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New Deli in Highwood from the folks at La Casa de Isaac

New Deli in Highwood from the folks at La Casa de Isaac
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  • New Deli in Highwood from the folks at La Casa de Isaac

    Post #1 - April 29th, 2009, 11:08 pm
    Post #1 - April 29th, 2009, 11:08 pm Post #1 - April 29th, 2009, 11:08 pm
    . . . well, not quite yet.

    Last week, I saw this sign positioned outside the door at La Casa de Isaac . . .

    Image

    I took a stroll around the corner (passing into Highwood as I did) and met up with Isaac Nava inside his new shop. The plan is to turn this space into a Jewish deli in the not-too-distant future. In the interim, Isaac and his brother Moishe will operate the store as a grocery store and eatery that specializes in down-home Mexican plate lunches that can be had cheaply and on the fly.

    Image
    Isaac & Moishe's Deli, Fruits & Vegetables - 311 Waukegan Ave, Highwood, IL (in the former G&G Grocery space)


    Image
    For now, one focus is on the grocery side. Fresh produce is featured but I love the hats over the door, too. :)


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    All sorts of spices and chiles are available. I neglected to take a pic of the gigantic bags of chiles that are also on the shelves.


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    Fresh meats are in one case.


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    Pictured here are patas, cleaned, prepped and ready for cooking.


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    Fresh fish is delivered on an almost-daily basis. And yes, that's beef tongue on the top shelf.


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    Here, you can see the steam table from where the hot lunches are served, and the butcher's station beyond that.


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    In front of the meat/fish counters and steam table station, there are few tables for eating in.


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    I was transfixed watching the butcher cut this round for cecina . . .


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    He did this doubling over technique, which kept the beef intact as he worked back and forth on the round.


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    One long piece of cecina, all the exact same thickness.

    Next, Isaac took me into the kitchen where Moishe's wife Lidia and 2 other women were making tamales . . .


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    Lidia, on the left, leads the brigade.


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    One of the day's tamale types was Queso & Rajas, and the strips of tomato, onion and serrano peppers that went into them were cooked slowly before they were placed in the masa.


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    Each tamale gets a wedge of creamy cheese, too. I forgot to ask what kind of cheese this was.


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    Another type of tamale on this day was a shredded chicken in salsa verde.


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    The gigantic pot in which the tamales are steamed.


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    A look inside the pot, which is divided into sections.

    Isaac told me that he wishes he could serve tamales at La Casa de Isaac but there just isn't room for a pot this big in the kitchen there. He tells me that if they cannot be served directly out of the pot, they aren't good enough to bother with. At the deli, a batch will be made each day and when they run out, they run out.

    Another dish that was being made on this day was tapadito. It's basically a Mexican version of pot roast, made with beef shanks, guajillo peppers, tomatoes, onions and potatoes. Before the meat and vegetables are combined, the meat is slow stewed in marjoram, thyme, basil and garlic.

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    Guajillo peppers reconstituting before being added to the tapadito.


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    The tapadito is just about ready.

    I had to run back to the office but before I did, Isaac insisted on bringing out a few plates for us to share. It's very cool that the offerings will change from day to day . . .

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    Tapadito
    Delicious -- complex, rich and spicy (and still steaming).


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    Chicken en Mole with Beans and Rice
    I really enjoyed this plate, too -- not only the tender, moist thigh but also the excellent beans -- which were tender and whole, and not mashed up into a paste.


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    Tamal de Queso y Rajas
    I had to run before the tamales were completely cooked firm but I tasted one anyway and it was spectacular. The creaminess of the cheese and sweetness of the masa countered the spicy, tangy rajas majestically.

    I don't know how long the Nava brothers will be running the Deli in this configuration but it's a real gem. And when they eventually convert it into a Jewish deli, I'm guessing that it will be just as wonderful. After all, not only are these guys Jewish but they accumulated years of experience working in the deli business before they opened La Casa de Isaac. Stay tuned. It should be an interesting and delicious ride in this space.

    =R=

    Isaac & Moishe's Deli, Fruits & Vegetables
    311 Waukegan Ave
    Highwood, IL 60040
    847 433-0557

    La Casa de Isaac
    431 Temple Ave
    Highland Park, IL 60035
    847 433-5550
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.

    Frank, the lamb is delicious. It's so tender it's like I was chewing avocado meat.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #2 - April 29th, 2009, 11:45 pm
    Post #2 - April 29th, 2009, 11:45 pm Post #2 - April 29th, 2009, 11:45 pm
    Hi,

    This is exciting news. The only other place with a similar operation is La Union down the street, though it has no seating. Once they switch to deli, it will be a great addition to the Jewish delis in the area.

