|This little empanada may not be very photogenic but it sure was tasty.|
Now that I’m finding myself with a little unstructured time, I’m hoping to catch up on some blogging action that doesn’t just involve fun photos of my dog. I mean, I could deal with those 24/7 and probably be perfectly happy but I’m fairly certain my loved ones would start worrying about me even more than that undoubtedly already do.
I’d heard really great things about Cassava in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, not far from the Red and Brown Belmont stop. But it was only recently that I stopped in when an afternoon of taking photos left me needing a snack desperately. The first time I went for three of the cassava rolls – bacon, jalapeno and white cheddar, and one with kalamata olives. They were all totally delicious but the bacon and olive rolls stole the show. I intended to just eat one and bring the others home, but instead I ended up nearly hoovering them while walking down Clark Street. Yeah, my roll-eating brings all the boys to the yard….. or not. As readers, you’re probably fortunate that I wasn’t able to document my voracious street-side roll consumption….
Cassava’s products are all gluten-free. They use cassava flour, which is also known as cassaba, manioc or yucca, — and is also where tapioca comes from — although in all my years of being GF I have yet to determine why we use so many different terms. I’m going to chalk it up to regional differences. You say trash, my Brit relatives say rubbish. You know, that kind of thing.
Back to Cassava: I like that they also use grass-fed beef, nitrate-free bacon and other such lovely ingredients. The joint has sort of a new-agey feel to it without being too Yanni-fied or earthy-crunchy. It’s a little more sterile than I might like, but I think that actually has more to do with the fact that I’ve been the only person there on my past two visits. That’s really a shame – it’s a great little place and they have wifi and good coffee, so I really should try to get there more often. Also, unlike so many eateries, their website is clean, easy to read and contains just the salient details. I really appreciate that simplicity.
The next time I went in, I tried an empanada and oh my, was it good. Seriously. These things are amazing. Both the rolls and empanadas are also sold frozen so you can take them home and heat ‘em up yourself, which again is something I really, really need to do. This has also inspired me to try using cassava flour for baking more often.