Cafe Crowded

Location: Kingsbury St. Cafe
Neighborhood: Near North Side

kingsbury street

A special moment in NJB History. This brunch marks the one year mark of our brunch blog existence! And to celebrate we decided to go to one of the nicer spots on our list, which may have backfired.

Kingsbury St. Cafe is located in the shopping district near North/Clybourn. If you are familiar with that area, just let this decision sink in for a second. We went on a rainy Labor Day morning, not knowing that about half of the available seating was on their now-closed patio. Let’s just say the wait was an entitled, white denim nightmare. Everyone was not-so-patiently waiting for those coveted few tables indoors, harassing the poor hostess and acting like they were starving animals when in fact they were all upper class biatches. After an hour of this we finally got a really great table – in the corner, which is usually where one can find us at any given restaurant/bar/party/venue.

banana muffin toasted

During our wait we were teased with their awesome pastry selection and skimmed their giant drink list that was handwritten on a chalk wall. You can come here to pick up a pastry and coffee to go, which we definitely recommend–we got a toasted banana nut muffin to share and it was heavenly.

DRINKS

brunch drinks
Howe: Cinnamon bun irish coffee. This is an iced coffee – the menu never mentioned that it would be iced. Honestly sounds like it would be awesome hot, but it was still a delicious drink. Crazy sweet, very Howe. I plan on making these for myself in the future because who doesn’t have coffee + Rumchata + Kahlua?

B: I had the Bloody Maria, which was pretty watery and not very good. I would definitely avoid the different kinds of bloodys that have, since this one was pretty weak. The garnishes were also lacking (a sandwich pickle, two cubes of cheese-tray cheese and a pepperocini) and that’s usually a good place to make up for what the drink lacks. Alas, no such luck.

McD: I got the Bailey’s Irish Coffee. It was coffee with Bailey’s… can’t really go wrong with this one.

FOOD

piggy moo cluck
Howe: Piggy Moo Cluck [breakfast sandwich]. You can tell by the name that this thing has it all. Yet another embarrassing item name to order, but I have been waiting on a good breakfast sandwich. [McD note: the waitress asked “Is over easy okay on the Piggy Moo?” and it was the lolziest sentence I’ve ever heard at brunch.] Sadly, this was not the greatest breakfast sandwich. The meat quality was not the best and was overly salty (masking the not great flavor?) really wasn’t feeling this sandwich. The wee baybeh breakfast taytos were very tasty tho!

kingsbury street

Bridgette: I ordered the Salmon Hash with tater tots, salmon, eggs and peppers. It was not very good. Honestly, I thought it would be mind blowing since it was pretty simple and typical breakfast foods with some salmon but they really missed the mark on this one. Usually I would chalk it up to my expectations being too high, but this was all around not tasty. There was almost no flavor. Still ate the whole thing, though, cause we had waited so longggggg.

kingsbury street

McD: I got the chilaquiles option without chorizo because sometimes I pretend I’m vegetarian (but really the only animals I care about are dogs, though). They were pretty average, especially for the high price. I think chilaquiles is one of those things that’s hard to screw up because all of the ingredients are delicious and you just gotta heat them and put them in a bowl. One thing of note is that the chips were abundant and somehow kept their crispiness instead of getting soggy in the mix as they sometimes do in this particular dish. I appreciated that.

OVERALL

Save yourself the energy and time and skip this one. Take a pastry to go instead. Unless you come on a day in summer where the patio is actually open maybe there won’t be a terrible wait, but waiting an hour for this place is not worth it. Places like the Bongo Room, on the other hand, are totally worth a long wait. Who is the Check Please! person that recommended Kingsbury? We will find you. [It was a Chicago cop, so I wouldn't mess with him?-B] Whatever, we had some great times in that corner, like McD was laughing so hard she made a snot bubble then she cried. We also had an extremely deep convo about cheese, goat’s being the crowd favorite. Here is a direct quote from the conversation: “You need to push yourself with cheeses until you like them.”

