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Best Bakeries Downtown...Chocolate preferred.

s
servpro8912 Jun 27, 2004 05:19 PM

My wife and sister-in-law are headed to the Hyatt downtown this next week (29th-2nd) for business. Living a few hours from San Francisco, they both regularly enjoy the bakeries throughout the City and in North Beach. I'd like to send them to the best bakeries in the Chicago area preferably ones with an inclination towards chocolate! They won't be driving at all, but are willing to take public transportation.
Also, reviewing the board I've discovered Leonidas for Gelato and Chocolate and CaramelCrisp for...caramelcrisp? (Never heard of it but it sounds good! They will be wandering through The Taste of Chicago while they're there also. Thanks from the West Coast!

  1. d
    Deflator_Mouse Jun 28, 2004 11:27 AM

    Not that you need anymore places after all the great leads folks have written about, but just in case . . . a couple of other options.

    1) The 2nd floor cafe in the Virgin Megastore on Michigan (in downtown) carries Ethel M chocolates. I strongly recommend the lemon dark chocolate cremes and the raspberry dark chocolate cremes. My wife and I absolutely love them. Most of their other stuff I find good but not extraordinary. Ethel M is based in Nevada and you can mail order their chocolates from anywhere in the U.S. But the Mag Mile Virgin Megastore is one of the few places outside of Nevada where you can buy them live and in person (and by the piece instead of by the box).

    Virgin Megastore
    540 N. Michigan Ave.

    2) Vanille Patesserie is a great spot run by husband and wife pastry chefs. They do some great things with chocolate (and vanilla too). Unfortunately it's not very close to public transportation. The best bet would probably be getting off at the Fullerton stop on the Brown Line and walking about one mile.

    Vanille Patesserie
    2229 N. Clybourn Ave.
    773-868-4574

    2 Replies
    1. re: Deflator_Mouse
      c
      CoolerbytheLake Jun 28, 2004 02:12 PM

      The cafe at Virgin has been closed for a long time.

      1. re: CoolerbytheLake
        d
        Deflator_Mouse Jun 28, 2004 02:47 PM

        Really? When did that happen?

    2. a
      Aaron D Jun 27, 2004 10:00 PM

      Fox and Obel is a Dean and Deluca-type food store with a terrific bakery for both breads and sweets, and easily walkable from the hotel.

      Fox and Obel
      401 E. Illinois St.

      1. s
        sedela Jun 27, 2004 09:04 PM

        on the chocolate front (since you wrote about Leonidas), you might also be interested in vosges haut chocolates which are made by a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu (Paris).

        The store is at 858 West Armitage (very accessible via public transit - a couple of miles north of downtown in a boutique-y area) but they are sold at downtown locations:
        Chicago Boutique:
        520 North Michigan Avenue
        Chicago, IL 60611
        Tel: 312.644.9450
        Hours: M-Sat 10am-7pm Sun 12pm-6pm
        and
        The Peninsula Hotel, Chicago
        108 East Superior
        Chicago, IL 60611
        Tel: 312.335.9858
        Hours: Su-Mon 7am-9:30pm T-Sat 7am-11pm

        they have exotic flavors that involve chili peppers and curry and whatnot.

        Link: http://www.vosgeschocolate.com

        1. j
          JimInLoganSquare Jun 27, 2004 06:52 PM

          "CaramelCrisp" is the tradename Garrett Popcorn Shops uses for its caramel corn. They have several downtown locations and yes, it is worth checking out. Try a mix (caramel, cheese and butter popcorn) for the ultimate indulgence. For caramel corn, I actually prefer one of their competitors, Nuts on Clark, which has a location in Union Station and would be handy for them if they plan to visit the Sears Tower (Nuts on Clark is primarily a roasted nut shop and the original location is on Clark Street a few blocks north of Wrigley Field -- thus the name peculiar-sounding name).

          Link: http://www.garrettpopcorn.com/chicago...

          1 Reply
          1. re: JimInLoganSquare
            a
            ac6788 Jun 28, 2004 02:05 PM

            I love Garrett's CaramelCrisp and the one closest to the Hyatt is at 26 E. Randolph. There is also a Nuts on Clark less than a block away at 180 N. State St. Do your own taste test!

          2. n
            N Tocus Jun 27, 2004 06:13 PM

            Welcome to Chicago, but I'm sorry to tell you that you won't find bakeries downtown. I don't know of a single one between Roosevelt and North Avenue except for a couple of bread places. However, you can easily reach a good bakery by using public transportation. Go to the CTA Chicago website for information but here are a couple of ideas: 1) From Michigan walk west to Dearborn and take the Clark 22 bus going north to a block or so above Foster, your objective being Swedish Bakery. See phone book for address and also give them a call to make sure they're not on vacation when you're here. 2) Take Red Line subway from State & Chicago heading toward Howard. Get off at Fullerton, walk across platform and take Brown Line heading toward Kimball (no transfer needed). Get off at Paulina and walk south on Lincoln one block to Dinkel's, an old German bakery (see website). 3) You might like Albert's Patisserie on Elm between Dearborn and Clark---it's not really a bakery, more of a tearoom., but this is walkable from your hotel.

            2 Replies
            1. re: N Tocus
              t
              Twodales Jun 27, 2004 11:28 PM

              Here is the web site for the Swedish Bakery:

              Link: http://swedishbakery.com/

              1. re: Twodales
                j
                jim Jun 30, 2004 02:39 PM

                If you are going to the trouble of leaving the Loop, try Bittersweet Cafe. It's on Belmont Ave. reachable by walking a couple of blocks west of the Belmont Avenue el station from the Red or Brown lines. Try Chocolate Mousecake if a single portion is available. Flourless Chocolate Soufle Cake ditto. If you taste the Chocolate Macaroons you will never even see another Oreo. There are other occasional available chocolate confections. The chocolate orange ice cream is wonderful. Currently they may have lemon verbena ice cream too.

            2. t
              ToniG Jun 27, 2004 05:47 PM

              Regular board readers will recognize this response, but I think the best bakery in the city is BomBon in Pilsen, on 18th street. Their cakes and pastries are unique (many of them are tres leches recipes, so astonishingly moist and light), tremendously beautiful and delicious. They have many various chocolate variations, though you won't find any traditional three-layer cake type creations there. There is a free shuttle from downtown that goes to Pilsen; I'm sure they can inquire at their hotel. A great afternoon of eating would include lunch at Neuvo Leon right across the street and then a stop at BonBon. If they really like cake, they could bring a small one back to their hotel -- I guarantee they'll eat the whole thing.

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