I just got back from Spain and am now in search of some of the foods that I sampled there. Does anyone know where to find Spanish foodstuffs in Chicago? In particular, I would love to find some good dry chorizo, jamon iberico, requeson, sidra (awesome dry hard cider made in Basque country), and txakoli (the young white wine drunk by the Basques).
Also are there Spanish or Catalonian restaurants worth visiting in the Chicago area? I've been to Cafe Iberico and Arco de Cuchilleros, but I would love to find some more.
Pastoral (Broadway in Lakeview) has started to get the first offerings of the real Spanish black-footed pigs that will just now be coming to the states. The hams are still drying in Spain, so there is no true Jamon Iberico de Bolleta yet. Pastoral has some chorizos and the lomo (cured tenderloin) The stuff's not cheap. The lomo is $99/lb, and I would expect the Jamons to be more when they become available.
I went to Haro for tapas last night and I highly recommend it. I was in Madrid for two weeks this summer and Haro seems pretty authentic and very delicious. The morcilla at Haro was similar to chorizo--very different than what I had in Madrid. This might have been because of the Basque bent of this restaurant.
Espárragos de Navarra (White asparagus on bread)
Boquerones del país Vasco (anchovies and red pepper on bread)
Patatas Bravas (potatoes in a tangy tomato sauce)
Morcilla (blood sausage)
Vieiras con Jamón Serrano (scallops wrapped in serrano ham)
My favorite was the anchovies.
2436 S. Oakley St.
Emilio's Tapas, Lincoln and Clark, is very good. Cafe Iberico has up a few stairs from their large new dining room a deli, called, aptly enough Deliberico. There they have some of the best prices on Spanish staples you can find in Chicago. You can also purchase from their deli ham, sausage, olives, and prepared foods to go. They have a pretty good range of sausages. Marcey St. Market, the food section of Sam's Wines and Liquors, has a good selection of Spanish cheeses, as well as real jamon iberico. Whole Foods on North Ave., if you can stand to go, has also a good selection of Spanish cheeses, including things sometimes difficult to find like Torta de Casar. Buy at your own risk and educate yourself before you go, they sometimes don't know what they're doing and will cut into cheeses that need ripening, thus preventing them forever from ripening.
Some of the better supermercados carry Valencia rice, also real spanish chorizos (the smaller, sausage kind, not the dry salami kind) packed in lard, which are good for stews, paellas, etc. The lard is good for cooking. Whole Foods also carries beans in jars canned in Spain, also tomatoes and tomato sauce. They are pricey but there is a difference.
I will check with my husband, the wine guy, about Txacoli and Sidra. They may have sidra at Deliberico.