Monday, March 7, 2011

Caribbean American Bakery

Caribbean in Chicago

We're going to a favorite bakery of mine today. Located up North on Howard street is a longtime favorite of many, the Caribbean American Bakery. They've been baking up goodies for the folks of the neighborhood for many years now. I thought now was it's time since I should be in Jamaica as we speak for my annual vacation but wasn't able to make that happen this year. So instead we visit the popular Jamaican bakery for some treats.

a locals favorite in Rogers Park

Chicago has a nice amount of Jamaican people that have settled here in the area. Like any other people they stick together when moving around and a large concentration of them can be found in Evanston which borders Chicago and Rogers Park which is the neighborhood next door to Evanston. I don't remember exactly when I first visited the CAB but I am guessing it was some time shortly after my first visit to Jamaica. I fell in love with beef patties, the popular Jamaican snack while down there and I'm guessing I found CAB when looking up where I could get some patties at in the Chi. It's a family run business and they put out some mean baked goods. They even have Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken on the menu but I have never had anything but the baked stuff. As you enter you are greeted by some freindly Jamaican ladies and a wonderful aroma from the days fresh baked bounty. The display cases are filled with breads and other treats of that nature.

Baked goods are abundant

I took a recent excursion over to the CAB and left very happy. In case you missed my epic post on Negril Jamaica, you can check that out right HERE. If you skim thru it you'll see the little part on beef patties that I did while down there. More on the them in a minute though. I'm not one with a big sweet tooth but every now and then I'll get some sweet things for my inner child pleasure and on my last visit to CAB I did just that. On past visits I have loved the coconut cake and because it's so good I usually just got some slices of that with a patty or two when in there. However they didn't have any on my recent trip and so I branched out. The carrot cake with frosting and walnuts was excellent and the bread pudding was as good as I have had. Along with some of their beef patties I was good to go. You also gotta love how in the cooler they carry both Ting soda and Jamaican Ginger Beer. Let's just say I ate well after my last visit.

a recent bounty from CAB

But the real reason for my love of Caribbean American is for the patties. These popular Jamaican snacks are pastries filled with various items and spices inside. The most popular are beef patties but they come in all sorts of kinds. They are similar to turnovers and empanadas but unique in their own way. They are always yellow due to the turmeric and or curry powder that is used to make the flaky outside shell. According to Wikipedia "The beef patty is a product of colonialism and migration developed after the introduction of the English turnover in the Caribbean, mixed with cumin and curry seasonings of East Indian indentured servants in Jamaica and cayenne pepper from African slaves. The firecracker taste of the Scotch bonnet, a hot pepper indigenous to Jamaica, sealed the flavor."

Pastries and cakes are great...

Patties are a very popular lunch when paired with bread and a joint in Jamaica. If you have ever had a patty from a Jamaican place in the city, odds are it came from CAB. They make the best patties I have ever had, better than any in Jamaica, and supply them to all the Jamaican spots around town. They offer their patties frozen and they are great to have in the freezer for snacks, check them out!

Jamaican Beef Patty from CAB

Caribbean American Bakery Co.
1539 West Howard Street
Chicago, IL 60626
(773) 761-0700

Caribbean American Bakery on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Ben said...

A friend's family growing up operated a Jamaican bakery, and I always looked forward to "heritage day" or similar in school when everyone would bring in food items from their ancestry. This kid of course always brought patties.

A Jamaican lunch sounds pretty good right now, in addition to the patties and bread it shouldn't be too hard to find that other necessary component on Howard.


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