The trees outside of my apartment are naked and skinny-looking. The once freshly-fallen snow has mixed in with the street grime, turning it a lovely shade of jailhouse gray at the edges of street. It is cold as hell outside and I have fallen on the ice no less than four times in the past week. And yesterday, I am pretty sure I slipped on a piece of frozen dog poop. Welcome, winter. So to warm my bitter, frost-bitten ass, I like to head over to Lula Cafe’s Monday night farm dinners. Delicious food, affordable prices, and usually a Bobby in tow. You might remember the previous Lula farm dinner I had with Jen, or that kick-ass brunch I had shortly after returning to Chicago. If you don’t remember, allow me to summarize for you: freaking delicious. A bit pricy, but totally worth it. The farm dinners are a set menu available on Mondays, three courses for $28. We started with the risotto with olive oil poached chestnuts, chanterelles, golden turnips, and Sardinian pecorino.
This course was like winter in a dish. The cheese made the risotto extra creamy, and the earthiness of the chanterelles went perfectly with it. Each spoonful was like getting a hug from a fluffy teddy bear while sitting in front of a roaring fire on a bearskin rug with some hot cocoa and a bit of Barry Manilow in the background. Aw, yeah. The next course was a roast duck leg (confit, I believe) with collard greens, radishes, brussels sprouts, and creamy anson mills polenta.
The duck was nicely crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, and the creamy polenta was a nice contrast to it all (although personally, I prefer my polenta not as coarse as this was served). The dish felt very hearty, and I could barely finish my portion (although Bobby had no problem licking his plate clean…chunky…). The dessert was my favorite, a crostada with milk chocolate, preserved cherries, and kirschwasser.
Wow. Chocolate and cherries, you can’t really go wrong with that, but the crostada itself had chocolate in it, and the preserved chewy cherries, and when served warmed next to the milk chocolate gelato….ugh. It couldn’t be any better unless they put bacon on top of it. Or kick-dancing kittens. But that would probably get messy… Conclusion: the meal was awesome. Go eat there on a Monday….do it! I also tried their hot apple cider (it had rum in it) but it was a bit on the strong side for me, but Bobby thoroughly enjoyed their blackberry bellini. Chicago is freaking cold, so fill your belly with something that will keep it warm all night. And watch out for that frozen dog poop. It’s a killer. ~LTG!