Over Christmas break, Lara and I took a short trip to Chicago to visit our cousin Anna, and to just enjoy walking around downtown, do some shopping and of course eat some good food! We were only there for a little over a day, but we did manage to sneak in some tasty treats in that short amount of time.
We arrived in downtown Chicago in the morning, and after some shopping, we were ready to find something for lunch. We found a cute little place called Toni's Patisserie and Café which was perfect. This place was loading with the most fabulous looking pastries, cookies, breads and chocolates. When I saw baguette sandwiches on the menu I knew we had found lunch. We decided to split the Le Breton sandwich, a chewy baguette with ham, salted butter, cornichons and gruyere, delicious!
Since we split lunch, that meant it was okay to get dessert of course! Since this was over Christmas break, something festive seemed like the right thing to eat, so we got the eggnog tart, creamy custard in a cookie crust with chocolate and whipped cream. A beautiful end to this delicious experience.
As we continued our walking around, I was just starting to get a little tired when I saw the sign for Magnolia Bakery. Of course I've heard about Magnolia Bakery numerous times, and even though we weren't in New York City, I decided I needed to check it out and see what all the fuss is about. It was a very cute little shop, with tons of people working behind the counter. I wanted to stay and watch them make the cupcakes. I picked out the gingerbread cupcake with vanilla bean butter cream to try. To be honest I wasn't all that impressed. While I loved the light and creamy buttercream, the actual cake was pretty dry, and not anything all that special. At $3.50 a pop I think I'll stick with my homemade cupcakes when I'm feeling a cupcake craving.
Even though the cupcake wasn't that great, I'm glad I got to stop and see what Magnolia Bakery is all about. I know I didn't visit the original, but at least when I read about it again, I'll have some idea what everyone is talking about.
After a day downtown, Lara and I were ready to head to my cousins place to relax, and of course eat dinner. We ended up at a place called Rocks, which Anna said she'd been wanting to try. It was too dark in there to even try to get a photo so I can't share any pictures of my delicious burger. It was the signature Rocks burger which was a cooked to order 8 ounce patty on a soft pretzel roll with bacon, pepper jack cheese, onion strings, lettuce, tomato and a side of giardiniera and fries of course. I'll admit that I'm a sucker for anything on a pretzel bun and this did not disappoint.
Our final food stop in Chicago was for breakfast before we headed back to Michigan. In my opinion, all a fabulous breakfast needs is a delicious pastry and some good coffee. The Floriole Cafe and Bakery in Lincoln Park delivered just that. I found this cute little place online and knew I had to visit it before leaving. Walking in the door, we found a display case piled high with croissants, calfoutis, scones, galettes, pound cakes, sticky buns, quiche and tartines. I was in heaven.
Since I was feeling like something a little lighter for breakfast, I went with a basic croissant. It was fantastic, buttery and flakey, crisp on the outside, soft and light on the inside. Lara decided on the almond croissant, a twice baked croissant soaked with rum syrup and filled with almond cream. To. Die. For.
Sitting in the front window, breaking into beautiful pastries and sipping delicious coffee, it was a wonderful way to end the trip. A perfect ending to a fun couple of days.
I would recommend any of the places we went on this trip. In fact, I want to go back right now and do it all over again!