truly become the area’s new “Little Italy.” There are literally dozens of Italian-centric delis, markets, bakeries and restaurants.

I’ve looked at a couple of them before, including another deli named “Nottoli” (no relation I am told), a restaurant/pizza called “Dino’s,” (superb pizza), and a market and take out operation, “Rex.”

This particular Nottoli I became aware of due to shouting on the internet saying it was absolutely the best, and also being featured on a local tv program called “Chicago’s Best.” (Irony)

My goodies from Nottoli?  An Italian Beef Combo sandwich (combo means with a sausage nestled in the beef), an entree of sausage and peppers, some repacked Cerignola olives, several pounds of fresh Italian sausage for the freezer) a loaf of bread and a pound of meatballs.

The Italian beef was one of the best I have had anywhere, ever. It came “baptized” (completely dipped in au jus) so it was quite messy, but isn’t messy food the most bigly funniest?  The olives were a real disappointment, as the giant Cerignola red olives should be very firm and bursting with woodsy flavor (I cure olives at home, so like the insurance company ad says “I know a thing or two.”)  These were lifeless and mushy.  I suspect this happens when a quantity is taken from a vat of intense brine and they are repacked in smaller containers in a water bath. Just no.

Meatballs were fine, good flavor, good texture, but I prefer the ones at Rex, they have a much more intense flavor of fennel and garlic.  Bread? Superb. Sausage and peppers?  Same great sausage as in the Italian beef, so no complaints there.

If you love Italian food, take an afternoon and plot a course for this neighborhood, have a pizza, buy some treats at the Sicilia Bakery (which I will write about in a bit), and then hit one or more markets. The markets also stock dry and canned goods imported from Italy. The other Nottoli has the largest selection in that realm.

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

Meatballs and bread

 

The Original Nottoli & Son Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago
The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

Rex Italian Foods Review – Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review – Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, ILCouple of years ago, I was driving down one of the major north/south surface streets in Chicago, Harlem Avenue.  It’s one of the streets chock-a-block full of ethnic eating and grocery establishments, primarily Polish, but more than a couple of old-timey Italian joints.  I stopped at one, Nottoli’s, a few times in the time since that drive, they have a great selection of imported groceries and a delicious meat counter.  Here’s what I wrote about it.

I had heard about, but not visited another joint close by, Rex Italian Foods, which has counter service to eat in or take out, plus a whole host of prepared Italian specialties in bulk to take home.

I went to purchase stuff to take home, but got caught up in the energy of the regulars who were ordering food, so I had to take the plunge.  Modestly dipping my toe in, so to speak, got an order of meatballs, a side of garlic bread, and a San Pellegrino to taste.  Companion went with a Caprese Panini which she raved about.

We then loaded up on a half dozen prepared dishes to tote home, along with a few pounds of Italian sausage, some olives, and olive salad to adorn muffalettas next time I’m feeling ambitious.

I regret not purchasing more, cause it is kind of a hike from me to thee.

The meatballs were delicious, great texture, pork/beef maybe, strong flavor of herbs and fennel.  Just the way I like them, and I’m tough to please, because I make damn fine meatballs at home.  Damn fine.

I will return. I have to.  They stuff their own sausage and cook their home Italian beef.  And have been for the past sixty years or so.

Here’s a quick look inside, courtesy the daughter of the late Chicago Bear’s legend, Walter Payton.

 

Complete menu below, click on pages for better view. Catering available.  Order online for take-out.
Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, IL

 

Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review - Norridge, IL

 

 

Rex Italian Foods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Rex Italian Foods Review – Norridge, IL

Rex Italian Foods Review – Norridge, IL

 

Lloyds Barbecue Company Review

Lloyd's Barbecue Company Review

 

Lloyds Barbecue Company Review

Lloyds Barbecue products are part of the line of Austin, MN based Hormel Foods.  I can’t say whether they started it organically or acquired it, just haven’t found that info.  The product is made and distributed out of a modern facility across the Missississippi River from the Minneapolis St Paul airport.