    For those who like to remember when, the location of this grocery/deli was once the Highwood movie theater. Once it became an X-rated venue, the city of Highwood outlawed movie theaters in town.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - April 30th, 2009, 12:25 am
    Post #3 - April 30th, 2009, 12:25 am Post #3 - April 30th, 2009, 12:25 am
    Kosher Jewish Mexican deli? Only in Chicago. This is way interesante.
    trpt2345
  • Post #4 - April 30th, 2009, 11:48 am
    Post #4 - April 30th, 2009, 11:48 am Post #4 - April 30th, 2009, 11:48 am
    Who knew you could get corned beef on rye in Highwood? :D
    "Sandwiches are wonderful. You don't need a spoon or a plate!"
    Paul Lynde
  • Post #5 - April 30th, 2009, 1:06 pm
    Post #5 - April 30th, 2009, 1:06 pm Post #5 - April 30th, 2009, 1:06 pm
    I stopped by Isaac's new grocery store after lunch at CdI on Monday just to look around. I noticed the nice produce and found out that brother David goes to the market every morning. I do the grocery shopping at one of the two chains in Highland Park and find that neither have very good produce. I plan on trying the produce at Isaac's grocery store soon.

    I enjoyed reading Ronnie's post above. They only had two tables set up when I was in the grocery store and didn't think about them serving anything. It appears that they're going to have a number of dishes that they don't have available in at their CdI restaurant. Those dishes should be a welcome addition to the Mexican cuisine choices on the North Shore.

    I wish the Nava family well in their new venture.

    Regards,
    Grandpa Bob
    "It was very nice the time I was there." - my Mother whenever she was asked her opinion of a restaurant
  • Post #6 - May 1st, 2009, 2:57 pm
    Post #6 - May 1st, 2009, 2:57 pm Post #6 - May 1st, 2009, 2:57 pm
    Took another swing by Isaac and Moishe's new place yesterday and the word is clearly getting out. There were several shoppers and lunchers making the rounds. I met up with Cathy2 and Helen for a bite, which was quite an eye opening experience.

    Before I forget, here's a shot of the dried chiles to which I referred upthread . . .

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    Dried Chiles in large bags

    Before eating, I got to take another look into the kitchen, where a few things were going on . . .

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    Mixing the masa for tamales
    Unfortunately, I was a bit too early to enjoy the day's batch of tamales, as the masa for this batch was still being mixed when I arrived. Apparently, the masa needs to be mixed to a very specific consistency before the tamales are made. I did taste a few tamales from the previous day and they were good but I look forward to having one right out of the steamer.


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    Fresh Epazote


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    Lamb Barbacoa marinating

    I sat with Isaac, Cathy and Helen and we tasted all the day's offerings, one at a time . . .

    First up was a very unusual (to me anyway) dish called Huanzontle . . .

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    Finished Huanzontle steeping in a fiery red broth


    Huanzontle, which is a popular, seasonal dish in parts of Mexico, is made from the seed ends of the lambs quarter plant. The stems holding the seeds are simmered in a seasoned broth until flavored and soft. They are then mashed together with cheese, dipped in an egg white batter, fried similarly to chiles rellenos and then steeped in spicy red sauce.


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    Huanzontle, split open


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    Stem
    This is what the stems look like after being removed from the huanzontle.

    Those little seed clusters come off the stem quite easily. They're also very delicious. You eat the seeds and leave the stems behind. Isaac showed me a couple different ways to go about this: put the stems in your mouth and pull off the seeds 'reverse Christmas tree style' or pull the seeds off by hand, mix them into the sauce and eat the whole thing like soup with a tortilla and a squeeze of lime.

    Also on the menu yesterday were tripas de res, which I think would be called chitlins in other culinary nomenclature . . .

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    Tripas de Res
    This recipe was provided by one of the Oaxacan women who works in kitchen. It included potatoes, peppers, bay leaves and other seasonings. The tripas were utterly delicious with a texture that I would describe as softly al dente. There was a slight bit of resistance to the bite but they were also quite tender.

    The tripas are eaten in tortillas with this thick and very hot sauce, which is made with roasted, ground peanuts . . .

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    Hot Sauce with Roasted Peanuts

    Also on the menu yesterday were Lamb and Goat Barbacoa . . .

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    Lamb Barbacoa


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    Goat Barbacoa

    Both of these were terrific but I really loved the lamb because it was so rich and fatty. I could not believe how tender the meat was nor how explosive the flavors were. What a treat!

    With lunch, we sipped Champurrados (sorry, no picture), which Lidia had made earlier in the day. It was creamy-thick, spicy-sweet and velvety-rich.

