Sunday, January 28, 2007

“Punk Rock Pastry”

Bleeding Heart Bakery: (Ukrainian Village) Chicago
2018 W. Chicago Ave.

Original post: 14 December 2006

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Mom out front Bleeding Heart with a Chicago Police car passing in the extreme foreground
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Owner Michelle Garcia out front her shop
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Mom inside Bleeding Heart Bakery - 1.jpg
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"The Specials" of Bleeding Heart hang on the wall, taken on a previous trip
Punk rock music plays and the checkered stripe, font and text placement used by the punk and 2 Tone band The Specials mark a board hanging on the wall indicating “The Specials” of Bleeding Heart, quite in line with their Web site’s claim of “Punk Rock Pastry.” Owner Michelle Garcia rolls up just as my Mom and I do and I ask for a shot of her for the blog. We know each other from my many visits, in my various states of great excitement, to her bakery and her stand at Green City Market, and our discussions on bicycling, community and vegan goodness. She suggests snapping a shot outside, telling me we should do something different from the usual inside photos. Inside, you can see why people like to photograph here. Pink, red and cute all over, the place is dressed up in a well put together combination of vintage display cases, tables and chairs, thoughtfully presented treats and smiles from the staff.

Their treats are tops, giving a place to Bleeding Heart in Chicago Magazine’s best of Chicago issue this year (2006). Mom and I enjoyed a gluten-free vegan chocolate chunk cookie. Michelle told us she uses rice flour instead of wheat and the girl working the counter told us how the gluten-free cookie feels softer. It is much more tender than the crispy wheat-based vegan one. All of the options might have paralyzed me had I not been so familiar with their vegan offerings: raspberry pecan bars, Take A Hike scones, fudge-like walnut or plain brownies, corn bread, chocolate chunk or molasses cookies, banana tea cakes, and many more seasonal and occasional offerings. Michelle’s husband, Vinny, makes some savories (sandwiches and soups, some vegan) for the case, too. And their weekend brunch continues the vegan offerings.

They sell and brew coffee roasted on the North Side at Metropolis Coffee in Edgewater, along with various jars of sauces from River Valley Kitchen (a Green City Market vendor) like the spicy olive bruschetta, wild mushroom burgundy pasta sauce, and portabella salsa with cilantro and key lime. The work of River Valley tastes so fresh it put smiles on my face.

I’m always excited about Bleeding Heart because their treats are so very good and because Michelle is fun and tirelessly full of life. But it’s not just me that’s excited about his place. Looking at packages of their “Holiday Cookie Collection”, one customer exuberantly exclaimed “oh my God.” Everyone working here seems in to the scene, too. I overheard an employee say how she was looking forward to baking gingerbread cookies at home. Bleeding Heart and the people the bakery brings in are nothing short of vibrantly amazing.

Pre-Cafe Brunch: December 30, 2006 update

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Update: My bro Jon enjoying a cup of spicy vegan hot cocoa.
This morning, I had just come to Bleeding Heart for their garage sale of dishes, baskets and miscellaneous kitchen gear when I accidentally met up with my pal Sherry. The Bakery will be closed for a week on January 1 to change in to a full cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm very much excited to anticipate more savory choices after sampling this bakery's vegan brunch options over time, especially their magnificent implementation of chilaquiles jalisco this morning. Vinny, the husband of baker and owner Michelle Garcia, brought it out to my table dressed in his white apron. My plate was loaded with tortillas sautéed in volando sauce and refried beans. I'm used to refried beans that come uniformly smooth and homogenously colored; but it looked like Vinny had made these to order. A little of some of the beans' individual identities were still recognizable, adding a much welcomed variation in texture and color. Pico de gallo cooled it all off. Other vegan brunch options include: biscuits and mushroom gravy, "Plain Jane" pancakes, tofu and avocado soft tacos, and of course, Michelle's bakery.

photos: Christopher Brunn

Brunch with Laura Photo Update: Sunday, 28 January 2007

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Chilaquiles Jalisco (front), waffles (back), Laura (further back) (photo: Christopher Brunn)
Brunch at Bleeding Heart with Laura (photo: Laura R.).jpg
Chris out front Bleeding Heart (photo: Laura R.)


Blogger Rosie said...

What? No photos of CRB? How do we really know you were there?...

10:51 PM  

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