Kim Visits Chicago – The Depot, American Diner and Tre Kronor

I was in Chicago on business and decided to get another Triple D (Diners, Drive ins and Dives) under my belt. Call it the competitive nature of my husband coming out in me. While we’ve gone to 39 Triple Ds together, he has gone to two without me while traveling on business, so I wanted to get a few on my own. You know the saying, “it’s about the journey, not the destination”? Well keep that in mind as you follow along.

I hadn’t had lunch so I left the hotel around 4:30 p.m. thinking I could grab a quick “snack” at one triple D before meeting my friend Anna for dinner at another one. I hailed a cab to what I thought would be a Diner about 16 miles from my hotel. Well a $60 cab fare (of which he only charged me $40) and 60 minutes later, through an undesirable part of town, I arrive at The Depot, American Diner.

Now if it wasn’t clear by the bars on the store fronts, the people of questionable parole status hanging out on the corners, abandoned industrial buildings, the pit bulls guarding the used car lots and my cabbie locking  the doors while at a stop light, then I definitely should have known what was coming when I read the Yelp reviews and they advise you not to go to this place after dark. Well it’s after 5:30 p.m. when we finally get there and clearly “after dark”. My cabbie refused to leave me at this place by myself so he parks in the lot next door. I walk briskly into the diner and grab a stool at the counter. I order the open-faced Turkey sandwich and lucky for me the cook had accidently served up two so my order came right away. Let’s get down to the food.  There was a thick slice of bread with turkey, gravy poured all over it and a side of mashed potatoes and cranberries. The sandwich was good ol’ home cooking but I’ve definitely had better. The gravy was kind of bland. However, the fresh cranberries were really good.  This ain’t your cranberry sauce in a can!

Open Faced Turkey Sandwich

When doing my research on this joint, I also noted that they were famous for their fresh, made-to-order, donut holes.  So a few bites of the turkey sandwich and it was time to move on! The old fashioned cake-like donuts came out fresh, tossed in cinnamon, sugar and lightly doused with powder sugar. They were accompanied by a warm, decadent, creamy mocha sauce. Now if these aren’t little pillows of love, I don’t know what is! They were hot, fresh and delicious!

Donuts and Mocha (Pillows of Love!)

I paid my bill, all of $14 bucks, and was ready to hit the road. My cabbie was surprised that I was only there 25 minutes. It’s slightly after 6 p.m. when we start heading back to the hotel. However, due to  much traffic, I decided to have him take me straight to Anna’s hotel so I could try to make it on time.
Shortly after 7 p.m., we arrive. The cabbie said he would take me to my next stop so I ran in the hotel to get Anna, and grab more cash from the ATM.

The Depot American Diner on Urbanspoon

We took off towards the next Triple D stop, Tre Kronor, which is on the other side of town. Now  an $85 dollar cab fare and about another hour, we arrive. This neighborhood was a lot safer so I told the cab driver he did not need to wait for us.

Anna and I walked into Tre Kronor, a little Scandinavian restaurant and it was like walking into a scene from Hans Christian Andersen. There was a decorative wood  A-frame and a huge mural of dancing trolls.

Mural of Dancing Trolls

I was desperately hoping they would let me order breakfast which is what they are known for. But alas, they stop serving breakfast at 3 p.m. So I resigned myself to order one of the dinner specials which was rainbow trout with sautéed spinach in a red pepper sauce and a side of au gratin potatoes. Anna was up for the adventure and went with their specialty of swedish meatballs served with mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers and housemade  lignonberry relish …I guess when in Rome and all that good stuff. Now I’m not usually a big cooked fish person as I prefer my fish in the sushi variety. But was this rainbow trout ever  delicious! It was lightly breaded with crushed macadamia nuts and drizzled with dredged butter. It was light and fresh (can I say that right after saying dredged in butter?) and the spinach added a salty crispness to the bite.

Rainbow Trout with Sautéed Spinach

Anna said the meatballs were good but what she really liked were the lingonberries on the side. They reminded me of the cranberries that I’d had at The Deport but were a little smaller and sweeter. We were both trying to save room to sample the dessert so we pushed our plates aside and waited to be told about the dessert specials. Upon our waiter Joe’s recommendation, we ordered cinnamon roll bread pudding and almond cake with lemon cream sauce. The cinnamon rolls are made fresh in the morning for their breakfast crowd and then soaked in whatever liquid elixirs go into making bread pudding.

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

Almond Cake with Lemon Cream Sauce

As Joe said, this is their way of reducing their carbon footprint. They might be reducing theirs but I can certainly say that I mine would grow if I didn’t stop myself. As if sampling two desserts wasn’t enough, the restaurant was empty now with just Anna, me and the servers inside. Joe approached us with a plate in each hand. He had two slices of apple cake, which he said they would have to throw away if we didn’t eat them. Well waste not, want not I say! Anna and I agreed to take one to sample and Joe and Cassie (another server) decided to share the other. It was equally delicious!

Apple Cake

They definitely score major points in the baked goods category. The restaurant was quaint, the wait staff friendly and their service superb.

Tre Kronor’s Own Joe and Cassie

I’d definitely recommend stopping in if you are in Chicago. Maybe one of the next 5 trips I have planned for Chicago this year, I can return and try their breakfast.

Tre Kronor on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Kim Visits Chicago – The Depot, American Diner and Tre Kronor

  1. The Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding was the most memorable dish of that trip. When that warm goodness hit my stomach, I felt like singing! Rarely do I ever come across a dessert that tastes better than it looks. Kim, thank you for taking me on this food adventure!

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