Tag Archives: esencia urban kitchen

esencia urban kitchen Chicago

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Good Morning Gators!

It was a beautiful morning in the Lakeview East neighborhood. There are nearly as many Dogs as people. At this time in the morning there was a fair amount of open parking. We were a bit early so we sat in the Gatormobile and listened to some tunes for a bit.

OK it’s almost opening time (8:00) so its time to get going. As per standard Gator operating procedure I took a few exterior shots and Diane went in to snag a table.

esencia Chicago
All that is missing is U
esencia Chicago
Exterior

The place is TINY. 6 tables and 4 counter stools. On the counter there was an assortment of baked goods. The place was carpet free   9   with Urban Hipster music playing in the background.   8    The music fit the venue. The decor is mish mash coffeehouse. Speaking of Coffee, it wasn’t ready when they opened. This shouldn’t happen. On a more positive note when we got some it was delicious. Im not a flavored coffee fan. I’d much rather have a cup of single origin coffee than some Hazel caramel mocha salted something. The house coffee is flavored with Cinnamon and was worth waiting a few minutes for.   8  

esencia Chicago
Interior
esencia Chicago
Interior

 

The menu is small.   8   It didn’t take long to make a decision.

1st Up

 

This dish was a riff on an Eggs Benedict.  The Canadian Bacon was your run of the mill grocery store stuff.   6   I was actually pretty surprised at this. The Sunny Eggs were a little under. I wasn’t surprised at that.   4    The Poblano Cream Sauce was good but it was a little bland   7    It was served atop a Buttermilk Biscuit. The biscuit was decent but a little tough.   7   It was served with cubed and Mexican spiced potatoes that were pretty tasty. They were the highlight of the dish   8    A salad rode sidecar. It was fresh, crisp, and properly dressed. A good addition.   7   This wasn’t a particularly strong start but it was an overall decent dish.   7   

esencia Chicago
poblano eggs
esencia Chicago
poblano eggs
esencia Chicago
poblano eggs
esencia Chicago
poblano eggs

 

I saw that one of the featured bakery delights was a maple walnut coffeecake. I thought that we should give it a try. It was a good choice. It was buttery, nutty, mapley. cinnamony and had good texture. this cake was worth the drive.   9   

esencia Chicago
Maple Walnut Coffee Cake
esencia Chicago
Maple Walnut Coffee Cake
esencia Chicago
Maple Walnut Coffee Cake

 

Next Up

First a Hibiscus lesson.Dried hibiscus is edible, and it is often a delicacy in Mexico. It can also be candied and used as a garnish, usually for desserts.

The roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable. The species Hibiscus suratensis Linn synonymous to Hibiscus aculeatus G. Don is noted in Visayas in the Philippines as being a souring ingredient for almost all local vegetables and menus. Known as labog in the Visayan area, (or labuag/sapinit in Tagalog), the species is a very good ingredient in cooking native chicken soup.

Hibiscus

 

I have never eaten flowers as a main component of a dish so I of course had to order it.

The sauce (mole?) was rich, smooth and silky but it didn’t have a ton of flavor. Maybe this was by design. This dish is really about texture. It had that in spades. It was crunchy and tender crisp. It was tasty but it had a lot of grittiness. It crunched like it had a lot of sand that wasn’t cleaned from it. It wasn’t like anything that I’ve  had before. It was a solid   7   Served with some flavorful rice that was a   7    

esencia Chicago
Hibiscus Enchiladas
esencia Chicago
Hibiscus Enchiladas
esencia Chicago
Hibiscus Enchiladas
esencia Chicago
Hibiscus Enchiladas
esencia Chicago
Rice

Finally

While we were waiting the bus person came by cleaned off the table and brought new flatware.   9    

The cakes were light fluffy tender and lemony. They were served with jasmine syrup and ginger butter both of which were good. This was an overall   8    I liked em.

esencia Chicago
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
esencia Chicago
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
This was an interesting visit. I got to have a couple of things that I haven’t had before such as a flower (not Flour) enchilada.
So that’s it Gators Another decent downtown dining experience. As for us we’re of to another adventure.
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