The Future Home of ETW

It has been a pretty crazy summer, and we think it’s about time we shared why we are even busier than usual – we are moving to Cleveland in a few weeks! It is a bittersweet move, Chicago has been our home for the past 9 years, but we are excited to try out a new, exciting food scene. We are already fans of the West Side market and Mitchell’s ice cream! Chances are we will be back in Chicago fairly frequently, too, so we will be trying to keep up with the food scene that was our home for so many years.

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Along with our new food adventures in Cleveland we will continue to keep you appraised of our intra and intercontinental excursions. While we get settled in our new surroundings we will be taking a little hiatus, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be diving right into the Cleveland food scene. Do you have any recommendations for us in our future home?

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Kunefe, Baklava and other Turkish treats for the end of Ramadan

turkeyThe end of Ramadan is right around the corner, which means it is time for Eid-Al Fitr feasts! Every country has it fair share of festive foods, and Turkey pulls out all the stops when it comes to desserts for holidays. Ozlem’s Turkish Table has a variety of delicious Turkish desserts that would be perfect at any Eid Al-Fitr (known as Ramazan Bayramı in Turkey) celebration, including the well-known baklava as well as lesser-known but still delicious treats like Kunefe and Revani.

Ozlem's Baklava

Ozlem’s Baklava

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Photo Tour of Borough Market in London


Borough

englandThere is nothing we love more than a good market, and London has them in spades. Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest markets in London, and the current iconic glass and metal structure was originally built in 1851, and after additions over the years it was refurbished at the beginning of the 21st century into its current form. Though it was originally a wholesale market, Borough Market today is a mishmash of food stalls selling everything from fresh fruit to meat pies to olive oil to tapas under one roof. Though we are always fans of food from all over the world, it was especially great to see all of the local British foodstuffs available for sale, especially the cheeses. We pieced together a light meal (very reasonably priced for London) from various stalls, after wandering around and taking in all the sights and smells.

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How to Cook Like Toulouse-Lautrec

franceIn honor of Bastille Day, here is a fascinating French cookbook to explore, “The Art of Cuisine” by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (yes, the artist)! This is in fact a compendium of his recipes, published after his death, along with sketches and other notes. An avowed denizen of Parisian nightlife, Toulouse-Lautrec was also something of a gourmand. In his cookbook you will find recipes for such exotic fare as “baked kangaroo” (containing no kangaroo) and more simple recipes typical of his native Southern France.the-art-of-cuisine

 

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Fogo’s Peri Peri: Portuguese Chicken in Chicagoland

portugalWhen we heard that there was a Peri Peri chicken place in Skokie we were pleasantly surprised. Peri Peri is a Portuguese/African dish of spicy peri-peri pepper marinated chicken, popularized in the US and throughout the world by the South African Nando’s chain. We had tried Peri Peri chicken before, but only at Nando’s, which coincidentally now has 2 locations open in Chicago (when Fogo opened there were no Nando’s in the area).

PeriPeri Fogo’s seemed to be set up in a similar mold to Nando’s. Like Nando’s you can order the type of chicken pieces you want (breast, thigh, etc.), and then select the sauce, ranging from a mild lemon to super spicy. Fogo’s boasts that all of their chicken is marinated for 24 hours. We thought the chicken was slightly more reasonably priced than Nando’s, and you can get a quarter chicken for less than $5. Other options include chicken wings and chicken strips, and a surprisingly large vegetarian section with many wraps and sandwiches filled with paneer (an Indian curd cheese). There were also some unusual sides, like yucca fries and corn on the cob. Customarily L ordered a quarter chicken with medium heat, and M ordered spicy (is there any other way?)PeriPeriYuca

There had been some previous complaints about slow service, but we thought it took only a little longer than a typical counter service place for the chicken to be grilled-to-order. This chicken was flavorful and well-spiced, and we appreciated the nice char from the grill. M was also happy that the spicy was actually pretty spicy! The sides were not as successful, so we suggest getting your fill of the finger-licking good chicken. We are happy to have another option for Portuguese chicken in the Chicagoland area. Nando’s fans will be happy to know that Fogo’s is comparable to Nando’s (one can’t help but compare), but with more reasonable prices and more vegetarian options.

