Monday, August 27, 2012

Pleasant House Bakery

Location:  964 W. 31st St., Chicago, IL 60608
Twitter:  @PHbakery
Pleasant House Bakery on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
Pleasant House Bakery has recently become one of my favorite local restaurants and a staple in my couple week rotation of take out eating.  They offer classic English pies ranging in fillings from steak to chicken and even various vegetarian options.  After my first bite, I was reminded of my short stay in London a couple years ago.  The pies are identical in style, flavor, and the crusts were just as flaky.  It's funny because in London they were never baked to order and the same is at Pleasant House.  Its almost better this way and definitely makes for a quick lunch.  I know this restaurant was recently chosen for best cheap food in Chicago and I agree.  For about $8, you can have any of their pies, which makes for a filling meal whether its lunch or dinner.  For all these reasons and the ones listed below, I felt great giving them a perfect rating!

What I ate:

Steak and Ale Pie

Where to start... I love this savory pie, and I honestly crave it almost weekly.  This English classic has huge chunks of beef, softened carrots, ale, and plenty of herbs to season the entire pie.  It has an extremely buttery and flaky crust.  The meat is super tender and very moist.  Also, there is plenty of gravy or sauce inside the pie so it doesn't get dry at all.  I think each pie is big enough to fill up one person, so make sure to order a pie per person.

Mushroom and Kale Pie

Another amazing pie!  This is their vegetarian option, and I think it will please even the die hard meat eaters.  The pie has a generous helping of kale, assorted mushrooms, scallions, herbs, and parmesan cheese that has all been cooked down in white wine.  I really enjoyed having the mushrooms be thicker cut; therefore, I was able to actually taste mushroom and not just eat mush.  The parmesan cheese was a nice touch that helped keep the pie extremely moist inside.  Once again, the pie was encased in a light, buttery, and flaky crust.  Definitely a must try, but I would choose the steak and ale pie over this one in a heartbeat.

Chocolate Crisp Cookie

So when I first saw this cookie, I was skeptical on why it was labeled chocolate and why they claimed they were so popular.  After biting into it, I realized that I should have bought a dozen of them.  These were absolutely amazing and could be one of the best cookies I have ever eaten (if you could call it a cookie).  I felt like there was no flour in these cookies and it was more like just two butterscotch crisps sandwiching a layer of soft, melted chocolate.  It definitely hit the sweet tooth, but wasn't overly rich. I can't wait to try their other varieties!

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Do follow them on Twitter.  You can find their food truck roaming the streets of Chicago, which is amazing because their restaurant location is farther south than most people like and is a little small with only a handful of seats.
- Do order their pies.  I know they have a carving service at night and also other dishes like fish and chips.  But, they are famous for their pies for a reason and I think everyone needs to try them before branching out.

- Don't forget to order dessert.  Their cookies are to die for and anything they make must be somewhat tasty.
- I wouldn't come to the restaurant with a big group... It isn't really the nicest place to sit down and have a dinner, but it is BYOB so that is a plus.

How far would I walk for this food?