Monday, July 1, 2013

Iguana Cafe

Location: 517 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60642
Iguana Cafe on UrbanspoonIguana Cafe on Foodio54
A Quick Word:
Searching for great study spots in Chicago has become more and more difficult.  For several years, I have heard about Iguana Cafe, but for some reason, I never stopped by.  Finally, my friend and I decided to give it a shot.  This European style cafe serves their own coffee blend and all the different coffee drinks you can imagine (yes, including alcoholic ones).   They have an extensive list of food items, surpassing the typical muffins, oatmeals, and cold sandwiches the other coffee shops in the city offer.  One of my favorite food items is their crepes, which are stuffed with a variety of ingredients and can range from sweet to savory.  Unfortunately, the waiters and waitresses is what prevents this place from getting a perfect rating.  At least in the afternoons, they try to get you out as soon as possible so trying to study here turns more into a "how can I avoid the waitress" session.  The mornings are similar, but not as bad.  I think they realize more people study or do work in the AMs.  Anyway, for that reason along with amazing food, I decided on a 4-mile rating for this cafe in Chicago's West Loop.

What We Ate:

Create-Your-Own Crepe

I absolutely loved this crepe.  We created our own with prosciutto, sauteed spinach, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and feta cheese.  At first I was hesitant ordering this for breakfast... but I couldn't have been happier.  The crepe was huge and double stuffed.  The actual crepe was buttery and had the perfect crisp, yet soft texture that was reminiscent to my favorite crepe man in Paris.  They only disappoint (which was a big disappointment) was their prosciutto.  It was more like deli ham.  I wish we just had a vegetarian crepe.  They fold them into a triangle shape and serve it with a garlic aioli.

Olive Cheese Spread

So when this dish arrived at the table, my friend and I were surprised on what we ordered.  Personally, I read the menu wrong... I thought we ordered more of an olive/cheese plate rather than a spread.  But anyway, it was tasty and addicting.  The spread was made with kalamata olives, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and pita bread.  The pita was served toasted and was very plentiful.  I wasn't sure if we would run out of pita or spread first... but we figured out that we could eat the spread plain... yes it is that good.  Maybe serve it with some carrots as well?

Irish Coffee

Nothing like having their signature blend coffee with Jameson Whiskey and whipped cream!  They definitely do not skimp on the whiskey which was surprisingly strong for my friend and I.  I mean, she was trying to do questions and I was trying to read and drinking these coffees was probably not the greatest idea... but it was tasty.

Double Shot Espresso

The double shot espresso actually arrives in a small sippable mug as opposed to a regular cup like at starbucks or caribou coffee.  The coffee has a perfect amount of crema on top and had more of a mild-to-moderate boldness.  I really enjoyed their espresso because it wasn't burnt like other places.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- What to do:  After entering the cafe, find the hostess and she will seat you at a specific table that doesn't have a "reserved" sign.  You will get menus and they will take your order and bring everything to your table.  If you are getting coffee to go, then just go to the quick service bar area and order.
- Do share food.  The portions are larger than expected and very filling.
- Be aware that they can add a $3.00 charge per person for people not ordering.  I think this is similar to the European surcharge for people using the cafe.

- Don't come here to study at night... the place gets busy, loud, and not as friendly.

Interior of Iguana Cafe
How far would I walk for this food?

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