Lunch Meets | Dessert for lunch
[Ed. note: Welcome back to Lunch Meets, our weekly online column where TOC's Food & Drink intern, John Irvine, infiltrates the anonymous lunch masses in the Loop and asks the tough food questions. This week, to coincide with our story on retro icebox cakes, John asks the men and women of the street this question: What was the dessert of your childhood? The answer—and why everybody is thinking ice cream—is after the jump.]
Paulina Osinska, 25, in the Art Institute Gardens, South
So, what is your favorite childhood dessert, and why is that your favorite?
My mom makes these homemade pączki and they were just delicious. They’re like the Polish doughnuts for Mardi Gras. They are jelly-filled and she would fry them in just lard. They were just delicious.
What type do you go for in the summer?
In the summer, probably ice cream.
And what is your favorite flavor?
I like vanilla chocolate swirl.
And what does that say about your personality?
Hm, I don’t know. That I like a little bit of everything, maybe!
What about cake?
And do you also like molten chocolate cakes?
Oh, yes. I would totally go for that.
What is the best cake you’ve gotten in Chicago?
I don’t really get chocolate cake when I go out, but I've had some really good tres leches cakes at taco joints, and that is really good.
Marcelo Menezes, 39, in the Art Institute Gardens, South
So what is your favorite childhood dessert?
I would have to say ice cream, but that’s pretty obvious. I would have it at home all the time.
What is your favorite flavor?
And so what does that say about you?
I don’t know what that says about me. Probably that I had a normal childhood I guess.
So when you get cake, what would you say your favorite kind of cake is?
I would have to say chocolate, pretty basic. I guess that means I’m not much of a dessert person.
Do you normally order dessert?
Yeah, I would say so.
Where are some places that have some good desserts?
You know what, the Brazilian restaurants have this papaya cream, which is really good.
Is there a place around here that would have it?
Any of them would have it, so I would have to say probably . It’s sort of a papaya cream with cassis liquor. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but if you haven’t, you should.
Eric Warner, 33, in the Art Institute Gardens, North
When you think of childhood and you think of desserts, what comes to mind?
When I was a child, I really loved Zingers. They were like Twinkies but with frosting. Now, they’re kind of disgusting.
What made them so special, like, why were the better than Twinkies?
Because they had that little layer of frosting that you could layer or just eat by itself like the Oreo. Like, take them apart and kinda put them back together. They were adaptable.
What is your favorite now adays?
I really like dates; fresh Medjool dates. Those are addictive.
Where do you get them?
Costco has a pound of them that I try to avoid buying. There’s a little Middle Eastern bakery on Foster where you can buy them individually.... I can't think of what it's called, but it's at Foster and Ashland. [Ed note: We think he’s talking about Middle East Bakery & Grocery.]
So what about ice cream: Are you an ice cream person?
I might have to be dairy free, but I’m in complete denial so that I can keep eating ice cream.
What is your flavor?
Anything that has blueberries or peaches in it I’m into. I think there’s some Häagen-Dazs blueberry cobbler.
Ben and Jerry’s has Willy Nelson’s Peach Cobbler.
Yes! I’ve had that.
What about cake, are you a cake person?
Yeah, at times. I love carrot cake but it can be a bit too overindulgent. Like you get halfway through and then you have to give it up.
Do you have a favorite bakery?
There was this place called, I think, Sweet Miss Givings. They provided the carrot cake for The Grind, the coffee shop that I go to, and I think they’ve closed up or that they don’t bake cakes anymore. [Ed note: Sweet Miss Givings shut down its wholesale baking and storefront operations.]
Patrice Pel, 22, in the Art Institute Gardens, North
When you think of your childhood and you think of deserts, what comes to mind and why?
Probably, my great grandmother because she always made cakes. [For] birthdays or any type of celebration, she always made cake.
Did she have a specialty cake?
The upside-down rum cake. She would put rum in it, and I was like, three years old and tipsy, so that one probably.
Was that your favorite then or is that still your favorite?
No, my favorite now is, um… I love cake. Probably red velvet, carrot cake, chocolate, German chocolate… my absolute favorite is carrot cake.
Do you like cupcakes or a slice of cake?
I prefer cupcakes because there are fewer calories than a slice. [Laughs]
Where do you go for that?
I’ll look it up right now… Oh, ok. Crumbs. It’s in Oak Park.
What about ice cream, what is your favorite flavor?
And what does that say about your personality?
Oh, can I change that? Actually, it’s between butter pecan and raisin rum. I’ll go raisin rum because I’m like a part-time alcoholic. I like anything that has to do with alcohol. [Laughs]
I mean, you started early with that rum cake.
Connor O’Dea, 21, in Chase Plaza
What is your favorite dessert?
Probably ice cream.
Alright, and what is your favorite flavor?
Probably Ben & Jerry’s, although, that’s not proper to say. Give me a second and I’ll think of something.
Well what’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s?
Chocolate fudge brownie. In general, I like anything with chocolate in it. So, chocolate pudding, brownies—that’ll be up there.
So how long have you been in Chicago?
Since May 25th.
Oh ok, so have you tried some good ice cream places?
Yeah, I have. They also have a lot more Ben & Jerry’s flavors than they do back home, which is cool.
And where is home?
I’m from Ireland.
Alright, alright. So what about cake?
Yeah, I’m a big fan of cake. I really like cheesecake. I really hate lemon cheesecake but I really like strawberry cheesecake or chocolate cheesecake.
Have you had any good cheesecake here?
Um, not really…. I did have some really good chocolate fudge cake here though. We actually bought that in Jewel. We thought it was going to be horrible but it actually turned out to be really nice. We went to this other cake shop as well and tried it there, too, but the one from Jewel was actually way nicer.
So chocolate is clearly your favorite. What do you think that says about you?
I think it says that I’m not afraid to gorge myself.