The West Loop reminds me of what the Meat Market in NY was probably like before Christian Louboutin and Diane Von Furstenberg moved in. Oprah has her studio here and slowly over the years the area has built up. A few of the top restaurants in Chicago like Blackbird & The Publican call the West Loop home, plus Stephanie Izard’s new place will be opening here in Spring.
But what brought me to the West Loop was J.P. Granziano grocery store. I had been hearing about this place on LTH forum and since I love all things Italian, I was in. As you enter there are big barrels of dried beans, spices, pasta, & canned tomatoes. They even have mustard with black truffles. I ended up getting their vegetarian sub. It had grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, tomato, lettuce and a balsamic dressing.
A lady I had met awhile back told me about a great sandwich she had at The Brown Sack. It had black beans and plantains on it – doesn’t that sound like a great mix? So this weekend I decided to try my hand at it. First, I decided I needed the ultimate black bean recipe and this one sounded fantastic. I cut everything in half because soaking 4 cups of black beans would yield me 8 cups cooked- a little moderation please.
Soaking/cooking dried beans takes longer, but I promise the extra effort will grant you a more delicious end product. I cut the plantains in half and then halved those pieces again- so had a total of four pieces and fried them in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Then, I took a tortilla and spread the bean mixture on top, laid in a piece of the plantain and rolled.
All this needs is cilantro/sour cream & salsa on the side.