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Bahamian Pot, a taste of the islands in Miami

BahamasWe were cruising around Miami, in the mood for some Caribbean flavors and seafood. Bahamian restaurants, specializing in the nation’s fish-heavy cuisine, dot the city. We heard good things about Bahamian Pot (1413 NW 54th St. Miami, FL), so we decided to pop in for a quick lunch. When we entered, a few tables were full, and people were chatting over glasses of iced tea and huge plates of fried fish and chicken.
BahamianPotWe scanned the tables and pretty much knew what we wanted to order, and what were the specialties of the house (FISH!). The menu was simple: a few breakfast items like fried chicken and waffles and a variety of fried seafood, including shrimp, whole snapper and tilapia. If you are feeling like meat, the oxtail draws praise. Bahamian Pot’s prices were reasonable, with everything falling in the range of $10-15. The portions of the dinner plates were generous and came with 2 sides, which included mac and cheese, plantains, string beans, crinkle-cut fries, okra or beans and rice.

BahamianConch

To start out with, we got conch fritters, and whole breaded tilapia and snapper for entrees. The fish are all fried to order, but before too long, we were presented with steaming plates of fried fish. Everything was tasty and fresh, and the fries that came with the conch are on point. To finish up we highly recommend the guava duff cake, a steamed Bahamian dessert. If you are looking for some down-home Bahamian cooking and are in the mood for seafood, this is the place to come!BahamianSnapper

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Icy International Treats for the 4th of July in Chicago

popsicle

There is nothing better than cooling off on a warm day than with an icy treat! On 4th of July’s pasts we were partial to the classic Good Humor Chocolate Eclairs, but now we enjoy a wider variety of treats. If you live in Chicago, you are lucky enough to have a wide variety of international scoop shops serving up icy treats, especially Mexican paleterias. Our friend Nissa sent us this great link from Chicago Magazine about icy international treats in the city, representing India, Argentina and beyond. Now you will have no excuse not to have some sweet (cold) treats this weekend!

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Perogies / Pierogies for Canada Day

Ukraine FlagcanadaWe’ve covered recipes for Canada Day before, but we are interested to learn that one of the iconic foods of Canada is the Ukrainian pierogie/perogie/perogy/pyrogy (plus any other spellings)! Due to the large number of Polish and Ukrainian immigrants to Canada, the dish has become entrenched in Canada’s cuisine and culture. Canada is even home to the “world’s largest pierogie.” Pierogies are also popular in Chicago, due to similar immigration patterns of Eastern Europeans, and they are one of our favorite dumplings. And really what’s not to love with a dough pocket stuffed full of meat and/or cheese? As is befitting of their popularity, you can find them all over Canada and they are especially popular in Winnipeg. If you want to taste for yourself, here is a recipe from Black Peppercorn, direct from the Canadian prairies, and another recipe for classic potato and cheddar perogies from Canadian Living.

Perogies

Perogies in Saskatoon by Christopher Porter

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Indian Badam (Almond) Milk Recipe

India FlagWhen we are out and about we tend to drop everything to try new foods, even if that potentially means having no idea what we are eating (actually, that is often the case). In the Supermarket the other week, we had that exact experience when M, on the spur of the moment. picked up a mustard yellow can of “Badam Drink,” a beverage that was a complete mystery. The can advertised “real bits of Badam,” and not knowing what that was, we were doubly perplexed. Thanks to some internet sleuthing, we come to find out that Badam is simply “almond” in Hindi, and this cold almond milk drink is a favorite for the hot days of Spring and Summer. Badam milk is made by soaking almonds in water or milk, blending and then adding the flavoring of saffron and cardamom. Now it wasn’t too hot in Chicago recently, but this was still quite refreshing, and would be a nice caffeine-free replacement for a chai tea latte.

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Morelia-style Fruit Gazpacho in Chicago

Mexico FlagYou see Mexican food carts selling fruit throughout Chicago, usually serving clear plastic cups with fruit chunks and a topping of chili pepper or chamoy sauce. However, late one night a few weeks ago, we came across a fruit cart on North Clark and Morse in Rogers Park, that had a longer line then we had ever seen. We were instantly intrigued – what could they be doing so differently?