Lloyds Barbecue Company ReviewThey produce three different types of shredded meat in sauce – pork, beef, and chicken; and six different styles of a full slab of ribs in two different sauces, original and “Kansas City, Style.”

The product line can be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery, usually near the deli or alongside other “heat and eat” products, for both of these products are fully-cooked, and need only heating, with instructions included for your choice of heat source, microwave, stovetop, or grill.

I tried the shredded pork and the original ribs and found really no fault with either one, despite not being the world’s biggest barbecue fan.

The ribs come fully sauced, some people would probably prefer that the sauce was included but set aside so they could apply as desired.  The pulled pork is also sauced, and very finely shredded, more so than you would find in most barbecue restaurants, I suspect, or how you would prepare it at home.  The taste is fine. Again, probably pre-sauced is not the best idea.

The ribs required an hour in the oven, wrapped in foil.  The pork I did in a saucepan on the stovetop, which is really overkill, you could just pop the entire container in the microwave and it would be just fine.

The ribs were served with a side of Ore-Ida Crispy Crowns, per the diner’s request.  I piled the pork atop an “Everything Ciabatta” roll from Trader Joe’s, topped with Wal-Mart original coleslaw.  Martin’s Potato Rolls would have been a better choice than the ciabatta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lloyds Barbecue Company Review

Lloyds Barbecue Company Review

Casey’s General Stores Sandwich Review – Midwest C Store Chain

Casey's General Stores Sandwich ReviewCasey’s General Stores, Inc., is a chain of convenience stores/petro stations in the Midwestern United States, primarily within the states of Iowa, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota,North Dakota,Kansas,Oklahoma,Nebraska,Ohio,Minnesota,Michigan,Tennessee,Kentucky, and Wisconsin. The company is headquartered outside of Des Moines.

With over 2,000 locations now, Casey’s started in 1959 in a rented gas station in Des Moines.

What’s unique about Casey’s is an in-house “deli” which offers cooked to order pizzas, sandwiches, breadsticks, wings, burgers and other sandwiches.

In my experience, and I’ve been in a LOT of Casey’s, you’d be hard pressed to find one that isn’t nearly antiseptically clean, and that includes the over-sized restrooms.

Food wise, while I can attest the pizzas are made to order, and subs as well, I’m not sure about the burgers and other hot sandwiches, they may be “heat and eat” from some secret Casey’s distribution center rather than scratch made in house.

I like the pizza. It’s a little “doughy” but the copious amount of cheese more than makes up for it. They sell it by the slice most hours of the day, a variety of toppings. They also have a breakfast pizza early in the day.

But today I grabbed their pre-made “Italian Sub,” out of the cooler, and I found the quality of the bread, meat and cheese to be superior to any of the sub chains and a better value as well.

I’d buy it again. Choose your own condiments from the massive selection on the counter.

Find out if you’re lucky enough to have a Casey’s near you with their locator: https://www.caseys.com/locations.

Casey’s General Stores Sandwich Review

Casey’s General Stores Sandwich Review

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage Review – Milwaukee, WI

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage ReviewToday I used some of their fresh Italian sausages for a home-made pizza. I only picked up two, of the “hot” not “sweet” variety, and they run about four ounces apiece at about a buck twenty per.

I have this quirk which there is no rhyme nor reason for. When I’m making a sausage pizza, I don’t buy bulk sausage, but links, strip off the casings and use hand-pulled pieces for my topping.

You don’t have to pre-cook it, but you can if you like. It cooks just fine on top of the pie in the regular baking cycle.

So I made my dough, laid on the sauce, some finely diced garlic and sliced cheeses (provolone and mozz – slices melt nicer than shreds, in my opinion).

Then I symmetrically laid out bits of sausage, a sprinkle of Italian herbs, and my personal “go-to” topping, diced green olives with pimentos.

Using fresh dough, it bakes up nicely at 500 for 10-12 minutes.

Glorioso’s hot sausage is a bit hot, it turns out. Most of the time when I select that type of sausage, “hot” means lots of fennel and Italian herbs. But this wasn’t objectional at all, had great flavor, proper about of fat and great texture.

