Cellar Door Provisions
Cellar Door ProvIsions in Chicago’s Logan Square is more than a bakery. Described as the “best cafe in town” in Bon Appetit‘s recent article “Chicago is the Restaurant City of the Year,” it is also a bistro on weekend nights. More importantly what sets Cellar Door Provisions apart is it’s dedication to technique and community oriented sourcing. It’s a high end dining experience at a reasonable price.
Cellar Door Provisions is dedicated to locavore principles. Their sources are local farms, and they make almost everything they serve in house. That includes butter, yogurt, cheese, spice blends, bread and pastries. Their menu changes weekly and sometimes more often.
I thought I was going to Cellar Door Provisions for a healthy gourmet lunch. I soon learned it might also be the best bakery in Chicago. Fortunately, my friend was acquainted with their pastries. We began with caneles before they sold out. They are perfection, tender and custardy inside, with a crackly caramelized crust. A fruit tart was just the dessert for such an earnestly wholesome meal. The one here has a memorable crust, with an extraordinary balance of salt and sweet.
There are many great Chicago bakeries. Nevertheless, I have been longing for one that also incorporates whole grains like Sqirl and Huckleberry in California. I was so excited I returned twice in the next week. The first visit yielded an unusual palmier, made with spelt flour and caraway in addition to sugar, it packs both sweet and savory in every bite. On my subsequent visit I discovered more delicious pastries made with the same care, ranging from rugelah and sesame cookies to monkey bread.
Bread & Butter
Homemade bread and butter are definitely worth considering. The attention to detail is evident in the loaf’s crusty exterior and flavorful tangy center. It’s a hearty choice, the perfect accompaniment to soup or salad.
The lunch menu provides numerous opportunities to sample local produce. Kale salad and squash soup are tasty. Nevertheless they are eclipsed by the dishes that include the ethereal baked goods. The quiche, a revolving staple, is extraordinary, featuring a custard that is incomparably rich. Even the Chinese steamed buns that accompany a melange of roasted vegetables are light and airy.