Fantastik Fruit Stand

Fantastik Fruit Stand

Fantastik, as we found out this fruit stand was called, specializes in fruit gazpacho (sometimes spelled gaspacho), a specialty of the town of Morelia in the Southwestern Mexican state of Michoacán. We had never heard of such a dish, so we knew we had to try it. Morelia-style fruit gazpacho traditionally consists of mango, jicama and pineapple. However, at Fantastik you can also get a “surtido gazpacho” which included a wider variety of fruits including papaya, kiwi and strawberry. If you are in the mood for something simpler they also offer cut fruit cócteles, which are cocktails in the fruit cup sense and not the alcoholic one.

Fantastik Fruit Stand

Gazpacho in production

The stall is run by the Mejia family – and they have everything down to a science. Another thing that really impressed us was the complete precision of the dice on the fruit, and the sheer amount of fruit that was crammed into each plastic takeaway cup. The gazpacho is finished off with a topping of orange juice, fresh-squeezed lime juice, sea salt, chili pepper, onion, cilantro and even queso fresco. It is $7 for a small and $9 for a large container, which are both plenty enough to share. The gazpacho was sweet, salty and spicy, and was deliciously refreshing and surprisingly filling. We were completely blown away by the gazpacho and we returned twice in one week for a fix. We recommend you do the same.

Fruit Gazpacho

Fruit Gazpacho

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Calumet Fisheries, a step back in time to industrial Chicago

We have a tradition when we are returning to Chicago from the East via I-94 – visiting Calumet Fisheries (3259 E 95th St, Chicago, IL)! Calumet Fisheries is an old school fish shack right in the heart of Chicago’s industrial corridor on thr far South side. It is a tiny place, in an almost improbable location. It certainly is a throwback to a different time (family run since 1948), when many of these fish shacks dotted the banks of the Calumet River. However, Calumet Fisheries has not only survived over the years, it has thrived, and received a slew of accolades including a James Beard award in 2010.

Calumet What Calumet Fisheries does is smoked fish, though they have fried options as well. A big seller is smoked shrimp, which is our favorite. You order your fish by the pound (smallest order is the half pound), or get a dinner plate with fries and slaw, and pay in cash. Some of the other smoked seafood options available include: Salmon, Sturgeon, Rainbow Trout and Eel. We never feel like we have room for sides, but there are a range of options including macaroni salad, potato salad, mushrooms and fried pickles.CalumetShrimp

We got a smoked shrimp dinner which came with slaw and fries and a half pound of smoked shrimp. Every order comes with Tartar sauce and a red vinegar sauce (hot or mild). We waited for our order and went to the only option for seating, 1 of 2 outdoor picnic tables. The shrimp still had shells and tails (how we like it) and a delicate smoke flavor. Really good fries, too. It is kind of surreal to eat in a picnic table overlooking the 95th street bridge and a vast (now mostly dormant) industrial landscape on the Calumet River. It is certainly one of the most unique Chicago experiences we have ever had, and one that will transport you straight to the past.

Calumet2

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A New Place for: Xue-hua-bing, Taiwanese Ice Cream [updated]

Xue hua bing by Kimberlykv

We are always up for a new kind of iced treat, especially the international varieties – gelato from Italy, halo halo from the Philippines and the wave of frozen yogurts from Korea – all delicious. So add to the list Xue hua bing – an icy confection from Taiwan. The name translates to “snow ice” and is a mixture of milk, ice and fruit, and each serving is shaved off of a giant ice block, and topped with fruit and other confections. There used to be a dedicated spot for Xue hua bing in Chicago – Cloud 9 on Belmont – though it has been closed for a while now. So we were excited to learn about Snow Dragon Shavery (2618 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614), which has taken up the torch as the only dedicated XHB spot in Chicago.

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Taste of Cuba Cafe, island flavors in Lincolnwood

cubaThere is nothing we like more than a lechon (roast pork) sandwich on crusty bread, so it goes without saying that we will drop everything to try a new Cuban restaurant in the area. When we learned that Taste of Cuba (3918 W. Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood, IL) was open near our hood we knew we had to try it. We also brought along three Cuban food newbies to convert.