Cheese is a metaphor for life, yo.

cheesus christ

Quality Meats

Location: Publican
Neighborhood: Fulton Market, Near West Side, West Loop according to Yelp

publican  brunch

Publican has been on our list for a while now, but being downtown and slightly more fancy than our normal brunch spots we had been putting it off (read: normally we are too hungover on the weekends to bother with looking nice &  figuring out how to get downtown.) Since McD was back from Europe and we had a low key night at The Map Room the night before, we decided it was time.

When we tried to make reservations the night before, the only available times were 9:00 AM and 1:45 PM so we decided to brave the long wait and just show up at our normal brunch time, around noon. [And yes, sometimes we make brunch reservations while in a bar the night before.] When we got there we were told it would be a 30 min wait at the most and we could get drinks/apps at the bar. We had been expecting a wait closer to an hour, so this was encouraging. The bar area wasn’t even crowded, they have ample space and enough bar tables for lots of people to wait comfortably. We were quite pleased to sip our breakfast cocktails and people watch.

The people watching was A+. There were so many 20-something girls in dresses brunching with their gal pals or significant others. Bitches love brunch. There were also many a hot bearded man spotted, both of the wait staff and customer variety (these usually with their gf but whatevs) so 5 STARS PUBLICAN GOOD JOB. ***Shoutout to cute blonde guy that served us our first drinks at the bar.

Most of the seating at The Publican is communal, with a few booths and a decent sized outdoor patio. If you are lucky enough to get a booth (stable) they have this little door that kind of closes you in and looks so damn adorable. Also communal were the bathrooms- boyz AND girlz togetha (4eva) baby. You might catch the eye of your future lover across the huge sink while you’re washing your hands with the fancy soap and lotion in there.

DRINKS:

publican drinks

Howe: The Brunch Box was my starter drink – good thing because it was tiny. Not that strong but since we were waiting on food it was pretty perfect. I had the Raspberry Beret (made with amontillado) with the meal. B.E.A.utiful drink in taste and looks. We spotted some ladies pointing at it as they made their orders. Strong, flavorful, minty, and #pink, what more could a brunch need?

McD: I got the Publican Radler. I could not understand at all what was in it from the menu’s description (lots of fancy and/or French words) but I know I like radlers so I ordered it. It was nice and bubbly and tart with just a tiny bit of sweetness–very refreshing.

B: While you may have seen a misleading tweet about how a mimosa changed my life, do not be fooled, I am still very much a bloody mary girl at heart and this bloody mary CHANGED. MY. LIFE. I am not even kidding, y’all. I got the Smokin’ Mary because I like some spice. For $10 you also get a small beer back of your choice, so this is a good deal, as well. Instead of vodka, it’s made with locally sourced white whiskey, and also chipotle house mix, stout and is garnished with a piece of hard ham, a cocktail onion and a mushroom. It wasn’t so spicy I couldn’t enjoy it. The downfall of most bloody marys is that they are too salty–but this one wasn’t so I had two (!) and still didn’t have to chug a bottle of water before we left.

FOOD:

publican brunch

Howe: Red wine poached eggs! Wow Wow Wow. This was an excellent dish and was surprisingly simple. The seasoning were amazing and the bread it was served on was extra delicious. McD had an incredibly crispy side of hashbrowns that I helped myself to as well – hashbrown heaven.

publican toast

McD: I got the pimento cheese toast, which was a thick slice of toasted bread topped with a spicy cheese spread, shredded ham, and 2 fried eggs. If you love ham you should get this because it was seriously a mountain of ham. I know Chicago is known for our meat heavy sandwiches, but whoa that was like half a pig. The cheesy spread part was just enough spicy and the eggs yolks were perfectly runny. How come us normal people can never make perfect sunny side eggs at home? Mine always end up with brown spots. Publican rotates some of its dishes but If this one is still available when we come back I’d have to get it again. Perfection.

crispy hash browns

I also got the hashbrowns which came in the form of a large patty. WOW WOW WOW WHOA WHOA. They were nice and crunchy on the outside and on the inside they were almost creamy, I think they were made with sour cream or something. TRY THESE YO. But share them because it’s a huge plate. Or eat them all yourself, it’s your life.

