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  • Best Bakeries

    Post #1 - February 8th, 2005, 3:06 pm
    Post #1 - February 8th, 2005, 3:06 pm Post #1 - February 8th, 2005, 3:06 pm
    I am looking for everyones opinion on their favorite bakeries in/around the city. I'm looking for a really good bakery, beyond the common names that arise in terms of bakeries. I would like to know what people think and why. Thanks.
  • Post #2 - February 8th, 2005, 3:14 pm
    Post #2 - February 8th, 2005, 3:14 pm Post #2 - February 8th, 2005, 3:14 pm
    Welcome to LTH!

    On this board you'll find the following thread: [url=http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=841]
    Bread: Panem meum da mihi hodie
    [/url].
    I'll be adding a further long and detailed report on a bakery in the next day or two.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #3 - February 8th, 2005, 4:31 pm
    Post #3 - February 8th, 2005, 4:31 pm Post #3 - February 8th, 2005, 4:31 pm
    Bakeries offer a wide range of goods. It depends on what you are looking for. Antonius posted about bread, but there are also bakeries that specialize in pastries...and among those many different types of pastries. Could you please be a little more specific about what type of bakery/baked goods you are interested in?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - February 8th, 2005, 5:46 pm
    Post #4 - February 8th, 2005, 5:46 pm Post #4 - February 8th, 2005, 5:46 pm
    Specifically I'm looking for the bakery that has the best brownies. Also anything that has peanut butter in it.
  • Post #5 - February 8th, 2005, 6:12 pm
    Post #5 - February 8th, 2005, 6:12 pm Post #5 - February 8th, 2005, 6:12 pm
    Now that Vitello's in Skokie has closed, the best brownie crown is up for grabs in my book. I'd be interested in brownie recs as well. I had a pretty good one at Roeser's recently, but it was overshadowed by some of their other stuff. Another good one is Deerfield's Bakery in Deerfield. A lot of folks think their cakes have lost a step in the last few years (I am not among them...especially if you like frosting), but I think the brownies and donuts are still very good.

    Roeser's Bakery
    3216 W. North
    Chicago, IL
    773-489-6900

    Deerfield's Bakery
    813 N. Waukegan Rod
    Deerfield, IL
    847-520-0068
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - February 8th, 2005, 7:16 pm
    Post #6 - February 8th, 2005, 7:16 pm Post #6 - February 8th, 2005, 7:16 pm
    One day I started to do a bakery compilation, but I lost track of it and never finished. One day. As SteveZ notes, bakery is a BIG catagory, especially when you start factoring in Polish, Mexican, etc.

    Off the top of my head, the best brownies can be had at Flo's (1434 W Chicago Chicago). Rich, thick, intensely chocolately, a mix of textures. I am also very partial to the brownies at Ann Sather's (929 W. Belmont).

    About a week ago, the Condiment Queen and I stopped by for pastries at Vanille (2229 W. Clybourn), the oh so French shop on Clybourn near Costco. The pain au chocolate excelled, the mocha flavored eclair failed.

    As I mentioned in the report on drinking coffee, Palermo Bakery on N. Harlem (3317) REALLY served up excellent Italian pastries, as good as I have ever had in Chicago.

    For a marginal improvement on the standard Mexican bakery, I like Pierre's, but only the Berwyn shop (6310 W. Cermak), not the Logan Square operation.

    For a quantum improvement on the standard Mexican bakery, I like BomBon (1508 W. 18th), but occasionally the stuff in the cases can be less fresh.

    I am anxious to try the new kosher dairy bakery in Northbrook whose name escapes me otherwise that part of my heritage is not my favorite.

    I have two "regular" bakeries about equi-distant from me, both are good in their regular sort of way: Reuters (say Rooters) (7717 W. Grand) and Oak Park Bakery (904 S. Oak Park Ave).

