Fall is here, and I can hardly believe it. Honestly, I don’t want to. The truth is, with summer ending, and fall’s arrival, I am freaking out a little bit. Why? Fall only means one thing to me right now—my wedding.
I am going to be completely honest, it’s not the pre-wedding jitters that have me a bunch of nerves, it is the utter feeling unpreparedness that I constantly have. Planning a wedding is fun and blissful at times, but it is also stressful and exhausting.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful planner named Jen, who is more than just my wedding coordinator; she is my therapist, my voice of reason, and above all, my friend. Jen and I have been meeting once a week almost for the past six months. I tell you, the only thing that gets me through this whole wedding planning process is Jen and wine. Lots of wine.
Our meetings, until recently, almost always consist of us grabbing wine at our favorite wine bar in between where we both live. Depending on how you look at it, wine either helps or hinders our meetings; I would say we spend about 30 percent of our time talking wedding stuff, and the other 70 percent laughing and catching up!
Okay, I’ll say it—the wine helped the planning. That is, until Jen found out she was expecting her first baby a few weeks ago. So we had to change our weekly routine, and now, week over week, we spend a couple of awesome hours at coffee shops and restaurants all around the Wicker Park area.
We both appreciate a good latte (decaf now for Jen!) and constantly crave quiche (one of us via pregnancy cravings, one of us just because). Last week we decided to check out a place known for quiche right on Milwaukee that, somehow in its realm of Wicker Park awesome-ness, had previously escaped being visited by either of us. [Cue some pretty harp music.]
Lovely is a quaint, vintage-inspired cafe located in a little nook right on Milwaukee. It has a small patio adjacent to it, and huge windows facing right out onto the street, providing lots of natural light inside.
At first glance, Lovely looks just like a normal bakery. Chests and counters full of beautiful baked goods are staring right at you, not to mention the lingering sweet-smelling aroma that fills the restaurant. Let me be the first to tell you that Lovely is so much more. Lovely has a fantastic menu with an assortment of both breakfast and lunch items, not to mention a quiche of the day—Jen and I were in heaven. As we approached the counter, we were greeted by the friendly barista who took our drink orders. A latte for me, and a choice of an exotic tea for Jen from the extensive tea collection.
Both of us were hungry and anxious to eat. I love dining with Jen because it’s always a sharing situation. It is never a separate order for the two of us, we simply order as one, and overindulge if possible.
We opted to start with something sweet to start, and at the recommendation of the barista we decided on the cinnamon bun.The sign on the counter said “Quiche of the Day: Corn and Pea,” and I was excited to order that right away.
Unfortunately, the barista informed me that the quiche of the day had just run out, and the new quiche would be ham and cheese. Still a win! Jen’s choice for us was the croissant sandwich; we had both gazed at the house-made croissants in the chests at the counter and were practically drooling, so it was an easy choice.
Our lattes came out first with the cinnamon bun—both were works of art. I appreciate the awesome barista’s artistry in the foam art they produced; dare I say it was “lovely”? Shortly thereafter our food came out and I could not wait to try everything, maybe all at once. The croissant sandwich was simply beautiful; the croissant itself was a perfect golden-brown and clearly flaky, with it’s fresh baked edges just ready to fall off. Melted cheese hung over the side of the sandwich, yet it wasn’t sloppy. It was a nicely executed sandwich. With my first bite came a huge “crunch” sound, and my mouth (and shirt!) were instantly covered with flakes, a croissant-lover’s dream. I wanted to pick up every last flake that I had lost in the first bite and eat them, too.
The quiche was a generous portion and perfectly cut. It was accompanied by a side salad and slice of bread, which I thought was a nice touch. I had imagined just getting the slice of quiche, but I got the whole shebang.
Again, with the crust of the quiche, you can tell that their bake shop roots are deeply seeded, even in their non-baked good selections. Just like the croissant, the crust on the quiche was a perfect buttery, golden-brown and with my first forkful I could hear the “crunch”, which evoked happiness within me.
The quiche was as good as I could have ever dreamed —I was tempted to lick every last bit off the plate. As I was taking my almost last bite of the quiche after sharing forkfuls with Jen, I looked up and noticed that Jen had punished the croissant sandwich. Normally, I would have been annoyed that the person I was sharing food with had just demolished the rest of the sandwich, but hello, Jen is the best wedding planner; she is obviously trying to make sure I still fit in my dress. Oh yeah, and she is eating for two. I can let it slide.
Lovely is a quiche and coffee lover’s delight, with a huge selection of delightful and tasty baked goods (some of which are made at their sister bake shop, Lovely Too!), as well as seasonal breakfast and lunch items, that are equally as delicious. Right in the heart of Wicker Park, it is a neighborhood gem that should be frequented by all.
The Bitches say: A-. Although the menu is delightful, it is not as extensive as most brunch places, but for a bake shop restaurant, it is a total win. Adorned with vintage furniture and cheerful decor, this place is a must for a weekday breakfast or weekend brunch if you want to avoid a wait at a trendy spot nearby.
Lovely: a bake shop
1130 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
Lovely serves breakfast all day, everyday.