Places We Like: Pleasant House Bakery

Pleasant House Bakery

964 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60608
b/t Farrell St & Morgan St
Bridgeport

Saturday, Andrew and I had doctor’s appointments in the morning, and we didn’t eat breakfast just in case we had blood work done, so when we got back home, we were STARVING. Nothing by the doctor’s office really appealed to us, leading us to return to a favorite of ours: Pleasant House Bakery. Sadly, we found out when we walked in that they’re planning to move to a new location that is definitely out of walking distance for us, so it might have been the last time we actually visit this place in person. šŸ˜¦

This is really sad, because this is the place we take people who are visiting Bridgeport — it’s just the best. Their menu is fairly simple, but it’s surprisingly good. The pies are amazing. My favorite is the chicken balti with the chutney sauce. And even though I know that I’m going to be full and not be able to finish everything, I always get a side of chips with it. In true British style, they offer vinegar for the chips as well. Andrew’s favorite is the mushroom and kale, which I can’t attest to because I don’t like mushrooms, but he generally has very good taste.

mushroom and kale pie
Andrew’s favorite – Mushroom and Kale

I’ve also had the steak and ale pie, which is very good if what you want is meat and potatoes. I wouldn’t call it bland, but it’s quite simple. Usually, I’m in the mood for a little bit of spice, which is why the chicken pie is perfect.

On this particular Saturday, though, I finally tried their fish and chips, and I have to say, it wasn’t my favorite. It’s not that it wasn’t good (though, Andrew didn’t like it very much), but their pies are SO much better. If we end up visiting again at any point in the future, I’m going to stick with my Chicken Balti pie.

chicken balti pie
Oh, Chicken Balti, how I missed you on Saturday

As for the atmosphere, it’s perfect. It’s BYOB with a liquor store right next door, so it’s a perfect place to grab a beer and hang out with friends for a bit. The inside is a bit small, but they have an outdoor seating area which is perfect for large groups on a day with mild weather. We’ll see what happens when they move locations, though.

Places We Like: Bub City (Chicago)

Bub City
435 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

We went to Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science on Saturday and needed a place to eat brunch and hang out beforehand, so we looked up some brunch places in the area and picked Bub City — Andrew was craving some chicken and waffles, and Bub City is a barbecue place, so we figured they’d do a good job with it.

Saturday was ridiculously windy, which we didn’t realize until after we left our place (of course), so our plan to drink a coffee and stroll down the river walk before brunch was changed to just heading straight to brunch and see if they’d take us early. We had 11:30 reservations, but the took us at a little before 11, no problem. Very nice of them, and we appreciated being able to get out of the wind.

Our waiter was incredibly nice and very helpful — he gave us recommendations for what were favorites on the brunch menu, and explained the Bloody Mary bar to us. It sounded amazing, and if you like Bloody Mary’s, I could imagine it being the big draw, but neither Andrew nor I enjoy Bloody Mary’s at all, so we went with a pomegranate margarita (me) and a sweet tea vodka drink (Andrew) to start off our breakfast.

As per usual, Andrew and I were planning to share our breakfasts, so we ordered the chicken and waffles and Brisket Benedict, which was a recommendation from the waiter. And let me tell you, both dishes were SO good. Putting brisket on biscuits over sausage gravy and under a fried egg is beyond genius and one of the best brunch foods I’ve ever had. The chicken and waffles were equally amazing (they serve it with butter, sausage gravy and a jalapeno honey on the side). I drenched one side of my portion with honey and then ate the other side with just butter, and both ways were delicious, though I really appreciated the honey and kind of want to find out how to make my own.

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Chicken and Waffles
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Almost-eaten Brisket Benedict

Of course, with the weather being so bad (and me being a little sick), our plans to walk around Chicago before our show at 2 PM were ruined a bit, so we were able to hang out and take our time. We got a second round of drinks. I got a Crispin Cider (yum!) and Andrew got the house beer, which is a lager. Andrew thought it was pretty good and though he’s not a huge fan of lagers, it was one of the more drinkable lagers he’s had in quite some time.

We had a good time listening to country music and watching sports, and definitely plan to make a trip back for their dinner menu, because if that brisket is any indication of their barbecue, their dinner menu is probably delicious.