    This new place is very exciting because the menu changes each day and because it's populated by items that are relatively unconventional. It's great to be able to try such a series items so close to home and to learn about foods about which I know so little. Yes, I look forward to this place eventually becoming a Kosher-style deli but I really love the Mexican soul food these guys are currently making. It's absolutely wonderful.

    =R=
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.

    Frank, the lamb is delicious. It's so tender it's like I was chewing avocado meat.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #7 - May 1st, 2009, 3:58 pm
    Post #7 - May 1st, 2009, 3:58 pm Post #7 - May 1st, 2009, 3:58 pm
    Ronnie,

    The difference between the dishes served at the new market and the existing restaurant is really rather striking. At the market, it looks like they're serving some really authentic, homey dishes that have not been "adjusted" for the tastes of The North Shore as they are in the restaurant. I might even secretly be hoping that their deli dream never materializes and the home style Mexican food continues to be served. I'm really looking forward to my first visit!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #8 - May 1st, 2009, 4:19 pm
    Post #8 - May 1st, 2009, 4:19 pm Post #8 - May 1st, 2009, 4:19 pm
    stevez wrote:The difference between the dishes served at the new market and the existing restaurant is really rather striking. At the market, it looks like they're serving some really authentic, homey dishes that have not been "adjusted" for the tastes of The North Shore as they are in the restaurant. I might even secretly be hoping that their deli dream never materializes and the home style Mexican food continues to be served. I'm really looking forward to my first visit!

    True 'dat, Steve. :) Fact is, Isaac told me that they simply couldn't serve this food in the restaurant because those customers don't want big bones on the plate or beans that aren't pureed into a paste. Otoh, they've geared this food toward working people. These guys have a noticeable passion for producing these dishes. What I hope is that this new place does so well that Isaac and Moishe have no choice but to open their deli in a third location.

    =R=
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.

    Frank, the lamb is delicious. It's so tender it's like I was chewing avocado meat.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #9 - May 1st, 2009, 4:26 pm
    Post #9 - May 1st, 2009, 4:26 pm Post #9 - May 1st, 2009, 4:26 pm
    Hi,

    This new deli operation makes a few dishes a day familiar to Mexicans, though largely unknown to Americans. More than a few times, the brothers emphasized you cannot expect the food seen at their restaurant at the deli or expect a regular set of offerings from the deli. For instance, the Huanzontle is a seasonal vegetable akin to asaparagus in spring. It is available now because of the season.

    The tripas or beef intestines were silky smooth, expertly washed with no lingering taste of excrement, and really the unexpected hit of the meal. I hope they do come back with some regularity, because I do want more. The tamales were better than most. I cannot wait for the day when I hit it fresh from the steamer.

    Their competition La Union down the street serves homey Mexican food ready-to-eat, too. The difference is La Union serves a set menu of food every day with no place to sit and eat. If they offer specials, it has escaped my attention. The price point of the deli for a plated meal of rice, beans and main course is $7.50 or a bit under La Union's. I talked to some local Mexicans who already knew of the new deli, who observed the cost of fruits and vegetables were cheaper at the deli.

    At the meat counter, they advised they sell two grades of skirt steak: what they offer at the restaurant at approximately $7-8 per pound and a lower grade for those who cannot afford the better grade. They commented the same grade they offer in the restaurant, they have seen sold retail for $15+ per pound. I think the deli reaps the benefits of the restaurant's volume demands.

    The brothers are practical people. While they are not yet ready for the deli, they want to keep their family employeed and an income coming in. I did ask if the food for a Mexican audience will remain once the Jewish deli is introduced, they plan to do both.

    I can easily envision being a regular at the deli. I like the promised variety and price point.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - May 7th, 2009, 2:55 pm
    Post #10 - May 7th, 2009, 2:55 pm Post #10 - May 7th, 2009, 2:55 pm
    Last Monday I stopped by Isaac & Moshe's new grocery store after lunch at CdI. I just wanted to look around. I ended up buying a 2 lb. box of strawberries at the same price that a 1 lb box costs at my local supermarket. I was told by Moishe that they only had a 4- to 5-day remaining shelf life. So I washed and dried some and froze them to use when I make smoothies this summer. The berries were very tasty and a better flavor than most supermarket strawberries.

    While I was looking around, I noticed brother, Eli, taking his lunch from the steam table. He was nice enough to give me a sweet tamale to try. It was loaded with raisins and was heavenly.

    Today a friend from California was in town with his girlfriend. She teaches at a predominantly Hispanic school in the Santa Ana area. We had a delightful time at CdI and then I took her over to the grocery store. Since she frequents Mexican grocery stores out her way, she was quite impressed by the variety and selection of produce, meats and fish at Isaac's grocery.

