Believe it or not, swimsuit season is just around the corner! But don’t let that deter you from soaking up all the warmer months have to offer – it just comes down to moderation. There are choices you can make in any social situation so you can indulge responsibly and enjoy upcoming social gatherings like weddings, picnics and parties without overdoing it or feeling left out.

Bringing the treats? You can control what options are available. I’ve created a list of the 4 best Lakeview bakeries that include some “not so bad” options for when you need balance, and “bad” options because hey, if you’re going to treat yourself, you may as well do it right!

Vanille Patisserie

Photo courtesy of Vanille Patisserie.

Vanille is a classic French patisserie with an astounding selection of pastries, cookies and desserts perfect for the holidays or your next special occasion. They have several individual pastries too, so you don’t have to worry about leftovers; just get exactly how many servings you need.

When it comes to a special occasion, though, if you are going to be bad… do it well. The Royal (pictured here) is a delightfully sinful chocolate mousse on top of a crisp caramel streusel base with a layer of hazelnut dacquoise. If you want just a little sweet decadence but don’t want to wreck your nutrition for the day, try one of their 15 seasonal flavors of macarons. One macaron has under 120 calories on average.

Bittersweet Pastry Shop

Bittersweet is a European bakery AND cafe so you can get sinful pastries (like one of their amazing layered cakes) etc, but you can also get a healthy lunch of fresh salad, sandwiches and soups full of hearty vegetables that are updated weekly so all items are at the peak of freshness. The Turkey Reuben is a popular choice on fresh marbled rye – leaner than a traditional reuben that would have the added fat of corned beef.

Related: in the area? Check out these healthy lunch spots in Boystown while you’re up this way!

Dinkle’s Bakery

Dinkle's Stollen Best Bakeries in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Dinkle’s Bakery.

Like Bittersweet, Dinkel’s Bakery is one of the best bakeries (of the German variety) that also has a cafe. Indulge in a little history lesson by trying their famous stollen. The delicious flavor starts with a pure, hand-shaped butter dough, which surrounds a buttercream filling, almonds, cashews and fruit soaked overnight in rum and brandy. It is then glazed in melted butter and lightly dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. The recipe is from the 1800’s but they perfected it in the 20’s right here in Chicago and serve it all year round.

Need something a little more sustainable? Head to Dinkel’s for a healthy breakfast – choose a dish like the Veggie Baker’s Sunrise, which includes cage-free eggs, sharp white cheddar, avocado, spinach and pesto all on root bread.

 

La Boulangerie

Last, but not least, is La Boulangerie, another bakery AND cafe (French bakery, that is). They have some of the best tarts around — another great item to bring to a festive brunch or dinner. The Chocolate Passion Fruit Caramel Tart is an absolutely sinful indulgence – if you’re going to give into temptation, make sure it’s worth it! (It is.)

They also have the less guilt-inducing option of 8+ flavors of macarons (always a good choice when being bad but trying to stay good). Their savory crepes are one of the best things you can grab for lunch or breakfast. Since La Boulangerie has a traveling food truck, you can actually get these fresh meals on the go all over the city! The website updates the locations on a regular basis, – check if they will be in your area.

Have a favorite or see one we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Post written by FFC East Lakeview Membership Director Julia Groves.

 

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