    For a more than regular bakery, I think pretty much everything at Bittersweet is sweet. (1114 W. Belmont)

    Rob
  • Post #7 - February 8th, 2005, 9:08 pm
    Post #7 - February 8th, 2005, 9:08 pm Post #7 - February 8th, 2005, 9:08 pm
    Another helpful piece of info would be what part of the city you'd want to find a favorite bakery in. Just like everyone else, if I know I'm heading to Ukrainian Village or Andersonville, I know which bakery, store or restaurant I can stop in on the way. Anna
  • Post #8 - February 8th, 2005, 9:36 pm
    Post #8 - February 8th, 2005, 9:36 pm Post #8 - February 8th, 2005, 9:36 pm
    SteveZ wrote:Another good one is Deerfield's Bakery in Deerfield. A lot of folks think their cakes have lost a step in the last few years (I am not among them...especially if you like frosting), but I think the brownies and donuts are still very good.


    I'm not quibbling with SteveZ's opinion as everyone's tastes vary.

    My quibble is with Deerfield's Bakery. They do wonderful presentation, every cake looks lovely, unfortunately its all visual candy. When I bite into their cake, I taste Duncan Hines cake and the frosting tastes like it came from the matched-to-the-cake frosting can. I wished they would have the taste match the exterior design.
    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 #9 - February 8th, 2005, 11:23 pm
    Post #9 - February 8th, 2005, 11:23 pm Post #9 - February 8th, 2005, 11:23 pm
    Cathy and Steve: I can see both your points. I had a love-hate relationship with Deerfields for years (the bulk of the 1990s, then again from 2001 to early 2003) when I lived in Glenview, Buffalo Grove and Northbrook. I'm a such a huge fan of buttercream frosting, that they couldn't pile on enough of it for my satisfaction. And they do make it look very pretty. On the other hand, the underlying substrate (i.e., the cake) did always leave a lot to be desired, IMHO. (Paradoxically, I thought they made good coffee cakes.) Don't take this the wrong way, but one of my prime reasons for buying Deerfield's cakes was for my dogs' birthdays. They loved it; I finished it.
  • Post #10 - February 9th, 2005, 12:09 am
    Post #10 - February 9th, 2005, 12:09 am Post #10 - February 9th, 2005, 12:09 am
    Vital Information wrote:I am anxious to try the new kosher dairy bakery in Northbrook whose name escapes me otherwise that part of my heritage is not my favorite.
    Rob


    Do you know the name, address or general location?
  • Post #11 - February 9th, 2005, 12:24 am
    Post #11 - February 9th, 2005, 12:24 am Post #11 - February 9th, 2005, 12:24 am
    One of my favorite bakeries is the Swedish bakery on Clark near Bryn Mawr. They have wonderful pastries, cakes, and coffeecakes at moderate prices. It's far better than the Deerfield bakery. I don't specifically recall if they have brownies. However, for those inclined to bake their own, Costco has been selling an outstanding brownie mix. The brand is Ghiradelli's.
  • Post #12 - February 9th, 2005, 12:43 am
    Post #12 - February 9th, 2005, 12:43 am Post #12 - February 9th, 2005, 12:43 am
    My new favorite bakery is Delightful Pastries on Lawrence, just east of Austin, which bakes my new favorite melt-in-your-mouth (literally) brownies. Sidenote: Last week, I gave some of their paczyski to my Polish friend, who gave some to her sister and mother (who bakes her own paczyski), and they proclaimed them the "best in Chicago." The co-owner is very friendly, likes to talk to customers, was a pastry chef under Gale Gand. Lovely place. Absolutely filled floor to ceiling with breads, cookies and pastries.
  • Post #13 - February 9th, 2005, 6:45 am
    Post #13 - February 9th, 2005, 6:45 am Post #13 - February 9th, 2005, 6:45 am
    CMC wrote:
    Vital Information wrote:I am anxious to try the new kosher dairy bakery in Northbrook whose name escapes me otherwise that part of my heritage is not my favorite.
    Rob


    Do you know the name, address or general location?