    I bought a couple of tamales - a sweet one and one with fresh corn. I gave her a taste and she loved them. Someone gives her dozens of homemade tamales and she tells me that the ones she tried today were every bit as good if not better than anything she's eaten out in California.

    I wasn't able to finish mine when we left, but they were still warm and made a nice snack this afternoon.

    Best regards,
    Grandpa Bob
    "It was very nice the time I was there." - my Mother whenever she was asked her opinion of a restaurant
  • Post #11 - May 8th, 2009, 8:03 pm
    Post #11 - May 8th, 2009, 8:03 pm Post #11 - May 8th, 2009, 8:03 pm
    I wanted to comment on a great dinner we had here last week. Nice to have this message board around, since I probably wouldn't have known about Isaac & Moshe's new grocery store without this thread. Thanks, and thanks for the pictures too.

    I should point out that when we went, there were only 2 tables for eating in, so it is foremost a grocery store. This did not take away from our enjoyment of our meal (actually added to it!), just thought I would point it out.

    Tamales were outstanding. Both red and green for the chicken tamales - homemade, flavorful, moist along with home-made salsa and a side of beans - delicious. Isaac, who served us, is a great guy and explained what others are mentioning here, that his food at the grocery is really akin to his own "home cooking", not just "home-style".

    Good find for a quick bite, take home, produce and grocery. Even got some expert advice in making home-made salsa.
  • Post #12 - May 8th, 2009, 8:36 pm
    Post #12 - May 8th, 2009, 8:36 pm Post #12 - May 8th, 2009, 8:36 pm
    rolledoats wrote:I should point out that when we went, there were only 2 tables for eating in, so it is foremost a grocery store. This did not take away from our enjoyment of our meal (actually added to it!), just thought I would point it out.

    I think this varies. On my first visit, there were 4 or 5 4-tops set up. On my next visit there was only 1, but 2 more were setup as folks who wanted to eat in arrived. But yes, it is primarily a grocery and carry-out place, with some table service. And I do think it's worth asking for table, though, if you are there and want to eat in.

    Glad you enjoyed it. I plan to return sometime next week.

    =R=
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.

    Frank, the lamb is delicious. It's so tender it's like I was chewing avocado meat.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #13 - May 8th, 2009, 9:05 pm
    Post #13 - May 8th, 2009, 9:05 pm Post #13 - May 8th, 2009, 9:05 pm
    Hi,

    I was there for lunch today. There was one table with a professional woman working on something on behalf of the business. When I they learned I planned to eat there, they brought out a table. I did ask if they planned to have more tables, they said they will have maybe 2-4 tables for those who will eat there. However they emphasized it was there as a courtesy with take-out expected to be the norm.

    I did check their hours:

    Sunday-Thursday: 7 AM to 10 PM
    Friday: 8 AM to 6 PM (summer hours)
    Saturday: Closed.

    Today I had tongue in a sauce they began to describe had plantain, before being interrupted by stuff around them. They also had beefsteak Mexicana and if I had stayed a bit longer, Nopales Mexicana.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #14 - June 29th, 2009, 8:51 am
    Post #14 - June 29th, 2009, 8:51 am Post #14 - June 29th, 2009, 8:51 am
    I'm not quite as adventurous as Ronnie or Cathy in their posts above, but I try to stop in the deli and pick up tamales whenever I visit the CdI restaurant. Last Friday while enjoying my weekly CdI fix, I asked where Moishe was. He was at the deli around the corner helping his wife, Lidia, make some fresh cheese. After lunch I visited the deli store and asked Lidia about the cheese. She gave me a taste and it was sooooo good. I bought some along with a nice some green salsa chicken and some corn tamales.

    Last Saturday, I crumbled some of the cheese over my freshly grilled hamburgers. The cheese seems to have a high melting point, but complemented the burger nicely. This morning I sauted some onions and mushrooms, put them on a flour tortilla with some jalapenos, topped that with three sunnyside up eggs. sprinkled the cheese on top of the eggs, added salsa, sour cream and homegrown cilantro. It doesn't get better than that. What a great combination of flavors!

    Regards,
    Grandpa Bob
    "It was very nice the time I was there." - my Mother whenever she was asked her opinion of a restaurant
  • Post #15 - July 5th, 2009, 4:20 pm
    Post #15 - July 5th, 2009, 4:20 pm Post #15 - July 5th, 2009, 4:20 pm
    Hi,

    Isaac and Moishe's Deli is starting to evolve:

    Image

    While they initially planned an unpredictable daily menu, they are at least offering a schedule of cooked meats available by day of the week:

    Image

    I was there on Chivo or Goat day, but there wasn't any goat. Between a friend and I, we ordered their lamb and beef barbacoa, which looked effectively the same:

    Lamb on top, beef on the bottom:

    Image
    Image

    Visually they looked a bit dry, but this was deceptive, because the meat was both tender and moist. The preparation was largely the same with the principle difference was the meat's taste. The pictures are certainly a study in brown.

