Friday, June 12, 2015

Scone City or My Kind of Town

The Slow and Savory Review

First it was cupcakes.  Then donuts.  Then macaroons.  The pastry trends can be difficult to keep up with these days.  Since Brandy makes regular practice of visiting as many bakeries as possible, she likes to think she's on top of things, but there are a few items she would like to see becoming the next sought after treat.  "Scones, for one," Brandy explained one day, "Scones in this country are often little more than edible paper weights.  Back home, scones are tender, chewy, delicious little things that go perfectly with a cup of tea.  I do wish there was more places I could get a good scone or two."

Luckily for Brandy, the delightfully named Scone City recently opened in Wicker Park, specializing in not just scones, but home made jams and artisan coffee drinks, including cold brew on tap.  "A cafe that sells only scones?  It's like someone read my mind!" Brandy exclaimed upon hearing the news.

Scone City, tucked away just off the corner of Ashland and Division, had a stark white interior with contrasting black accents that fit quite well with the espresso bar theme. Bar stools sat by the window up front, then small tables and chairs, and more comfy arm chairs on an elevated section at the back. The scones were proudly on display beside the counter, making the choice simultaneously easier and more difficult.  So excited was Brandy to try the scones that she ended up forgoing the delicious sounding house made jams ("They even have clotted cream!" she exclaimed with glee) and ordered up six flavors to supply her with breakfast for the rest of the week.

Day 1: The Breakfast Scone with bacon, egg, and cheddar.  This scone had a chewy, but not heavy texture that resembled more of a buttermilk biscuit. The flavor was nice and cheesy with just enough bacon to make things interesting (Brandy was actually happy they hadn't gone overboard with the bacon) and a little bit of scrambled egg in the middle. "Quite an interesting concept," Brandy commented, "And most definitely delicious, but not quite the kind of scone I'm used to."

Day 2: The Halfwit with bittersweet chocolate chips, espresso glaze, and cocoa nibs.  Brandy thought the texture of this scone was almost cookie-like and certainly would have paired well with a cup of Joe.  The cocoa nibs made for a nice crunch in each bite, but Brandy would have liked the coffee flavor in the glaze to be a bit stronger.

Day 3: The Blackberry and Orange Glazed.  This was probably the most traditional scone Brandy tried, with a chewy, more moist texture than some of the others.  The berries were plump and juicy inside the scone, and the orange glaze provided a bit of tartness, but there was an odd perfumey aftertaste to it that Brandy didn't quite care for.

Day 4: The Brie, Thyme, and Honey. Certainly one of the most appetizing looking scones of the bunch, this one had a very dense texture, but was still very tender and crumbly.  The honey provided a nice floral note, while the thyme was subtle and perfect, and the brie more of a garnish than a predominant flavor. "This one definitely needs to be accompanied by a beverage, whether its tea or coffee," Brandy commented, "But I do so love a sweet and savory pastry."

Day 5: The Triple Chocolate.  The name of this scone was pretty self explanatory, as it was a basic scone with huge milk, dark, and white chocolate chips scattered throughout.  "This is a pretty standard type of scone for a coffee house," Brandy contemplated, "But the little addition of sugar on top marks this as being quite a bit better than other cheaper imitations."  The texture again was a bit dense, but the melt-in-the-mouth, high quality chocolate made it feel rather luxurious.

Day 6: The Afternoon Tea with Earl Grey soaked raisins and a tea flavored glaze.  Unsurprisingly, this was Brandy's favorite scone of the bunch.  The tea soaked raisins were plump and full of that distinctive citrusy, herbal flavor Earl Grey is famous for. The glaze added another layer of flavor, but didn't overpower the scone with sickening sweetness.

Though not always the authentic English scone texture she so desired, the scones from Scone City were none the less pretty bloody delicious.  At only about $3 a scone, their substantial size was more than enough to satisfy as a meal in itself, along with a good cup of tea or coffee, of course.  Brandy was certainly interested to return to Scone City as soon as possible, not only to try out some of the other flavors on offer, but also to finally get at those house made jams to see how they might enhance some of the more simple scone varieties.  "I do so hope scones are becoming the next big thing," Brandy mused, "Scones are meant to be enjoyed at leisure, not wolfed down in one, which is why people who appreciate proper scones are generally more intelligent and relaxed.  And if there's anything this world can use, its smarter, calmer people inhabiting it."

The Short and Sweet Review

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