Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine (Loop)
I stopped for lunch at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine's "Loop" location (53 E. Lake St.) earlier this week. It's a spot I've worked into my lunch rotation for one stop each month. For take-out, the restaurant is easy to patronize. If you intend to dine-in, the challenge increases - because there are only 4 "two top" tables, seating a total of 8 people.
It's a comfortable place and you're surrounded by merchandise for sale: wines, specialized bottled soft drinks and waters, fresh-baked breads, cheeses and meats for sandwiches or trays.
This visit I found only two other persons sitting at the tables, everyone else was ordering take-out. My sandwich choice was the "Smokey Finnochi": Hand-made Finnochiona salami, smoked mozzarella, red wine vinegar, field greens and pesto - all served on a muscular baguette. Cost: $9.98
The baguette's at Pastoral are muscular - requiring a bit of a struggle as you eat the sandwich. No pain, no gain! Such struggles can be a drawback but this time it wasn't - the sandwich wasn't overpowered by the bread. The salami was so tender and fresh and the taste/flavors so rich I thought it would melt in my mouth.
Photo of the sandwich:
To wash-down the sandwich I had a bottle of Fentiman's Dandelion and Burdock Soda, a drink I'm developing a fondness for.
Photo of the Fentiman's Dandelion and Burdock Soda
Pastoral probably makes the best sandwiches in Downtown Chicago and the Near North Side. They're not inexpensive, but the high-quality ingredients and preparation justifies the cost and I find it acceptable to stop once a month - sort of a treat.
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine - Loop location
53 East Lake Street
In addition to the Loop location mentioned above and the original location in Lakeview, Pastoral also has a location in the new French Market that opened in the Metra station just across the river from the Loop. There are a lot of other food shops there, too. www.frenchmarketchicago.com