Thursday, May 2, 2013

Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop

Location: 2008 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614
Interurban Cafe and Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop is one of the newest bakeries in the city.  But this is no ordinary bakery... this one is located in an alley of Chicago.  Upon first hearing of this bakery, it reminded me of the secret bakeries in Florence, Italy--the ones that supply the other mainstream bakeries in the city.  But Interurban is not like that.  Rather, interurban was utilizing a known kitchen and serving incredible pastries and lunch options from the back window in the alley.  (I assume the rent is cheaper).  The search for the bakery is a fun and memorable experience.  It is easy to find since the location is published, but most people are still skeptical to walk down city alleys.  Trust me, this one is worth it.  After trying a significant portion of their menu, I decided on giving Interurban a 5 mile rating because I can truly say these pastries are some of the best I have ever eaten.  I can't wait to try the rest of the items.

Yeah, see the flag, Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop is located in a random alley in Chicago!
What We Ate:

Cranberry Vanilla Bean Scone

Where to start... This scone is the BEST scone I have ever eaten.  The first of our scones was a cranberry vanilla bean masterpiece.  The outer crust was crispy and buttery.  Just see the bright yellow pastry hiding underneath the golden brown crust.  Once you broke through the crust, you will be met by a soft, pillow like center with just as much richness.  The cranberries were plentiful and the vanilla flavor was prominent.  The contrasting texture with every bite was simply amazing.  The only way to actually understand how good this cone is... is to try it out yourself!  I would walk 10 miles for this scone.

Whole Wheat Strawberry Jam Scone

The owner of this pastry shop recommended her newest scone creation.  The whole wheat strawberry jam scone wasn't on the menu, but I am so glad she recommended it.  The outer edges were also crisped up nicely but this one wasn't as rich.  It tasted a little healthier with that grainy feeling being the pronounced texture with each bite.  The strawberry jam inside provided the much needed sweetness without overwhelming the wheat flavor.  I highly recommend this cone as well.  It was just as perfect as the first one.

Pop Tarts
(Blueberry Orange, Strawberry Vanilla, Apple Cinnamon)

After enjoying pre-packaged pop tarts since I was 4 years old, I was surprised to find a more "adult version" of this classic treat.  They offer different flavors including blueberry orange, strawberry vanilla, and apple cinnamon with the latter flavors being the icing on top of the pop tart.  My favorite was the blueberry orange.  The filing reminded me of chunkier pie filling rather than the gritty filing inside a pre-packaged pop tart.  The crust was my favorite part.  It was light, rich, and crumbly.  I have always been "that kid" that saves the pop tart crusts for the end... and I did the same for this gourmet version.  These are definitely smaller than I would wish, but they are packed with flavors.

Maple Bacon Morning Bun

When I saw maple bacon in the description, I was immediately sold on this morning bun.  It is difficult to describe... I like to think of it as a twist on both a cinnamon roll and the childhood "honey bun".  This morning bun is a very dense pastry that has bacon integrated between the laters of the bun.  It is then caked in a maple syrup glaze (I believe on the bottom) and then baked so the top has no maple glaze.  When biting into it, you will see how dense this bun actually is... making it more filling that people would think.  The bacon adds a wonderful saltiness to the overly sweet maple glaze.  Honestly, you could put maple bacon on just about anything and it would be awesome.  This bun definitely does the job.

Bacon, Roasted Tomato, Mozzarella Tartlet

After all of the sweet options I chose, I wanted to try some of Interurban's tartlets... or more savory options.  Unfortunately, the owner told me they only had one in stock.  Luckily, it was the Bacon, roasted tomato, and mozzarella tartlet.  The quiche like pastry is the savory option that reminds me of a home-cooked breakfast.  The pastry was similar to the pop tart, but a little more airy and flaky.  She is definitely generous with the amount of toppings she places on each tartlet.  The bacon was the overwhelming flavor and in fact, out-shined the tomato all together.  But that was OK, because I love bacon!  Hope to try the other options soon enough.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- HOW TO FIND IT: Find your way to the Northwest corner of the cross streets Halsted and Armitage. Once at that corner, walk about 1/4 of a block until you reach an alley (large enough for a car to drive down).  Look into the alley and look for the Interurban Flag (see picture above).  Head down there and check out the menu.  Then stand at the window and the owner (and only employee) will greet you and ask for your order.  ENJOY!
- They do take credit card.

- Don't visit any of the Starbucks nearby... This place serves pastries, coffees, sandwiches, and other lunch options.  Support small business!

The Menu with Prices.  Check it out!
How far would I walk for this food?

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