I only bought two as I said.  I should have bought a couple dozen.

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage Review

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage Review

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage Review

 

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage Review

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage Review

Gloriosos Fresh Italian Sausage Review

Gloriosos Italian Market Review – Milwaukee, WI

Gloriosos Italian Market ReviewSeventy-year-old Glorioso’s in Milwaukee is one of several fine Italian deli/groceries the city has to offer.

If it’s even remotely Italian, Glorioso’s has it on the shelf, in the counter or in the cooler. It’s a wonderland for foodies and cooks alike.  Naturally, I stocked up.  Sausages. Cheese. A muffaletta sandwich. So let’s talk about that.  Purportely invented a zillion years ago by immigrants in New Orleans, the “muff” is traditionally a nine inch round loaf, bedazzled with sesame seeds, with two or three types of Italian cold cuts, cheese, and topped with “olive salad” – which is finely diced vegetables and olives in oil.

The result is a messy wonderland – most people can’t eat a whole one, and happily, Glorioso’s has “halves” in their counter.

I put away more than my share, living in New Orleans, and have written about several of them. Tourists like to go to the store that is supposedly the birthplace. I prefer a dive bar uptown.

Glorioso’s could easily pass in New Orleans.  I enjoyed it. If I knew how much I was going to like it, I’d have stocked up. Only “complaint?”  A little light on the olive salad.   (I bought a jar of their mix to bring home, as well).

Scored a fantastic dry salami, “Licini Cacciatore.”  I love when processed meats actually taste like the animal they came from, and this is soGloriosos Italian Market Reviewme great pork.  BTW, the name means (Cacciatore) “hunter”  and (Lincini) Bent or pointing upwards.  It’s a very hard salami, with a robust flavor.

Their beef/pork meatballs have a great flavor, run about a buck apiece, I brought home four to try. They have an awful lot of ingredients compared to the ones I make at home, which are just beef, pork, milk, bread, fennel, parsley, garlic and basil.  Glorioso’s balls are a very fine grind, good for the mass appeal market. My own balls have a rougher texture, chewier. My preference only.

Salads, olives, meats, cheese, entrees, they are all in the counter. You can order a sandwich or a plate, pasta, panini or pizza. (They have take and bakes also).  Their full menu is below.

Staff is personable and knowledgeable about the products.

Really worth a stop if you are passing through.  Really worth being on your regular shopping route if you live there. I will be back. Often.  (I had planned on writing more, but doing this made me hungry, have to go see what I have left from my trip!)

Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Half a Muffaletta Sandwich

 Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Glorioso Menu – Click to enlarge

Gloriosos Italian Market ReviewGloriosos Italian Market ReviewGloriosos Italian Market Review
Glorioso's Italian Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Chesters Chicken Review

Chesters Chicken ReviewChesters Chicken was originally  a licensed chicken concept that started in 1952 and has now evolved into a full franchise model offering. Located across the US and on two other continents, Chesters offers a “store in store” concept.

That is, you will find Chester’s Chicken counters in gas stations, c stores, food courts, and the like.

I see a lot of them in gas stations on the interstates.  They are usually well represented in the typical blue information signs on the highway, so you can be aware that there is one ahead.

I’ve never seen a free standing store, not sure if they do that.

They offered fried chicken in different styles: bone in, tenders, wings, boneless wings, sandwiches, wraps, with a whole host of sides including potatoes, vegetables and biscuits.

It seems the menu can vary slightly, so it would appear that headquarters doesn’t have a problem with that. I see some locations offering breakfast sandwiches, some locations have fried fish, usually catfish nuggets, but I have seen swai as well (which is a type of very mild Asian catfish). (Partial menu appears below).

The food is presented in well lit, clean counters, and as an ala carte, single piece, meal or snack size.  It’s all delicious, really, it’s a crispy mildly seasoned breading and I’ve never had a piece of chicken (or fish) that wasn’t cooked perfectly.

They haven’t penetrated the Upper Midwest, where I live, very well.  Hopefully that will change.

