A Sandwich a Day: Croque Vert at Birchwood Kitchen
Birchwood Kitchen takes pride in catering its menu to what local farmers have in stock. (Think special dishes crafted around market vegetables, locally sourced cheeses, and breads baked right down the street.) Freshness is of the utmost importance when it comes to this Wicker Park establishment's menu. Luckily, its menu consists of more than a few sandwiches.
I'm particularly fond of Birchwood's croque vert ($9.25), a vegetarian-friendly take on the French classic croque madame. Featured exclusively on the weekend brunch menu, this sandwich is a locavore's delight of regionally grown market vegetables and Gruyere cheese pressed between crisp, fresh-baked slices of sourdough bread. The vegetables change depending on the season and what the restaurant has in the kitchen (this same sandwich in mid-November had a mushroom medley and some greens), while a mildly spicy dijon mustard adds a little zing to each bite. And the pièce de résistance: two fresh eggs cooked sunny-side up that, when cracked, seep through the crevices of the toasted sourdough without taking away that desired crunch. Tres bien.