    I do not know the name, but I believe it is in the small strip mall on Sanders, just before Dundee where Ira's Hot Dog stand is.

    Rob
  • Post #14 - February 9th, 2005, 9:13 am
    Post #14 - February 9th, 2005, 9:13 am Post #14 - February 9th, 2005, 9:13 am
    CMC wrote:Do you know the name, address or general location?

    Ada's Bakery (Pastries/Dairy)
    869 N. Sanders Rd.
    Northbrook, IL 60062
    847-562-0810
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - February 9th, 2005, 10:53 am
    Post #15 - February 9th, 2005, 10:53 am Post #15 - February 9th, 2005, 10:53 am
    stevez wrote:I had a pretty good one at Roeser's recently, but it was overshadowed by some of their other stuff.


    What items cast the shadow? I live very close to Roeser's and though I've always found it picturesque as I've driven by, I've never stopped.

    The recent thread on Hot Chocolate has pertinent bakery discussion regarding Angel Food. Although, I haven't tried their brownies.

    rien
  • Post #16 - February 9th, 2005, 11:27 am
    Post #16 - February 9th, 2005, 11:27 am Post #16 - February 9th, 2005, 11:27 am
    rien wrote:
    stevez wrote:I had a pretty good one at Roeser's recently, but it was overshadowed by some of their other stuff.


    What items cast the shadow? I live very close to Roeser's and though I've always found it picturesque as I've driven by, I've never stopped.

    The recent thread on Hot Chocolate has pertinent bakery discussion regarding Angel Food. Although, I haven't tried their brownies.

    rien


    I am quite partial to theur sweet rolls, donuts (although they aren't in the same league as Old Fashioned) and such. They have the best chocolate bismarks in town and their ecalirs are in the very top tier as well. I have yet to try a cake, but they look good.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #17 - February 9th, 2005, 12:01 pm
    Post #17 - February 9th, 2005, 12:01 pm Post #17 - February 9th, 2005, 12:01 pm
    I have recently had the brownies from Sweet Mandy B's and thought they were really good. I heard they had peanut butter brownies, but they didn't have it when I went. Also Bagel Country in Skokie suprisingly had good brownies.


    :Sweet Mandy B's
    1208 W. Webster Ave.
    Chicago, IL

    :Bagel Country
    9306 Skokie Blvd.
    Skokie, IL 60077
  • Post #18 - February 9th, 2005, 12:02 pm
    Post #18 - February 9th, 2005, 12:02 pm Post #18 - February 9th, 2005, 12:02 pm
    Much agreement with Antonius, generally. A couple of specific recommendations from D'Amato's are the pane integrale (whole wheat) which I really enjoy. Their sourdough bread is wonderful with soups. Also I like very much the flat rolls (available in small, medium, and large, sometimes) in the basket on the counter. These make wonderful sandwiches for sparse fillings, lightly toasted. The other night we had funghi trifolati and fontina cheese on these toasted rolls with a tiny bit of rucola in a light citrus vinaigrette and they were really good.

    My mother and I disagreed about the basic starch, she preferred rice and I, potatoes. But we both agreed about the need for good bread at meals. When I was young, she made all our bread and we would line up to "spank" the bread after she finished kneading it. Then, after it baked, we would all sit down with our cups of coffee (ours with much milk) and a slice of warm bread with butter. As a teenager, I made all the bread for our family (8 loaves/week). They suffered through the advent of health food stores, etc., although I never made less than 4 loaves/week of a basic potato bread that my grandmother taught me.

    Himself teases me about bread being the staff of life because when we travel in Spain I end up buying and carrying bread on our long walks. Bread in Spanish tascas, where we most often eat, is generally pretty weak. Also, they ask if you want bread; be prepared, if you say yes, you will be charged. Not much, and I generally do want even the weak stuff they have, but it irks me. So when I see a bakery that has something a bit better looking, I stop and buy it "just in case."

