Thursday, December 14, 2006

Natatorium Food

Swim Cafe: (West Town) Chicago
1357 W. Chicago Ave.

Swim Cafe. Owner Karen Gerod showing off a vegan jam bar..jpg
Swim Cafe Owner Karen Gerod showing off a vegan jam bar (on front right in tray)

Mom at Swim Cafe_2.jpg
Modified tri-color veggie panini, Mom in background

We had had our sandwiches for just a few minutes when I dropped half of mine on my lap trying to snap a good shot of my tri-color veggie panini with my Mom in the background. We each took this panini the way it came, minus the feta and plus avocado and tomato. Red Hen Bread down the street makes the focaccia, and they do a superior job of it –fantastically crunchy with little indentations from where I imagine the baker pressed down to make wells to trap olive oil. A little wet mess of goodness lied inside two pieces of the bread. The red peppers felt so tender, the spinach very crisp and fresh and the tomatoes gave it the moisture it needed. I found the side salad a special treat -especially since I didn’t spill it- of dark greens, the same tasty red peppers and a house balsamic. Refreshing orange slices on the side boosted up the refreshment, adding to the moisture of the tomatoes and a little avocado.

Swim Cafe’s simple white-topped tables, cutout wavey table dividers and small blue bathroom tiles reflect Eckhart Park’s Ida Crown Natatorium across the street –but they still don’t make me feel like swimming. The laptops spread out across the cafe work better here than in the pool –especially with free wireless. Swim Cafe seems to pride themself on their fair trade coffee; but they also gladly change up paninis how you’d like; and as a bonus, they have a few vegan treats. Owner Karen Gerod told my Mom and I about their vegan jam bars, and that they’re not just vegans who eat them; and her Mexican wedding cookies, dusted in powdered sugar with either cinnamon or powdered walnut. I imagined a wonderfully brittle shortbread; too bad they were out. Karen seems to get excited about the vegan bakery –or at least accommodating her customers- so much that I might feel like coming back just for that even if the food wasn't good. Last time I was in with some pals, she told me how they often sell vegan treats; they just don’t always have them when they’re wanted; and none were available that time. Just then, she kicked off peach cobblers in ramekins for us and baked them in the toaster oven behind the counter.

Swim Cafe menu.jpg

Chris at Swim Cafe (photo: Mom).jpg
Mom's shot of me in my Chicagoland Bicycle Federation T-shirt with my good friend the coffee

photos: Chris and Rita B.


Post a Comment

<< Home