Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter

May 15, 2012 and May 23, 2012
100 E. Walton St., Chicago, IL 60611
Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
This place is exceptional and reminds me of cafes and bakeries in Europe.  It is definitely on-of-a-kind and I haven't found anything that comes close to it in Chicago.  They bake all their breads in shop and early every morning... from croissants to their famous Belgian Loaves... all i can only say is WOW and this is a must visit!  Only reason why I didn't give it the label of "5 miles" was because of the limited seating options and the unfortunate visits when they ran out of everything (even in the morning).

What I ate:

My first bag of their Macarons!

Left to Right:  Pistachio, Lemon, Mocha, Raspberry
WOW!  They have huge macarons and are not sacrificing anything when making them.  I couldn't believe the flavors that came threw.  I went ahead and purchased a couple of each flavor (mocha (brown), pistachio (green), raspberry (pink), and lemon (yellow)).  Biting into the first macaron I was amazed.  I tried the lemon... and the flavor was absolutely bright and refreshing... I haven't had macarons this good since I was in Paris.  The pistachio reminds me of some of the best pistachio gelato in Europe and the mocha has a slight chocolate flavor.  They were slightly chilled and the filling was extremely rich--reminding almost of a thick ice cream.  The outer component had a little crisp to it and the centers were super soft.  The owners asked me if I had ever tried their macarons before and I told them this was my first time.  They were curious what people thought... and I have heard nothing short of phenomenal.  And I 100% agree... I am now addicted to these macarons and will be taking a weekly trip back to this bakery for this special treat.

Black Cherry Croissant

Recommended by one of the owners... this croissant is amazing for people that love fruits.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but biting into the freshly baked croissant to find a filling of black cherries in the middle was awesome.  The croissant was flaky and there was quite of few cherries in the middle of my croissant. They do sit out on an open area for most of the day, so if you come later in the afternoon, they will either be sold out or not as flaky.  I recommend coming early!

Goat Cheese, Pistachio, Honey, Olive Oil, and Thyme Sandwich

After seeing this sandwich on their menu, I was excited because all those ingredients are some of my favorite.  They had other options like Curry chicken salad but in the end, I stuck with this sandwich and I couldn't have been happier!  The goat cheese was laid on thick and drizzled with a very sweet honey and a nice olive oils.  The fresh thyme could really be tasted and the pistachios gave the sandwich the much needed textural element--a crunch!  It was served on slices of their famous Belgian bread which had an extremely soft center and a drier crust.  The edges were chewier so I suggest eating those parts first.  It definitely filled me up!

The DOs/DON'Ts:

- Get their early for the best options... and definitely the freshest!
- ORDER MACARONS!  If you don't, you will be missing out of a wonderful and tasty experience!
- If you want to try multiple options, make sure to get their 1/2 soup and 1/2 sandwich combo... eating a full goat cheese sandwich is a rich meal, so having half with their homemade soup is a great option!

- Don't expect to always get a seat in this small bakery... you might just have to take it "to go."
- Don't drive... parking on Walton is next to impossible.
- Don't miss the store... it is tucked away on an "above-street" level... you have to walk up a small set of stairs (look for a big silver handrail).

How far would I walk for this food?

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