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October 16, 2003

Get a Life! with Erica Cerulo

I'm a sucker for themes. My roommates and I spend an embarrassing amount of time thinking up new party ideas for our apartment, which we affectionately refer to as the "Barbie Dream House." Needless to say, when I happened upon the restaurant Kitsch'n (home of all things kitschy), I was psyched. Who doesn't get excited about being given Magic Eight Balls and Etch-A-Sketches to keep you occupied while you wait for your food? I mean, honestly.

The décor is loyal to the restaurant's name, from Colt 45 signs to Mr. Potato Heads. Pabst Blue Ribbon and throwback jerseys are all the rage. Just going to this restaurant will up your coolness factor—score! OK, OK-—seeing as how this is a restaurant, you might be interested in the food, too; I'm getting there.

Kitsch'n promises "comfort food," but actually delivers something more like comfort food on an acid trip, which is probably more appropriate anyway. Meatloaf made with beef, oatmeal, portabella mushrooms, and roasted peppers is not my idea of traditional home-style cooking. If fancy meatloaf isn't your bag, try the half sandwich, soup, fruit, and Twinkie or Ding Dong served in a retro lunchbox. I was particularly impressed with the breakfast. Although weekend brunch gets pretty packed, the coconut-crusted French toast topped with Bananas Foster is to die for.

Kitsch'n also offers creative drink and dessert selections. When is the last time you had a frozen Kool-Aid margarita or a Tang-tini? Better yet, when is the last time you heard the word Tang? As far as desserts go, they offer Twinkie Tiramisu that is surprisingly good but decidedly un-tiramisu-like. Seeing as how I've been known to whip up a batch of cookie dough and never actually bake a cookie, my fave was the chocolate fudge brownie batter served with chocolate chip cookies and berries. It's like being given the permission to lick the bowl, minus the threat of salmonella! You already put your health in enough danger by dealing with those damn biting Asian beetles that are on a mission to take over campus.

The prices are about in line with the Med, and although it is harder to get to, it's worth it. Sugar, you need to get out more. Take advantage of the quirky things that Chicago has to offer.

Address: 2005 West Roscoe Street

Phone: (773) 248-7372

Via CTA: Take the 55 bus to the Red line. Take the Red line (towards Howard) to Fullerton. Transfer to the Brown line (counterclockwise). Take the Brown line to Paulina. Walk a few blocks south on Paulina to West Roscoe Street. Make a right on West Rosco, and walk about a third of a mile to the Damen Avenue intersection.

Via Car: Take Lake Shore Drive North to Belmont. Make a right onto Damen from Belmont, and it's on your left at West Roscoe Street.

(If you couldn't tell, getting there by car is a lot easier.)

For hours, menus, and more information, check out www.kitschn.com.

Do you know of a fabulous Chicago destination? E-mail suggestions (or love letters) to elcerulo@uchicago.edu.