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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, March 3

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« That Sounds Delicious Cookware Sale at the Chopping Block »

Restaurant Mon Jan 21 2008

A Metra Stop for Raw Food

We could look down onto the cooks' cutting boards on overhead monitors at Borrowed Earth Café. Looking over the counter, I saw one gal squeezing a hand juicer over a blender and a man command a food processor. A cook was chopping through a big red pail of spinach, cutting batch by batch using his long chef's knife to lift the cuttings into another container.

The day Sara and I came, the pasta special wasn't pasta at all, but strips of firm, al-dente organic squash. This café is raw. It's also vegan. Kathy, who owns the cafe with her husband Danny, told us how to make noodles from squash with her soft and gentle voice. You can either dehydrate squash, or massage it and it'll get soft. Any squash will work, but the café gets theirs from a Naperville farm not too far away. Kathy had been storing theirs this winter since the harvest. For produce the farm doesn't provide, Kathy shops Caputo's grocery at Route 59 and 111th Street. The restaurant's Asian food comes from H-Mart in Naperville.

Back to the pasta: Our plate of it came with dehydrated, halved and tossed in chunks of mushrooms, fresh rosemary, fresh oregano, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and &mdash if I remember correctly &mdash shoyu.

Kale salad came shredded, soft and tender, with bits of sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and golden raisins mixed in. The dressing was a bit creamy and sweet, like a light custard. It was drizzled over cucumber slices surrounding the plate.

One dessert, a so-called chocolate cheesecake, was made of cashew and almond and tasted of sweet dates. It was refreshingly smooth and creamy, like a dense mousse. Another dessert, a raw analog to baklava, used apple as a sticky and slightly chewy phyllo dough. It was nicely done, so I hesitate to relate it to a thick fruit roll up, yet that description seems to capture the consistency. The apple wrapper's sweetness was deep and even instead of sharp, like an unrefined sweetener. It was crunchy with nuts inside.

Our server was quite friendly, telling us how she wanted to be a part of the Naperville Raw Food Meetup that comes there.

Borrowed Earth Café takes a storefront of a strip mall, on the north side of BNSF Aurora Metra line's stop at Downers Grove. Sara and I drank a frothy nut and seed milk of sunfloweer seeds, sesame seeds, agave nectar and perhaps some pumpkin. A frothy pineapple juice didn't feel acidic like one might expect from that fruit. Sara told me, "I want to come here every day." 970 Warren Avenue, Downers Grove. (630) 795-1729.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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