Foodie Field Trip

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I meet with my girlfriends once a week, sometimes we meet for coffee early in the morning, sometimes we go to lunch at our favorite restaurants and often we just cook for each other at our homes.

Sometimes we hop in the car and go into the city just to eat a famous sub sandwich or go to get an Italian ice with some pizza.

I could go on and on about our little excursions like the time we went hunting down fig paste and this particular eggplant salad that we’re obsessed with, but I need to get to the point of this post!

Our recent “field trip” was to a fabulous place called Caputo’s Cheese Market, if you blink you would drive right by it! Located in an industrial area with high fencing all around you barely see the sign as you enter through the gate, the building looks like a warehouse until the door swings open and you’re bombarded by every type of pasta you can think of, tomatoes, canned and jarred all over the place and every kind of staple you would want for an Italian pantry.
Here’s the layout, they have three specific rooms, the main floor is where the staples are, then on the upper level you’ll find the bakery and deli room, salads of every kind, you can even eat lunch there on the tables they have set up. Pizza, panini or any kind of sandwich you want, order your favorite salads and grab a cannoli for dessert!

I just love their olives, my favorite are the massive green olives stuffed with gorgonzola! Every time I open my fridge and see them, I want to pop one in my mouth, they’re so good!
Their sausage is made fresh daily, excellent quality with that old world flavor, and they’re not afraid to use fennel!

The cheese room is overwhelming, every where you turn there’s a different cheese, local and imported from everywhere, the prices are so reasonable one could get carried away, (cough, cough!)

Any of my Chicagoland readers who do not know about this hidden gem, it is worth the ride, go for lunch and spend the afternoon shopping! They have 2 locations, I’ve only been to the one in Melrose Pk. Here’s the link.

Like I said we could have eaten there for lunch, but on that particular day we planned to go to
Danny’s Cafe a neighborhood restaurant which happens to be right up the street from Caputo’s Cheese Market!

What you’ll find at Danny’s Cafe is great food in a casual neighborhood atmosphere with generous portions, I mean come on, how many restaurants do you know that actually serve neckbones?

We went there on a Tuesday, otherwise we would have ordered their platter of neckbones which people go crazy over!

Instead we ordered the fried smelts for our appetizer, this was a small order in which 4 people could easily eat from it.

The feta, tomato, asparagus and olive salad was the perfect complement to my favorite sandwich!

My favorite sandwich is, pepper and egg with crumbled sausage, big enough for 2 to share! Not pictured is the hot giardiniera I spooned all over the top, unbelievably good!

I’m stuffed just looking at all this food!

Buon Appetito!
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  1. Oh! Yes, indeed, we had a great time. I told the Hostess that we were enjoying the “color” of the event. And when I go back, I will try that nice sounding sandwich too. Needless to say, we did bring home a carry out box of “bones” to enjoy again the next day. Thanks again. Love your Blog!

    Joan, on the NorthShore. Go Bulls!!!!

  2. JD, Enjoyed your review! Aren’t the prices at
    caputo’s fabulous? Other than the guys arguing it sounds like you had a good time at Danny’s, I agree on the sauce it needs some fresh basil and more garlc to me, but the bones are very meaty, they have them specially cut for them and leave alot of the meat on. Try the pepper and egg with sausage next time, so good. I have more of my favorite hidden gems I will be posting in the future!
    Take Care,

  3. Review: Caputo’s and Danny’s Cafe/Deli – Food and Circuses

    We finally made the rounds of Caputo’s Cheese Mkt. and Danny’s Cafe. First off; anyone going to Caputo’s should be prepared for an enormous selection of great cheeses from all over the world, not just Wisconsin. They have an amazing assortment, and money will be the only thing limiting your purchase; ha-ha, and maybe your trunk size.

    Then we went to Danny’s for lunch. I ordered the Neck Bones. After seeing the platters come out to other customers, I decided to split one order of Neck Bones with my son. It was a very wise move. We each had a cup of soup, shared a huge artichoke and the “bones” which also came with a med. sized pasta serving. Even having the half order, it was a lot of bones. I had 6 huge bones with sauce, and my son had 5 bones at least. We didn’t think to count before we started to eat…sanity finally returned and we looked at what was left on our platters and tried to figure out what was in the “waste bone bowl” to know how large this order was before we dug in. The sauce was very mild and neutral in flavor. I would have liked a bit more “zip” to it. We were treated very nicely by the hostess and wait staff. It is a very popular and pleasant spot to enjoy a nice lunch.

    There was a bit of adventure also. The table next to us were three young men having quite an argument and many very loud swear words were flying across the table. Finally, the two arguing got up and went outside to finish the heated debate. Four businessmen were getting up to leave about then; they went to the door to leave and backed up from the door; afraid to go outside. After a minute, things must have quieted down outside and the four men finally went out, the two arguing guys came in and returned to the table next to us and continued lunch like nothing happened. Amazing! Only in Chicago! LOL

    It was a very interesting food adventure day out. Looking forward to more of those; keep the suggestions coming.