    We also ordered one of each tamale available: red, green and roasted pepper with cheese. I especially liked the pepper and cheese, whose heat edge was diminished by the roasting.

    Image

    I am beginning to really look forward to whatever offal they offer. Last week, there was some lovely, silky, sweet chicken gizzards. I got more than the spoonful I asked for, then regretted I didn't order more.

    Image

    I made one critical error last week: I didn't get a picture of their cecina preparation. They had maybe an 8-inch wide ribbon of beef that was being seasoned and folded back on itself. I am sure there is more to this process that escaped my attention, though very interesting to watch.

    I really like their Mexican homestyle menu. It will be interesting to see how they integrate this into a Jewish style deli. I don't quite envision how this mix of cultures will work at this location. If anyone can make this work, I have confidence in Isaac and Moishe.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - July 6th, 2009, 3:15 am
    Post #16 - July 6th, 2009, 3:15 am Post #16 - July 6th, 2009, 3:15 am
    Dave148 wrote:Who knew you could get corned beef on rye in Highwood? :D

    Then I guess you don't remember Moran's ...
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #17 - July 17th, 2009, 1:41 pm
    Post #17 - July 17th, 2009, 1:41 pm Post #17 - July 17th, 2009, 1:41 pm
    A nice write-up appeared in the Triblocal section of the Chicago Tribune yesterday on Isaac & Moishe's new deli/grocery store. http://www.triblocal.com/Highland_Park_-_Highwood/List_View/view.html?type=stories&action=detail&sub_id=79502
    I've mentioned their tamales before, but I'm now hooked on their Queso & Rajas (cheese & peppers) tamales. I pick up at least four whenever I visit their restaurant around the corner.
    Give them a try. If you like tamales, you'll love these.
    Best.
    Grandpa Bob
    "It was very nice the time I was there." - my Mother whenever she was asked her opinion of a restaurant
  • Post #18 - July 17th, 2009, 2:21 pm
    Post #18 - July 17th, 2009, 2:21 pm Post #18 - July 17th, 2009, 2:21 pm
    Nice writeup Cathy. It will be interesting to see if tribune readers will cause an increased demand for tripe and gizzards. I loved the gizzards, though I havent been there yet when they had the tripe.

    -Will
  • Post #19 - August 6th, 2009, 2:27 pm
    Post #19 - August 6th, 2009, 2:27 pm Post #19 - August 6th, 2009, 2:27 pm
    Met up with a few other LTHers for lunch at The Deli today. Offerings were limited because there's some construction/improvements going on in the space but Isaac and the crew still managed to serve us a tasty lunch . . .


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    Barbacoa de Borrego
    Thursday is lamb day and this tender barbacoa was flavorful and delicious.


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    Bistec a la Mexicana
    This dish was being prepared when we arrived. It looked a little like my mom's swiss steak but thankfull, tasted a whole lot better. In fact, I was struck by the depth of flavor on the very first bite. The stewed veggies and resulting sauce were really good, too.


    Image
    Tamal de Queso y Rajas
    I really enjoy these tamales and the contrasts between the fresh masa, slightly sweet/salty cheese and earthy strips of pepper.


    After lunch, we watched Isaac's butcher cut some prime bone-in ribeyes for dinner service at La Casa . . .

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    Whole rib roast, nice marbling


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    Cutting 14 oz portions on the band saw.


    Image
    Isaac looks pleased. He plans to marinate them in garlic and white wine but was still deliberating what else to serve them with; possibly cauliflower. Too bad I already have dinner plans tonight. :) Looks like he finally found a cut that the HP diners will order, even with a bone. He did mention somewhat sadly, though, that during last night's service, he saw at least one diner leaving a lot of the fat, including the precious center section of it, on the plate.

    This place keeps rolling along (toward its eventual goal of Mexican/Jewish Deli) but because of the current construction project, it's probably best to call ahead and make sure they've got what you want, since carry-out offerings may be limited for the next few days.

    =R=
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.