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Taste of Cuba is located in a small strip mall off Touhy, but the inside is bright and colorful. We were greeted right away by the affable host, who was happy to hear that we had been sampling the other Cuban places in the area. The menu had all of the Cuban classics you would expect, including Ropa vieja ($13.95), Bistec Encebollado ($12.95) and lechon ($12.95) which come with a side and maduros (fried sweet plantains) or tostones. We all ordered sandwiches – a mix of lechon and Cubanos as well a side of maduros. The chef also brought out a free side of yuca fries for us all, with garlicly house mojo sauce, which turned out to be everyone’s favorite side of the da. I also ordered a cortadito ($2.50), which came in a cute little Cuban flag cup, and was very tasty.

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We got our sandwiches and maduros in short order, and they were generously-sized and made fresh to order. This was definitely some of our favorite lechon in the city – it was tender, flavorful, and the portions were generous. This was some seriously good food, and all of our Cuban foodie newbies were completely sold on this new-to-them cuisine. We topped everything off with a banana milkshake which came in a mason jar and a with a palm tree swizzle stick (nice touch!). We were definitely impressed with everything we had, and Taste of Cuba Cafe place is as good if not better than Cuban joints in the city proper. It is also BYOB! Coincidentally, Taste of Cuba will be opening a branch in the city soon – we can’t wait to try it.

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12 hours of Eating like a local in Copenhagen

denmark_flagWe arrived in Denmark with a near-complete ignorance of Danish food. Not on purpose of course, but knowing no Danish people or restaurants in Chicago, we only have our perusal of the Nordic Food Labs Twitter account to go on. On our way back to Chicago from Europe, we happened (well, opted) to have a 12 hour layover in Copenhagen. Even though we had very little time, we were determined to make the most of it. We got up early, and set out to the center of town on the weird little operator-less, futuristic monorail from our airport hotel. We do know the country is purported to have some of the best coffee in the world, so we made that a priority.
CoffeeCollective2 The purported best coffee in the world is served at Coffee Collective (Vendersgade 6D 1363 Copenhagen K) which now has a mini empire of shops in Copenhagen. We visited the location in Torvehallerne, an interesting place to visit in its own right, because it boasts over 60 vendors under one roof.

CoffeeCollective

At Coffee Collective, there were two varieties of single origin coffee: Kenyan and Guatemalan. We ordered a cortado and hot chocolate from a pleasant barista with accentless English (like most Danes seemed to have). Both drinks were good, but the coffee was a little steep at about $8 USD. We think you may have to try for yourself to see if this is indeed the best coffee in the world, though M thought the hot chocolate was excellent.
LaurasAfter coffee, we wandered around the Torvehallerne a bit more to check out the other stores, which included cafes, greengrocers and bakeries. We supplemented our coffee with cardamom and cinnamon rolls from Laura’s Bakery in the same market (20 K apiece), which were quite good. We were pretty excited to see that they are actually called “Cinnabuns” in Danish, too. We took our breakfast to eat on the wooden tables flanking the market, and as you can see from the photo below there are truly bikes everywhere!

Cinnabun

We wandered the pleasant and orderly streets until we found a lunch place that seemed to strike our fancy. We happened upon the cute and trendy Ricco’s Kaffebar (Strandboulevarden 98, 2100 Copenhagen) and we knew it fit the bill. In addition to coffee and baked goods, Ricco’s had a selection of traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, Smørrebrød. We ordered a caramelized potato open-faced sandwich with Brunede Kartofler, or caramelized potatoes, and a goat cheese sandwich on rye. Both were tasty and surprisingly filling.

Smorrebrod

Despite being a relatively chilly country, Danes are also big on ice cream. You will see ice cream shops everywhere, including this classic shop by the water boasting a giant cone statue – Vaffelbageren (Nyhavn 49, 1051 Copenhagen). Other top choices for ice cream in Copenhagen that are more unique are Siciliansk Is (Skydebanegade 3, Copenhagen 1709) and Ismageriet (Kongelundsvej 116, Copenhagen 2300). Siciliansk Is specializes in authentic Italian gelato, and Ismageriet specializes in local, seasonal Danish flavors.

