With four locations speckled across Chicagoland, The Goddess and Grocer pairs the menu of a gourmet deli with the packed shelves of a specialty grocery store. Muffins, scones, and croissants are baked in-house, wafting the scents of melting butter and sugar over a sandwich counter reminiscent of a giant artist’s palette. There, custom sandwiches take shape from 11 breads and wraps, 7 deli meats, 9 cheeses, 12 vegetables, and an assortment of condiments that covers everything from cranberry-tinged mayonnaise to horseradish sauce. A few fixed staples are on hand to simplify decisions, however, including an egg-salad sandwich that Chicago magazine placed on its list of the 50 Best Sandwiches in Chicago, praising it as "a testament to the sheer power of simplicity."
The Goddess and Grocer also assembles bag lunches as well as picnic hampers for patrons looking to enjoy a bite by the lake or to bait a Yogi Bear. To round out these meals, the staff can include high-end, specialty items from the grocery section, including handmade chocolates, artisanal cheeses, mustards and dressings, and wine and beer. Alternatively, they can cater gourmet breakfast, lunch, or dinner for large gatherings and celebrations.
Established since 1949, Bill and Laurie Begale purchased Paulina Meat Market in 2006. As a family, Bill, his wife, and three children continue to operate it as a traditional meat market with German specialities.
In addition to old world sausages, staff have started experimenting with exotic meats and complementary deli items. They now serve sausages stuffed with fillings such as apples and pork, jalapeño and pepper jack cheese, and even a goat bratwurst, all of which can be paired with specialty condiments and fine cheeses.
Paulina Meat Market has broadened the range of the meat counter to include unique cuts of beef, including Flat Iron and Hanger steaks, along with an option for grass-fed beef, Bill Kurtis’s Tallgrass Beef. Knowing that not everyone likes to cook or admit they use their oven for a dragon-hatching operation, the staff have also created a line of ready-to-eat entrees such as their famous chicken pot pies and corned beef hash. All the meat is locally sourced throughout within the Midwest, with the exception of the lamb, which comes from Colorado.
Made possible by FamilyFarmed.org, an organization that forges bonds between locally grown food and the people who grow, sell, and eat it, the Good Food Festival & Conference lets Chicagoans participate in the locally driven Good Food movement. Coming from all over the Midwest, 150 farmers and artisans display their healthily unprocessed bounties while debunking widespread myths that the freshest fruit grows in cans, and chef demos from Frontera Grill?s Rick Bayless, Perennial Virant?s Paul Virant, and Nightwood?s Jason Vincent celebrate the spectacle of cooking. Young chefs can exercise creative muscles and artsy tendons at the children?s corner, which features face painting, a scavenger hunt, and an arts and crafts session. Scheduled workshops, such as Growing a Community Garden or Brew Your Own Kombucha and Sodas, teach casual eaters about their deep-seated connections to the things they chew (additional workshop fees apply).
A vintage, barrel-shaped neon sign shimmers against the rough brick exterior of The Fish Keg, where the Hansen family draws on 50 years of experience to hand-bread shrimp, fish, and chicken and concoct made-from-scratch tartar and cocktail sauces. Shipments of seafood fly in daily from around globe to star in the rotating menu, which changes according to the availability of quirky fishing-boat names. Orange roughy arrives from New Zealand, and shrimp bursts in from the Gulf of Mexico to don cloaks of spicy batter and splash into the golden depths of a deep fryer.
Spices, mixes, and goods from Zatarain's crowd colorful shelves, begging to bring their piquant fragrances to home kitchens. The Hansen family's happy chatter wafts into the dining room as they craft custom party platters that fuel shindigs and offer tailored maritime experiences without the embarrassment of an overly snug lobster costume.
When Debbi Fields opened the first Mrs. Fields in 1977, it wasn?t all sunshine and cookies. Between her lack of business experience and the unorthodox business model?selling only cookies?not many people believed in her. More than 30 years and a global franchise later, it?s safe to say the doubters are eating their words, at least when they're not busy stuffing their faces with one of Debbi's signature semisweet chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin and walnut cookies.
The wild popularity of Mrs. Fields's cookies can be attributed to the richness of their basic ingredients: real butter, whole eggs, and special blends of chocolate. Classic flavors include chewy fudge, peanut butter, and white chocolate macadamia, and seasonal flavors complement the lineup throughout the year. Select varieties can also be made into cookie cakes of various sizes and shapes that add a delicious twist to any celebration or milk-truck spill.
Though it may be hard to believe, Chicago hasn’t always been a sausage kind of town. When a group of European immigrants found their way to the city’s west side in 1925, they noticed a profound lack of the traditional sausages they were accustomed to. So they decided to band together and make sausages themselves, and thus Crawford Sausage Co. was born.
Today, the shop still churns out bratwursts, smoked meats, and cuts of sandwich meat, selling savory, precooked sausages onsite and throughout the country under the name Daisy Brand Meat Products. The specialty is prasky, a sausage made from lean pork and beef blended with garlic and a secret mix of spices. Crawford Sausage’s range of flavorings and meats makes it the perfect pit stop before hosting a big barbecue or barricading your house against marauding gangs of herbivores.