    Frank, the lamb is delicious. It's so tender it's like I was chewing avocado meat.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #20 - November 17th, 2009, 7:54 pm
    Post #20 - November 17th, 2009, 7:54 pm Post #20 - November 17th, 2009, 7:54 pm
    A lot has been happening at Isaac & Moishe's Deli, Fruits and Vegetables store since the last post three months ago. They are currently having a grand opening and everyone is invited. They installed refrigerated deli cases and now offer a complete line of kosher-style sandwiches, home-made soups, salads, meats, fish, cheeses, bagels, bialys and breads. They offer a wide variety of deli party trays. And their prices are quite reasonable too.

    So stop by and buy some of their Jewish-style deli items. They have some tables set up for dining in.

    Best regards,
    Grandpa Bob

    Isaac & Moishe's Deli Fruits & Vegetables
    311 Waukegan (just north of Miramar's)
    Highwood, IL
    847-433-0557

    Open Mondays to Thursdays from 7 am to 10 pm
    Fridays from 7 am to two hours before sundown
    Closed Saturdays
    Sundays from 6 am to 10 pm
    "It was very nice the time I was there." - my Mother whenever she was asked her opinion of a restaurant
  • Post #21 - November 17th, 2009, 11:55 pm
    Post #21 - November 17th, 2009, 11:55 pm Post #21 - November 17th, 2009, 11:55 pm
    Hi,

    I passed by this evening and considered stopping in, but didn't. Has the homestyle Mexican food been retired? Can you eat on the premises?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #22 - November 18th, 2009, 12:08 am
    Post #22 - November 18th, 2009, 12:08 am Post #22 - November 18th, 2009, 12:08 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    I passed by this evening and considered stopping in, but didn't. Has the homestyle Mexican food been retired? Can you eat on the premises?

    Regards,

    Last time I was in, about 3 weeks ago, homestyle Mexican food was still available (Isaac told me there were no plans at all to discontinue it) and you could eat in at the couple of tables that were set up. This was right after most of the rennovation had been completed.

    =R=
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.

    Frank, the lamb is delicious. It's so tender it's like I was chewing avocado meat.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #23 - January 1st, 2010, 4:24 pm
    Post #23 - January 1st, 2010, 4:24 pm Post #23 - January 1st, 2010, 4:24 pm
    Because I'm a regular customer at Isaac and Moishe's places, I often get a heads up when something new or interesting is available. Earlier this week, that was the case when Moishe called me to let me know that they were running a couple of dishes with guajes. "What are guajes?" I asked. Moishe tried to explain but since I was coming in anyway, I told him that I'd find out for myself when I got to the store . . .


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    Guajes
    I'd seen these before but had no idea what they were.

    Moishe explained to me that now is the season in Southen Mexico for guajes, where they are extremely popular. In the north, he explained, they're not nearly as well-liked. They're a bit labor intensive and according to some, can cause bad breath. :wink:


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    Seeds inside the pods
    You can eat these seeds raw. They taste like a cross between green pumpkin seeds and pistachios.


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    Huashmole
    This hearty and tasty soup is made in a blender by combining the raw guaje seeds with tomatillos, epazote and cilantro. After it's blended and while it's simmering, beef shanks are added. Once plated (or bowled), fresh lime juice and chunks of avocado are added.


    The other guaje application I got to try was a salsa de guajes, which was served with cecina . . .

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    Cecina with Salsa de Guajes


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    Salsa de Guajes
    For this salsa, the seeds are first toasted, then combined in a molcajete, with fresh jalapenos, tomatillos, garlic and cilantro. It's really tasty, with a complex flavor that's both earthy and green. This dish was served with warm corn tortillas.

    The deli itself continues to chug along, combining the Mexican soul food with which the Nava brothers grew up with the Jewish-American deli fare that's more familiar in Highland Park . . .

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    Menu of Mexican offerings
    In addition to the rotating selection specials, these items are offered daily.


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    Menu of deli offerings
    A fully array of deli meats, cheeses and breadstuffs -- including bagels -- is now being offered.

    For those who want to eat in, 6 tables are now permanently set up in the back of the store . . .

    Image
    Table set up at Issac & Moishe's Deli

    It's always fun getting over to the deli and La Casa de Isaac to see what they've got going on. Because the boys love food, cooking and sharing so much, there's always something special being offered. It's a great stop and the 2 places -- located right around the corner from each other -- comprise a nice 1-2 punch.

    =R=
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.

