Cin Cin!

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know by now that I don’t write about brunch much.  That’s because I’ve never really been a brunch person so unless I’m blown away, I won’t talk about it.  My brunch tasting at Coda Di Volpe recently, may just have converted me into a brunch lover, and I can’t wait to see the dismay on my friends’ faces when I ask them on a brunch date next.

In addition to being a wonderful experience, I must also preface that it was a four-hour tasting and my longest meal to date.  And a meal that long deserves a blog post of its own!

Thanks to my friend and restaurant's Social Media Manager Kira for setting this up!

This fairly new establishment located in the Lakeview neighborhood serves southern Italian fare and is headed by Chef Chris Thompson of the acclaimed A16 in San Francisco.  To give you an idea of his commitment to the restaurant, Chef has spent extensive time in Italy actually doing research for the menu. That research shows well on the creative, lighter side of Italian items served on the menu.

A Bloody Mary is always a good idea to begin brunch with and did not disappoint.  I particularly enjoyed the Calabrian chili flavors and the pecorino garnish.

We did pizza as an appetizer because that’s just how light and airy the pies are here.  Chef specially crafted a Bianchetto Pizza for us using bianchettto (garlic truffles, which I got to sniff first hand), that are only around for six weeks of the year and whose magic is probably still unknown to most chefs.  The pizza was also topped with creamy burrata, Sicilian sea salt, Grana Padano and olive oil.  At the restaurant they present your pizza with a pair of shears so you can cut your pizza true Naples style.  That was a lot of fun!

The Bloody Mary went down fast and was quickly replaced with their Raspberry Bellini with framboise liqueur, fresh berries and prosesco.  Couldn’t have asked for a better accompaniment to my food.

The Bombolonis were next and these fried, donut holes typically intended as snack food in Italy, could have very well served as my entire meal.  Airy with goosey chocolate oozing out, and came with the most decadent candied orange, chocolate and concord grape syrups to dip them in.  Lord was I thankful for this job!

Now I want to take a minute to talk about the Risotto “Oatmeal” which I admit we ordered hesitantly.  How good can oatmeal be after all?  Well, you’ll need to try it for yourself.  A beautifully laid platter with a warm bowl of rice porridge, crispy oats, sliced apples and a side cup of caramelized milk honey was set in front of us.  I scooped warm and comforting scoops of the creamy risotto and mixed in the honey. If you think the perfect marriage is not possible, it is with this combination.

It wouldn’t be brunch without at least one egg dish and the Eggs in Purgatory looked good.  This dish of baked eggs, spicy tomato, provola and polenta cake was super tasty and sumptuous.

Chef was nice enough to oblige us with a fish dish to include in our brunch.  I am a seafood blogger after all.  He whipped up the Crispy Skin Branzino with yukon gold potatoes, placed in a tangy tomato caper sauce, poached egg, frisee and mizuna.  Ever tried to cook fish with skin on? Its not easy, which is another reason why this dish stood out to me.  Clearly Chef Thompson has mastered this technique.

We decided to walk off some of the food by taking a little tour of the kitchen and the meat pantry.  This is always a fun part of my tastings; being able to see it all in action. I was glad to personally meet Pastry Chef Marjorie Easely of The Blanchard fame and witness her put together the Pistachio Budino we had ordered for dessert And, there is only word to describe it- luscious!

I lasted in the meat pantry for about a minute but still glad I got to see the array of bacon and other meats hanging away in cold storage.  Impressive nevertheless!

We ended our elaborate tasting with a dessert cocktail Chef specially concocted for us, called it the Sicilianail.  Great King St Scotch, pistachio diamante, drambuie and lemon oil.  The perfect aperitivi to settle an active stomach metabolizing the feast I just had.

Brunch for me is now synonymous with Coda Di Volpe.  And the highlight was I got to meet Cin-Cin, the Mascot.  Boy, is he cute!  A special mention to our server Frankie who left no stone unturned in ensuring this was a fantastic experience.

No doubt I’ll be back, and hopefully it will be warm enough for their patio!

Coda Di Volpe
Neighborhood: Lakeview
Address: 3335 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Phone: (773) 687-8568
Hours: Mon- Fri: 4:30pm -10:00pm; Sat 10:00am-11:00pm; Sun 10:00am – 10pm
Price: $5.00- $18.00