Impulse Buy of St. Pat's Day – Irish Soda Bread

March 18 2009 - 1:12 PM

Yesterday afternoon, I was wandering around the Loop taking in the preternaturally warm weather, when it dawned on me that I wanted a loaf of Irish soda bread. Strike that: needed. Ah, a warm raisin-studded round of dense, hearty soda bread! I set course for Pastoral, which is more commonly known for its cheeses and wines, but also offers some breads and an excellent selection of sandwiches. Actually, Pastoral is one of my favorite places  to grab lunch, since it is one of the few casual, non-chain options in the Loop. In recent months, I have had their Barcelona-inspired Loma Costa Bravo sandwich (thinly sliced pork, sundried tomato tapenade, artichoke, feta, olive oil, field greens) and the Cali Chevre (goat cheese, avocado, red onion, shaved celery, almond pesto), both of which were excellent.

At any rate, Pastoral did not have Irish soda bread on hand. Rooting through their basket of 40% off day-old merchandise though, I triumphantly came away with another fruit-studded loaf. "What is this?" I asked. "It's our California bread," the salesperson responded. "It comes packed with raisins, apricots, cranberries, nuts and dates, and it's delicious!" Another person in line behind me nodded vigorously and seconded that opinion. I was completely sold, and happily plunked my $3 down. Even though my quest for soda bread was unfulfilled, I still left with a sense of victory.

Pastoral Artisan
53 E. Lake
(312) 658-1250

2945 N. Broadway
(773) 472-4781