    As to Whole Foods, their breads (as so much else of their existence) leaves me lukewarm to cold. They will sell you a half loaf, so in a pinch, for use that day, I will sometimes buy it. But if you get a half loaf, make sure they charge you for a half loaf. On several occasions I've had to correct them. Their prices are already out of line, but $4 for a half loaf of something is really absurd.

    Being a household of two, with my passion for good, fresh bread, we often have leftover bread. I'm curious as to how others use up their leftover bread.

    Also, not mentioned here is Baltic Bread. Their Latvian rye is one of my all-time favorite breads. Toasted ham and swiss with sour cherry preserves is really good. I can no longer make Thanksgiving dressing without this bread as a component.
  • Post #19 - February 9th, 2005, 1:01 pm
    Post #19 - February 9th, 2005, 1:01 pm Post #19 - February 9th, 2005, 1:01 pm
    Though it is not a bakery, my favorite brownie is the Chipotle Chocolate Chip Brownie at Urban Epicure in Andersonville. Spicy, rich, and just about perfect. I don't think they make it, though. It comes from some place called Celestial Kitchens. Anyway, it's pretty damn good.
  • Post #20 - February 9th, 2005, 1:20 pm
    Post #20 - February 9th, 2005, 1:20 pm Post #20 - February 9th, 2005, 1:20 pm
    If you are looking for some great brownies, you should check out Athena's Silverland Desserts in Forest Park. I lived here for 4 years before stopping in to try them, and ever since I have been kicking myself for not stopping in sooner. Their basic double fudge brownie is simply the best that I have tried. If you want some more adventure try their Siberian Bear Claw (white chocolate, cashews, white chocolate chips and caramel). Over christmas they had a peppermint brownie that had pieces of candy canes baked on top. I have tried many of the other bakeries in the Forest Park and Oak Park area, but I will only go here for my brownies for now on.

    Athena's Silverland Desserts
    439 S. Des Plaines Ave
    Forest Park, IL 60130
  • Post #21 - February 9th, 2005, 1:51 pm
    Post #21 - February 9th, 2005, 1:51 pm Post #21 - February 9th, 2005, 1:51 pm
    Ahh, how could I have forgotten Silverland? (Self-defense, that's how).
    Mostly mail-order, we're just lucky to have the outlet here. Website with lots of food porn at Silverland Desserts
  • Post #22 - February 9th, 2005, 2:03 pm
    Post #22 - February 9th, 2005, 2:03 pm Post #22 - February 9th, 2005, 2:03 pm
    annieb wrote:As to Whole Foods, their breads (as so much else of their existence) leaves me lukewarm to cold. They will sell you a half loaf, so in a pinch, for use that day, I will sometimes buy it. But if you get a half loaf, make sure they charge you for a half loaf. On several occasions I've had to correct them. Their prices are already out of line, but $4 for a half loaf of something is really absurd.


    Really? I like their breads. It's not Red Hen or Fox and Obel, but it is still pretty first rate IMO. I like a lot of them, especially the oblong country, the ciabatta and the sourdough. My kids like the French boule better than me.

    Rob
  • Post #23 - February 9th, 2005, 2:20 pm
    Post #23 - February 9th, 2005, 2:20 pm Post #23 - February 9th, 2005, 2:20 pm
    Rob,

    Just a matter of taste, I suppose, and other better options. I won't go out of my way for Red Hen, although I bought it when I worked near there. I've only been to Fox and Obel a couple times, the first for a lunch meeting, and the bread in the sandwich didn't impress me much. When I browsed afterwards I was so shocked by their prices I couldn't bring myself to even inquire as to what they would charge for bread:-)

    I can easily stop by, almost daily, at either Artopolis, where I prefer their whole grain loaf (added bonus, you can pick if you want plain, sesame, or poppy seed on top) or D'Amatos.
  • Post #24 - February 9th, 2005, 2:21 pm
    Post #24 - February 9th, 2005, 2:21 pm Post #24 - February 9th, 2005, 2:21 pm
    Vital Information wrote:
    Really? I like their breads. It's not Red Hen or Fox and Obel, but it is still pretty first rate IMO. I like a lot of them, especially the oblong country, the ciabatta and the sourdough. My kids like the French boule better than me.

