Another Candle: Part I
I have been a birthday person for as long as I can remember. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with embracing the one day a year that is all about you. If your birthday is anything like mine, it usually turns into an eating extravaganza. This year, it was nothing short of that, which is why the meals will be best showcased in two parts.
We kicked off the weekend Friday night at La Scarola with a pre-birthday celebration with my parents. The authentic Italian restaurant is always packed with people and there is about as much space to move around as in an airplane bathroom. I love the framed photographs of prior patrons, along with the Italian wall frescos, both giving the feeling the restaurant has been around many years.
The menu boasts that their Pasta & Fagiole soup is the best in the city, so naturally I had to try that. While the hearty soup is very flavorful with the touches of wine and basil, there were way too many beans in the soup for my liking.
My husband and I split the Pollo Ponzio and Rigatoni Arrabiata. The Pollo Ponzio is chicken breast sautéed with shallots, mushrooms and artichokes in light tomato wine sauce topped with roasted imported provolone. The Rigatoni Arrabiata is spicy tomato sauce topped with fresh mozzarella and basil. The thinly pounded chicken offered robust flavors from a dish you won’t find at most Italian restaurants, while the pasta was a classic but delicious addition. Currently the leftovers are taunting me in my fridge and I cannot wait to devour them tonight!
For dessert my parents got my favorite cupcakes: Sweet Mandy B’s moist banana chocolate chip with chocolate frosting. Although so many of their sweets are fabulous, I believe these to be the very best treat the adorable, old-fashioned style Lincoln Park bakery offers.
Saturday we went to my very favorite brunch spot, Milk and Honey. The quaint cafe is so inviting with their enticing case of baked goods, handwritten menus on hanging chalkboards and laid back atmosphere. They offer a variety of gourmet sandwiches, specialty breakfast items and homemade soups. This place just makes me happy!
I started my birthday off right with a blood-orange Mimosa!
The Huevos Rancheros is a must-order. Scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa picante, tortilla pieces, and cheddar cheese are baked in a personal sized casserole dish, and served with chipotle creama on the side. While huevos rancheros is not a unique dish, nobody’s presentation is quite like theirs.
Not something I normally order, I had completely underrated Milk and Honey’s pancakes. The pancake special changes weekly, but they are always thick in size, yet light and fluffy in consistency and topped with some sort of wonderful fruit combination. Yesterday’s pancakes were Kiwi Strawberry. Let’s just say I was sad I didn’t get in on these until they were almost gone. I won’t make that mistake again.
Stay tuned for Part II…