NFT Chicago Noble Square / Goose Island

Noble Square / Goose Island

Gritty Goose Island industry crosses paths with arty fringes of East Ukrainian Village. Lovely historical churches exist, often buried under scaffolding. Expressway access abounds, and there's a cab stand by the Nelson Algren Fountain on Milwaukee. Elston is a popular route to crisscross the city. Wave to the Morton Salt Girl as you pass by.

Funky shops and studios cluster around Milwaukee, Division, and Ashland. Savor ceviche with humorously monikered margaritas at El Barco, or have your mind blown at the molecular level at Schwa. The clubby Weed Street DistrictSee more.

> is a breeding laboratory, while at Exit, the pierced and leather-clad pretend there still is a punk scene in Chicago.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Poetry: Deep in the Heart of Chicago

By Nina Williams
Chicago is home to a series of extremely gifted and innovative spoken word poets, but what is spoken word and how does one find it? Follow Nina Williams around to some of the most interesting neighborhoods in Chicago to find out what this scene is all about.
Kitchen of Dreams

By Jill Jaracz
The equipage of the kitchen: the stockpile of the heart. Do you have what it takes to furnish your cooking space? Join Jill Jaracz on a culinary voyage 'twixt Oriental crockery and mass-produced Swedish stuff, as Jill prepares to lavish you with the secret of her sparkling kitchen: the addresses of the stores she patronizes, and some suggestions. Get ready to cook something. I hope it's tasty and doesn't take til 3 am. I hate that.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya
Photo:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya

La Pasadita
The La Pasadita trio is somewhat of an ambiguous Mexican Bermuda Triangle on Ashland. There are three locations right next to each other. In feeble attempts to sort out their various (and supposedly distinct) purposes: Uno- a sit down restaurant. Dos: next door, small taco shack with vegetarian and chicken options. Tres: across the street, a taqueria with a limited menu that services late night drunk munchies. Carne asada tacos and huge amazing steak burritos are main attractions here. The La Pasadita steak burrito with sour cream and cheese is hands down the best I have had in Chicago. For authentic Mexican flavor their horchata and spicy salsa verde are regional favorites. As can be expected from a hole in the wall that is open until 3 am, burritos tend to be on the greasy side, service is lackluster, and the ambience is far from charming (read: seedy). Taking this delicious Mexican fare to go is probably your best bet (or come in too drunk to care). In the end, La Pasadita food passes the sobriety test: it is delicious drunk or sober!

Posted By:  Jamie Smith
Photo:  Jamie Smith

Cost Plus World Market
If Pier 1 and the Dollar Store had a torrid affair behind a rattan room divider, the Cost Plus World Market would be their illicit lovechild. Inheriting both its father's design sensibility and its mother's tendency to give it away to anyone for a buck, the World Market is the place to go if you want cheap, faux-ethnic crap. It definitely has that "I just came back from a semester abroad" vibe and some things look like they were imported straight from the People's Republic of Fugly. But I tease because I love. I've bought Moroccan tea glasses, totes made of East Indian rice bags, and Chinese paper lanterns at this store for pennies. And their foreign candy section is unbelievable--ginger gummy bears? Hello Kitty Chocolate? How do you say, "Yes, please!" in a language that is exotic and difficult to learn? But seriously, folks, some of the things in the store look pretty lead-tastic so the sealed and unpainted candy is probably the only Cost Plus item you or your children should chew on.

Posted By:  Kristen Orser
Photo:  Kristen Orser

August Grocery
Oh my goodness, I don't know if I can get seafood anywhere else! This place is strange. Really strange. There's barely any product on the shelf and there's only a small table of produce. When you walk in and see how barren it is, you'll probably panic that you won't be able to afford anything. It's one of those situations where you are the only person in the store and you feel obligated to at least look around. If you do manage to breathe and get past the panic attack, the prices aren't any different than Jewel or Dominick's and the quality is much better. Especially the seafood! I think they fish it that morning and then put it on ice--or maybe they grow those scallops. And the staff is more than happy to offer cooking suggestions, even to demonstrate a technique. There's nothing else like this in the neighborhood--even all those yuppie grocery stores can't compare to August's freshness and helpful staff. I still panic a little when I walk inside, but I usually cool down when I start thinking about how awesome my lobster bisque is going to turn out.

