Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lula Cafe

Yes, RappEats is not yet. It's been a wild month and by far the longest I've gone without posting or eating out on a regular basis. But the election is over and life is starting to get back to a normal pace (sort of). I have a few good posts waiting so I hope to get those up and inspire me to get out more during this slower time. Without further time wasting....

Lula Cafe. I've heard so many good things about this Chicago standard, especially those more inclined for vegetarian fare. Ari and Tali had the great idea to check it out and we did during the last week of October and actually managed to sit outside since it was that week where the weather was ridiculously nice. My general take away was that I was disappointing compared to what I had heard. I also know that brunch is one of the famous meals so maybe that's worth going back for. But I will give credit to a great menu that has a lot of variety for those looking to avoid meat and there are plenty of interesting options. The most memorable aspect from the meal was texture. Each dish came out and had some awesome texture with interesting ingredients and playful ways to enjoy the food. The main downside is that we didn't think the flavors were all that special or impressive. Everything was nice and fine but nothing stood out as particularly interesting. We even ordered the three squash medley that was highly recommended and didn't quite understand why. I don't remember being offended by the pricing and our service was high quality. I certainly would return for a good reason or suggest for those who need to meet dietary restrictions but I was not blown away overall.









As you can see we ordered plenty of different things to try. We started with kale "chips" and the autumn salad of spaghetti squash slow poached in hazelnut oil, smoked trout roe, celery aioli, asian pear, carob. I really liked the kale (and other root vegatables) actually, again, great texture and fun to eat with an interesting sunchoke dip. The 'salad' was more of mixed bag. The quesadilla's (hen of the woods mushrooms, caramelized winter squash, fromage blanc) were some of our favorite, and I say that as not much of a mushroom fan, but they worked very well wit the squash and cheese and salsas. 

My two other favorite dishes were the pastas - chilled peanut satay noodles (marinated tofu and seasonal pickles) and spaghetti (sweet and spicy chile ‘salsa rossa,’ queso fresco). Though the satay noodles stole the show for sure. The highly recommended squash three ways was a big disappointment because it wasn't that interesting or very tasty. And it was a little hard to understand what was actually going on the plate. I never like dishes that require an instruction manual. I'm certain but I think the last dish was a fish dish that was also very mediocre and hard to figure out. The texture (!) was really cool with the string fried something and a few cauliflowers (maybe?) but overall not sure what was the point of the plate. 

I'm not trying to be overly critical as we had a nice time and good meal for respected value. And it feels like it's playing in a unique space (both literal and culinary) that attracts a very specific crowd. The food had ups and downs but nothing consistently amazing. Worth checking out if you need another brunch option in Logan Square or need a vegetarian meal. 

Lula Cafe on Urbanspoon

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