Chicago has some really nice new butcher shops, but they lack the neighborhood atmosphere (and friendly prices) that a place like Joseph's Finest Meats in the northwest neighborhood of Dunning brings. As soon as you step inside and grab your ticket, you're greeted with a hello. The sweet sound of saw blades in use is the only music.
Dunning, North Side
I was recently invited out to Eli's Cheesecake World in Chicago's Dunning neighborhood by Eli's son, Marc Schulman, who has been president of the company since 1984. After spending some time with him and executive pastry chef Laurel Boger in the factory/store, I walked away truly impressed by the company's history of innovation as well as their dedication to quality ingredients.
Overly sweet ricotta filling, mushy chocolate chips, soggy casing. These are just some of the common offenses that plague this sweet treat. But five Chicago bakeries are doing the Don proud, serving up cannoli that stays true to Sicilian standards.
The fried panzerotti at Caponie's is quite good, but homemade deep fried pockets of cheese, sausage and sauce pretty much always are. Unfortunately, the pizza itself is not worth the hike to the western edge of Chicago.