Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Paulina Pot Pies

Anyone who lives in the Midwest right now knows how snowy and cold the weather has been this week. So when we were socked with a fairly significant snow and wind storm yesterday, we refrained from driving and took the El in to work. The El is great, and we were truly excited to move to a city with a decent public transportation system. But shortly after we moved in our nearest El stop closed for renovations for a year, leaving us to trek 10 blocks to the next stop. All of which is fine except on days that are as cold and snowy as yesterday. I started my walk from the station home and made it about halfway home yesterday, toes frozen and snow-covered, when I had to take a break. The closest thing that caught my eye was the Paulina Meat Market, a place we’ve driven by countless times but never been in.

I walked in to find a large, open market atmosphere filled with cases of fresh and frozen food, produce and dry goods. What I didn’t even realize was that this meat market is often cited as the top in the city—how lucky are we that it’s within just a short walk of our door? I love Roscoe Village more every day. Chilled to the bone I thought about what would taste good once I finally made it home. While several things looked appealing: roast beef, barbeque pork tenderloin, raviolis, I finally settled on individual chicken pot pies. They remind me of my childhood, as they’re one of three meals (pizza, mac ‘n cheese are the other two) we cycled through when my parents went out and left us with a babysitter. As I peeled off my gloves to pay for the food, the older gentleman behind the counter told me just how much I was going to enjoy these pot pies. He mentioned twice the fact that everything in them except the pastry was homemade, and that they even roasted the chickens themselves to make the filling.

Delighted with my purchase and eager to get home and get warm, I braved the rest of the walk home and immediately turned on the oven. One hour and 400 degrees later, our pot pies were ready. They were golden brown on top and the pastry had puffed above the rim of the container (don’t open your oven once you put it in—that’s the secret here). Peter and I sat down with the latest episode of American Idol, prepared to enjoy the comforting food. The pot pies were delicious. The pastry was light and flaky and covered not just the top, but also the bottom and sides of the dish. It was crispy, not soggy, and was filled with creamy chicken filling that also contained carrots, potatoes, red and green peppers and mushrooms. About halfway through Peter stopped, turned to me, and said (with utter seriousness), “I don’t want my pot pie to end.” He was adorable, and he was right. It was an absolutely perfect meal, and at $7 each, it was an exceptional value. Regardless of whether it’s snowing or whether I happen to be walking by on my way home from the train, I know I’ll stop in at the Paulina Meat Market again to partake of their delicious prepared foods.

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


rightwingprof said...

You've been in Chicago all that time and you haven't eaten at Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill? I'm aghast.

Angie and Peter said...

Well, I actually have been to Frontera, more than once even. We've never eaten there together and thus haven't included it here. However, we do have a gift certificate so we'll be sure to review this local favorite in the upcoming months.