There is nothing we like more than trying pastries from around the world, so we were delighted to visit a new bakery in Andersonville in Chicago that celebrates the neighborhood’s Scandinavian heritage: Lost Larson ( 5318 N Clark St Chicago, IL). Lost Larson specializes in traditional Scandinavian pastries made with the highest quality ingredients. The bakery itself is bright and clean, and there are even some comfy booths for seating.
We have been to Lost Larson a few times, and we have yet to try something we did not love. We think that the croissants are particularly good. The scrumptious chocolate croissant has a touch of cardamom, and there is also a Danish riff on a croissant, the Tebirkes ($4.50), which has an almond filling and is covered with poppy seeds. M was head over heels for the cinnamon roll ($4.50), which was subtle, not overly syrupy or sticky. The cardamom bun ($4.50), a Swedish classic, was also superlative. They also have seasonal specialties in the pastry case like Saffron buns for St. Lucia’s day in December (unfortunately they were sold out when we got there).
A full selection of beverages are available including espresso drinks, tea and a matcha latte. Recently, we also sampled a special elderflower mulled apple cider. Don’t sleep on the breads displayed behind the counter either, we were in love with the slightly-sweet Swedish limpa bread with fennel, anise, and orange peel. There are also a few savory open-faced sandwiches (known as smorrebrod in Denmark) with eclectic toppings like avocado and pickled herring ($8.50-10) if you are in more of a lunch mood. Though Lost Larson may be a bit more expensive than other bakeries, it is worth every penny!
M has a particular affinity for snails, so we were pretty excited that there exists a German cinnamon roll that is named after the swirl on a snail’s shell – Schnecken (German for snail). Schnecken date from the late 19th / early 20th century and are now found in German Jewish expat communities in the US and even as far away as Brazil. Schnecken are similar to the better known rugelach (recipes for both inside), but are instead cut crosswise to reveal the signature snail spiral. These cinnamon rolls are likely predecessors to the popular American cinnamon buns today, and feature a syrup topping with nuts. Here is another recipe for schnecken on Cooks.com (seen below), and a few variations on One Perfect Bite.
October 4 is the date of two very important food holidays: National Taco Day and National Cinnamon Bun Day. We have a lot of coverage on tacos on the blog, but we thought we would supplement our cinnamon bun coverage! The holiday, like most other food holidays, is an invented one, but since its introduction in 1999 it really has taken off in Sweden. Swedes really love cinnamon buns (Kanelbullens in Swedish), in fact, as of 2010, they ate 310 a year! The love for cinnamon buns is shared across Scandinavia (we sampled some in Denmark). Swedish cinnamon buns are indeed relatives of the Cinnabon-style American Cinnamon rolls, but are flavored with cardamon, and topped with pearl sugar instead of icing (to be honest I like the Swedish kind a lot better!). Plus, Cinnamon buns are not just for breakfast, they are perfect for an afternoon coffee break or “Fika.” Here are recipes for classic Swedish Cinnamon buns from Kokblog, Swedishfood, Salt & Wind, and What’s Gaby Cooking. If you want a little twist, Nami Nami has a recipe for a Finnish Cinnamon Bun variety.
Everyone has been buzzing about Baker Miller (4610 N. Western Ave.), and the fact that they mill their own flour, adding yet another layer of artisan to the artisanal bakery. Everyone is especially buzzing about their bread and toast bar – there are even toasters available at every table to toast it up yourself. So when we visited on Saturday, we were a little disappointed to see the power was out (and therefore the toasters, too) – not their fault – it affected the whole block. But luckily for us that meant they were having a fire sale on cinnamon rolls – 2 for 1 at (normal price $3.50). The cinnamon rolls were huge – so this is a really good bargain. We decided to split one in the store and take one home for later. On appearance alone, we were delighted – but the taste was even better – this was a darned good cinnamon roll! The roll, which was actually an earthy sourdough, had a good cinnamon flavor, and was not covered in a gross sticky glaze that I hate, like at some other venues. The “raw sugar” frosting was also particularly fresh, and not overpoweringly sweet. This was a restrained cinnamon roll – and we liked it. You can even take some rolls to bake at home yourself. After our excellent cinnamon roll experience, we can’t wait to visit Baker Miller again when they have power.
We’re two Midwestern omnivores, L and M, who are trying to eat food from every country in the world (at restaurants in both the US and abroad). Eating the World is where we update our global restaurant and food adventures. We are based in Cleveland, Chicago and beyond.
To contact us for partnerships or just to say hi, email us at eating the world (at) gmail.com
Eating The World · We're two Midwestern omnivores, L and M, who are trying to eat food from every country in the world (at restaurants in both the US and abroad). Eating the World is where we update our global restaurant and food adventures. We are based in Cleveland, Chicago and beyond.