Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lula Cafe By: Laura Young

Laura Young is an English teacher from Roscoe Village. Her favorite type of food is Indian cuisine and her favorite dish is either Malai Kofta from Essence of India or Chile Relleno from El Tapatio. Laura enjoys dining out for three main reasons: it gets her dressed and out of the house with other grown-ups, ambiance is part of the enjoyment and there is nothing to clean up at home.
When I first moved back to Chicago after a ten-year hiatus, it was bittersweet.  Though I had told my mother I would only come back in a body bag, here I was, single and living in Lincoln Square, a neighborhood thankfully devoid of the vanilla track-everything that I lived in while in Southern California.

I had not ever really experienced “nightlife” or “dating” or “socializing” or being a “hipster” as it were, so when I went on a first date to Lula Café in Logan Square, I was immediately taken by the intimate unique atmosphere, the Radiohead playing in the background, the multitude of thick-rimmed glasses and skinny jeans and ink.  I thought to myself that I had found my home and I didn’t know what had taken me so long to get here.

The boy I was with is long since gone, but my love for Lula’s remains. Yes, there is a long wait and I do suppose it is kind of a scene, but where else can you eat knowing that the food, the service, the farming, the prep are all done in such an impeccable and ethically superior way? Business practices matter much to me, and I have been a fan of “is it local?” long before “is it trendy?" To be able to go out to eat somewhere and know that the food I am ingesting is both good for me and our world? I’ll pay for that. And I’m a picky eater who doesn’t like duck fat, truffle oil, goat cheese or portabella mushrooms. When you couple that with my desire to support local establishments that have good business practices, well, it becomes obvious why I eat at home much of the time.

The last time I was there was with a girlfriend who works in the city, so the Logan Square Blue Line stop across the way means easy access to the restaurant. We shared the chickpea and sweet potato tagine with arugula, cinnamon, harissa, and cous cous, and roasted organic half chicken with olive oil poached fingerling potatoes, garlic spinach, thyme, and pan jus. While we ate, a server came around with samples of a new salad the chef had just come up with, served in chilled spoons with the teeny-tiny lettuce. Later on in the meal, he came back, asking for feedback about the new dish. I’m not certain whether he gave all of the feedback to the chef, but it was a nice gesture. The food was impeccably prepared and delicious, and the wine we had was great, creating the perfect mood for our catch-up dinner as we sat next to the piano, which my girlfriend advised me not to play after we finished off our first bottle.

Lula Café keeps me coming back because I can count on it; it is a restaurant that I often suggest to people, it’s easily accessible by train or car and despite the long lines, does truly meet its hipster reputation.
Lula Cafe
2547 North Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647-2655
(773) 489-9554

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment and be a part of the "Check, Please! Effect"

Search This Blog