Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New local favorite is Pleasant (see what I did there?)

With increasing frequency I have a really hard time deciding where to go out for dinner. I think about how good a taco would be, then I wonder where the meat came from (if it’s been washed with ammonia and packed with fillers) and if the tomatoes were needlessly imported when they are in season locally. When this sort of thing flares up, our options become limited, and we generally end up having to pay more for better quality food. Mostly, though, it means we have to go north. City Provisions and XOCO are favorites, but rush hour traffic diminishes their draw.

Yesterday when this happened, I had just gotten off the Green Line to meet Alex at IIT. I explained that we had one cabbage at home for dinner, he suggested Nightwood, which is always reliable about food sources, conveniently located south of downtown, and way more delicious than one cabbage. We were there for Sunday lunch this week and I enjoyed an outstanding omelet filled with sweet corn, tomatillo, and bacon. Alex had a burger (cheddar, bacon).
As it was 4:30 pm, and I was ready to eat. I didn’t want to wait an hour for Nightwood to open. So we did what my sister recommended back in June and headed down 31st street to Pleasant House Bakery.
We should have listened to her sooner because Pleasant House Bakery is as delicious as it is local. Everything is from scratch. Grassroots from scratch. “We grew this” from scratch. They focus on savory pies and have a rotating daily special. On Tuesdays, they have burgers.
Alex had a burger (fried egg, hot sauce). I, on the other hand, partook of the pie: steak, ale, carrots. The tender, short-rib-esque filling was encapsulated by a beautiful, buttery, flaky crust, which, when dipped in mashed potatoes and gravy, was lusciously rich and ridiculously tasty. Really, really good. “Clean plates” good. I can’t wait to eat this stuff in winter. At $7.50 a pie, I’m not breaking the bank until I have to buy new jeans.
I heard tale of a s’more-oriented dessert, however, it was unavailable so we rounded out the feast with a cupcake. The buttercream was top notch, and the cake was lovely, but cold, making for a crumb density that could not replace Curious George as my cupcake king.
I knew we were in for the good stuff when the meal’s soundtrack, which had been tuned to U2, switched to Cyndi Lauper. This is Alex, breaking it down.
The only downside: apparently PHB is BYOB, at which we BYOfailed.  Easy solution: we’ll go back (biking, because it is so fantastically close to us) and we’ll bring beer (in my basket). Maybe this Friday for the fish and chips! Win, win.
Pleasant House Bakery on Urbanspoon


  1. YAY! I'm so glad you loved it and that you will be going back on bike with beer basket! Fantastic photos and review. I want to try it one day with you this winter, if I can. I bet the parking was easy, too! And 80s?! HEAVEN.

  2. EVERYTHING looks delicious! Score one Mairead!

  3. Once I have a kitchen installed and paid for, I'll take you, Alex, Mairead, and Sham to dinner there for the savoury pie. Surely you don't expect me to cook in the kitchen--it's been decades since I made a Forfar bridie, though it was petty good if I say so myself.

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