Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Maple Cafe of Home Sweet Home Made

The Slow and Savory Review

As said in a previous post, Bunny and Brandy have always lived by the philosophy that the worst thing that can be said about brunch is "I could have made this at home," and while that has proven true in their experience, that statement could also be applied in some cases to the best that can be said about brunch.  Who amongst us would not like to claim that their pancakes are the fluffiest or that they can poach an egg to perfection without the use of fancy machines or techniques learned at some school with a French name?  "Home made" is supposed to be a prized phrase, a treasured descriptor that even the most elegant of restaurants will sometimes use on a menu to illustrate the love and effort they have put into a dish.

Sweet Maple Cafe, favorite of students at UIC and locals alike, claims to be the ultimate in home made comfort food, where everything (and we do mean everything) is made from scratch.  Started by a mother looking for a way to make money without sacrificing time with her children, everything about Sweet Maple drives home the "Home Made" philosophy, from the family pictures on the walls to the rustic wood floor boards.  Chairs are lovingly placed outside the front door for waiting patrons, a courtesy that other restaurants across Chicago should take note of. 

Bunny and Brandy were accompanied this week by Bunny's mysterious brother, Mr. Bacon, who, even though the heat and humidity were stifling, seemed unfazed and sweatless under his three piece suit and dark sun glasses.  A wait of 25 minutes went by quickly enough before Our Ladies and guest were taken into the restaurant and given a rather spacious table.  Cold drinks were quickly ordered (though they did not arrive quite as quickly): an iced Chai Latte for Brandy, a Peach Iced Tea for Mr. Bacon, and a Strawberry Breezer for Bunny.  All were fresh, unique, and delicious tasting, especially the Strawberry Breezer that tasted of lemonade and coconut.

Mr. Bacon chose a daily special for his entree, Lemon Raspberry Pancakes and a side of sausage.  The pancakes came stacked two high and were each about a foot wide, covered in raspberry syrup and a lemon wedge.  Their texture was very light and moist and their flavor was bright, though the lemon was the more present flavor.  Soon after cleaning his plate, Mr. Bacon began furiously texting into his phone.  "What ever are you doing?"  Bunny inquired.  "Trying to hack into their system to locate the recipe for these pancakes," he responded blankly, "Though they don't seem to have a system to break into...strange."  "You could just ask the waitress..." Bunny prodded, but seeing it was useless, she turned her attention to her own entree.

Bunny also chose a plate of pancakes for her entree, though she opted for the Peaches and Cream variety, which came with diced and spiced peach pieces and a Mt. Everest sized mound of whipped cream.  Again the pancakes texture was perfection, but Bunny was a little disappointed that the peaches had not been cooked to softness.  Brandy commented that she appreciated the effort to serve fresh fruit in the summer time and thought the non-cooked peaches lent a certain vividness to the dish.

Brandy went the savory route, ordering a Chicken Egg and Cheezer Sandwich with a side of Monterrey Home Fries.  The sandwich, which Brandy customized with an over medium egg, Swiss cheese, and a fried chicken breast on a sweet milk biscuit,  was perfect and satisfying in every way.  The biscuit was the best part, being soft and slightly sweet, without being heavy or dry.  On the side, a small cup of home made apple sauce was provided, for a little bite of sweetness to break up the richness of the sandwich.  The home fries, which came bedecked with bacon, onions, cheese, and jalapenos, had just the right amount of spice and richness without being greasy.

"Home is where the heart is," as they say, and if that is true then Bunny and Brandy will surely be checking the lost and found at Sweet Maple Cafe for their misplaced circulatory systems.  Simple interiors combined with slightly slow, yet friendly service, good portion sizes, and excellent prices all combine to make one feel chipper upon completion of the meal.  However, we suggest visiting Sweet Maple Cafe before Mr. Bacon sends in his agent "friends" to "interrogate" the staff about the pancakes.  They tend to leave no stone unturned and no pancake untasted.

The Short and Sweet Review

Sweet Maple Cafe on Urbanspoon

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