egg peppers

B: On the menu, my dish was called “Shishito Peppers” but I had no idea what that truly meant. It was listed as also having a fried egg, duck confit and summer squash. These are all things I love, and I assumed they’d be together in some sort of potato hash, but it was actually just these vegetables and duck pieces and an egg. I was worried it wouldn’t actually fill me up– but it did! (and then I got overfull because those hash browns McD got were sooooooo good and I ate too many). This dish was damn flavorful. I’d never had these little peps before in my life but they were cooked perfectly and summer squash (yellow squash, zucchini) is da bomb.com. Once again, not too salty, which I am now realizing is kind of a downfall of a lot of savory brunch items. I thought about this dish for the rest of the day.

OVERALL

Because The Publican is so new and hip and trendy and the waitstaff is attractive, we thought it was going to be harder to get in and a lot more expensive. Neither of these things, thankfully, turned out to be true. However, I was not expecting the vibe to be so stockyard-y. (Sorry, I am a bad Chicagoan/English Major for having never read The Jungle. -B)  It’s a cute idea, because there are giant pig paintings on the walls and tables inside of corrals for parties of four or less. If you’re one of those people who don’t like to be reminded of what animal is inside that sausage/burger/whatever you’re eating just keep your eyes down and away from all the pigs.

AFTIES

brunch lady outfits model

We strolled around the neighborhood and just wanted to remind you all who runs the 20-something Chicago brunch game: #niche

 

 

Size Matters

Location: SmallBar
Neighborhood:  Ukrainian Village
Guests: Maddy + Mari
Missing: McD since she is cruising around Europe
 
SmallBar Chicago
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” -William Shakespeare’s review of SmallBar

 

We have been known to frequent this Division Street bar from time to time in the early morning hours. After some of us saw its brunch featured on Check Please! we were like “yoooo, we’re coming here for brunch.”

Rollin’ up to an excellent parking spot and hella puppies, we walked into a completely empty bar. It was noon and this place usually has a crowd – confusing but we chalked it up to the fact that it was 4th of July weekend and everyone was probably dead. Since we could literally sit anywhere, we chose the patio (Duh! First time this season!) Right after sitting [remember, this is Division] Maddy found an eyelash curler on her seat and then “promotional” CD behind us. Score!

Found chicago division st.

DRINKS:

Howe: #3drinkBrunch I started with coffee, as you can probably guess. Everyone had their mini spoons and it was so presh – go SmallBar! Bonus points for having raw sugar cubes +++. I ordered the Milk Punch, which looked great and tasted STRONG. Prob too much for brunch, but being an innovator when it comes to alcohol consumption, I dropped a sugar cube in dat bitch and the drink was good 2 go.

B: There are only two specialty brunch cocktails and one was made with coffee. Since I was already getting coffee, I tried the Milk Punch which is rum and some other shit and coconut water and Left Hand Milk Stout. I’m honestly not sure why I got this because I don’t like coconut water and milk + alcohol is basically only appealing in a White Russian. The fact that we all had to add sugar cubes to make this drinkable speaks volumes about how it really isn’t a brunch drink.

Maddy: Coffee was good. I drank too much as usual. Those hangover shakes, man. Then the Milk Punch drink: It was good, but WORLDS better with that extra lump o’ sugar.

Mari: Only gal to switch up the drink order. The Bloody Mary was beautifully spicy and came with a mini beer that was too cute to drink (srsly, no one drank it; but it tasted good.)

FOOD:  

Biscuit brunch sandwich

Howe: Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich —  BISCUIT REDEMPTION. Reminder that my biscuit at Fork was a pretty bad experience. Truly a comeback story; this was awesome and just the right size for a brunch sammie. I’d say it was very cheese-heavy, and ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. I will say I was missing breakfast taters but it was just fine without.

