Posts Tagged ‘Ethnic Grocery’
One of the thing that delights me about living in a larger city is having a wide variety of ethnic grocers, and Chicago has some great ones. We have Asian grocers, Indian, Eastern European, Greek, Polish, Italian, and I love them all.
Chicago is big on Polish restaurants and markets as the population of Poles here is nearly 200,000, and Polish is the 3rd most spoken language in the city.
There’s a particular stretch of one road, both in and out of the city, that has attracted a proliferation of Polish-centric businesses, and that’s Milwaukee Avenue. Chicago often claims to be the largest Polish city outside of Poland, with the number of persons of Polish descent topping a million.
Along the ‘suburban’ stretch, mostly in Niles, IL, there are a multitude of markets and restaurants; one restaurant I have enjoyed in the past up that way is the White Eagle. You can order meals family style, copious quantities, inexpensive and fun.
But this day, I was in search of sausage, and my first of several stops was at Schmeissers Sausage at 7649 N. Milwaukee Ave. They take great pride in the number of products they make in house, and the quality and care with which they are made is readily apparent. There is also a small selection of grocery items, including other products made on site, like noodles and spaetzel.
Schmeissers Sausage has a freezer full of heat and eat meals made on site, and they average about $5 a pound, which is very fair, in my opinion. I’m impressed they’d go to the effort for a seemingly small scale.
I picked up the sauerbraten (“sour roast”) along with a package of dried spaetzle (egg noodles). Sauerbraten is really a national dish of Germany (which abuts Poland, or course), and is beef that is marinaded in a mixture of vinegar or wine, water, herbs, spices, and seasonings for a number of days prior to roasting. The recipes for the marinade and even the type of meat used can vary by region.
The roast is usually served with boiled potatoes, cabbage, or noodles. The package is hard frozen and calls for 9 minutes or so in the microwave, but I generally pop these kind of things in the oven and do them low and slow. Which is what I did here. Noodles are boiled in salted water for about 20 minutes, depending on your preference of ‘doneness.’
The result of the marinade is a very flavorful and juicy roast, the process might have originally been developed to use less expensive (tougher) pieces of meat. Many cultures have similar preparations, albeit with different flavors.
End result. This was great. As good as I have had in any local German restaurant. I’d buy it again and try some of their other heat and eats. Later in the week I’ll write about some of the other stops this trip.
Schmeissers Sausage Review
I’ve been on a tear lately, chasing down “ethnic” markets to explore new tastes and ingredients. I’m happy with my finds for Indian, Asian, and Eastern European, and this weekend, I stumbled on an amazing Italian market, Nottoli, which has imported canned and boxed groceries, an outstanding meat counter, and created in-house fresh and frozen prepared foods.
They also make sandwiches and single serving size entrees to take out. Often when you (or at least I) run into a shop like this, the prices are a little spendy, which I understand, lower volume, the need to make a profit. Not so at Nottoli – while I was impressed with the selection and quality of their products, most of their offerings are an extremely good value, and I picked up a number of Italian meats at considerably less per pound than any of the groceries in my neighborhood.
They sell prepared pasta dishes, meatballs, and sauces.Their red gravy (spaghetti sauce) is outstanding.If I make it at home, it’s a three day project, and mine can’t compete with Nottolis. I’ll buy and freeze in quantity from here on out.
I picked up a few pounds of different dry salamis, the hot Soppresata is fantastic. I also picked up some fresh “hot” Italian sausage, heavy on the fennel, and it’s outstanding as well.What I like most of all about traditionally cured meats, is they actually taste like the animal they came from, they haven’t been beat to hell by curing agents so that the true meat flavor has nearly vanished. Grabbed some tasty meatballs in sauce, too, they didn’t make it home!
If you’re looking for Italian specialties in Chicago, you can rely on Nottoli for quality product at good prices.These prices are about 1/3 of that monster “WalMart sized” Eataly downtown. They have a catering business as well, offering hot and cold trays.The take out and catering menu is posted below.
The deli is open 7 days at 8:30 AM and is just south of I-90 at 5025 North Harlem Avenue.It’s walking distance from the Blue Line Harlem Station, too!
Nottoli Italian Market Review