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Must Visit Markets/Shops

Have a foodie friend coming into town this weekend. Any suggestions on open markets or shops that we should not miss? TIA for the information.

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  1. Where (what part of the city) will you be spending time, and what specific kinds of markets and shops are you interested in?

    If you're downtown, the French Market is worth a stop. I like it because some of its shops - Vanille Patisserie for pastry, Pastoral for cheese and sandwiches, Canady le Chocolatier for artisanal chocolates - are among the best of their kind in the city. Make sure you check the directions on their website because it's not easy to find, hidden away in one of the commuter train stations. www.frenchmarketchicago.com

    Fox & Obel is also in the downtown area. It's our premier gourmet market, with the best of everything - prepared foods, meats, fish, etc. The bakery counter is superb and was recently named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the ten best bread bakeries in the country. www.fox-obel.com

    Those two are both great places because they are not overly specialized. Beyond that, it just depends on your preferences - meat markets, fishmongers, pastry shops, chocolatiers, ethnic markets, produce markets, etc. - most of which are spread out all over the city and suburbs. If there's a specific type of market and/or a specific neighborhood you're interested in, just ask!

    1. The city's most high profile farmer's market, Green City Market, is up and running now. It runs every Wednesday and Saturday, 7am-1pm. Lots of produce, cheese, artisinal sauces/condiments/etc but a little limited when it comes to ready-to-eat food. There's a new tamale station as well as a crepe station that's very good and has been there for years.

      The market is held in the southern tip of Lincoln Park (meaning the actual park). Parking can be a pain, but CTA can get you there pretty easily.

      Green City Market
      1750 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

      1. Our ethnic neighborhoods make for interesting food shopping. Examples: 1) Indian/Pakistani, Devon Avenue running west from Western for about six blocks. 2) Middle Eastern, North Clark running north from Foster to Bryn Mawr---which also has a Swedish bakery and Swedish deli. 3) Vietnamese and other Asian, North Broadway around Argyle and Argyle running east to North Sheridan.4) Russian and Jewish, Devon just west of the Indian/Pakistani area. And of course all of these have restaurants of the same ethnicity so you can have lunch and then browse.

        1. When I have guests, I always take them to Green City Market on Saturday morning for crepes and a a browse (and buying goodies to munch together all afternoon) and then to Spice House which is just a few blocks away. We usually also stop at Old Town Oil to sample the balsamics. Always a hit for a stroll and some goodies to take home as tasty Chicago souvenirs.

          Green City Market
          1750 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

          Spice House
          1512 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610

          Old Town Oil
          1520 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610

          1. Butcher & Larder or Paulina Meat Market

            1 Reply
            1. re: jhojati

              Are you going to be able to either cook while here, or take meats etc home with you? Otherwise, seeing our meat markets may not be all that exciting, compared with foods you can eat here without access to a kitchen, or foods that will keep long enough to travel home with them.

            2. I live an hour's drive or so away from Chicago, but I only go there maybe twice a year and don't really know the skinny on special markets. I do know I'll go in August for a few days, so can I piggy-back on the OP's query and ask:

              --Is there a source in Chicago for Caputo 00 bread flour, for pizza making?

              --What about a place to buy a high-BTU outdoor propane wok burner?


              8 Replies
              1. re: Bada Bing


                Coincidentally there is a great Italian market on the western edge of Chicago thats called Caputos that might have the flour you are looking for.


                Bring a cooler, you are probably going to load up on meats and cheeses.

                1. re: cajundave

                  Thanks. I noted that place when I first Googled my query. Looks great. Apparently there are numerous outlets, but as often seems to happen, they're all west and north of center. Not so convenient from my Indiana direction, but I'll have a look when I can get there.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    You got me thinking about making pizza. Is that the best flour for making pizza? I am going there tomorrow and I will pick some up. What type of yeast do you recommend? I am a rookie at pizza making. Do you ever make pizza on the grill?