Mari: Also had the Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich and claims that it was life changing: “That biscuit tho. Been dreaming about it ever since.”

brunch fritatta

B: A frittata!! It had asparagus, arugula and a cheese made out of greek yogurt and peppers. The only downside was that there was not enough of the yogurt cheese; otherwise, it was really, really great. They put some lemon on the asparagus and the arugula (which was not wilted, which is very impressive) and the peppers in the cheese were spicy but not too crazy. I ate the whole cute lil skillet of frittata.

Burger brunch

Maddy: I got the BLT & fried egg. It was really good, v large. The bun was light and fluffy, which was a pleasant surprise as it did not appear to be light and fluffy. The tomato jam and garlic aioli was BOMB. Although the aioli was delicious, the bacon was the star of the show – and they were not stingy with it, my friends. Meal resulted in a happy hungover Maddy.

OVERALL:

The small aspect of Small Bar also refers to their options of what to get for brunch. There are only about six menu items to choose from. Also, they have small little spoons to stir your coffee and small little tables to sit at. The service was good, we were checked on a multitude of times, but it could the food could have come faster considering we were the only group dining when we got there. Additionally, beware that sitting on the patio means experiencing two extremely different types of music thumping from the outside speakers of the two adjacent bars/restaurants. The patio is perfect for people watching (tattoos, hotties, and too many fedoras).

Patio Brunch

AFTIES:

We were cruising back to our respective cribs and decided to play our newly found CD  by rapper “J. Miracles,” at least thats what we think it said. [Note- we texted the number on the cd, but never heard back :-( ] It turned out to be some Christian-gangsta style rap, which was welcomed on that Sunday morning. Our favorite lyric?

“I say GOTTA.
You say PRAY.”
GOTTA.
PRAY.

 

 

 

Square Roots Festival

[Not Brunch]
Neighborhood: Lincoln Square

Square Roots 2014

Our first group street festival of the season was in a neighborhood we are more than familiar with – Lincoln Square! Square Roots is relatively new to the summer street fest scene and we have heard very little about this one. Howe was sold on this one based on location and the number of positive [and crazy lolzy] yelp reviews. Hardly any yuppies (and so many puppies)? We. Are. Sold.

The biggest sponsor of this festival is the Old Town School of Music. Which explains why this is primarily about folk music. There were a standard three stages across the fest covering a full range of music. Bonus: Old Town has two large and beautiful buildings that were also filled with live music throughout the fest!

A standout feature of this fest was alllll the Chicago craft beer. Lagunitas, Ale Syndicate, Half Acre and Revolution were all over the fest at regular cart prices. Perfection. Additionally all the represented restaurants were awesome. Howe & B enjoyed some street poutine from Fountainhead.

street poutine fountianhead

As we were getting ready to leave and the storm clouds rolled in we were stopped by a GIANT PARADE, about what we can only assume was the world cup? Idk, but it was Carnival-themed and all the dancers were seriously enjoying themselves, it was so cute and fun!
We’ll be back next year.

 

Chicago parade

Gettin’ Some Fountainhead

Location: Fountainhead
Neighborhood: Ravenswood
Guest: Maddy

This was an important brunch for all of us because it was McD’s last [American] brunch for a long while. She’s off to eat all of the European foods without us. In the spirit of celebrating we gathered our hungover selves and went back to Ravenswood. None of us had been to Fountainhead because it’s typically PACKED for the dinner + drinking hours. But, because we rolled in so early that Sunday, we got to pick our seats!

Hangover meter:

fountianhead We weren’t all on the same level but it wasn’t good. McD may have had to stop in an alley on the way there, and the people at the Buddhist temple knew it.

DRINKS:

MOA breakfast beer Howe: They had this very fancy (pricey) breakfast beer that came in a little champagne style bottle with notes of floral hops & cherries. (B says it smelled like an Anthropologie store – everyone agreed.) salty dog brunch B: I chose the Salty Dog because it was balls hawt out and I was not really in the mood for beer. It tasted mostly just like freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, which ain’t bad. ***Beware, because our second cups of coffee were bitter like an old Southern Belle whose beau married her younger sister.

