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Dish Mon Mar 28 2011
I'll leave the reviewing of Kanela to others. Not because the new Lakeview "breakfast club" (inhabiting the former home of Orange on Clark) isn't review-worthy, but because my brother happens to be the chef there, and that degree of nepotism seems extreme even for Chicago. Suffice to say, I'm very proud (and you can read a real review and some more details--scroll down!--on your own).
What I will write about is the presence of loukoumades on a Chicago menu. Now, you can get gyros at just about any burger shack from Andersonville to the far South Side; the taramosalata at the Greek Islands is salty and generous; the saganaki flaming up and down Halsted; Tina Fey has endorsed the roasted chicken at the Athenian Room; and good lord, the Greek-style yogurt is practically jumping off the supermarket shelves. My point is, it's not like Greek food isn't well-represented here. But I've never seen loukoumades anywhere in the city -- and there are few things better to chase a steaming pita full of succulent meat and tzatziki than a sticky-sweet ball of lemony fried dough. I'm generally not a fan of the fried pastry products, but this is a doughnut I can get behind. Possibly because I first tried it with the Mediterranean sun on my shoulders, made by a serious man named Stavros or Yannis, with a side of melty Nutella -- just in case the honey-lemon syrup wasn't doing its job to make my teeth ring. But it's so simultaneously light, crispy and chewy, so sweet and tart... I'm sold. At Kanela, bougatsa and coffee frappes are on the menu, but the Greekness of the restaurant name doesn't extend too far into the food itself. Thank goodness it made it to the loukoumades -- and at only $3 for a plate of 5-6 walnut- and cinnamon-dusted fritters, one can only hope it's a trend that will catch on. Opa!