Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Coco Pazzo Cafe, Chicago

We had wonderful weekend trip to Chicago for the American Historical Association annual conference.

We had a stellar dinner at Coco Pazzo Cafe, walkable from our hotel. Convivial atmosphere - very much a neighborhood cafe vibe and look. Even more fun, a whole lot of history profs/teachers/writers there for the conference got the vibe to go there.

Loved the murals on the wall, and the baroque huge floral arrangement on an old farm table that also held bread and appetizers. It was cozy but still had room between tables and very reasonable noise level that lent itself to conversation.

We had some of the best service I've had in years-- personal, interested a little quirky and definitely sincere.

Of course.. the food. The pappardelle w/ wild boar ragu totally rocked. Wide, al denta papparadelle with diced boar in a tomato and spiced sauce that had strong hints of cinnamon and allspice. Served absolutely piping hot, it warmed the soul and body on a chilly and windy night. Could only eat half, just great as a reheat when we got home. Carpaccio a little weak but the parm was just delicious. The veal scallopine was pristine and very flavorful with a rich jus and mushrooms, however - the ragu won.

Wine prices were extremely reasonable ($28 for a bottle of hearty red) and added to the meal.

Might be the go-to meal next time we're in beautiful Chicago.


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