I drove around the south a few years ago and tried all manner of tenders from different joints. You can read about that here. Another similar concept is Dodge’s Chicken (not size comparable tho), and Krispy Krunchy, headquartered out of Louisiana is another comer.  Some cities have their own localized versions, catering to more regional tastes.  In New Orleans, look for “Brothers.”

Want your very own Chester’s? (I sure would). They have a real interesting, low fee/no royalty model.  Read about franchising on their website.

Chesters Chicken Review

Tenders and bone-in

Chesters Chicken Review

Choose your goodies

Chesters Chicken Review

Click to enlarge menu

Spartan Brothers Greek Grocery Review, Chicago, IL

Spartan Brothers Greek Grocery ReviewOne of the joys (for me) of living in Chicago (or any big city and I’ve lived in a raft of them!) is having access to a preponderance of ethnic supermarkets. Within 20 minutes of me, I can partake of markets dedicated to Italian food, Indian, Asian, Polish, Ukrainian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, and Greek.

It’s that last one that I visited most recently, Spartan Brothers Grocery, in the outer reaches of Chicago, but prior to the burbs.

They’ve been around for fifty years, and have a wide variety of Greek staples, canned and boxed good, as well as frozen entrees from large manufacturers and made in-house.

Through a back window in the shop, you can see hanging carcasses of goat and lambs, so they get busy here, making entrees and sausages, It’s sausages that I have come for.

I first ran into Loukaniko (there are apparently different spellings) sausage at a Greek fest in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles maybe thirty years ago.

It’s a lamb sausage that is mildly spiced, but an unusual feature is that it commonly has citrus zest as an ingredient, which makes it have a taste that I can only describe as “bright.” If you order it in a Greek restaurant (and Chicago has dozens and dozens), it’ll come on a platter with lemon slices usually, which further amplifies the citrus flavoring.

I like it a lot. Spartan Brothers sell theirs at around $4 a pound, the ones I bought were out of the freezer in a two-pound pack. They make them in-house.

A refrigerated deli counter has imported cheese, olives and other goodies.

Location, hours.

Spartan Brothers Greek Grocery Review

 

Spartan Brothers Greek Grocery Review

 

 

 

 

Spartan Brothers Greek Grocery Review
Spartan Brothers Greek Grocery Review

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Review

Jungle Jims Dry Salami ReviewWhen I did my post last week about my first visit to the magical food kingdom of Jungle Jims, I didn’t talk about specific products, wanting to give them their own space and time.

Like their packaged (house brand) dry salami. Now if you love salami of all types as much as I do, Jungle Jims is the place for you with dozens and dozens of varieties from producers all over the world.

I picked up this one as an afterthought, an impulse item, stock stuffer, what have you.  I’ve written so much about processed meats over the past ten years that I’ve committed to memory (mostly) an awful lot of the USDA plant numbers you will see on processed meats in the US.  And I recognized this one – Jungle Jims is no slouch in who they dole out their in-house product manufacturing to, this salami is made by Busseto in California, one quality operation (Link leads to their Facebook page, their website is a little wonky today).

You can’t find many salumis (the word means Italian cold cuts in general) purer than this product, which contains pork and salt and traces of flavors and cures. Nothing alarming at all. And the true measure of any processed meats for me these days, and you know this if you’ve read any of my posts, is DOES IT TASTE LIKE THE ANIMAL?  So many processed foods have been over processed as to not really resemble the original muscle meat anymore.

Not so with Jungle Jims. Bite after bite, it tastes like pork off the farm, before one even gets the sense of the seasoning.  And that’s important to me.

Their dry salami is very mild, great ‘bite’ (texture), and is great for snacking, or appetizers, even a sandwich, depending on how thin you slice it. I’m having some tonight as an accompaniment to fondue, both perfect for a chilly winter night.  Wish I’d picked up multiples.  Next time.

A pic of one of Busseto’s ultra-modern processing plants is below.

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Review

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Chub

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Review

Busseto’s California Processing Plant

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