FOOD:

hummus starter Another freebie for NJB! We started brunch off with a little smoked hummus sampler platter, the bread was amazing. fountianhead brunch burger Howe: Ordered the breakfast burger [McD ordered the same, but really could not keep it down.]  This thing looked beautiful and was a brunch dream. BUT it was gigantic, no one knew how to go about eating it. So I cut the burger patty in half and went from there while McD just ate each part individually. The bacon was ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. Seriously the best bacon of my life [award] and the potato latkes were a welcomed change for a side. #taters SLP B: I feel like the menu didn’t seem to have specific names for what each item was actually called so when I ordered the “SLP” with speck and a fried egg brioche, I had no idea what I was actually getting. I thought it would be a sandwich but it was just everything piled artfully arranged on  a piece of bread. (Speck is just fancy prosciutto, as the waitress told me. And proscuitto is just fancy  ham, as I have learned over the years). It turned out to be very good, idk wtf brioche or any of the other shiz was, either, but it all went together very well and that egg was fried to perfection. Sometimes it pays to TaK3 Ch4nC3z!!! chicago breakfest burrito Maddy: I got the breakfast burrito. It was good, but there was definitely too much egg and not enough cheese… mostly just not enough cheese. The homefries were tasty, though. I love a good breakfast burrito, but always forget that it is spicy. And spicy does not pair well with coffee, which is a must at brunch. This coffee was pretty bitter, making the combo even worse.*

OVERALL:

This was a heavily Jewish-influenced menu that offered latkes or homefries as a side (if I were to go back I would definitely get the latkes because the homefries were kinda bitter and made from fingerling potatoes, which are not my particular favorite kind of potato-B). You can also get “a bagel & some schmear” or challah french toast, so get ready to say your prayers before you come here! [Unsure if these meals were kosher, but we’re not even Jewish.] The meal was really good and everyone but McD enjoyed the experience – she DID enjoy the bathroom tho. Fountainhead was so nice and we hope to go back and enjoy their rooftop beer garden this summer! And also to steal the Lagunitas artwork from the woman’s bathroom. The service was super friendly and I would like to try basically all of the food and also all of the beers from the binder — YES, THERE IS A BINDER FULL OF BEER.  The most intriguing part of the menu was the “jiggle square” – we were all too hungover to even ask about that one. We’ll. Be. Back. OH! And the waitress was probably the peppiest person we have ever encountered. It was borderline annoying in our condition, but we could tell she just genuinely loved brunch. Then she did this to each friggin check. brunch check

AFTIES:

We walked for a long time because we went in the wrong direction twice #TheStruggle, but Ravenswood is so cute and the weather was so nice and there were such adorable dogs, we didn’t care!

#HBDJB + Fork You

Location: Fork
Neighborhood: Lincoln Square
Special Guests: Mari + Jeanna + Maddy + BGC + Marney

 

You might be wondering who we are wishing a happy birthday to in this post’s title. It’s none other than B! “B” actually comes from DJB, which comes from DJBridgeyB, which is a nickname B gave herself freshman year of college. She’s not a real DJ, but sometimes people think that she is.

In honor of B finally being able to get into all those 23+ bars we’ve been trying to hit up every weekend (jk), we celebrated with a brunch at Fork, which is a farm-to-table restaurant on Lincoln. Obviously there were other bday celebrations all weekend including Chicago’s Premiere Private Room Karaoke on Friday and a visit to a Ukranian Village bar on Saturday. Both involved crazy hangovers.

LordHaveMercy

LordHaveMercy

Since we had nine people in our party we called ahead to make reservations at Fork. By called ahead, we mean called about half hour before we were gonna get there [FAIL]. We were planning on getting there around 11:30 and they told us there would not be any room until 2, but we decided to just show up anyway and give it a shot. Luckily, when we got there there was a large party leaving so our wait was less than 20 minutes. Score! Shoutout to rollin’ deep.
The hosts/hostesses/servers were all so nice and cool and apologetic about us have to wait barely 20 minutes and we were like uh… we’re the ones who should be praising you for seating this walk-in group of 9 during prime brunching hours.

Our waitress’s name was Kathryn K and she was da bomb diggity (do people still say that? cuz she was). So kind and helpful and she even let us have nine separate checks because apparently we were so “nice.” Being polite pays, ya’ll.

