Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dining Out in Chicago: Kopi - A Traveler's Cafe

Kopi is my favorite place for a leisurely lunch. My first experience at Kopi was last summer, ducking in to escape the pouring rain. I sat cross-legged on cushions on the floor with a large pot of tea in front of me while dunking an italian-'beef' sandwich into a warm tangy broth. It was such a comforting and flavorful way to spend an afternoon.

Kopi's incredibly delicious "This Is Not An Italian Beef Sandwich", made with "hickory smoked veggie deli slices, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, and pepperoncini on a demi baguette. served with potato chips and a dippin' broth that magritte would be proud of."

Since then, I've been back to Kopi many times for it's low-key vibe, quality vegetarian food, and multi-purpose atmosphere. Whether you want to sip tea on floor-cushions, pull up a seat at a table in a casual cafe, shop their travel-themed boutique, or enjoy a decadent evening of wine & cake, you can't go wrong with Kopi.

The menu is all vegetarian (technically pescatarian as they serve fish, eggs, and dairy) but even non-vegetarians will enjoy it. The fake "meat" they use is clearly quality with a nice flavor and texture, but those who would prefer "meat"-less have plenty of options such as salads, paninis, or a bean burrito. My "meat"-less favorite is the mouth-watering Fromage D'Alps sandwich, with generous chunks of sharp white cheddar perfectly matched with dijon mustard, raisin bread, and granny smith apple slices.

A gourmet cheese plate in Sandwich form - "the Fromage D' Alps" featuring "aged black diamond cheddar cheese and granny smith apple slices on a hearty multi grain raisin bread with dijon mustard. served with a side of grapes and olives."

Everything I've tried at Kopi was of the highest quality down to the details of the hearty breads, crunchy tortilla chips, and quality 'meats' and cheeses. The quality is especially apparent in their house-tea of chamomile, peppermint, and rose-hips. Lo-and-behold, when I opened the lid to the teapot, in the strainer I could clearly make out each of those ingredients - several generous spoonfuls of leaves and flowers. If you order tea, be sure to take a peek inside the pot!

The portion sizes at Kopi are also pretty generous, so sadly I've always been too full to try any of their tempting desserts, but I keep coming back in the hopes that the next time I'll have room!

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