Word is bond, my CG colleague Marilyn Lee, has been hollerin about meatloaf in cupcake form for at least the past 8-months. Don’t try and tell ole girl that there isn’t some sort of Nanny Cam set up in her personal space snatching up culinary aspirations like some Rudy Ruettiger bullshit. Her fears were enhanced around mid-Fall, when we starting hearing rumors revolving around the possibility of a Chi-City MILF who was finalizing plans for a meat bakery dedicated to this sole purpose. Let’s just say that Marilyn was a bit salty. Luckily, M has a few more culinary tricks up her sleeve which I am not allowed to divulge in this forum.
In the past, I have been quick to classify meatloaf as some PoliGrip friendly, retirement home comfort food. And just when I thought that meatloaf would never adapt and lift itself out of junior varsity status, The Meatloaf Bakery (MB) popped up like a hernia after some showboat workouts at the LVAC.
Nestled in the heart of Lincoln Park, MB is the quintessential “Goddammit, its 6:35pm and I have no idea what to get for dinner; I got three brats and a lazy, fat ass husband to feed” spot. Hope you weren’t thinking Eatzi’s. Yall know they closed up shop a minute ago and they shit was on some soup kitchen diabolicalness anyway.
Upon entry, Cynthia Kallile, the creator and mastermind behind the single-item concept shop, talked me and my girl up something proper. Cynthia was all Kool-Aid smiles and eagerly chauffeured us through her faves on the menu. While considering our gluttonous path, Cynthia skooled us on her multi-year journey in which she readied and perfected her recipes after experiencing a professional rebirf that lead to an exodus from corporate babylonia. While explaining the cakes, Cynthia was confident as Libya’s al-Gaddafi. She oozed the belief that her product would keep clientele steady strolling in like baseheads did in Baltimore back in the 1990s.
The space was sleek and stylish like Saks Fifth. There was a quaint, relatively simple design which complimented the product being slung. Two high top tables collabed with two stools each. If you are on the healthy side of the weight spectrum, these seats prolly won’t hold up (even my boney black ass had some issues getting the right equilibrium in this Euro-style shit). So don’t parlay in the cut; get your call-and-order-on and heat that shit up at home, yungens. MB has everything covered for those who are ‘oven challenged’ and provide a Baking Meat Products for Dummies sheet that they slip up in your cakeboxxx. Mmmmm…cakeboxxx.
The rest of the space is consumed by the “cupcake cooler” which can easily be scoped on the opposite side of Clark St. Set in front of tangerine colored background, this placement has to be intentional. During the hour that we spent at MB, I swear at least 17 people did whiplash inducing double-takes.
Cynthia and the pastry chefs(?) (question mark b/c I still don’t really know what to call these kats) were steady grinding out different types of meatfuckery during most of our visit, only stopping to deliberate like heads going double-or-nothing up in the Cash Cab. A significant part of MBs business is special order meat cake. Cynthia gave us V.I.P. love and ushered us into the kitchen where it went down. From far glance, they look like their sweet frosted cousins. Upon closer inspection, the shit looked more like congealed mash potatoes nestled on a top hat without the brim. But fuck me inna weird position because the masses are throwing out a grip for these manufactured meatbombs.
One of the only fucking reasons that we deal with our crazy ass parental units is so we can enjoy recipes and flavor profiles which we just cant duplicate at home (my Grandmother mos def kept a tub of lard under the kitchen sink). Well, Cynthia not only creates a new vessel for our beloved household meats, she makes the shit correct. Yes, you might be able to make meatloaf back at the nest for $8.69, but I can assure you that it will NOT taste like this. Lets bless the food:
Counterclockwise, we have: The Loaf-A-Roma, A Wing and A Prayer, The Mother Loaf, and The Chicken Shish-Kaloaf. Each comes alongside a dipping friend for emotional support. The Loaf-A-Roma had me frowning like Celie from A Color Purple from the goodness. The pasta, mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, red wine, and Italian sausage was mouth-boggling. A Wing and A Prayer is MBs take on the hot wang. The crumbled blue cheese topping, ground chicken, celery and hot wing sauce was unfadeable. I coulda taken more heat, but that’s my personal grind. The Chicken Shish-Kaloaf is MBs attempt to replicate the classic chicken shish kabob. MB might wanna take a hiatus and hop ova to Istanbul, because this cake needed to be blessed with a couple mo cups of sage, turmeric and rosemary. The Mother Loaf sealed the deal and got us back to fiddy%. The components of onions, ketchup, herbs and mash potato topping kept things traditional like elementary school teachers in boxy blazers.
Summing shit up, MB gets shine from our camp for going out on a limb and fusing two food elements harmoniously. My only suggestion would be that they add some pork cakes to the menu. Meatcake bakeries are not exempt from being equal opportunity.
The location might be a bitch for some, so Ima let yall in on a small observation. There is a bus stop right in front of The Meatloaf Bakery. Call ahead and run in right quick to get your meatbomblicioiusness. For those who depend on CTA like my broke ass, sit awhile and let them heat that shit up for yah. Once them aromas hit the air, you will understand why you actually trekked to one of the gheyest neighborhoods in Chicago to get bombed by meat.