By The Black Foodies
Whenever a chef can tout the credentials of working with world-renowned chefs, the likes of Wolfgang Puck and Francois Kwaku-Dongo, you must admit that’s pretty impressive. The aforementioned being only a partial listing of the culinary career accomplishments of Chef Cliff Rome. Founder of Rome’s Joy Companies, Chef Rome’s latest restaurant acquisition is Peach’s Exchange Café, located at 305 East Garfield Boulevard in the Washington Park Community on Chicago’s South Side. Having combined forces with professor and social artist Theaster Gates to secure this acquisition, it’s no wonder Peach’s Exchange Café has fast-tracked its way into being a go-to spot in the area. So, of course, The Black Foodies could hardly wait to check it out. Upon entering Peach’s Exchange, we were pleased and encouraged to see so many smiling faces. Chef Rome was beaming and happily taking pictures with a host of satisfied customers. As the smell of deliciousness wafted through the air, a pleasant server promptly seated us and brought over menus and water.
One of America’s most classic sandwiches is the bacon, lettuce and tomato, commonly known as the BLT. Peach’s Exchange Café offers a nice spin on this American classic, their DLT. Sounding as if this would be something that we’d like, we decided to give it a try. The DLT consisted of duck bacon and all of the usual trimmings, with American cheese and a fried egg on top, grilled between two slices of fresh sourdough bread. Yummy, yummy, and yummy! The duck bacon was thick cut, smoky, tender and plentiful. The egg yolk created an ‘egg-cellent’ sauce, adding such depth of flavor that we wholeheartedly understand why this DLT sandwich is a customer favorite. While traditionally not considered a breakfast sandwich, we regard Peach’s Exchange Café’s DLT as one of the best breakfast sandwiches we’ve ever sampled.
Along with the DLT, we ordered Sweet Potato Fries which came with a very unique condiment – banana ketchup. More on that in a second. The sweet potato fries were very tasty. The exterior of the fries was crusty and the interior light and airy, providing a nice contrast in texture with each bite. The banana ketchup, however, took us there and there is a very good place. Having these two distinct flavor profiles co-exist, aptly displayed the imagination and genius of Chef Rome. The ripened banana added a fruity note to the ketchup, giving it a definite tropical feel; and, when eaten with the sweet potato fries, it was like heaven on a plate. Chef Rome, when you decide to bottle your banana ketchup, we will be first in line to make a purchase.
Salmon Croquettes, when done properly, are a real delicacy that Miss Coretta and I truly enjoy. The croquettes at Peach’s Exchange is served atop a bowl of cheesy grits, with a side of remoulade sauce. The grits were smooth and creamy, with a hint of sweetness – an ultra palate pleaser, to say the least. However, the salmon croquettes . . . let’s just say, “You better ask somebody!” Almost an inch thick and packed with the full and robust flavor of fresh salmon, they were ‘off-the-chain’ delicious! There was much more salmon than binder, an added plus that did not go unnoticed. The remoulade sauce nicely accentuated the croquettes; yet; being flawlessly executed made them stand-alone good. So good, in fact, no sauce is required in order to have a splendid salmon croquette experience. Chef Rome does it again!
The city of Chicago has a plethora of restaurants doing quality French toast from the Far North Side down to the Far South. Peach’s Exchange Café’s Peach Bourbon French Toast ranks up there with some of the best in town. Texas Toast is dipped in a custard batter, cooked to a golden brown then topped with a cinnamon sugar crumble, peach bourbon sauce and sliced peaches. The French toast thoroughly absorbed the savory (yet sweet) peach bourbon sauce, while the cinnamon sugar crumble provided texture. The flesh of the peaches was plump and juicy, the end result resembling French toast crowned with a peach cobbler topping. Simply amazing!
With the acquisition of Peach’s Exchange Café, Chef Rome has certainly added another culinary gem to his restaurant portfolio. The menu is ‘turned up’ comfort food – its ambience, a warm and inviting neighborhood vibe. And, be sure to sample one of their dynamic specialty coffees, as well. Their peach coffee is Miss Coretta’s new favorite. So, just let me say in my best Chef Rome voice, “Come on down to the double nickel and get some great eats at Peach’s Exchange Café.”
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three…four, with five being the best. Peach’s Exchange Café receives 5 kisses. Check out the video of our review https://youtu.be/83EUQSdoUJg
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 26 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review Black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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