DRINKS:

McD: I ordered the mimosa flight because I couldn’t decide which mimosa I wanted #whitegirlprobz. I thought they would come as a mini serving of the regular mimosas, but they ended up coming in the same exact glass as a regular mimosa, just poured a tiiiiiny bit less. ¡¡¡¡This was the deal of a lifetime!!!! I got three mimosas (regular, pomegranate, and bellini) for just a few bucks more than a single one. Mimosas for everyone! Just kidding, they’re all for me.

20140608_123512

B: I just got the pomegranate mimosa and Mcd called me out haaarddd when I didn’t call it the “pomosa” like listed on the menu. It was perfect for the hangover sitch, not too alcohol-y and v tasty and light. (Beware if you get a beermosa: it comes in a champagne glass, not a pint glass, and is also made with DaisyCutter.)

Howe: Just stuck with the coffee because this weekend was one pounding perpetual hangover. Note- not even MY bday weekend. The mugs at Fork were cute & large, never an empty cup. Maddy and I formed a coffee chain with the waitress when she came around for refills. Adorable.

FOOD:

Fork Chicago

B: I got the quiche of the day which had leeks, asparagus, tomatoes and some sort of Parisian cheese. It came with a salad on the side, which is not exactly my jam at brunch, but the dressing was good. The quiche was cute but I was not feeling the chalky texture of the cheese they put in, so I mostly just savored the crust and thought about the protein grams I would be getting from eating a flippin miniquiche.

McD: I got the poutine (which apparently is my signature dish) (From across the table Miss Elise explained to Marney, “McD is known for getting poutine”). They brought the fries to the table and then the server poured the gravy and cheese sauce on it in front of me. *fancy* Even though it had cheese sauce instead of cheese curds it was probably one of the best poutine dishes I’ve ever had.

Howe: Ordered the hangover helper purely because it included a biscuit. It had all of the breakfast things, which was everything I needed. HOWEVER, about 3 bites in i was chugging my water. This was the saltiest dish I’ve ever had, and to make things worse the biscuit was like a block of salt – others at the table confirmed. I still powered through, but loads of salt is NOT going to help out anyone’s hangover. #jussssayin

OVERALL:

A few of the dishes we got were overly salty but still very good. Service was superb. Everyone at the table left pretty satisfied. We’d come back. {let’s keep this short since we have much afties to discuss}

AFTIES:

Oh man. Where to begin?
After brunch we went to Half Acre with Maddy… They didn’t have our fave Over Ale on tap but we made do.

The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival was this weekend and since we missed Friday and Saturday we figured we might as well check out what was going on Sunday. They had about three acts going on at a time all day every hour so we figured we’d just show up at the venue (Stage 773) and see what was recommended. We got there around 5 so we decided to check out one of the shows at 6 that sounded interesting.

While we were waiting at the bar for our chosen comedic act to start (which by the way was only $14-such a steal!), one of the theater workers came up to us and asked if we wanted to see a free show. And we told him “No thank you sir.” LOL JK that would be dumb. We said hell yea free things! On our escort to the theater that this free show was in, we were informed that the act was two ladies who dress up as redneck men, and when we walked inside we saw there were only three other audience members inside. Four if you count the man working the stage lights. BUT this show ended up being SAW GUUUD. Three out of the four of us agreed that it was funnier than the show we actually paid for. Those tears of laughter were FLOWIN’.  [beer was also flowin’.]

Check out the lolz here!

The show we saw after was called Housebroken, and it was three ladies who make funny witty songs. There were tears of lolz and of feels. Also very good! ←lamest review ever

Then we went to Flat Top and continued our buzz and did something embarrassing with those sticks you put your name on.

Well, this is embarrassing.

Well, this is embarrassing.

THE END. of a super long day.

The Swedest Thing

Location: Tre Konor
Neighborhood: North Park
All in Attendance: The O3
north park brunch

Memorial Day is a very special day because of America, but also very special because if you have a 9-5 job, or 7-3:30 like McD, you probably get it off and can have some brunch!

