By Jacky Runice
There are times when your body tells you that a slice of dense flourless chocolate cake is compulsory: after a breakup, a move to a new town or whenever you need to flame up those pleasure-anticipation neurons. But chocolate chips? You can have those every and any day whether in a whimsical carry-over from childhood (chocolate chip cookies) or a more fanciful creation that makes being all grown up worth the trouble. Sample some of the best chips off the whole block of chocolate.
The Chicago Firehouse
1401 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
Erected in 1905 to serve the neighborhood which included turn-of-the-century hotshots like the Marshall Fields, the McCormicks and the Palmers, the building stands in much of its same splendor today. Take in the tin ceiling, glazed tile walls, two fire poles and a classic American menu. Pastry chef Roberta Wilson, a Le Cordon Bleu grad who whipped her share of cream at places like Aigre Doux and Sunda, offers an elevated take on what might have been a firefighter’s dessert – a cookie dunked in a cup of joe. Wilson’s version is a chocolate chip cake with coffee buttercream.
500 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Carrie Nahabedian’s Mediterranean-influenced American food has been wowing Chicagoans and tourists for more than a decade and it’s not uncommon to catch a food critic licking what remains on the dessert plate. When spring has sprung, chef Nahabedian will be featuring chocolate chip ice cream infused with spring mint and her mom’s famous cream cheese chocolate chip cookies. When a chef says, “Who doesn’t like chocolate chips,” don’t be surprised if the yummy specks show up in other variations in the restaurant’s cookie selection and mignardises presentations.
401 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Fresh from receiving a five star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide, Sixteen doesn’t disappoint in food, service, spectacular views or dessert. Executive pastry chef Patrick Fahy says, “I’ll have a chocolate chip cookie sponge cake with milk bubbles frozen with liquid nitrogen.” Better living through chemistry never tasted sweeter.
Related: Best Bread Bakeries in Chicago
112 W. Hubbard St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Jessica Ellington’s temple of sugar has made stops at a number of Chicago restaurants and bakeries, including JAM and Vanille Patisserie. Now the pastry chef at Epic in River North, she crafts modern American desserts using seasonal ingredients and classic techniques that cast new light on familiar favorites. Case in point: chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches created with chocolate chip cookies sandwiching a sizable scoop of house made vanilla bean ice cream. This hits a sweet spot that’s both recognizable and revelatory. Another revelation? When have you seen a dessert on a menu for an easy $4?
2873 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
Since opening in 2012, Senza has been thrilling guests with gourmet fine dining in a 100-percent gluten-free setting. Based on the Lake View restaurant’s success, Senza opened a daytime bakery/coffee service within the space featuring, among other goodies, satisfying chocolate chip cookies that are surprisingly gluten-free. Take them to go or settle in with an artisanal roast from Bridgeport Coffee. The mornings-only, gluten-free bakery is open 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays through Fridays.
Related: Best Chocolate Cake in Chicago
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.