Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month at Toni Patisserie


Nothing says “comfort food” better than a grilled cheese sandwich and a hot bowl of tomato soup.  Add that to the fact that April is “National Grilled Cheese Month” and you set the stage for some tasty options to celebrate this iconic combination.  Although many Chicago restaurants will undoubtedly offer special grilled cheese promotions in April, my suggestion is to head over to Toni Patisserie & Cafe located at 65 East Washington Street, just off of Michigan Avenue in the Loop.


Western suburbanites have been extolling the virtues of the Hinsdale location of Toni Patisserie since 1994.  Just last year, Chicago was lucky enough to welcome a downtown location of this superb bakery.  The decadent pastries are the work of Toni Marie Cox, more than just a pastry chef – a pastry artiste.  But the savory menu at the Chicago location is also the brainchild of Chef du Cuisine Liam Kimball.  You can check out their extensive menu here including their regular Fromage Grillé (a.k.a. grilled cheese) made with Gruyere, Provolone, and Chèvre. 


To celebrate “National Grilled Cheese Month,” however, Chef Liam Kimball has come up with a series of special sandwiches focusing on fresh ingredients and intriguing flavor combinations.  Each of these will be available for one week only, so I highly recommend setting some time aside to stop by Toni Patisserie once a week during the month of April.  If you do, here’s what you have in store to satisfy that comfort food craving:


Toni Patisserie grilled cheese month week on ricotta, parmesan, provolone with garlic spinach on pan de mieWeek 1:  Grilled Ricotta, Parmesan, and Provolone with Garlic Spinach on Pan de Mie.

Toni Patisserie grilled cheese month week two fromage flambeeWeek 2: “Fromage Flambée” – Grilled Chèvre, Melted Onions, Nueske’s Bacon, Béchamel on Puff Pastry Toast.


Toni Patisserie grilled cheese month week 3 grilled gruyere with duck confitWeek 3: Grilled Gruyere with Duck Confit, Pickled Spring Onions and Cherries, Arugula on Brioche


Toni Patisserie grilled cheese month week 4 frilled fontina with roasted asparagus and shiitake mushroomsWeek 4: Grilled Fontina with Roasted Asparagus, Shiitake Mushrooms on Ciabatta.


Recently, I was invited to taste test these four offerings along with a bowl of the intensely flavorful Creamy Tomato Basil Soup.  Although it’s hard to pick a winner, I think I have to cast my personal vote for the “Fromage Flambée” featured during Week 2 of April.  Of course, the bacon probably had something to do with that choice since it’s my considered opinion that bacon makes everything better. 


Try pairing your Fromage Grillé and tomato basil soup with a glass of the superb 2011 Domaine des Corbillieres Sauvignon Blanc.  You won’t be disappointed.  They have a small but excellent retail section containing artisan foods, teas, and wine.  The wine is predominantly French (of course), but there are quite a few American wines and one excellent Argentinian Malbec for sale.


When dining in, they have ten wines available by the glass.  For all you oenophiles, you can download a list of their wines here.  


For their half-price “Wine Wednesday” promotion (going on for the next eight weeks) you can get not only a half-price bottle, but a half-price glass.  Each week, they are offering one of their ten wines at this half-price special.  Yes!  So many restaurants offer bottle discounts, but very few offer such a great deal on wines by the glass.  As a frequent solo diner, I often find myself annoyed by that fact but now I have a ‘go to’ place on a Wednesday for the next several weeks. 


Here’s another great tip.  Since they are located just one block west of Millennium Park, remember Toni Patisserie & Cafe when you come to the park this summer to enjoy the free concerts.  You can run across the street, pick up a great bottle of wine and some snacks, and be back on the Great Lawn in no time at all.


Toni Patisserie pastriesOf course, no visit to Toni Patisserie & Cafe would be complete without at least a nibble of one of Toni Marie Cox’s amazing pastries.  Save some room, order a cup of coffee, and finish your comfort food meal with something sweet.  My personal recommendation?  White Chocolate Mousse Cake!  But whatever you order, I can bet you won’t be disappointed. 


As they say on their website, “Ici on mange bien.”


Toni Patisserie & Cafe is located at 65 East Washington Street in the Chicago Loop.  You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or on the web at http://www.tonipatisserie.com.








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