Places We Like: The Coffee and Tea Exchange

The Coffee and Tea Exchange
3311 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 528-2241

 

We love this place. It’s become Andrew and my go-to for good coffee, and every time we go we find something new to love. The staff is always friendly and helpful whenever we go and they have great suggestions when we ask them advice on what roast to get. Also, if you need a coffee fix right away, they offered brewed coffee right in the shop.

The best part is that even though it’s a small, local place, the prices are incredibly reasonable and they have a huge selection. We’re currently working our way through the various flavored coffee they offer, but so far we’ve really enjoyed the Tiramisu, with the Swiss Chocolate and Almond coming in a close second. Our favorite used to be the French Mocha, but there was a sale on the Northwest roast, so we tried it and found it that we actually liked it better. For a dark roast like the French Mocha or Northwest, it’s 11.95/lb, which is cheaper and tastes better than most chain coffees. Better yet, they have weekly sales, so if you want to try something new at a lower cost (like we did!), that’s definitely an option.

We go here about 2-3 times a month, and it is always worth it. Definitely something to check out if you’re a coffee and tea lover and in the Chicago area.

Places We Like: La Mexicana Taqueria

Where:

La Mexicana Taqueria
815 W 35th St Chicago IL, 60609
(773) 890-1090
Website

My number one complaint when I moved to the Midwest was that there wasn’t enough good Mexican food. Seriously. There are generally two options: overpriced and decent or cheap and terrible. I don’t understand what makes it terrible, but people in Evanston just couldn’t figure out how to do a good salsa or, really, any Mexican sauce. So when Andrew and I moved to an area close to the Mexican neighborhoods of Chicago, I was so excited. I could actually order good Mexican food and not have to make it myself? Really? I felt like life in Chicago was finally becoming the best it could be.

We ordered online from La Mexicana Taqueria before and really enjoyed the steak and chicken tacos. But, there’s such a difference between food that’s been sitting for 15-30 minutes while on its way to you and food straight out of the oven, so we decided to actually visit this place a week or two ago.

SERVICE

The workers were incredibly nice and did a nice job of hitting the right balance between giving good service and checking in too much. They made sure we were taken care of, but also left us to enjoy our dinners.

DRINKS

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I got a pina colada, because there was a $5 special for them, and Andrew got a margarita, because he loves his margaritas. It came in such a cute glass! The pina colada was a little too sweet for me, and I made a note not to order just based on specials next time, because I probably would have been happier with a margarita.

Andrew: The margarita was good, but nothing super special. I will say that the amount of alcohol in it was substantial.

DINNER

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I ordered a steak burrito suizo — with rice and beans, of course, because it’s my favorite part of Mexican food. I know that’s silly, since they aren’t very complicated, but they’reĀ delicious. The dinner was so good — really, everything I look for in a Mexican meal. The burrito had really nice cilantro and onion flavors cooked into the steak. Delicious. Of course, along with the rice and beans, it was way too much food for me to finish, so I had to save half of it. Luckily, when heated up in an oven for a bit, it holds up great as leftovers. As someone who frequently gets overexcited about food and has a small stomach that can’t fit a lot of food in it, the quality of how it holds up for the next day is incredibly important to me.

Also, the price was incredibly reasonable. $9.95 for my dinner. Not too bad.

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Andrew ordered the carne asada — his favorite Mexican dish. It came cooked medium rare and he thought it was delicious. I swear, we hardly talked during dinner, because both of us were shoveling food into our mouths and thoroughly enjoying the experience. Andrew didn’t take his eyes off that carne asada until it was finished. I took a piece and also thought it was yummy.

His dinner was a bit more expensive, and I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but I think it was around $15 or so. For what is basically a steak dinner, incredibly well-priced.

In short, I believe this is very much going to be our favorite local Mexican place. The food is delicious, reasonably priced, and the people were really nice to us when we went there. They also haveĀ good rotating specials, which makes trying new things exciting, since we can eventually branch out to something we don’t usually eat and not have to spend a lot to do so. Guess we’ll have to go back often so we can try everything. šŸ™‚