    Frank, the lamb is delicious. It's so tender it's like I was chewing avocado meat.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #24 - January 4th, 2010, 2:45 pm
    Post #24 - January 4th, 2010, 2:45 pm Post #24 - January 4th, 2010, 2:45 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Image
    Cecina with Salsa de Guajes

    Looks like that piece of meat is going for a stroll.
    "Good stuff, Maynard." Dobie Gillis
  • Post #25 - January 22nd, 2010, 11:43 am
    Post #25 - January 22nd, 2010, 11:43 am Post #25 - January 22nd, 2010, 11:43 am
    I stopped in to Isaac and Moishe's Deli for lunch the other day. The place continues to evolve and for the most part, the changes are for the better. For example there are now fewer tables set up in the back, but the word is that the person with the coffee and donut shop in the front of the store is leaving. The brothers plan on knocking down the wall between that area and the rest of the store to permanently set up a bunch of tables for eat-in customers. That means that you will no longer be eating among the grocery aisles, but in a dedicated area set up especially for this purpose. This is great news for those of us who like to dine in.

    This was my first visit since they set up the full deli counter and started to offer Jewish items along with the home style Mexican dishes that they prepare every day.

    Isaac and Moishe's Deli Counter
    Image

    Moishe showed me the Mexican specials they had on hand, which included three kinds of Barbacoa (goat, lamb and beef), chicken in adobo, three kinds of tamales and a great looking caldo de pollo. He also took me into the back where his wife was preparing queso fresco, scooping the warm curds out of a large pot and putting them into a small round mold. Once the cheese is pressed into the mold, it is wrapped and sold at the deli counter (sorry, no camera with me when I went on the kitchen tour). The kitchen area is larger than I thought it would be. They mentioned that they were thinking about holding cooking classes there in the future. Judging by the sample of chicken in adobo that I tried (and the other dishes I've had in the past), the classes would be worth taking.

    I have a lot of respect for these brothers. They really understand their customers and how to make them happy; whether it's the toned down versions of Mexican food that they serve in the restaurant or the homestyle dishes made "Abeuela Style" in the deli, they know how to the the right notes to please their customers.

    But I digress. Back to my lunch. I decided to go for some fusion cooking. :wink: I had a lox & bagel sandwich with a side order of tamales (1 red and 1 rajas) and a Mexican Coke.

    Jewish Mexican Fusion Cooking
    Image

    The tamales were very good. The raja tamal might have been a little long in the tooth, but the flavors were enjoyable. The lox sandwich was very good, too. It was served on a toasted North Shore Bakery bagel, which I found to have a decent amount of crunch in the crust and to be a more than acceptable substitute for my favorite NYB&B bagels. The sandwich had chive cream cheese and a slice each of onion, tomato and muenster cheese. Muenster cheese (and a sliced hard boiled egg) is something that I routinely put on a lox and bagel sandwich when making one at home. The fact that it was offered as a default without me even having to ask was a nice surprise. Also offered were capers. Granted, there's not a lot involved with assembling a sandwich, but Isaac & Moishe's seems to have a handle on the Jewish side of the equation as well as the Mexican side.

    Isaac & Moishe's Lox & Bagel
    Image

    It's a long haul for me to get to Isaac & Moishe's Deli, but at least I now have a great one two punch when I'm in the area; Isaac & Moishe's Deli and GNR Maria's Bakery.

    Issac & Moishe's Deli
    311 Waukegan Ave.
    Highwood, IL 60040
    847-433-0557

    IL Mulino Bakery/Maria's Bakery
    530 Sheridan Road
    Highwood, IL 60040
    847-266-0811
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #26 - January 29th, 2010, 1:08 am
    Post #26 - January 29th, 2010, 1:08 am Post #26 - January 29th, 2010, 1:08 am
    Hi,

    One week later, the coffee and donut vendor in the front is gone. There are now tables and chairs at the front window for dining. The grocery shelves extend into the former dining area. By Sunday, there will be a fruit and coffee beverage station adjacent to the front dining area.

    Image

    It's a rare site to see a payphone. I remember at Seven Treasures there was a payphone near a dining table. Sometimes a patron would park themselves at the payphone having an extended conversation while eating lunch.

    I brought a friend I've known since I was ten years old for lunch at Isaac and Moishe's. She frequently shops there, but never ate there or took food out. I gave her the option of dining Jewish deli or Mexican homestyle. Lucky for me she went for the Mexican homestyle.

    We shared a pepper tamale, which is my favorite there.

    We ordered two potato quesadillas called 'quesadilla papa sazonada.' This is nothing like regular quesadillas which often remind me of grilled cheese sandwiches. This quesadilla had a hard shell tortilla filled with potatoes, lettuce, sour cream and cheese according to their menu plus tomato and onion.

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    We shared a torta with cecina, which was carefully assembled with cheese, beans, chilis, avocado, lettuce, tomato and onions.

    Image
    Image

    Last weekend, I was on Mike G's very interesting tour of Mexican market ready to eat food which ranged from diner to restaurant in style. The food was well prepared and rather rustic.