  4. Im going to have to check these places out next time I’m in chicago! It’s not every day that you see a place have bacala and tripe on their menu!

  5. Took the trip here this past weekend. As much as I love Angelo Caputo’s in Naperville, I have to say…wish this place was in Naperville also.

  6. I wish we had a place like that in the SF Bay area….anyone game for opening one?

  7. Anonymous says

    love caputo’s cheese market,its kind
    of an unknown gem,dannys is great
    too.its owned by my cousins!

  8. I dream of having a store like this in the Seattle area. A pasta and cheese lovers dream!

  9. Ariana, This place is no comparison to the one in Addison, check it out you won’t be disapointed, I promise!

  10. Anonymous says

    Thanks Marie for this post, after looking it up I remembered this is a Caputo’s store “other” side of the family. I go to the ones owned by Angelo and the late Romana. Great service and selection there too, but I am curious as to how the other side of the family operates. I’ve been to the one in Addison and that one is great too – maybe that’s the same side as the melrose park location? Thanks – Ariana from Chicago

  11. Love, love your blog! I am so sad that we do not have anything like this on Beaty’s Creek but it does call for a trip. I cook neck bones at least a few times a year. Sooo good!

  12. We keep mentioning that we need a Chicago trip – it’s been a few years. My family can tour the city and I can eat sausage, cheese and olives and get rounder and happier.

  13. Everyhting looks so good, Marie! I am such a cheese person that i’d have fun shopping htere.

    We are coming to Chicago in the spring and i will have to remember to go to Danny’s Cafe as my husband would love the baccala and trip combo 🙂

    We were in Sydney, AU, this week and all the food was so expensive -even more so than Manhattan! They would want over $15 for the panini you showed.

  14. only the greatest places serve neck bones, and usually only in their sunday gravy/sauce, and what a difference it makes (along with the pig’s feet)! am salivating like crazy at all your shots. especially the fried anchovies and the giant elephant leg of provolone!

  15. This puts our little Italian grocers to shame but I did see that they offered burrata there the other day. Now I am in heaven!

  16. That’s what friends are for…sharing your passion and love for good food. I treasure those moments.

  17. I’m with STacey. This place is a bit like Eataly for sure. I’m going nuts over those baked goods and the SAUSAGE!

    That is some restaurant. It’s rare you see an Italian restaurant so willing to take risks.

  18. Wow, I’m so happy to know about this place, Marie. I’m coming to Chicago in a few weeks to meet my new great-grandson (can’t believe I’m that old!)and if we have time we’ll go there for sure. We don’t have a good Italian deli where I live so this will be a special treat.

  19. What a fun little fieldtrip. I will have to check this out the next time I’m in Chicago.

  20. Marie, I am so happy that I do not live there! lol Oh my, what an amazing place… makes me yearn for too much Italian. 😉

  21. Oh, Marie, I’m so jealous! If there was a shop like that here, I’d be all over it. Let’s see, plane tickets to Chicago can’t be that much right now….

  22. Foodie Heaven indeed! Almost makes me want to move to Chicago, snowy winters not withstanding… 😉

    This is my first real look around you blog. I had heard about it through the bloggers’ grapevine, so to speak, but had never had a chance to really stop by and take a look around. What a great blog! I was so impressed, in fact, I immediately added it to my blogroll!

    Cheers and looking forward to more of your posts.

    Frank (Memorie di Angelina)

  23. Wow what a great field trip. I hate big cities (anything above 2000 people) but I would almost tolerate it for a market like that – it looks awesome. I used to go out once a week with my girlfrinds but my wife made me quit :-).

  24. Hi Marie – Now it’s on my list. I know I’d be in heaven at Caputo’s.
    And I’m so curious on how Danny’s serves neckbones?
    Sounds like a lovely time with your friends…

  25. I wish you had posted this BEFORE I was in Chicago!

    The store looks wonderful, of course. But Danny’s menu is making my head hurt. Tripe. Bacala. Neckbones.


    And whatever is a “fried meatball” sandwich? Next trip I’ll need to find out.

  26. Stacey and Linda, In a heartbeat!

  27. Joan, Stay tuned, I’ll be doing a post on that bakery soon!

  28. I think you’re going to have to plan to take both New Jersey girls -me and Stacey! Those salamis, those sausages -oh yea!

  29. Love Caputo’s Cheese Market, best kept secret. How could we have not known about this place? But so glad we went, now I am addicted. I need cheese rehab!

  30. Joan Dunbar says

    Thanks for this nice feature, I am on the Northshore and will be going there soon. Also, exactly where is that favorite bakery you mentioned around the Christmas holidays(?). I would love to shop there also. Thanks so much and do more of these local features, they’re great! JD

  31. This is awesome! Sounds like you had a blast.

  32. and they have MELROSE peppers???
    Can you take me there?
    It looks like Eataly in nyc!

  33. Dont forget we planned to go . We need to arrange a date soon after seeing this! Ans I want to go to that restaurant.

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