Thursday, March 6, 2014

Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: Lunch, Brunch & Breakfast in Old Town

Recently, Alex and I have started a fun little weekend habit that I love. As long as we have lived in Chicago, Alex has gone to the same little barber shop in the Old Town neighborhood to get his hair cut. For a while he was working in the area and would go during the workday or shortly after work. Now, he usually reserves this for Sunday mornings.

During the holidays, I decided to go up with him one morning and do some Christmas shopping while he got a haircut and then we met for brunch afterward. It was such a nice change of pace and a fun way to start our Sunday morning that we started making it a 'thing' that we do. Sometimes I will pick up my specialty groceries at Plum Market, shop for fun gifts at Old Town Oil or The Spice House, or just get some blogging done at Starbucks while Alex is busy. And then we head off for breakfast, lunch, or brunch at one of Old Town's great little spots: Sometimes it's something tried and true for us, or sometimes it is a brand new place. Here are three spots that we've tried recently that were new to us:

Kanela Breakfast Club
Old Town

I've been dying to try Kanela Breakfast Club for a while. In the warmer months (and even into the winter), there is always a crowd waiting outside so I knew that these people must be on to something. It's a small and cozy restaurant right in the heart of Old Town. The brunch crowd arrives in droves, so show up before 10 if you can and avoid the wait!

While I'm not usually one to order a breakfast appetizer, I was more than happy to make an exception at Kanela. Alex was in a particularly hungry mood and ordered a kanela roll for us to share. What a fabulous idea! Kanela is Greek for cinnamon and this is one of the best cinnamon rolls that I have ever had. It was huge, soft, and warm and topped with a layer of cream cheese icing so thick that it seemed to plunge right through the roll. I agreed to one bite, but had several.

For my entree, I ordered the Lorraine Scramble. It was a play on a quiche Lorraine, filled with three of my favorite ingredients: peppery bacon, creamy gruyere, and sweet caramelized onions. It was such a savory and delicious combination made even better by the side of herb roasted red potatoes. Normally I like a little ketchup with my homefries (yes, like a child), but these potatoes were so flavorful, buttery, and crispy that they were perfect on their own-- and I ate them all.

Kanela is, in my opinion, one of the best places in Old Town for a leisurely sit down breakfast or brunch. Grab your SO or a few friends and head on over for a fabulous brunch!
Kanela Breakfast Club on Urbanspoon


Old Town

Old Town Pour House is one of the newest bars in Old Town where the bar scene can be a little... odd. Old Town is peppered with divey old bars and clubby new ones, without many in between-- until now. Pour House is a huge space with gorgeous wood paneled walls, double height ceilings, and grand staircases, which make it feel fancy. And walls of flat screen TVs to make it fun. Alex had been here for drinks after work before and was craving their fried cheese curds, so we popped in for an early lunch one Sunday.

I was pleasantly surprised with the variety available on the menu here as well as by the quality of the food. This isn't your average greasy pub food. Of course, the fried cheese curds that we shared were a little greasy, but they also had a crispy cornmeal coating and were gooey on the inside-- exactly the way you want them. Pour House serves their curds with a smoked tomato coulis, which had a really bold flavor and worked perfectly with the mild cheesy curds.

Since I started my brunch with fried cheese (not normal), I decided that I should probably make a healthier choice for my entree and went with the spinach salad: A generous portion of crisp spinach leaves topped with beets, apples, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, and crumbled bleu cheese. It was served with a simple and tangy apple cider vinaigrette. The salad was refreshing and filling and the perfect lunch.

Old Town Pour House is a great option for a casual lunch, a drink in the evening, or for watching any and every big game!
Old Town Pour House on Urbanspoon


La Fournette
Old Town

I had been dying to try La Fournette ever since the first time that I peeked in and caught a glimpse of a bakery straight off the streets of Europe. This place is small and cozy and it smells amazing! It's definitely a great place for a cup of coffee, a fresh pastry, and good company. Alex and I stopped in here early on a particularly cold and snowy morning-- it was quiet and lovely.

The menu here is straight out of a French bakery cafe with a variety of freshly baked breads, croissants, and macarons, among other goodies. I held back from stocking up and went straight for the breakfast menu here. La  Fournette offers a variety of sweet and savory breakfast items and as soon as I saw the veggie quiche, I was sold. The quiche at La Fournette has a deliciously flaky and buttery crust with a rich egg and ComtĂ© cheese filling. Layered in the egg mixture is a delicious combination of shredded carrots, celery, and zucchini that gave the quiche a really nice, almost sweet flavor. The portion was very generous to begin with, but if you're in for lunch you can also get a slice of the quiche with a side salad in vinaigrette.

While I almost always choose a savory breakfast when we are dining out, Alex usually opts for something sweet. And by 'something sweet,' I usually mean Nutella crepes... like 90% of the time that we go out for breakfast. He just loves them! La Fournette's tender Crepes “Noisette” were layered with their very own homemade chocolate hazelnut spread. Topped with toasted hazelnuts and a dusting of powdered sugar-- just like they do it in Paris!

I really loved coming here for breakfast and would totally recommend it. Dining in aside though, this place could easily become my go to bakery if I lived in the neighborhood. Their homemade dinner rolls looked amazing and perfect for a dinner party-- whether you're hosting or attending. Between the variety of cookies, croissants, and homemade jams and spreads, you can find anything you need here for a hostess gift. And I am totally in love with French macarons and they had a lovely colorful selection available here too. I'm a fan-- and can't wait to return for a latte and a chocolate croissant very soon!
La Fournette on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

  1. All of the places look amazing, but I can't wait to try Kanela next time I am in Chicago! That kanela roll looks absolutely to die for!! Thank you for sharing, I'll be adding them to my list for sure.

    xo Elle

    https://itsaromanthing.wordpress.com/

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    1. Even if it is just for the Kanela Roll and a cup of coffee, you should definitely stop in! They have a location in Lakeview/Boystown too.

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  2. The last time I tried to go to Kanela (the Lakeview location), there was a huge line and my group didn't want to wait (boo!). I think I'm going to try to check out the Old Town location before summer hits -- the kanela roll looks amazing!!

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    1. Definitely give Kanela a try-- the huge line is a good indicator of how good they are. :) I recommend setting an alarm and showing up early!

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