Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ann Sather - The Cinnamon Roll Story

I first heard of Ann Sather when I moved to Chicago and my brother and sister-in-law wanted to take me out to brunch. I was a nervous freshman in college and didn't know much about what the city had to offer in many aspects and went with whatever they suggested.
They picked me up from campus and drove me to the Ann Sather at 909 W. Belmont, just off the Belmont red line stop. It seemed like a small, strange restaurant when I first entered and we took a seat at a table. I was so innocent and naive then.
They insisted that I had to have the cinnamon rolls. So I picked out my meal, something with eggs, cheese, lots of delicious foods, and they ordered us all cinnamon rolls with our meal. Oh yes, not as a meal, but with our meal. I assumed then that they had to be bite sized or something simple. I was not prepared for what came to our table.
Not just one, but two hand-sized gooey, warm, freshly made cinnamon rolls appeared beside each of our meals. The icing was a sheet of white snow across the fresh roll, dripping carefully down each edge to leave my fingers just a bit sticky. The first bite was fluffy, warm, gooey, and delicious.
A beautiful cinnamon roll has a soft texture, but the icing compliments it with a gooey sweetness. I always pick apart my cinnamon rolls, slowly unrolling and breaking off sections with my fingers. A real cinnamon roll will let me do this without becoming completely covered head to tummy in frosting. This cinnamon roll peeled simply, letting me have each piece and enjoy it until I devoured the next.

So it was easy to decide what to do when my friend wrote on her blog that she wanted an Ann Sather Cinnamon Roll for her birthday. My boyfriend has always insisted that birthdays deserve a bitching birthday breakfast - which for him consists of lots of meat. For my friend and I, a warm sweet comforting treat is a perfect start to the day.
On November 3rd, I woke up, threw on clothes, and walked down Broadway to the Ann Sather at 3411 N. Broadway just as they opened at 7 am. The two men behind the counter were busy setting up and placing hot trays of cinnamon rolls on carts. I ordered two, one for her and one for me, just because they looked so wonderful.

While this particular incident ended up with me standing outside on her stoop with her coffee and cinnamon roll for around 20 minutes before heading home, the cinnamon rolls still manged to keep their delicious taste. After I tricked her into coming over and gave her the breakfast and my present before she went to work, I sat down with my own warm roll. I picked it apart with my fingers and although no longer warm, it still was sticky, fluffy, and tasty. Each piece I pulled out showed the light, fluffy bread that has that cinnamon taste. The icing no longer trickled down the side with warmth, but still felt gooey and sweet as I bit into it.
Ann Sather Cinnamon Rolls can survive the cold fall weather. Take out or dine in, these sweet treats will give you the warm, fresh start to an otherwise cool day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spooky Sweets

There is something special about Halloween candy.
I tried to go last year without having any, but I couldn't do it. The bags with spooky ghosts and pumpkins called to me, especially when they were marked down the day after Halloween. But there is something special when you pull out a piece of candy from a pillowcase or from inside a plastic pumpkin.
Although I would be considered too old to trick or treat, but still considered a child, I had to find an excuse to gallivant the streets this Halloween. Luckily, I have two nieces who are small (3 and 1) and have a great sister-in-law who invited my boyfriend and I along. We traveled up to Evanston, just north of Chicago, to find a kid-friendly neighborhood and bundle up for our adventure.

After each and every house my niece ran down the sidewalk and shouted "They gave me candy!" as if it was the biggest surprise. She's been trick-or-treating, but the miracle that these strangers will give you something sweet and special makes it different each time. They smile in their costumes or hold out their bowls. Even a little baby in a ladybug costume let us pick from her bowl at one house.
The community in gathering candy and the excitement from the children must infuse the candy with some kind of special sweetness, because each time I pull out a bite-sized Milky Way or Snickers I feel like the world is perfect. Sharing the candy makes it special too. My niece let me share her lollipop and was thrilled to see my reaction to it and compare it to her own. My boyfriend gets excited when I place a piece of candy on his keyboard while he works on homework or plays video games.
These little pieces of candy may be sweeter than any other bag we buy year round, because of that special holiday magic. Oh yes, Christmas isn't the only holiday filled with magic - although this kind might include more witches brew and creepy skeletons.
So don't feel bad as you bite into that piece of candy, enjoy it and think spooky thoughts before we get swept up in the coming winter holidays.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Welcome to Sweet Home Chicago!

My name is Mollie and I will be your tour guide and writer here at Sweet Home Chicago.
This blog will be an adventure through the sweet treats the windy city has to offer as well as my own adventures in my Chicago garden apartment kitchen, cooking up what will hopefully be something to satisfy my ever present sweet tooth.

From recipes to restaurant reviews, you will find it here. Pictures of our favorite foods and step my step recipe rundowns will help you bake up something special even if you've never turned on an oven before in your life.

So pull out your sweatpants, put on an apron, and subscribe. Oh, and don't be afraid to lick the bowl, I won't tell anyone.