My dearest friend Eileen recently returned from studying in Mexico. We met for lunch at the May St. Café, a place I have been wanting to try for a year or two now. I love Pilsen and this just added one more reason as to why. The brightly colored exterior is impossible to miss if you are traveling down Cermak. We found the interior to be equally as inviting, but with more low-key hues. While a high-priced decorator could improve the feel, the home-grown look of the establishment is far more inviting in a day where most restaurants would never attempt to open without every nook and corner clinically crafted.
I ordered the fried plantain sandwich with potato salad. When the dish was presented to me I was pleased to see that the plantains were not inside the sandwich, they were in fact the "bread" sandwiching roasted red bell pepper, romaine leaves, tomato, grilled carrot and grilled eggplant. The vegetables were liberally dusted with fresh cracked black pepper and the plantains were fried to a perfect golden yellow. A modest application of seasoned mayonnaise pulled it all together. The accompanying potato salad was decent, but paled in comparison to the sandwich itself.
Eileen ordered the double cream brie and pear quesadillas served with sour cream and adobo sauce. Many of us have likely encountered a brie and pear crépe along the way, but this dish created a lovely spin on this common combination.
The crisp and mellow tortillas pulled the sweet flavors of the brie and pear together, while the adobo sauce offered an unexpected and exciting flavor that complimented the other smooth flavors wonderfully. The cilantro seasoning also provided a great contrast.
Overall our experience at the May St. Café was excellent. I hope to return soon to peruse more of their menu. For those of you unfamiliar with Pilsen I would love to suggest combining an early dinner at the May St. Café with the second Friday Pilsen Art Walks. There are many excellent independent galleries in the neighborhood and it would make for a unique and inexpensive evening.
Eileen and I spent the rest of the day together wandering around. She convinced me to buy expensive jeans and cute shoes which I cannot afford but am now pleased to own. She is my favorite lady (and has been since 8th grade!) and it is great to have her back. I am sure she will run off to Central or South America again soon, so I hope to see as much of her as I can while she is around.