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Reviews of vegetarian dishes.

The Vegetarian Option: Tomate et Basilic Galette at Toni Patisserie & Café

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[Photograph: Amber Gibson]

Right across the street from Millennium Park is Toni Patisserie's second location (the original is in Hinsdale) and there are quite a few delicious vegetarian options available.

When I stopped in for lunch on a hot and humid summer day, which also happened to be Bastille Day, I started with a refreshing watermelon gazpacho ($3.75). his red, white, and blue soup featured both blueberries and diced jicama, which added some nice crunch to the light soup's pulpy watermelon texture.

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[Photograph: Amber Gibson]

The tomate et basilic galette ($7.75) came next, and I initially wasn't sure if this tart would be enough for an entree, but it was definitely rich and cheesy enough to fill me up. Juicy cherry tomatoes rested atop whole basil leaves, and were then covered with Parmesan and enclosed in a crunchy buttery crust.

With "patisserie" in the restaurant's name, and considering my sweet tooth, I knew I had to try several desserts. I learned that the white chocolate mousse cake was Toni's signature dessert back when she was the pastry chef at Le Ciel Bleu in the Mayfair Regent Hotel. I was skeptical, since I don't care for white chocolate, but count me a convert. The mousse was light and the vanilla sponge cake was actually moist and flavorful. It's served with a tart raspberry sauce that really offsets the sweet cake well. The mixed berry clafoutis on the right is another of the red, white and blue Bastille Day specials so it might not be around much longer.

Finally, I ended with an assortment of mini treats. The lemon and blueberry macarons each had wonderfully light shells, although I wished the fillings had been tarter. The raspberry meringue uses chocolate ganache to hold the raspberries to the meringue shell. It's the best tasting glue I've ever had and I love the flavor combination of chocolate and raspberry. I saved the salted caramel chocolate tart for last, since it was the richest and messiest, with a liquid caramel center. Worth every calorie though.

Toni Patisserie & Cafe

65 E Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602 (map)
312-726-2020
tonipatisserie.com/

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