I don't know about you folks, but I'm going to start my weekend early and in culinary heaven with a trip to Chicago. My friend Jason emailed me a couple weeks ago about making a sausage run and now our plans are coming to fruition. Initially, the idea was to just hit Andy's Deli
and stock up on all manner of Polish sausage. However, our plans have expanded. Neither of us are tied to a schedule to we're going to hit a few more places as well as spend a lot more money.
The plan is to start in the Jefferson Park neighborhood which is where Andy's is located. The area is Chicago Polonia so, in addition to Andy's, we'll probably also hit Ideal Pastry, the produce joint just north of there as well as the bakery next door to the produce store. If you've ever shopped at Alex Polish-American Deli here in Madison, then you've tasted some of the treats at these places. Alex's bread comes from Ideal while their sauage (if not all of their meats) come from Andy's. I cannot remember the produce joint's name but they carry quinces year-round and it's the only place I've ever seen raw olives for sale.
Once we're done in Polonia, the next stop will probably be Devon Avenue. Devon is known for its large Indian/Pakistani populations and their attendant stores & restaurants. A stop at Ambala
is required so I can feed my addiction to Pista Barfi
, and the rest of the delectables there. The owner is very friendly and knows that I'm the guy who comes down from Wisconsin for his sweets. Considering the size of Madison, I think we have a fair number of Indian restaurants & stores but the 2700 block of West Devon probably has more Indian folks than all of Dane County. This means a much greater variety of shops, stores, and restaurants. It also means that a restaurant on Devon is the only one I've ever eaten at that makes Vindaloo how it should be - hot! I had a vindaloo at a restaurant there that made me cry it was so spicy. Now, THAT's livin'! No matter how I plead at Maharaja and the other Indian joints here in Madison, I always get a weak-tit vindaloo. Tasty? Most definitely. But spicy hot they ain't.
Moving west down Devon from Little India is an area full of Eastern European goodness. My buddy Charles wants me to bring him some pelmeni and I am keen on stopping at the only Georgian bakery in the country - Argo Georgain Bakery. They have these hachepuri which is a kind of cheese bread. From the descriptions I've read, they sound like these pockets of puff pastry dough filled with feta cheese and other delights and I am dying to try one. Other stops in this neck of the woods could be Globus and Three Sisters Delicatessen & Gift Shop. Don't know much about them other than they have Eastern European/Russian goodies. Oh, and Jason wants to find Russian vodka too.
Depending on time, I think we're going to hit some Korean stores just south of Devon on Montrose in the Albany Park area. To round things out, I want to stop at Serrelli's Grocery
to get some of their Italian beef. My brother swears by Jay's but I'm a Serrelli's man. I think their gravy is better-seasoned and Jay's is a bit on the salty side. I grant you, there's a Jay's on Narragansett which is pretty close to the Kennedy, but why fuck around when you're driving 130 miles?
We'll be bringing at least 4 coolers along. Just one email from Jason and my iPass will be set up. I'm trying to fit into the itinerary a swing by the Swedish Bakery
. Not only do they have great bread and cookies, but the last time I was there, they had a great selection of mommies out shopping. Hispanic, Middle Eastern, black, white, Asian American - they were all there looking fine. Ooh! I also wanna hit New York Bagel & Bialy on Touhy. I definitely want to get pictures so I've gotta get my camera batteries charged. What would the trip be without photos of the gorgeous Polish women that work at Andy's? And the dark-skinned beauties in Little India? And...