Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Once in a while, through no thought or planning on your part, you come across a place so perfect, it could only have been discovered by accident. Because the surprise was part of what made it so perfect. A couple of weeks ago, I found such a place: Miko's Flipside Cafe in Bucktown. We've been to Miko's Italian Ice (both Bucktown and Logan Square) on many a steamy summer evening, but I did not know about this tiny establishment's cool-weather alter ego until a couple of weeks ago. It was a snowy Saturday, and my friend Meg and I had visited a small fabric store a few blocks away. We were looking for a place to grab a quick bite, and suddenly Miko's appeared before our eyes! We walked down the few steps and in the door (is there anything more charming than a garden-level cafe?), followed closely by William von Hartz, who was tending the cafe that day. We sat at the counter, and he poured us each a glass of water and put on an old Johnny Cash vinyl record while we looked over the small, well-curated menu. I chose a grilled cheese sandwich on rosemary bread with arugula, house-cured bacon, and roasted tomatoes, and tomato soup, which struck the ideal balance of comforting and special. Meg's black bean soup was delicious, with a generous kiss of chipotle heat.
While we were eating, a man walked in and ordered coffee; a locally-roasted blend hand-brewed by the cup. Kelly, the woman who bakes the bread, came in to do some work in the kitchen, and William made them each a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. I felt that I was among kindred spirits, people who take pride in the food they prepare, and enjoy cozy spaces and good music. Sitting at that counter felt comfortable in the best way, and I look forward to returning very soon.
I encourage you to visit Miko's year-round, but the Flipside is especially excellent!
Miko's Flipside Cafe
1846 N. Damen