                    1. re: cajundave

                      Well, my total answer has to be a bit long, but my short answer is: don't worry about getting this specific flour if you are just starting. It might actually perform worse than a common bread flour.

                      Long answer: I've made pizza for years, but never with Caputo flour. Now after I learned some more since my query, I gather that you shouldn't get Caputo and have high expectations if you have average home equipment. That said, if you live right nearby a Caputo flour source, it cannot hurt to give it a try.

                      From what I have gathered, you'll do better making pizza by using a baking stone and something like King Arthur AP flour or bread flour (somewhat higher protein than AP), unless you have some kind of oven that tops 800 degrees all around (and who does?). Caputo flour doughs tend to remain rather blond at temps that normal people can muster.

                      I suggest you start with a basic pizza dough recipe, a baking stone, a peel, and your oven cranked as high as you can get it. As long as you have a well-preheated stone, you can make awesome pizza with any reputable bread flour. I've been happy with that for years, and am only now wondering what it might take to get something close to a Naples-style pizza.

                      More detail, in case anyone cares: we know that a charcoal grill can deliver heat from below at 800 degrees. But the one time I tried that, I scorched the bottom crust before the top was done. All grills, even the vaunted Big Green Egg, release too much heat from the top when you open the lid, and temps go out of balance.

                      Caputo flour (so the experts tend to say) is meant for domed-oven set-ups, usually made of brick, and wood-fired. I'm currently thinking about modifying a Weber kettle to that end (creating a permanent cement dome with an opening on the side), which is why I'm fresh on all the web-forums and discussion. There's a site called pizzamaking.com where people discuss this and much else. I remain astounded by the devotion and technical expertise of those folks.

                      Finally, I use SAF instant yeast, but people can make do with all kinds.

                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        Thanks for the comprehensive reply, I appreciate it. I think I can get above 600 degrees with my Big Steel Keg (steel version of the BGE). I have a cast iron diffuser that may prevent the uneven cooking problem. Plus I'll be cooking on a pizza stone, not sure yet if that is better than cooking directly on the grate.

                        I think I'll just buy some of the caputo flour and try it out.

                        Do you recommend fresh mozzarella or the packaged kind?


                        1. re: cajundave

                          If you have a Kamado-style grill and a stone to fit, you might do great. I wish I could try that! Take special care not to release any more heat than necessary when you open the grill to put in the pizza. Maybe even have someone else hold the lid up just enough for you to slide in the pizza? The balance of high air temp above and high stone temp below is apparently key.

                          1. re: Bada Bing

                            Good advice, thanks.

                            My Maverick thermometer is only good to 716 degrees. I might need something that goes higher.

                2. re: Bada Bing

                  Angelo Caputo's Fresh Markets store at Grand and Harlem had three brands of 00 flour in one kilogram bags priced from 1.99 to 2.59 when I was there Wednesday afternoon. One was the Caputo brand. Based on what I have observed with farro and both arborio and carnaroli rice, the specific brands can be variable. Link to their site is provided by cajundave below. This store is on the Elmwood Park side of Harlem, just across from Chicago and might be worth the drive out Grand Avenue.

                  There are three small chains in the Chicago area with Caputo in the name: Angelo Caputo's, Caputo Cheese Market (Melrose Park and Lake Forest) and Joe Caputo and Sons Fruit Market (3 in northwest suburbs). These are independent companies. None are connected to Caputo flour other than possibly stocking it.

                  Caputo Cheese Market has stocked 00 flour at times in the past but apparently not consistently.

                  Close to downtown is J. P. Graziano Grocery Company in Randolph Market stretch. They are an old wholesaler that also sells retail and over the web. Their web site shows 00 flour at 5.49 for a kilogram: https://jpgraziano.com/grocery/Flour/...

                  Caputo Cheese Market

                  J. P. Graziano Grocery Company
                  901-905 West Randolph Street
                  Chicago, IL 60607