Skip to content

my chicago part 2–shop

January 8, 2010

If I were truly being honest in this post, I would write that I spend the vast majority of my time in Sur La Table, Whole Foods and Target.  But that’s the “USA-deprived version of me”, the one whose eyes double in size looking at the cereal aisle.  You know you’ve been living abroad to long when the words “Why would anyone need this much cereal to choose from?  Where’s the muesli?”

But I’ll put that version of myself on the shelf and dust off a “Need my Chicago fix” version to offer more Chicago-specific favorite picks.

Here we go.

I love this place.  I generally get lost in the small yet fabulous home section that somehow always seems to have something for everyone.  After “losing” my sister-in-law’s Christmas present (read: purchasing something I loved for her in August and then proceeding to hide it so well, I couldn’t find it), this store came through with this pair of Jonathon Adler whale salt and pepper shakes that I loved.  Don’t know why, they just make me smile.

It’s also a great stop for accessories, bags, and clothes.  Okay, it has a lot of stuff, but it’s the home section you’ll remember.

Art Effect
934 West Armitage
Chicago, IL 60614

Please do yourself a favor and set a budget before entering this store.  Please do yourself a further favor by never, ever going in on a Saturday lest you like feeling like an extra in a women’s roller derby match.  It reminds me of a high-end version of DSW.  There are generally deals to be found and the selection is impressive.

Other than shoes, they also stock their fair share of jewelry, bags and even Spanx!  Since it’s right down the street from Art Effect, you kill two birds with one stone.

Warning: Do not subject your husband, boyfriend, straight male friend to this store.  I believe it is a violation of the Geneva convention.  Instead, give him your blessing to walk to the corner and grab a pint of beer at the pub at the corner.  You’ll be happier for it and trust me, so will he.

824 W Armitage
Chicago, IL 60614

photo courtesy of

I couldn’t let a shopping post go without mentioning this shop.  Maybe it’s more suited for the eat category, but it’s a store, so I’ll consider it shopping.

I don’t know how a shop so small can still manage to have everything that I need.  I have never gone there looking for something and been disappointed.  Their wine selection is fantastic and their staff incredibly knowledgeable.  And nice.  AND they have a good sense of humor.

Two summers ago, I was visiting home and needed veal demi-glacé (doesn’t everyone?).  I took a walk over their with my dog (60lb boxer) not thinking that it was a stupid idea to bring a dog to a food shop.  Realizing this half way over, I decide I should check with the clerk before I bring her in.  I leave Asia (the dog) in the small enclosed entryway that leads to the store to pop my head in and ask.

Me:  Excuse me, are dogs allowed?
Staff:  Hmmm, I suppose if you carry them.
Me:  Oh!  Okay then.

I go back into the entryway and mustering up my strength (and lifting with my knees and not my back),  I pick up this 60lb pup and start to shuffle my way into the shop.  The person behind the counter comes running out laughing and simultaneously saying “No! No!  I meant if your dog was small enough to just be carried around.”  Oops.  He was kind enough to ask me what I needed.  He got it for me, I paid him cash at the door and he brought me my change.  Very nice man, but clearly underestimated just how literally I would take him.  Asia, on the other hand, loved every minute of it.  It’s not every day she gets carried around like a baby.

Provenance Food and Wine
2528 N. California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Okay, this one really pushes the envelope in terms of places of interest, but I couldn’t leave it off.  When I go home these days, it’s generally for holidays.  And when it’s the holidays you  need a nice piece of meat (standing rib roast, turkey, whatever).

My family has been going to this butcher for a long time and there’s a good reason why.  They’re wonderful.  They can advise you on anything you need and get you anything you want.

If for some odd reason, you find yourself in Chicago in need of a fabulous (yet uncooked) piece of meat.  This place is well worth the trip.

Paulina Meat Market
3501 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: