Dining Chicago

Pastry Crumbs: Guest Pastry Chef at Atwood Cafe and New Vanilla Patisserie

Just as New Year's resolutions start to unravel seems like the perfect time to open sprawling new patisseries and create special dinner menus with three desserts. We're in luck, because Atwood Cafe happens to be inviting a special guest pastry chef into its kitchen on Monday, January 6, to collaborate on special a la carte dishes, just as Vanille Patisserie opens the doors to its newest, largest location yet. You can practically hear the resolutions shatter.

Vanille macarons
(More of these. Vanille macarons.)

Come Monday, Atwood Cafe will play host to pastry chef Brian Westover, a Food & Wine "Best New Pastry Chef" nominee in 2013 and the dexterous, whimsical pastry wunderkind at 1789 Restaurant in Washington, D.C. Westover is pals with Atwood's executive chef Derek Simcik, and together the two will join forces for a special selection of dinner items, including two appetizers, three entrees, and three desserts. Westover's handiwork includes monkey bread with cinnamon brioche, spiced marshmallow, butterscotch ice cream, and brandy-butterscotch sauce; peanut butter cookies with orange gelee, hazelnut powder, and mimosa sorbet; and "big ass truffles," a miscellany of chocolate eclair truffle, apple pie truffle, and lime pie truffle. This only happens once, so get on it. To make reservations, call 312-368-1900 or go here.

In other, more permanent pastry news, Vanille Patisserie has opened the doors to its latest location, a 1,200 square foot space in the heart of Lincoln Park. This new outpost joins the ranks of Vanille's original Clybourn location and the one in the French Market, featuring the masterwork of pastry chef/owner Sophie Evanoff and newly appointed executive pastry chef Josh Johnson. Guests can expect the same stunning sweets as at the other Vanille spots, lush with exquisite French desserts and pastries, and the largest collection of macarons this side of the Seine. New attributes for this location include custom, special occasion cake design in the appointment-only tasting room. There's also a full espresso bar, a decorating room, and seating for 22.

- Matt Kirouac

Neighborhoods: Chicago LoopLincoln Park

Vanille Patisserie's third and largest location is nestled in the heart of Lincoln Park, boasting 1,200 square feet of space, a special tasting room, a visible decorating room, full espresso...

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