Let Them Eat Cake

September 27, 2010 at 9:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )


So Friday night I went to a coffee-house that I’d never been to before.  As I really just started drinking coffee in the last couple of years, I am by no means a connoisseur.  When I do go out for a warm beverage, I prefer places with a little more personality than say…Starbucks.  Enter Julius Meinl.

I'm ashamed that I passed by this place so often without ever going in

Julius Meinl is a coffee-house that originated in Vienna, Austria and has only three branches in all of the US – and they’re all in Chicago.  I’ve seen them around before and for some reason thought it was a much bigger chain, but apparently they’re pretty rare.  I’ve walked by this branch in particular many times and it’s usually pretty crowded, especially during brunch time.

Told you so

As I said, I finally ventured inside on Friday night.  I was with a friend who mentioned they had some live music and since I’m always a fan of that, I figured we’d get some dessert and check it out.  I was blown away.  First of all, the pastries and cakes served in this place are completely European and completely decadent.  As for drinks, there were more coffees, lattes and teas than I could’ve ever hoped to choose from.  My friend and I split a piece of chocolate pie that had some sort of pistachio crust and it was amazing.

The music turned out to be pretty great as well.  The place wasn’t too packed, which allowed us to sit as close as we wanted to the two older gentleman who were performing.  One had a violin and he made some of the most beautiful music I’d ever heard.  Seriously, I was in awe of this guy all night long.  His musical partner played on something that I can only describe as harpsichord-esque…I honestly don’t know what the instrument was.  It was a little like a piano but much smaller and made of wood.  And he didn’t hit keys; he used a tool similar to what one would use on a xylophone to hit the strings.  I was going to try to find a photo but since I don’t know what it was, my image search was cut short.

These two are apparently well-known in the world of classical music, though I never did catch their names.  Since my friend and I were among the only patrons who were simply listening and watching, they asked us for requests a few times.  And by requests, I mean they asked us to name a country and then they played something from that particular place.  How cool is that?  I gave a nice tip as I walked out and if I had had more cash on me I would’ve bought their CD.  We watched for about an hour and a half before heading out, and the entire experience made me oh so happy.  Since Julius Meinl has live music at all of their shops every Friday and Saturday evening, you can bet I’ll be heading back sooner rather than later.  And if you’re in the Chicago or Vienna area, you should check it out for yourself!

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