Friday, April 5, 2013

French Market Eats

 -Grubbing in Chicago
 Dining Downtown

You know what? As many places as I get too in this great food city of ours I had never been to the French Market until a couple months ago. Located downtown on Clinton within the Metra Building they're open Monday-Saturday and have a collection of independent vendors selling everything from fresh fish to Frites.

Downtown Chicago at Clinton and Randolph

It might not be quite like the Eastern Market in Detroit or the Reading Terminal in Philly but it's a start. Chicago needs a huge indoor year round marketplace which every other metropolis seems to have. For now we'll just have to settle with the French Market. When I say "settle" I speak as if I were some food snob that insists you eat the way I say is proper. Well I'm not and I say that in jest. We're blessed to have what we do in Chicago, believe me it could be way worse. Out first stop inside is too a place that every neighborhood in every area of America could use. Fumare Meats and Deli has to be the most popular place here.

Fumare Meats

Long before I had a camera with which I've take less than 50 pictures of people with I took a trip to Montreal and we all went to the world famous Schwartz's Deli there. I loved it and that just might of been what triggered my now almost sociopath ways of finding places to eat while out and about. Well back to the French Market and Fumare. Great place. Started by a guy who left banking to start something he loved doing they offer a variety of local meats and make one of the best sandwiches in the city. Named so by me and just about anyone else who's had one.

Fumare Montreal Style Smoked Meat Sandwich

What's smoked meat? It's not BBQ which is also that by definition. It's more like a kosher style of pastrami you'd find in the delis of NYC with a slight taste of smoke from cooking. It's similar in prep (they use brisket though not the navel) but different in the seasoning and spices used. It's unique to Montreal although like any popular regional eat it expands. Fumare doesnt claim to make an authentic version of this sandwich just one in similar style. That style is one I can dig.

One of the cities best Sandwiches

As far as the rest of the French Market food options go there is some left to be desired but the way I see it, downtown has never been a foodie destination so to say. If I worked near the French Market or took the Metra to the same station it sits in five times a week I'd appreciate the fact it was there but I'd also wish it was more of a destination rather than holdover. Delightful Pastries has some pretty good stuff like the ham and cheese croissant while the pommes frites at Frietkoten Belgian Fries and Beer were good for fries they weren't all that different from them. I've had better representations of the popular Belgian street snack elsewhere. I had a pretty good cheap eats samosa from the Indian inspired Klay Oven Kitchen.

Delightful Pastries 

Quick Eats

Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwich Shop

My second favorite eat to date out of this place is also a sandwich. The "Hen House" at Saigon sisters came rec'd in a TOC sandwich article and tasted pretty great. I say this for the area. Nothing here is cheap and neither are these but they're good. I think the meats and bread which is always fresh because of constant traffic make these bahn mi's pretty fantastic. I'm just not a fan of the ones with cheap mystery meat. They have a restaurant menu location on Lake street which I haven't been too. Looking forward to seeing what else they have or may come.

 Note: There is free validated parking with $20 purchased.

Caramelized Chicken with lemongrass, ginger, mint, lime, crushed peanuts and mayo

Chicago French Market
131 N Clinton St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 930-4220

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