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Reviews of desserts in Chicago.

Sugar Rush: Blueberry Almondine from Lovely Bake Shop

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[Photograph: Kate Bernot]

This unseasonably warm weather has a few consequences, namely an instantaneous profusion of joggers, but also a remembrance of lighter, summertime eating. Lovely, the charming little cafe and bakery in Noble Square, has its share of the substantial wintertime favorites like whoopie pies and cupcakes, to be sure. But with temperatures pushing 60 this week, consider a less chocolate-and-frosting-covered dessert: a slice of the blueberry almondine tart ($3.00).

Available by the slice or by the whole tart ($22.00), the tart should be near the top of any nut lover's list. The ground almonds retain their familiar flavor, but the texture of the filling as your fork glides easily through it indicates that you're about to taste a bite that's light and creamy. The smoothness of the almond base is dotted with bright, bursting blueberries whose near-sourness and pop of juice are a welcome textural diversion. Sliced almonds on top provide a finishing crunch. Together, the flavors and textures have a simple but satisfying balance. Blueberries rarely see the spotlight beyond breakfast pastries, and it's refreshing to see them take center stage here.

It must be mentioned that though this tart travels well if you'll be serving it for guests, Lovely's airy, warm cafe may be the best spot for tearing into this slice straightaway. Warm wood and vintage floral prints make the interior look like a Pinterest dream, and some communal seating means there's a potential to meet like-minded dessert fiends. Just be advised that said communal seating could mean you'll have to share a bite of that blueberry almondine. Best to order the whole tart.

Lovely Bake Shop

1130 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642 (map)
773-572-4766
lovelybakeshop.com

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