Posted By:  Kristen Orser
Photo:  Kristen Orser

Lovely: A Bake Shop
If you're looking for a little bit of SoHo in Chicago, Lovely is the kind of bake shop for you. A large space with big windows and great lighting, Lovely is a profusion of antiqued and rustic decor that is "down home" enough to sell a good triple berry jam and urban enough to make one of the best espressos in town. The place is swarming with the literati of Chicago--everyone brings a laptop and a stack of books. And Lovely, with comfortable couches, long tables, and vintage typewriters, caters to this crowd of slow coffee drinkers. The pastries are incredible--especially the bread pudding. Lovely, when it first opened in 2007, advertised itself as having the last muffin in town and, in a neighborhood that is increasingly becoming hip bars and ultra modern hair salons, it really seems like one of the last places to sit and have a pastry.

Posted By:  Ceda Xiong
Photo:  Ceda Xiong

Knitters are like AA goers, they’re never who you assume they are. To learn about their behavior and habitat, or simply to shop for one, Nina is the perfect outpost for crafters and admirers of crafters alike. Once you’ve made it past the seedy liquor-store-bar, this shop stands in stark contrast as a quaint and neat crochet haven on Division Street. A pair of giant needles decorates the store front and the shops assistants, while serious artisans, are far from intimidating. Plush yarns and endless possibilities are here for the threadily creative, ranging from high end wools to more affordable lines. With two-hour knitting classes offered almost every weekend to get any novice started, there’s no reason to wait to get in touch with your inner stitch bitch.

Posted By:  Lisa Shames
Photo:  Lisa Shames

Whole Foods Market
In the why-didn’t-I-think-of-that file, I present the tortilla Espanola. If you’ve spent any time in Spain, and even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard about this tortilla that has nothing to do with corn or flour. Instead, this delicious dish lies somewhere between a quiche and a frittata. Served in bite-sized pieces in tapas bars and as a hearty sandwich filling throughout Spain, tortilla Espanola is a combination of potatoes, eggs, onions and olive oil. What it lacks in exotic ingredients, it more than makes up for in flavor. Get a taste of Spain with the tortilla Espanola from Whole Foods or the more authentic, Chicago-based, Spanish food importer Solex Partners. Bullfighter not included.

Posted By:  Katie Murray
Photo:  none

Stanley's Fresh Fruit & Vegetables
“Oh my god, a flat of strawberries for three bucks!” “No way, four avocadoes for a dollar!” “I think I’m having chest pains….lettuce I can actually afford.” Yes, these are cries that those friendly employees at Stanley’s Fruit and Vegetable Market are accustomed to hearing. On the corner of North and Elston, Stanley’s is a market almost everyone has passed. Those who read the shockingly low prices on window signs during a drive-by often spin around for a quick trip inside. Good luck in the parking lot, it’s a zoo. But when you feel the joy of getting a whole watermelon for a buck, you’ll gladly return to risk your life attempting to park! Their fresh produce is remarkably cheaper than Jewel, Dominick’s, Whole Foods, and even most seasonal farmer’s markets. But cheap produce comes at a price…most of it is at its peak, or just past it—so enjoy quickly, or expect within a few days to discover some mold growing on your precious produce. They also have a nice selection of organic products, fine cheeses and yogurts, juices, and soy products. If you’re looking for an adventure in cheap, seasonable, ready-to-eat produce, introduce yourself to Stanley.

Posted By:  Keidra Chaney
Photo:  Keidra Chaney

You don’t have to go far to find a sushi restaurant in trendy Wicker Park, but Usagi Ya does manage to stand out from the crowd of sleek Northside eateries with its tranquil, feng shui-inspired vibe, and a diverse “pan-Asian” menu of Japanese, Thai, and Chinese entrées. All chicken dishes are prepared with freerange chicken—extra incentive for raw-fish avoiders to give this place try. For those with a free afternoon, the daily lunch box specials, while not cheap ($9-$15), are plentiful and a great way to sample the restaurant’s offerings, including chicken, salmon, or beef teriyaki, tonkatsu (breaded pork tenderloin), or sashimi.

Posted By:  Kelly Pucci
Photo:  none

Everyone knows that except for a homemade meal at your babka’s house, the best Polish chow comes from Milwaukee Avenue. But the newest food find on Milwaukee Avenue isn’t in a shop or restaurant, it’s in a museum. Walking through “Polish Food in Chicago” at the Polish Museum of America made me appreciate the efforts of old-fashioned Polish cooks. The next time I grab a box of microwavable pierogi at Dominick’s, I’ll think about the photos of weary women rolling dough by hand. The PMA is worth a visit anytime, but stop by before Labor Day if you want to catch the food exhibit.

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