Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Serenity for Lunch in the Loop

Spa Café: (Loop) Chicago
112 W. Monroe St.

Rose at Spa Cafe (photo: Chris) 2 Chris at Spa Cafe (photo: Rose) 2
By the time I met my pal Rose for lunch at 11:30 a.m., I’d been thinking about food for a while, but Rose helped me over the edge. Ideas of a bake-off came up a few times. I’d brought the recent book Vegan Cupcakes, Take Over The World (Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero) and we were paging through getting excited over close-ups of toasted coconut cupcakes with buttercream frosting, peanut butter cupcakes and banana split cupcakes. Too bad there wasn’t an oven for us to use. I’m more into deep-frying homemade donuts today. Rose and I agree on our love of the yeast-risen donut over the chemically leavened variety. Does deep-frying make a home smell like oil? I don’t know, but I’m going to close my closet before I start.

Goofing on the Street after Spa Cafe (photo: Rose)Spa has been a favorite of mine ever since the chef, Patrick Cassata, had vibrantly told me that he’d cut the dairy out of some of their soups, wanted to sell vegan bakery and try out a tofu scramble in the morning. His occasional gifts of coffee or a vegan cookie helped. The place is an oasis right in the middle of the hustle back to work Loop. The water tricking down the small wall-hung waterfall takes me away, as do the green plants and parts of the walls laid with soft blue tile squares or rocks. And they separate plastic for recycling.

Rose seemed to share my love of for the marinated tofu pita: “I love eating tofu in public. I don’t do it too often.” She laughed as she said this and as I left for the counter to borrow a pen to remember this quote. We both enjoyed thick purple sweet potato and chipotle soup. Spa plates modest portions; get a combo if you’re hungry. Say yes to the crackers with your soup; they’re coated with seeds.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve finished a glass of Seedling’s pear juice from Saturday’s Green City Market. The pear flavor came through so clean and crisp. This juice enjoys a splash of coconut rum, too -perhaps even better with fresh donuts.

Photos: Rose G. and Chris B.


Blogger Terri Kloth said...

Hmmmm donuts. I could use that kind of comfort food. Got recipes?

9:51 PM  

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