    I was trying to reconcile the food offered last weekend to my experiences at Isaac and Moishe's Deli. Nothing fit until I recalled the food offered at BonBom's cafes. BonBom offers many known Mexican standards with better ingredients and elevated skill level. It occured to me BonBom and Isaac and Moishe's Deli were comparables (if we eliminate bakery) and in a different league than most taquerias.

    Moishe sat down to chat a bit. My friend told him of my plans to attend a raccoon dinner. He commented about once reading an article about a restaurant serving raccoon. He went on to describe how it was painted like a roadkill. I told him I was the person who supplied the raccoon never expecting the outcome at this restaurant.

    For a grocery store food operation, it has a very homey and hospitable atmosphere. I need to go there more often than I have.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #27 - February 11th, 2010, 1:47 pm
    Post #27 - February 11th, 2010, 1:47 pm Post #27 - February 11th, 2010, 1:47 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:For a grocery store food operation, it has a very homey and hospitable atmosphere. I need to go there more often than I have.

    Considering I had not been before, I definitely need to go more often than I have.

    Half/half goat/beef barbacoa, goat was terrific, slightly fatty, moist, highlights of crisp, beef flavorful, but a shade dry.

    Image

    Rajas con queso tamale, firm moist masa, bit of pepper heat, creamy cheese, only thing lacking was the love a little lard would bring. Rojos de pollo tamale filled to the brim with chicken, maybe even too much chicken as the balance seemed off, but overall pleasing. Certainly the best tamales available in Highland Park.

    Steamer of Tamales

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    Hitting both sides of the coin both menudo and chicken soup were available.

    Menudo, Chicken soup

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    Grocery items looked good, especially the meat, reasonable lunch prices, comfortable seating. Il Mulino Bakery, right down the street, makes for a soild one-two lunch punch.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #28 - March 22nd, 2010, 1:02 pm
    Post #28 - March 22nd, 2010, 1:02 pm Post #28 - March 22nd, 2010, 1:02 pm
    Moishe asked me to post some information regarding their deli/grocery store.
    He's offering some great values at their deli:
    - You can buy nova lox for only $12 per lb. That's the same price as Costco and you don't have to buy 1.5 pounds like do at Costco.
    - Eisenberg corned beef is selling for $7.99 and sliced turket breast is only $3.99.

    Due to Passover, the store will close on Sunday, 3/28 at 4 pm and remain closed until Wed.

    Store hours continue as follows:
    - Sun thru Thurs. 7 am to 10 pm
    - Fri from 7 am to 4 pm.
    - Closed Saturdays

    Isaac and Moishe's Deli Fruits and Vegetables
    311 Waukegan (just north of Mirmar)
    Highwood, IL
    847-433-0557

    Regards,
    Grandpa Bob
    "It was very nice the time I was there." - my Mother whenever she was asked her opinion of a restaurant
  • Post #29 - March 22nd, 2010, 3:52 pm
    Post #29 - March 22nd, 2010, 3:52 pm Post #29 - March 22nd, 2010, 3:52 pm
    Hi,

    I talked to both Moishe and Isaac last night to learn how they prepared brisket for the High Holidays:

    Mexican-Jewish traditions are reflected in Isaac & Moishe’s Deli’s brisket with chipotle sauce. They rub their brisket in a mixture of garlic, pepper and Kosher salt, before searing it. It is braised in a honey-tomato stock with carrots, potatoes and chayote. Later their brisket is roasted with a BBQ chipotle sauce.

    Isaac & Moishe’s Deli at 311 Waukegan Ave. in Highwood offers their chipotle BBQ brisket with a side of gravy for $8.98 per pound. Carrots, potatoes and chayote cooked with the brisket are available for $2.49 per pint. Chipotle BBQ brisket can be ordered until Friday at 4 pm. They are closed Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Pre-ordered briskets can be collected on Sunday until 4 pm. For additional information contact them at 847-433-0557.

    This is a segment of an article on brisket sources I wrote for TribLocal.com's Highland Park region.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #30 - June 10th, 2010, 7:02 pm
    Post #30 - June 10th, 2010, 7:02 pm Post #30 - June 10th, 2010, 7:02 pm
    HI,

    Isaac and Moishe's Deli now offers Oaxacan tamales filled with chicken cooked in salsa verde, then steamed in a banana leaf. My niece, who had never had an Oaxacan tamale before, just loved these. If there was any doubt this was a chicken, we did pick out enough recognizable bones.

    They have now added a juice bar to their offerings. They brought a very green drink whose ingredients include flax seed, oats, pineapple, orange juice, cactus and another five ingredients. My niece was ready to come back tomorrow just for this drink.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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