||A Busy Week for Slow Food Chicago »|
Business Mon Aug 11 2008
As I stared at my menu Sunday morning while sitting at a table at Lula Cafe, I looked around the restaurant to see if anyone was eating the specials I was interested in ordering. Having debated the merits of a sweet versus savory breakfast, my friend and I decided to split a sweet item to complement the eggs we had both ordered. An item on the special menu jumped out to us: the arborio rice porridge with chevre, peaches, anise hyssop anglaise and candied pistachios. But the woman sitting at the table next to me had ordered the porridge, and it was just sitting there untouched as she ate a pecan roll sitting between her and her brunch date. "Was it bad?" I thought. "She should totally send it back if it's that bad." Because let's be real--I've eaten great meals and not-so-great meals at Lula (and hope that luck doesn't extend to their forthcoming second location in Pilsen).
A waiter came along at the end of their meal and removed the porridge, fully intact, still decorated with a few peach slices, and on a one-way trip to the garbage can. I thought about my mother's instructions to eat food even if it tasted like coal because of starving babies in Biafra. "Come on," I thought to myself. "At least take a few bites, you bought it."
A few minutes later, our own bowl of porridge arrived. A slight river of green liquid (anise?) traversed the heap of white, creamy rice. The first bite confirmed that the woman who rejected the dish earlier was an utter fool. The creaminess of the chevre and creme anglaise, coupled with the sweet crunch of the arborio rice and the candied pistachio, was an unexpected treat and a reason to hope this dish is on the menu again. Our eggs seemed bland and uninspired next to this great dish.