    Rob


    I actually have been pretty unawed by the red hen breads lately. They're good, but not great. That being said, my biggest disappointment was the baguette at trotter's to go. Really, really mediocre. Doesn't even compare favorably to Trader Joe's.

    Fox and Obel's is still the clear winner for me, not including Melissa's breads.

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #25 - February 9th, 2005, 4:39 pm
    Post #25 - February 9th, 2005, 4:39 pm Post #25 - February 9th, 2005, 4:39 pm
    Vital Information wrote:As I mentioned in the report on drinking coffee, Palermo Bakery on N. Harlem (3317) REALLY served up excellent Italian pastries, as good as I have ever had in Chicago.


    I'm definitely a fan of Palermo. However, I'm down near UIC frequently and have become curious about bakeries in that area. I've heard mention of Ferrara, Italian Superior Bakery, and Scafuri Bakery. This seems to be the sum of Italian bakeries in the area. Throw in nearby Artopolis and the Greek pastry shop just up the street, Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop, and you've got good density. Unfortunately, I've only been to Artopolis and the Greek sweets-spot. I recommend both. Does anyone have a breakdown or recommendations for the Italian spots? I recall Ferrara and Scafuri getting "pass" remarks in the pizza threads.

    rien

    Ferrara
    2210 Taylor

    Italian Superior Bakery
    933 South Western

    Scafuri Bakery
    1337 West Taylor

    Artopolis
    306 South Halsted

    Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop
    322 South Halsted
  • Post #26 - February 9th, 2005, 5:08 pm
    Post #26 - February 9th, 2005, 5:08 pm Post #26 - February 9th, 2005, 5:08 pm
    The new Kosher bakery in Northbrook is Ada's, 869 Sanders Road, 847/562-0810 (SE corner Dundee and Sanders)
  • Post #27 - February 9th, 2005, 5:46 pm
    Post #27 - February 9th, 2005, 5:46 pm Post #27 - February 9th, 2005, 5:46 pm
    The Lovely Donna wrote:The new Kosher bakery in Northbrook is Ada's, 869 Sanders Road, 847/562-0810 (SE corner Dundee and Sanders)


    Is this bakery related in any way to Ada's Deli?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #28 - February 9th, 2005, 10:20 pm
    Post #28 - February 9th, 2005, 10:20 pm Post #28 - February 9th, 2005, 10:20 pm
    I think Whole Foods has the best brownies, hands down. I prefer my brownies simple and plain with few ingredients and unadorned with frosting. Whole Foods makes theirs with either cream or half and half and the chocolate is nicely balanced by the flavor of dairy. It is not excessively sweet. There are no nuts. Just the good basic wholesomeness of chocolate and milk.
  • Post #29 - February 10th, 2005, 12:22 am
    Post #29 - February 10th, 2005, 12:22 am Post #29 - February 10th, 2005, 12:22 am
    icfan wrote:If you are looking for some great brownies, you should check out Athena's Silverland Desserts in Forest Park.
    Athena's Silverland Desserts
    439 S. Des Plaines Ave
    Forest Park, IL 60130


    Is this the same Silverland Brownies that used to be in that factory on north Austin, a mile or so north of North Ave.? (If it is, I will definitely be going there from now on. I thought they'd closed for good.)
  • Post #30 - February 10th, 2005, 6:24 am
    Post #30 - February 10th, 2005, 6:24 am Post #30 - February 10th, 2005, 6:24 am
    Carol wrote:
    Is this the same Silverland Brownies that used to be in that factory on north Austin, a mile or so north of North Ave.? (If it is, I will definitely be going there from now on. I thought they'd closed for good.)


    Yes

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