IceCream

Though we were only able to visit Copenhagen for a short time, it was enough to make us want to come back for more. Copenhagen is one of the top foodie destinations in Europe, and there are enough places to fill weeks of eating adventures.

Copenhagen

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Late night bites at Kaffeehaus in Lisbon

austriaThere are Austrian cafes dotting Lisbon, including one of our Lisbon favorites, Pois, café. We had heard there was another Austrian coffeehouse in town, Kaffeehaus (Rua Anchieta 3, 1200-023 Lisboa, Portugal) and after a late night exploring Chiado we decided to stop in. We were not sure what to make of Kaffeehaus, it is part restaurant part bar and part cafe, and we saw people enjoying it for all of these purposes when we popped in at about 9 PM. We kind of like the multipurpose bar/cafe/hangout aspect, something more uncommon in the USA, I think. It is even dog friendly!

Kaffe

The beverage menu was quite prolific, featuring Austrian coffee drinks and custom lemonades as well as a large beer and wine list. We appreciate the large and unique selection of nonalcoholic beverages including tea, special Austrian carbonated juices and fresh lemonade. M ordered a unique hot chocolate drink from Austria which came with a bar of chocolate and a cup of hot milk which you have to mix in using a little frother. L ordered a fizzy ginger lemonade (one among many homemade lemonade varieties).

ChocolateDrink

There was also a case with about a half dozen attractive looking cakes included strudels, fruit tarts and the popular-in-Lisbon meringues. Though we were almost tempted away by Apfelstrüdel, we went with the classic chocolate Linzertorte and the Austrian cheesecake, Käsekuche. The Linzertorte was good and chocolatey but the kasekuche was a real standout, with a totally unique texture that was more like bread or cake than a creamy New York style cheesecake. If you are feeling munchies, there is also full lunch and dinner menu with Austrian favorites like Spätzle, and brunch on the weekends. Kaffeehaus is a great place to relax at any time of the day, no matter what mood you are in, and you can even bring your dog.

Linzertorte

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Eating like a local in Venice

VeniceRain
ItalyWe were afraid to eat in Venice. Maybe it is because of a super strict ordinance serving fines and police scrutiny for eating in St. Mark’s square. Not that many tourists would have dared, considering that St. Marks was well under 2 feet of water when we arrived on a soggy cold day. However, with this first impression, we were a little intimidated, since getting food from various shops, cobbling together a picnic meal and eating al fresco is our obligatory European mealtime.
RialtoFruit

But, no matter, we figured out a way to do it, and you can too. Our first stop was the Rialto Market. Rialto Market is a classic open-air fruit and veggie market. It is surprisingly un-touristy though you will find quite a few tourists alongside the hustle and bustle of locals. By 2:30 everything is pretty much closed up – so hurry to get there before lunchtime if you can. We picked up some Sicilian oranges and sundried tomatoes, though as you can see there is a wide  variety of produce available (and even some chili peppers and flowers).
CasaDelParmigiano
In order to supplement our fruit and veg we got cheese and prosciutto at Casa Del Parmigiano (San Polo, 214, 30125 Venezia). It is an absolutely tiny little store, but is completely packed with cheese. In fact, this is probably one of the highest cheese-to-square foot ratios I have ever seen. The store has been in operation since 1936 and you can tell they are experts at the craft of cheese. There is every type of Italian cheese under the sun We got some goat’s milk Latteria della Valsassina cheese to go, which was creamy and mild.  In addition, there is a small but well-curated selection of prosciutto, and the San Daniele we chose was among some of the finest we ever tasted. We picked up two little ciabatta rolls from a grocery shop nearby to complete our sandwich. We ate clandestinely, evading authorities just off the Rialto market under a covered sidewalk that led to some sort of governmental building.

