The Artisan Bread Alchemist (Otherwise Known as Hewn Bakery)
The other weekend (okay, a while back…), Troy and I decided to take the scenic route home from the city after filming a personal trainer friend’s bootcamp class for a promo video (note that Troy’s side hustle is video editing). Aside from the fact that driving along the lake is 100 times more pleasant than is fighting traffic on the interstate (we are talking about Chicago traffic, folks), I had an ulterior motive.
Bordering the north side of Chicago is Evanston, which you may have heard of because it’s the home of the notoriously respectable Northwestern University. Not that I’m a fan, given my Boilermaker roots and that Northwestern was one of Purdue’s arch rivals. But Evanston itself is actually a pretty badass town. It’s the home of Tibet Gift, a lovely non-profit shop run by a Tibetan refugee who works the graveyard shift elsewhere and sends the shop’s profits to a refugee support organization. And, it has two Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s within a half mile or so of each other.
But the kicker? Hewn Bakery calls it home.
Before I continue, I need to be frank: seventy-five percent of “artisan” bakeries I’ve been to over the years are a bastardization of the word “artisan”. To add further insult, said 75% comes from the vetted bunch that I have chosen to meander on into after doing my homework. Folks, we’re not talking about any ole bakery; I’m a freakin’ snob, in case you couldn’t tell from this ciabatta bread post (which, to be frank, I’m now embarrassed about, given that the Hewn folks may stumble upon that post and think “AMATEUR!!!”).
Anyway, Hewn is – bar none – the most wonderful bakery I’ve been to outside of *possibly* Le Petit Outre in Missoula, Montana. It even surpasses my longtime favorite Park Avenue Bakery in Helena, Montana.
Now, you ought to know by now that Figs & Chèvre is not about reviews. In fact, I don’t really want to say anything more about the place other than that the breads and pastries were freakin’ phenomenal, the customer service was, bar none, the best I’ve ever had, and the espresso was perfection in a thimble-sized cup.
What I do want to say is that bread that’s been crafted by a passionate hand – and Hewn’s bread most definitely is – is nothing short of pure, unadulterated alchemy.
And with that, I’m going to end this post.