Oui oui, Monsieur Crepe Dude!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Feeling like some traditional French cuisine? You must check out La Creperie which is conveniently located near the intersection of Clark and Diversey. The second that you walk in, you are instantly captivated by a sugary blast of air. It will take your mind off the interior of the restaurant which has definitely seen better days; faded wallpaper hangs onto the walls for dear life and every chair in the place is hopelessly wobbly. Yet, it is somehow romantically charming. Plus, the delightful smell of crepes will make those minor set backs more than bearable. Cabaret music plays lightly in the background, totally solidifying the quaint French atmosphere.

The menu features perfectly created crepes, that come either sweet or savory. Sweet options include sugary crepes filled with butter, Nutella, or a wide range of fruit fillings. Whatever you like, La Creperie is more than willing to let you play with the menu and choose your own adventure. For example, we thought banana and Nutella would make a great combination, and our waitress agreed. A few minutes later when we devoured the crepe, we too decided it was a wise choice. In the savory department, crepes come stuffed with fillings like egg and cheese, chicken and veggies, or ratatouille. Whether you want a meal or dessert, they have you covered.

If for some inane reason you head to La Creperie not craving crepes, there are other menu options. Have a traditional escargots appetizer, tasty croque madame, or French onion soup. Although this tiny eatery does not claim to be a cafe, they make a beautiful cappuccino sprinkled to perfection with cinnamon. Another great thing about this place is the prices. The majority of the crepes are $10 or under and perfect for sharing with friends. The owner of the place bustles around striking up conversations and singing to himself while cleaning off tables. You would have to have a heart of stone not to find this absolutely adorable. Judging by how the owner and staff act and by how I felt after the meal, it is safe to say that these crepes are edible happiness. For even more French fun, go on a Thursday night to hear live music from 8-11pm.

In today's review:

La Creperie
2845 N Clark
Chicago, IL 60657

The New Kid on the Block

Thursday, February 5, 2009

On Wednesday evening Brynn and I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of Chicago's newest Indian food restaurant: Chutney Joe's. Conveniently located on the first floor of the University Center on South State St., Joe's is a great place to stop for a quick lunch.

The place is fast food/diner style rather than a traditional sit down restaurant. You step up to a long counter and create a meal out of the eight available dishes. Four are curries featuring simmered meats like chicken tikka masala, lamb, pork vindaloo, and beef. The other four are vegetarian like saag paneer (spinach and cheese), bean curry, chickpea masala, and aloo gobi (cauliflower and potato). Chutney Joe's unique menu lets you make a combo of two of the eight dishes plus a scoop of rice or generous piece of naan bread. This combo is a large and filling portion and runs you only $7.99. Smaller portioned meals includes one of the entrees in a rice bowl or wrapped in a piece of naan.

Of course there are other tempting little morsels after you create a combo. Like the vegetable samosas. Crispy and flavorful, these were really good although tiny compared to versions at other restaurants. All vegans will be happy to know the the samosas and two of the veggie dishes are 100% vegan. Last but not least at the checkout counter you can sample all six flavors of chutney at no extra charge. The cilantro chutney is perfect on the samosas and the mango is sweet and tangy!

Since the place just opened, the managers and employees are still working out the kinks. My order of samosas (that includes two pieces) was confused as two separate orders, and I got charged an extra $3 by mistake. After getting the refund straightened out my meal was already cold. Good thing it was still tasty!

As is usually the case, I thought the dishes could be a bit spicier, but Brynn found the flavoring to be perfect. We loved how each table had a card with instructions on how to cool off food that was too spicy for you. If you are new to Indian food, this might just be the best place to start. With it's low prices and simple menu, you will not be overwhelmed or wary of trying a new dish. Just go for it!

In Today's Review:

Chutney Joe's
521 South State St.
Chicago, IL 60605