June 8, 2007

Brownie Hunter

Moist, chocolate deliciousness' who doesn’t love a brownie? One of the accounts of the brownie’s origin takes place right here in Chicago at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. When Chicago hosted the World’s Fair in 1893, Bertha Palmer assigned her chef to create a dessert that was unique but that wouldn’t get her guests’ hands dirty. As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and so, the brownie was born. The Palmer House still serves up that original recipe to this day.


Bored with the traditional brownie? Thirty different varieties of brownies are served at Athena’s Silverland Desserts in Forest Park. Athena has been serving up her sweet delights since 1983. Over 20,000 brownies are baked here each day and shipped globally. Take a bite out of the popular double-chocolate or the “cocoa cow,” which almost tastes like a chocolate cheesecake. All of the brownies are made with natural ingredients-pure sugar, real chunk chocolate, whole eggs, real vanilla-and with no additives or preservatives. And for you health-conscious folks, there are sugar-free options available as well. This bakery closes in the early evening, so you just might have to eat your dessert before having dinner at La Piazza down the street. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. *wink*

If your sweet tooth is craving a little more variety, try Flourish in Edgewater. Dan Fitzgerald, the owner, had hopes of opening a bakery that would recreate the comfort foods and homemade desserts he remembered from his childhood. The pastel-colored walls sure do evoke an era from decades past, the menu offers everything from quiches to sandwiches to chicken pot pie. But we’re here for the desserts, which include cakes, cookies, pies, and, of course, brownies. Treat yourself to a “turtle brownie” or a “brownie delight,” which comes served in a muffin cup.

Photo credit: hartini a (c/o SXC)

Palmer House Hilton Hotel: 17 E Monroe St; 312-726-7500
Open 24 hours daily
Street parking difficult; pay lot; valet
Public trans: Bus # 1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 14, 20, X20, X28, 29, 36, 56, 60, 62, 124, 126, 127, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 151, 157
Red/Blue Line (Monroe)
Orange/Purple/Pink/Green/Brown Line train (Madison or Adams)

Athena’s Silverland Desserts ($): 439 Des Plaines Ave (Forest Park); 708-488-0800
Mon - Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Public trans: Bus # 17, 303, 305, 310, 317, 318

Flourish ($): 1138 W Bryn Mawr; 773-271-CAKE (2253)
Mon - Sat: 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sun: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Street parking available
Public trans: Bus # 36, 84 or Red Line train (Bryn Mawr)


5 comments to Brownie Hunter

  1. SP @ Southern Byways
    June 9th, 2007 at 9:06 am

    We are soooo there. Husbund flies in regularly on business and the next time… we go too. Daughter is a brownie-a-holic!

  2. Weekend Festivals
    August 28th, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    [...] Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, just around the corners from America’s Dog and the Palmer House. The Pavilion’s sound system, architecture, and open-air canopy make it the first permanent [...]

  3. "Top Chef: Chicago" Learns to Improvise
    April 28th, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    [...] Athena's Silverland Desserts [...]

  4. Potter’s Secret Chamber
    May 24th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    [...] Hilton opened Potter's, a sophisticated bar and lounge. It's named after Potter Palmer, the Palmer House founder, and replicates the style and elegance of the 1920s with a modern, sleek [...]

  5. On Chicago And Brownies… | SKY ROCK INDIA
    February 4th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    [...] I’ve heard rumors that we’re staying in a hotel known for inventing the brownie. You can be assured that Robin and I will be testing out the product to see if it’s really [...]

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