Proper pastries and baked goods cannot be underestimated. Baking is both an art and a science, and no one does it better than our friends from across the pond, the French. In our fair city, where Bastille Day is celebrated with almost the same gusto as St. Patrick’s Day, there is no shortage of French-style bakeries. But proper French pastries and bread are not so easy to find. Enter Lakeview’s newest solution to your French pastry needs: Maison Marcel.
Maison Marcel announces its presence several blocks away, with the aroma of baking bread wafting through the air. Its white facade promises cozy yet chic environment redolent of coffee and croissants. One can linger here for hours, lounging at a window table and people watching. Breads, pastries, excellent coffee service, casual healthy savory bites made with organic ingredients, as well as a juice bar are all on offer at Maison Marcel.
We sampled excellent pistachio eclairs (a unanimous favorite), lovely hazelnut Paris Brest, pillowy brioche and golden Madeleines. Croissants and pain au chocolat enticed from their towering displays. Amid savory options, we enjoyed a slightly smoky version of shrimp salad and delicious dark, salty olive tapenade on French white sandwich bread.
The heat of the day called for iced coffee, which was a welcome relief from the sweltering Chicago summer. If ice cold juice, pressed to order is more your style, some unusual flavors are up for grabs at Maison Marcel. Our favorite was their seasonal offering, watermelon with a touch of cayenne.
There is always room for dessert in our lives, especially when it’s French, am I right? At the opening of Maison Marcel we made dinner of pastries, and I for one am not sorry. Chicago welcomes you, delicious French friend. Vive la France! Now go on to Lakeview and eat your weight in pastries. You only live once.
Maison Marcel is located at 3114 N. Broadway in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.
The Local Tourist access to the opening party courtesy of Solstice Communications Inc.
All photos by Gourmet Rambler.