Nov 052014

Coffee & Doughnuts | Endgrain

Depending on what food calendar you go by, it’s National Doughnut Day – a day when all the good boys and girls are rewarded with fried doughy sugar conveyance of their choice. I choose to believe it’s today, and if I’m wrong? I’ll celebrate again in June. There’s no downside really.

Endgrain Doughnuts

My current favorite doughnut spot is Endgrain Restaurant (1851 West Addison). Every morning, except Saturday, they offer a gourmet doughnut and an endless cup of coffee for $5. The deal runs from 7am to 3pm or whenever they run out.

And they do run out. Endgrain won this year’s DonutFest trophy. If you can take your eyes off the doughnut case long enough, you’ll spot it on the top shelf of the bar. I’ve tasted enough of their doughnut offerings to know it’s well-earned.

Coffee & Doughnuts | Endgrain

Choices vary at Endgrain, but I seem to go for an alcohol-glazed concoction or a honey glazed doughscuit more often than not. The salted caramel is always a great option and I may be back for a pumpkin doughnut if my tolerance for seasonal celebrations holds out long enough. The biggest indulgence? A doughnut studded with bacon chunks and butterscotch that was the perfect salty-sweet balance. Plus pork.

Do yourself a favor and pop in to Endgrain today. Or any day that deserves to be celebrated with doughnuts.

Apr 252014
Apple Pancake | Delightful Pastries

Apple Pancake

A few days ago, Delightful Pastries (1710 N Wells St.) lured me in with the promise of a new brunch menu and a strong cup of coffee. Given this spot is my current go-to for quality paczki, I expected a quality meal, a bottomless cup, and no rogue breakfast mash-ups à la wonuts.

Delightful Pastries queued up the pancakes as I sat down. As much as I love them, most recipes use baking powder/baking soda and are too caustic for my mouth. I can’t handle more than two bites. However, Chef Robert assured me that his pancakes are made with club soda, his grandmother’s secret recipe, and no other leavening agents.

The result? Cakes that were as light and fluffy as any I’ve had. With freshly shredded Mutsu apples in the mix, I was a goner and ate the whole stack.

Carrot Cake Pancake | Delightful Pastries

Carrot Cake Pancake

Apparently the club soda method came into use during WWII when many ingredients were in short supply. It’s a life-changing discovery for me, and I can’t wait to try it at home. But if I choose not to use my new-found knowledge, I can always return for more Carrot Cake Pancakes. The combo of pineapple and shredded carrots is incredibly moist, and the sweet cream cheese sends it over the top. This dish is dessert for breakfast.

If you’re in the mood for savory, pile on the pork with scrambled eggs and ham with bacon, bacon, and an extra thick slice of bacon. I call it too much bacon, but these folks refer to it as Bacon, Bacon Yum. The Polish Toast, with cheese, tomato, and bacon, may be enough to give you a fix of swine, but why not go whole hog and order it as a side for your Bacon, Bacon Yum?

I won’t judge.

I was not financially compensated for this post. Brunch was provided to me for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


Mar 022014

Filled with delicious raspberry goodness.

I made the trek on Saturday to Delightful Pastries in Jefferson Park to satisfy my annual pączki fix. I almost didn’t go, but was determined get out of the house. The power of powdered sugar is greater than powdered snow. Am I right?

If you don’t know, pączki are Polish doughnuts made in the days before Lent to use up the lard, sugar, and flour the religiously observant forego until Easter. These pastries are traditionally filled with plum or rose hip jelly, though a host of flavors ranging from Bavarian cream to apple can be found. Delightful Pastries also included boozier versions made with Jameson Whisky, moonshine, and Vodka fillings. My temptation to hibernate was doomed.


Plum jelly and creme paczki make for a decadent combo.

Pączki are thicker and firmer than regular doughnuts in order to hold the fillings. In the hands of lesser pączki makers, this could mean a dry or tough doughnut. Not at Delightful Pastries — each bite was tender and held enough sweetness to justify the gluttony.

Four flavors made it home with me: raspberry, plum with whipped cream, vodka and custard with vanilla, and apricot. I didn’t taste the vodka in the custard-filled pączki, and though it was great, I find I prefer the fruity versions with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. A little bit of apricot is all it takes to make me a happy clam.


Almost enough paczki to make it through brunch.

Though you can probably find pączki for a while yet, to be completely traditional, you should probably get yours before Wednesday. For times and locations, visit Delightful Pastries on-line.

Have a favorite pączki flavor? Share!