Restaurants

Baked goods, exotic teas near Ravinia stop at The Baker Boys, Madame ZuZu's in Highland Park

Friday, November 30, 2012

Next time you head to Ravinia for an outdoor concert, you might want to stop at The Baker Boys or Madame ZuZu's in Highland Park, both of which are just steps from the Metra stop.

Ravinia is technically in Highland Park, and while locals rave about Abigail's Restaurant, ABC7's Hungry Hound found a pair of small shops that are definitely worth popping in for either a quick treat or a nice cup of tea.

"We like to call it your true corner bakery, your little boutique dessert shop. Cupcakes is what definitely drives the business for us," said Peter Rauser, co-owner of The Baker Boys.

Rauser and co-owner Jordan Rappaport make everything themselves, going so far as to scrape vanilla beans into their buttercreams and custards. Cupcakes are the biggest sellers, but the duo rotates in several other options.

"We spin our own homemade frozen custard, we do a good morning business with some breakfast-type items: scones, muffins, croissants; cookies, cheesecakes, éclairs," said Rauser.

To go with morning coffee, The Baker Boys have a series of crave-worthy coffeecakes.

"We do a coffeecake - a cinnamon-streusal coffeecake - that's one of our most popular morning items, so that one's been around for a while. And then a new one we just debuted in the last couple of weeks, it's a blueberry-caramel apple; so a little seasonal with the apple," he said.

On the other side of the Metra train tracks, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has opened Madame Zuzu's, a relaxing teahouse where live music plays at night.

"It's a place meant for artists to meet. It has vegan pastries, a variety of teas from around the world, we offer limited coffee selection from Intelligentsia," said Tiziana Stuparitz, the Manager at Madame ZuZu's.

They always carry around 15 loose leaf teas; each cup is made to order: measuring and weighing out the proper amount first, adding hot water at varying temperatures according to the tea - and after a few minutes of steeping, it's poured out into glass pitchers and served in porcelain tea cups.

"Definitely the quality of the leaves makes a big difference. But also knowing the intricacies; how long each individual tea is supposed to steep at; the temperature it's supposed to steep at," she said.

Baker Boys
733 St. Johns Ave., Highland Park
847-433-0430
bakerboysbakery.com

Madame ZuZu's
582 Roger Williams, Highland Park
847-926-7434
madamezuzus.com

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