Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago Review

Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago Review

In this neighborhood that I have written about before, with great businesses like The Original Nottoli & Son, Italian-centric merchants flourish.

One is the Sicilia Bakery, which sells all kinds of delicious goodies as you’ve never imagined, creative takes on the traditional Italian cannoli, plus cookies, Italian ices, coffee, a multitude of breads, and sandwiches. My friend went for the sweet treats, I went because they sell my favorite sandwich in the whole world, the traditional muffaletta New Orleans style.

Perched on about a nine-inch round loaf of bread, several types of Italian cold cuts meat cheese and a blanket of “olive salad” finely diced olives and pickled vegetables. The proper sandwich is then doused with olive oil, and one is advised to let it sit for about ten minutes to let the oil soak into the bread.

And oh yeah, slices of pizza, which I actually FORGOT to try!

I’ve written a lot about the muffaletta from different joints around the country. I encourage you to read every single one of the reviews!

Sicilia’s muffaletta was great, best I have had outside of New Orleans, only  one small gripe, their olive salad should be a bit saltier and less vinegar-y.

What little I got to taste of the cannoli were truly superb.  I risked losing a finger or two if I went in to aggressively.  The local program “Chicago’s Best” however, took a better look at them.

Check out the short video.

Sicilia Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago Review
Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago 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

Home Cookin’ – Uncle Giuseppe’s Sausage & Pasta

Uncle Giuseppe's Two sidebars before getting to the meat of the matter:  I like Italian sausage (or ground beef) tomato sauce and pasta.   When I lived in Hong Kong, and I’d only get back to my apartment once a week or less, I’d make big batches and freeze in “me size” containers.   There’d always be something to eat when I rolled off a plane.

Second:  Mrs. Burgerdogboy makes some of the best home cooked Italian food in all the land.   So on the occasions we have these ‘heat and eat’ meals, they have a tough haul ahead of them to reach any level of decency.

We picked this product up at Grocery Outlet, which we’ve been hitting lately for two reasons:  inexpensive wine, and Harris Ranch ground beef.  The former for the Mrs., the latter for Burgerdogboy.

This was pretty inexpensive, compared to say – Stouffer’s or Marie Callendars.  So we thought we’ d try it.

A quick search of the interwebs shows this product is made under the auspices of Michael Angelo’s of Austin, TX, a large manufacturer of frozen entrees and sides.

50-60 minutes in a conventional oven (you know I always use one, even if nuking is permitted), and out comes the dish, looking not too appetizing straight from the fire.

Uncle Giuseppe's

 

But stir it up, and it doesn’t look so bad, plus you’ll love the ingredient list: tomato sauce, sausage, and pasta. Period.   Voila!

Uncle Giuseppe's

How was it?  Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I were both surprised.  There was plenty of flavor, and the texture was fine.  In either the sauce or the sausage, there was a hint of fennel, which I always appreciate.

Would I buy it again?  Yep.