Katy's dumpling house is in Downers Grove (strip mall behind the Jewel on Ogden near Clarendon Hills). Nice find by the suburban hounds. Bare bones operation featuring hand-made, rustic noodles and dumplings. I thought the noodles were a bit too fat and sticky for the pan-fried treatment, but were just right in a black, spicy beef soup with slow-cooked beef, cilantro, and chili oil. This dish was surprisingly similar to the beef noodle dish at Spoon. Also quite good were the salted duck and the pig ear. Several other meat items were offered in plastic to-go containers. Not sure if this is the same stuff sold up Ogden at DiHo, or whether these folks have astall there on the weekend. In the same strip mall are two Indian places, incl. Shree, a S. Indian w/ ok dosai, an Italian beef place (Johnny's) which the guys at Shree say has been around for 20 years and makes its own beef, a Thai place, and maybe more. I'm getting to like strip malls.
Another spot worth mentioning is the newish Mexican butcher on the 4500 block of Magnolia in the City. The butcher makes soups and meats daily. The place is called La Guadalupana, I think, and shares a strip mall with the Burger Bin. I tried barbacoa de borrego (lamb), which was almost Balkan in character, long cooked in a very mild chile sauce with lots of bay leaf and thyme. Other days they have goat and consome and roast chicken. Pozole on Friday and menudo the rest of the weekend. Most important, there's a big "caso" (the huge recliner-size pot with a burner underneath) that is used to make true carnitas on Sundays. So, another carnitas place that might be more convenient than some.
Thank to those who recently touted the Riviera on Harlem near Belmont. Great little grocery with terrific sandwiches and sausage. The neighborhood is easily the most Italian in Chicago, and one of the few in the US where you could make it through the day speaking nothing but Italian. Why didn't someone tell Mario Batali about it? Ha. I take it from talking to the locals that a fresh influx of new immigrants from the poor South, esp. Bari, keep the neighborhood closely connected to the old country. By the way, the caffe next door serves up one of the best espressi in town and has quite the colorful cast of characters.
Last, for those who keep looking for the great little independent donut shops, but can't always make the long trip to Old Fashioned, I have a new favorite in Woodridge on 75th just past 355 on Janes. Bosa donuts is a forgotten chain that probably no longer has any central management. I saw something on an old Bosa in Dallas that specializes in tacos and kolache along w/ donuts. The Chicago outpost is run by a nice older Korean guy. They sell out fast. Good chocolate glaze, nice cake donuts that taste just like good Indian "donuts" and my very favorite (and the owner's pride) a deep-fried, glazed croissant. Damn.
PS, a few people here have advised that Silver Seafood (Hong Kong in Uptown) has gone downhill. I praised this place early and often, and I really like the management. But something has gone seriously wrong in recent weeks. I hope they fix it soon.