Sometimes you find places by chance. And on a random trip to the veterinarian a few months back, while two lovebirds shrieked in my ears, I spotted a large sign on Dempster that directed my attention to a retro brick building with large glass windows and a tiny parking lot. Now a tiny lot is one of the tell-tale signs of a great joint. If a patron is willing to maneuver their shiny new Mercedes into a precarious position next to a beat up chevy and my aging Honda Civic with nothing more than inches to spare, you know the stuff here has got to be good.
Kaufman’s Jewish Deli
It’s a local spot right off Dempster, if you miss the entrance, you’ll have to circle around and make another go at it. Upon entering you are greeted with day old bake goods at ridiculously low prices. As you near the register you can eye-up their bagel selection and then check out the bakery display cases, that are filled with everything from ruggalach to coffee cake. And as if that wasn’t enough, head left into the deli where you grab a number and peruse the specialty items while you wait to be called by the friendly staff. Kaufman’s serves a diverse population, some patrons are from the community and have been going to Kaufman’s since they were children. Others like me randomly stopped by and now find themselves returning from the city to satisfy their hunger. If you’re lucky you can grab one of the four seats overlooking the parking lot. If not, be prepared to take your food to go.
You know, I don’t even know where to begin. They have a variety of breads, bagels, cakes, cookies, sweets and rolls. There is such a variety of goods from the bakery, I like to try something new each time. A few of my favorites are the: cinnamon twist… sweet and doughy, the cream cheese danish… rich and so fresh, and the Irish Soda Bread… its seasonal, and quite possibly the best I have ever had. If you want their amazing chive cream cheese with your bagel, you’ll have to head to the deli. If you’re not into sweets or bread, the deli has pretty much anything else you might need. I nearly died when I found out I could have all the fat trimmed off my corned beef. They have 4 different cuts of corned beef and you can request it hot or cold! They have a variety of specialty sandwiches to choose from, but my favorite is a take on the reuben, super-trim corned beef, swiss cheese and fresh cabbage slaw on rye. If you’re concerned that your heaping sandwich won’t be enough to conquer your hunger… add a knish, Matzah Ball Soup, or some potato pancakes.
I may not be a New-Yorker, but I am a fan of this Chicago Jewish Deli and its incredible bakery. It’s refreshing to see a responsible family run establishment from the 1950’s that still prides themselves on quality products and producing items in house.
Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessen | 4905 W Dempster | Skokie IL 60077 | 847.677.6190 |
I don’t know what it is about airports, but shortly after throwing all my valuables in a bin and shimmying through a metal detector my stomach starts to grumble and I suddenly realize I’m starving. For some reason a day of travel also includes ravenous hunger. Thankfully, travelers at O’Hare will have more options to fill their hollow bellies with before take off.
Who: Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation, Manolis D. Alpogianis, Owner of America’s Dog and Elie W. Maalouf, President & CEO, HMS Host/Wicker Park Sushi and Seafood Bar guided by sushi chef Susumu Shibata.
What: America’s Dog, a hotdog stand providing regional hotdog and sausage preparations (i.e. Chicago Dog, Maxwell Street Polish, Milwaukee Dog, Atlanta Dog or Santa Fe Dog, and more) and Wicker Park Seafood and Sushi, a chic spot to sip some sake while trying some sushi that reflects Chicago’s cultural diversity.
Where: O’Hare International AirPort
Terminal 1, C Concourse: America’s Dog
Terminal 2: Wicker Park Seafood and Sushi Bar
When: Oh… its open now for all you holiday travelers!
Why Stop By: Because business kept you so busy you’re about to leave Chi without tasting a Chicago-style hot dog… or maybe because you’re heading to Cleveland… but you really wish you were flying to Japan!
Japchae- Sweet Potato Noodle
At 5:40pm, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, I couldn’t help but ask myself why anyone in their right mind would leave the city for dinner? As I shook my fist at the cars on the road ahead of me, G finally managed to get onto the free way and off we went to Woo Lae Oak restaurant in Rolling Meadows to learn more about the Korean Cuisine Globalization Project, a tasting event hosted by the Consulate General of South Korea in Chicago. Apparently, some 0f the premier Korean restaurants in the area reside in the suburbs to serve the large Korean population that lives outside the city. It’s here that we had a chance to taste the beautiful plates presented to us by their new chef, Tae Jin Park, and learn about the many health benefits provided by Korean cuisine.
Our tasting started with a sweet pumpkin porridge, and progressed into marinated beef short rib wrapped in daikon, a stir fried noodle dish called Japchae, and Gujeolpan, a dish that originated in the 14th century consisting of a thin wheat cakes that you fill with thinly sliced vegetables, beef and abalone and dip in a spicy sauce. As we were beginning to fill up, plates of Dukbokki, Bulgogi and an amazing spicy mushroom soup, that was indeed quite spicy, arrived at our table. My husband attempted to fight off the spice but I could already see beads of sweat forming above his brow as he sipped more and more of the flavorful broth. We completed our meal with a dessert, a thick, sweet, cinnamon tea that is considered to aid in digestion.
This was quite possibly the most elegant Korean dining experience we have had in Chicago and it exposed a more sophisticated way of presenting dishes than we are accustomed to in our usual Korean spots. I’m excited to see what the new chef will bring to Woo Lae Oak’s menu and maybe, just maybe… I’ll be making a trip out to the suburbs more often. The Korean Cuisine Globalization Project is a brilliant idea to bring people together and educate them about a cuisine and culture that deserves more recognition.
Had it not been for two very special patients of mine in Wisconsin, I may have never known that this wonderful market existed. It’s located in Arlington Heights and worth the short drive from the city. It has large selection of Japanese groceries, fruits, veggies, waygu beef and and most importantly sushi grade fish, and that’s just half of it! The rest of the market consists of about 15 vendors including multiple restaurants, a book store and my favorite pastry shop.
The restaurants are situated like a food court in the mall, but with a lot more people in little less space. Week-end lunches can be busy. So come prepared to search out your vendor, identify food item, execute purchase, grab your order number, and glance toward your potential table. Since the week-end is busy we tend to divide and conquer. My fiance does the ordering and I turn scout to stake our claim. I identify the slowing movement of chop-sticks, the swift napkin to the face, and the eye flicker towards the garbage before I grab my table. I have also seen the hover and strike technique successfully executed. Oh and the udon noodle bowls are good, but make sure you save room for dessert. Pastry House Hippo has one of my favorite things at Mitsuwa. Sweet coffee bread. And if you are not a fan of coffee try one of the other eclectic pastries or other bread selections.
On our past trip we had a mission. Goal: Donburi. So we carefully selected our fish. Salmon and Kampachi. I grabbed some wasabi tobiko too. Easy enough, but then we were seduced into the aisles where I snatched up some sweet dried crabs, seaweed, and sweet sesame candies. Unnecessary? Yes. But far too intriguing to pass by. Near the fresh produce we spotted some fresh wasabi and the vendor persuaded me to try some prepared dried fishes. Then home to create our dish.
Salmon Don Buri Bowl
My bowl consisted of some fresh grated wasabi, salmon, one part dried seaweed, one part fresh seasoned seaweed to the left and some small prepared dried fish to the right. Oh and sushi rice! I added some additional wasabi tobiko and a splash of soy sauce and suddenly achieved the elusive fifth flavor… Umami… Well… not quite. I think it may have just been MSG.