CasaDelParmigiano2

Our final stop Gelatoteca SuSo (Calle della Bissa, 5453, 30124 San Marco, Venezia). It is a little way back from the canal and found it only through a 6th sense that directs us toward gelato products. Suso makes gelato artiginale – artisinal gelato – produced in-house in a large number of unusual flavors.  M got the Orient Express (cinnamon, clove and caramel) and L got Death in Venice [ha ha!] – coffee and chocolate swirl. The gelato was excellent, and the perfect finish to our al fresco lunch. Though we had to do it on the sly – we managed to find (and eat) some non-touristy food in Venice.

SusoGelato

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Back in Chicago

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams now has two stores in the Chicago area – and we were super pumped to try the new Wicker Park location (1505 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago) when Spring-like weather finally arrived. Jeni’s is a Columbus-based ice creamery helmed by ice cream guru Jeni Britton Bauer that has been expanding across the US in the past few years. However, Jeni’s stores all across America have been closed for the past month due to a recall. Now they are all back open – just in time to get a summer ice cream fix.  The key to Jeni’s success is high quality and unusual flavors (check out the menu below).

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Jeni’s Wicker park is right in the heart of the main drag on Milwaukee, and I get the impression they are busy ALL the time. When we arrived there was a line, but it moved pretty quickly, and we even were able to find a place to sit. One cool touch is that they make their own waffle cones right in front of you! There is a selection of “signature” flavors to choose from, including wildberry lavender (tastes like Froot Loops), Salted Caramel and sun-popped corn, as well as some limited-edition specials like creme brulee and blue buttermilk frozen yogurt. There are even some local nods, with Intelligensia coffee-flavored ice cream or the option to get a scoop of any ice cream in a cup of Intelligensia coffee.

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You can get anywhere between one and four scoops, and we settled on a Trio. We sampled buttermilk orange frozen yogurt, the “Buckeye State” which is peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips, and dark chocolate. We were happy with our flavor choices, and the peanut butter and buttermilk orange were standouts. We definitely recommend Jeni’s for a summer treat and we are excited to see what creative flavor Jeni comes up with next.

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A Photo Tour of Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca

Mexico FlagOne of our favorite things to do when we are new to a city is to visit the local market. When we were in Oaxaca we were extremely excited to visit the Mercado 20 de Noviembre (20th of November Market), which came highly recommended. What is special about this market is that it specifically dedicated to food. When you enter you are greeted right away with full-service food stalls that will make you mole, caldos, quesadillas and other dishes right to order. Navigating the swirl of tantalizing smells, we settled on a booth that had a crowd, where we sampled a delicious chicken in mole rojo and turkey in mole negro (one of the signature dishes of Oaxaca). Some of the stalls have printed menus, and others have handwritten menus tacked above the stalls. You can be assured that pretty much any restaurant with a small crowd is good, since the competition is so fierce. As you wander around the stalls you can also buy freshly-baked bread and cookies and fried plantains to snack on. In addition to the freshly-prepared foods, you can pick up mole paste, chocolate, dried peppers and other ingredients to try your hand at the same recipes at home. Around the perimeter of the market were artisans selling crafts like tin ornaments, mirrors and woven baskets. We had a great time visiting the different stalls and eating our way around the market, and it was a perfect way to dip a toe into Oaxaca’s culinary waters.

Oaxaca

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The best Pasteis de Nata in London

united_kingdomportugalOne of our first stops in London was the venerable British Museum, where they had a delightful museum cafe run by the local cafe chain Benugo (various locations throughout London). Imagine our surprise when we saw the iconic Portuguese pastry, the Pastel de Nata, being advertised proudly front and center alongside muffins and scones, as a “Panata.” We certainly weren’t expecting to see one of our favorite Portuguese treats in this location! The panata from Benugo was actually pretty good, and once we saw our favorite treats there, we started seeing them in shops all around town. Who would have thought it would be so popular in London?

Panata

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Isla Pilipiana, new school Filipino in Lincoln Square

philippinesIsla Pilipiana (2501 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL) has one foot in the old world and one in the new. The menu features classic Filipino dishes, but the menu itself is designed in an edgy, loopy hand drawn style (even with a reference to Eminem lyrics, see if you can spot them) – which seems to be the perfect summary of what Isla Pilipiana is all about. Isla Pilipiana is a small place with modern decor, and is located in a strip mall just off the main Lincoln Square drag, so you might miss it.

Isla

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