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Brunch You’ll Want On Your List- Spanish Tapas at Mercat De La Planxa

Beata at Mercat de la Planxa

Mercat de la Planxa, I honestly had not heard of it until we went for a morning brunch one day.  Little did I know that this morning brunch would lead to my engagement.  Perhaps these feelings have been inspired by such a pleasant first experience.  I was determined to give it another chance and not disclose the sentimental value of this restaurant in our hearts.  This second visit was made three years later.

Mercat de la Planxa eggs benedict
Mercat de la Planxa eggs benedict

Mercat de la Planxa is run by a new chef now, Executive Chef Diego Amat from Spain.  I have to say that the experience was just as lovely if not potentially an even more pleasant memory the second time around.  Glancing at the menu my eyes were glued to the Mercat Benedict (toasted brioche, chorizo, truffled hollandaise, breakfast potato).  The first time I had ever dared tried eggs prepared in the style of eggs benedict was at Mercat de la Planxa during our first visit when they still had fixed prix menus.

They turned my breakfast perspective completely around and left eggs benedict one of my all time favorite breakfast items!

I was desperately craving the eggs benedict, but remained torn by the allure of the lobster eggs with spinach.  Of course to settle this battle of food decisions I just got both.  We’re all winners here.  I was not disappointed, in fact, the benedict still won be over as my all time favorite breakfast item and the finely chopped potatoes cooked to perfection inspired me to chop and season my potatoes at home similarly.  To me this is the biggest determination if a meal is successful.  I ask myself, did I leave inspired?  Now I am no chef, I’m just a home cook.  It is too easy for me to become bored with my food and soon after I’m bored that leads to a decline in cooking.  Travel and delicious food experiences give me the everyday inspiration I need to be able to cook for myself and my family.  I am fortunate enough to have a husband who alleviates my need to be in the kitchen, by cooking at home for us very often.  However, every so often I just need that gust of inspiration and the taste of new savory flavors to give me that lift in my own personal life.  The take away was delicious and indeed inspired.

Now whenever I have tapas anywhere, even in Spain, I must have those decadent bacon wrapped dates.  At Mercat de la Planxa the spin on Datiles is con Almendras (meaning with almonds) and they are drizzled with la peral cheese fondue.  Let me tell you, if you like bacon, cheese? Then you want to try this.  Fighting back drool as I write this.  The elegant presentation of the plates and inventive Catalonian flavors give you a taste of Spain.  Can’t take a trip to Barcelona?  You don’t need to, you can take a mini getaway by simply enjoying tapas in Chicago.
Mercat de la Planxa Crema Catalana
Mercat de la Planxa desserts
The dessert takes a creative spin on Spanish favorites.  Featured from our experience pictured are the Arroz con Leche Croquettes with a cinnamon anglaise dipping sauce and the Crema Catalana (macrona almonds, sherry gastrique, Pedro Ximenez ice cream and almond tuile).  The play of textures with the Crema Catalana was a crunchy and delicious play on crème brûlée and definitely has me coming back for more.  The Pedro Ximenez ice cream has a amaretto, cinnamon reminiscent flavor that reminds me of the holidays and spiced egg nog making it a perfect holiday treat as well.
Mercat de la Planxa
Certainly just as the food is comforting and elegant, the view from inside the building that houses the Blackstone Hotel is beautiful. Minimalistic, red orange heated tones contrast the window view overlooking South Michigan Ave where you’re drawn into the nature of Grant Park across the street.  It’s the perfect place to eat a meal and then take a stroll through the park that gives you scenic views of the city.  Although it initially did not come to mind as a restaurant that made me yearn for brunch, it is certainly does now! It should be on your list if you’re looking for Spanish flare and a delicious experience with the bonus of beautiful accessible city view being a pebble stones throw away.

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