Sunday Reading and Soho House Chicago – 8.17.14

Soho House Chicago, The Allis

It’s the first Sunday that actually feels like fall. I know, blogs commonly (or always) cover the topic of weather, but I’m writing this for my own record-keeping purposes.

Clocking in at (a deceptive) 72 degrees in Chicago today, I walked home from Lincoln Park fully clothed and still felt cold. Yes, I’m notoriously chilly most of the time, but I can’t believe on August 17th we’ve reached the point of cooler breezes, zip-ups, and thick, hand-warmingly hot mugs of tea.

To commemorate this date, I’m currently roasting garlic in my oven to make a creamy roasted garlic and asparagus soup. I also picked up a serious bounty of vegetables yesterday at the farmers’ market, including some gorgeous radishes, vibrant green onions, and greeny, glorious purslane. I’ve never used purslane before, so I’m hoping I can find ways to work it into my kitchen menu this week.

And if you’re wondering where the above piece of cake comes from (chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, topped with marshmallow…um…hi) I was served this after eating a generous helping of ratatouille quiche and sipping on espresso with almond milk at The Allis Lounge, a cafe inside the recently opened Soho House Chicago in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.

I’m beyond excited and honored to be an Under 27 Founding Member of Soho House Chicago – especially after seeing how this club prioritizes creativity and collaboration. The fantastic news is that you don’t have to be a member to enjoy many of the amenities that Soho House Chicago has to offer – namely, Brendan Sodikoff’s Chicken Shop and Pizza East restaurants, as well as the cafe, where I peacefully ate a late brunch and got lost in a good book yesterday afternoon. If you’re in the West Loop area, stop by and take a look around – it’s right across the street from Green Street Smoked Meats, High Five Ramen, and RM Champagne Salon.

Here’s what I’ve been reading/hearing about this week:

- Starbucks “PSL” or Pumpkin Spice Latte will make its earliest debut EVER this year – August 25th. Just…why?

-  Speaking of lattes, nut milks are obviously #sohotrightnow…but what are this drink’s downfalls? I found this post to be incredibly informative

- Ultra marathoning exists. That means running 70 miles, in some instances. Let’s not talk about how many I can or cannot run…

- A diet that will help you balance your hormones – great post from The Holy Kale

- Here’s what French kids eat as their school lunch. True or not, it’s exciting to imagine the potential for kids’ lunches here in the States

- Feeling lazy? Here’s how to make yourself work

- The New York Times caused quite a stir this past week with “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers“…yikes

- Thanks to the Trib for this awesome resource – 100 cookies classes in the Chicago area!

- This food blog brings me joy – I love stumbling upon great content and gorgeous photos

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Falling in Love with Breakfast (and Bread) at Cellar Door Provisions

Cellar Door Provisions When was the last time that you deeply appreciated a beautiful, satisfying breakfast – a breakfast that you wanted to tell someone about?

I’m not talking about a meal where you went to the trendiest spot in town and couldn’t wait to check in on Foursquare. I’m not talking about bragging over VIP brunch service at a place that lets the champagne corks fly, or a place that tacks on like, 10 pieces of bacon to your Bloody Mary which you just Instagrammed but didn’t really want to eat because its kind of ridiculous.

No.

Today I’m talking about a really perfect breakfast in a humble little storefront, nestled in the heart of Logan Square.

Enter Cellar Door Provisions – a cafe that I would stalk every day if I had my choice and lived in the neighborhood.

Cellar Door Provisions menu Cozy, intimidate, friendly.

Immediately upon walking inside Cellar Door Provisions you feel at home. It’s almost as if you’re in someone’s tidy little abode, and they’re just in the back kitchen making your breakfast, genuinely excited for your company.

The menu is scribbled on long sheets of paper hanging from the wall. That’s it.

In the midst of placing my order, I had my eye on the last piece of plum cake sitting pretty in the glass case, so this was brought out as an almost appetizer to my breakfast.

plum cake at Cellar Door Provisions

It almost looked too lovely to eat. Almost…

The inside of the cake was dense. If you love bread pudding, you would fall hard for this dish. The outer crust, while appearing burnt, is actually cooked perfectly. One bite of this pudding cake with bright, sweetened plums bursting throughout will have you reveling in a dish you didn’t even know you really ever wanted until now.

I couldn’t wait for my entree to arrive, especially because I hadn’t done any research before visiting, an absolute rarity for me. Brian had heard some impressive feedback from one of his coworkers, but little did I know that each plate would come out looking flawless, and perfect, and fresh.

Cellar Door Provisions Cellar Door Provisions Cellar Door Provisions

I went with the ricotta tartine, as there is nothing I love more than ricotta and toast in the morning.

Typically I eat this meal at home on a weekend morning with fresh tomatoes, sea salt, and a generous drizzle of olive oil on Ezekiel bread. I usually stand in my quaint apartment kitchen while savoring every morsel of toast, I’m almost always still in my pajamas, and I’m probably reading a magazine or a newspaper.

But this – this was quite the treat. Homemade (incredible…) bread topped once again with those delectably sweet plums, creamy buttermilk ricotta, and delicate seasonal greens.

I couldn’t get over the perfection of this bread. It’s the kind we all love but rarely get to eat. Pillowy and warm on the inside, with a slight barrier of crust on the outside. I was no longer wondering why just “bread and butter” was a menu item.

Cellar Door Provisions Cellar Door Provisions Cellar Door Provisions

Then, there was the lasagna.

Oh god, the lasagna.

I’d love to know where else you can find an absolutely gorgeous plate of food like this for $12 anywhere else in the city? I’d like to believe that my question is rhetorical, but I also would genuinely like to know. Where else? Leave me a comment here. Because I was mesmerized by the beauty of this dish.

Rich, thick layers of noodles once again topped with seasonal greens and plump and juicy tomatoes. I stared at Brian’s dish for a good five minutes before feeling brave enough to ruin its beauty and take a bite. Phenomenal.

Afterwards, Brian caught up with the chef who told us his story about moving from San Francisco. He explained how everyone in Chicago thinks that bread and baked items which have “black” crusts (like the plum cake) are overcooked, when really, this is entirely normal. He talked about the differences in calibrating ovens and even swapped flour with Brian. In the meantime, I was busy staring into a bag, taking pictures of this…

Cellar Door Provisions

Bread. For $6.

Oh, how I hope Cellar Door Provisions sticks around for awhile. Since we don’t live in the neighborhood, Brian and I wanted to get transportation out of the way and ended up cabbing there and back. I promise you, if you visit, you will be so satisfied and happy. And you’ll want to tell all of your friends about it like I did – but because it’s tasty, not because it’s #sohotrightnow(even though it should be).

Cellar Door Provisions: 10/10

To go or no? Gooooo. Please.