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Friday, September 24

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« Beer Me Some History Tonight Time Out Chicago's 2009 Eat Out Award Winners »

Restaurant Mon Apr 06 2009

Birchwood Kitchen Opens with Veggie Delights

Tell me that your veggie sandwich is vegan and has homemade cashew butter, and you've probably got my attention. Tell me that you plan to have vegan scones made in Evanston and baking fresh in your oven on the weekends, and I'll be back. Tell me you threw in some potato salad - it's vegan, you tell me - as you hand me my takeout, and I've already written the start of this review in my head. Birchwood Kitchen opened today with all of this in a quaint storefront on the quieter side of Wicker Park - on North Avenue, a few blocks west of Damen. The feel is warm and accessible: nicely finished wood floors, wood tables, a brick wall, windows visible front and back, and a glass display case with bowls of potato salad, green beens, olives, fruit salad and some meats in front of the open kitchen. They're into local products, including Metropolis Coffee and Co-op Image hot sauce for sale. I left with two of these cashew butter veggie sandwiches for my friend Jessica and I, who continues the story.

Tell me that you'll pick me up a sandwich when I'm exhausted after a mediocre work out, and I'm there. I arrived at Chris' home after a quick shower with a big appetite. First I cracked open a Goose Island reserve beer, and next I unveiled the "Vegetable" sandwich. A veggie sandwich tends to be pretty standard across the board. This experience was unique. The menu describes it as "spiced cashew butter, carrot, cucumber, pickled red onion, sprouts" on multi grain bread. The perks of the sandwich were the cashew butter, pickled red onion and multi grain bread. The cashew butter was dolloped on generously. The tinge of sweetness from the butter effused the veggies and created a multi-dimensional sandwich. The pickled onions gave the package its kick. Chris commented that the onions were what made the sandwich "so funky." I agree. They gave the sandwich funk, in a good way. James Brown funk. The bitter pickled flavor coupled with the sweet cashew butter couched in a hearty bread were what made the sandwich for me. I think it would have fared slightly better without the carrots - they were a bit too thick and cumbersome in the otherwise light, fanciful sandwich. Tell me they have replaced the carrots with tomatoes, and it may become a staple.

Birchwood Kitchen, 2211 W. North Ave., (773) 276-2100
(in the space formerly occupied by Cold Comfort)

By Chris Brunn and Jessica Gingold

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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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