Who knew that the one and only Ferran Adrià had created a coffee "drink" for Lavazza? I definitely had no idea, since I'm so clueless. But of course Matt, my #1 informant for all-things-awesome, knew about this. Hooray for informants!
For some reason, Lavazza, one of the most popular line of espresso beans sold in Italy, has a few cafes dotted around Chicago. I have no idea why Chicago-- maybe their US offices are headquartered there? (Although I barely ever see Lavazza sold anywhere here in the States, have you?). They've named these cafes Espression by Lavazza, isn't that great? I kinda love it.
In 2002, Sir Adrià created this drink especially for Lavazza to sell exclusively in their cafes. It's called the Espesso. NOT espResso. Espesso. Again, thanks Matt for being on top of this.
So on our last morning in town, Matt and I went out in search for one of these Espression cafes to try this Espesso. We found one right off of N. Michigan Avenue. We walked in and it was set up just like any old Starbucks, really. But the food in the cold box reminded me so much of Italy. Paninis, and cornettos and these cream-filled berry fruit tart cakes that is SO ITALIAN. They totally cornered the quick "Italian" coffee shop experience.
When we ordered the Espesso, the girl gave us a, "Oh god, please don't order that" look. I know that look well. I give my customers that look all the time when they order some hideous pain-in-the-ass drink that takes five minutes to make.
And indeed it took a little while for the drinks to come out. But it was worth the wait just to experience Ferran Adrià for breakfast. We seriously had no idea what to expect, but I don't think either of us thought that something like this would come out:
Looks like Japanese cartoon poo. Not only that, it defies gravity!
It was foamy. Surprise, surprise.
Truth be told, this was a bit cloyingly sweet and weirdly artificially tart-tasting. Dare I call it a Ferran Fail??? Although to be perfectly fair, it was supposed to be my first cup of coffee of the day so of course I was super disappointed that it was foamy and cold. It's more like dessert-- I would have appreciated it more like at tea time, or in the middle of the day when I need a pick-me-up.
I was way more into these cool cups and saucers, designed especially for the Espesso.
In general, the Lavazza cafe concept is modern, art-centric Euro. This cool spoon and coffee cup sculpture dangles from the ceiling. Kinda neat.
I liked this poster on the bright yellow walls.
Now I can officially say that I have tasted El Bulli in my life. Although this is not really how I want to remember Ferran.
DEAR EL BULLI: Please hook me up with a reservation in 2011. CHOOSE ME! CHOOSE ME! PLEASE!!!!!!! I will wash dishes every single night until you close the shop forever. Omg so sad.
162 East Ohio Street
Chicago, IL 60611