The morning’s climate was like early spring, cool and damp. Fog and condensation could be seen everywhere, including across all hard surfaces. Rain was soon to follow, and what I really needed was a cup of some good coffee.
Portage Park Neighborhood
The neighborhood was Portage Park. A quiet part of the northwest side of Chicago, nestled between Edison Park and 6 Corners. Across from a huge park, and adjacent to a big box gym, sat Portage Grounds.
It’s a small neighborhood cafe with some modern amenities, including a community table and a conference room. Their outdoor seating is surrounded by colorful flower arrangements. I hope the coffee is as good as the facade.
The entryway tells you it’s a coffee shop. Well-placed signs broadcast the fact that they carry Intelligentsia Coffee. The two ladies behind the counter give a morning greeting and I feel welcome and ready for some coffee.
A Rich, Bold Cup
First up is an Italiano made with Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso. They take my order, but conversation isn’t a part of the menu. The baristas are friendly, but don’t chat while they’re working.
I take a deep breath and my first sip hits my tongue. A rich boldness ensues and tapers off nicely. It leaves a nice round finish that’s not too bitter, but lets you know it’s a dark roast.
The Single Origin Quandary
They don’t serve any single-origins in the shop (but they do sell single-origin Intelligentsia in 12 oz bags). They are also very limited with their brewing methods. You won’t find any pour-overs here.
So, I decide to get some tea and I’m glad they offered Rishi. A Yerba Matte Latte is in order. It resembles the freshness of freshly cut grass but gives you a soft woodsy and earthy body. Yum. It’s like truffled green tea with just enough milk to give it a fantastic creamy texture, rounding it out.
A Tea Tasting
I finish this visit with a cup of their Rishi Coconut Oolong tea. Now this is how tea is supposed to be enjoyed.
Double walled glasses help prevent rapid loss of heat so your tea stays hot. Plus, glass doesn’t alter the flavor of the tea, whereas metal does.
Back to the tea.
It has a rich and tropical aroma followed by a nutty flavor. After enjoying that first cup, a second steeping is in order. The second steeping is not as nutty, but finishes with a fresh herbal runoff.
If you’re in Portage Park and seeking a wonderful cup of tea, this is definitely the place. The coffee is also tasty, but limited to Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso Blend and only drip or espresso brews.
Paleo Friendly Restaurant: Portage Grounds (Chicago)
Restaurant: Portage Grounds
Location: 5501 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641
Restaurant Rating: 3 out of 5
Paleo Rating: 3 out of 5
Restaurant Rating: How good is it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best I’ve ever had), how good is the restaurant, no matter if it’s paleo or not.
Paleo Rating: On a scale of 1-5 (5 being paleo perfection), how paleo is it? A 5 will have grass-fed and pasture raised meats, local, organic produce and no peanut oil in sight.