To celebrate the many important Memorials, we went to Tre Kronor in North Park and had ourselves a Swedish breakfast. The cute, corner-resting breakfastry was pretty crowded because of the holiday and the beautiful weather. We had to wait about ten minutes to get seated, and then about 45 more to get our food after ordering our meals. In the meantime, though, we enjoyed the sun-filled interior complete with 1.) Troll Mural and 2.) Guy Fieri spray paint signature– Yes, Triple D has filmed at Tre Kronor. They also have outdoor seating in a very cute garden-like atmosphere, but we were verging on hangry  and took the table that came first.

diners driveins and dives

According to our waitress, they didn’t expect to be so busy, so while we were all jittery off of multiple cups of coffee waiting for our various breakfast starches, we also started to get annoyed. Who doesn’t plan for a busy brunch day on MEMORIAL DAY? Which, imho, is basically the unofficial start of the High Brunch Season (prepare yourselves). The lack of an alcohol menu was also starting to get to us. If we must wait almost an hour for our food, at least give us some mimosas!

Drinks:

Tre Kronor doesn’t serve alcohol, but they do serve some random Swedish-looking bottled beverages. We did not partake because we weren’t offered a drink menu, but the patrons around us seemed to be into them.

Food:

handwritten menu

B: The whole menu looked very good, (it also includes lunch), but I was on the prowl for an omelette. They had three different kinds, named after Swedish cities, and I went with the Oslo which had cream cheese, salmon and dill. And DAMN was it delicious. Cream cheese is legitimately the BEST omelette cheese because it gets melty quickly and deliciously. I felt like a goddamn grownup eating an omelette with dill and salmon in it and even though they brought hot sauce to the table, I didn’t need it! It also came with breakfast potatoes, which was a surprise because that was not listed on the menu. Even more unexpectedly, they were great! Considering people usually associate Swedish breakfast with sweet things, I was very impressed with Tre Kronor excelling in the savory department.

SAMSUNG CSC

McD: I got the Swedish Pancakes (or Pannekaker if you want to try to pronounce that to your waiter) with a lingon berry spread. They were of course delicious and I must say, worth that super long wait.

sweish brunch

Howe: Ordered the Vanilla & Orange French Toast and… I’m sorry. I was not feeling this one. It was not as flavorful or yummy as the name, and with the wait time I NEEDED this to be amazing. Instant regret about not ordering a savory item. This was just a really plain meal for me. What would Guy say?

french toast

Afties:

There was a heavily advertised blanket sale at the Swedish Store across the street. This place has the most modern clog section you’ve ever seen. So many cute and innovative Scandinavian things to look at!

muppet chef

WLCBF

West Loop Craft Beer Fest #NotBrunch
Neighborhood: Uh, West Loop, duh
Guest: McD’s cousin Christine!
Missing: B

Yes another Not Brunch for you! It’s #summertimechi and there are so many fun things we want to share. There’s a reason we named this blog Not Just Brunch, people.

We ended our Chicago Craft Beer Week festivities with the West Loop Craft Beer fest on Saturday. Unfortunately B was partying it up at our alma mater down south and could not join us.

Similar to the craft beer fest we went to in Union Station a while back, you pay for your ticket and get a little souvenir 4oz cup to sample beers. Except this one was kinda better because it was outside, the tickets were cheaper, and the cup was really made of glass. Not plastic. So we actually wanted to keep it – instead of chuck it into the river like last time. LOL JK we didn’t do that!
NJB does not endorse littering.

Chicago craft beer

One major drawback of this fest was that it was suuuuper crowded and there was not much empty space for people to just chill + drink + chat. It was difficult to find the “check in” area to get our cups and tickets – there were zero signs and it was located across a street. Once we got there they handed everyone a giant sheet of tickets that turned out to be pretty pointless. After the first 20 minutes the beer people stopped asking for them (much like the last beer fest – no one got time for ticket ripping.)

Some gallant gentleman offered us his “extra tickets” and we were like LOL, More pointless tickets for us.

west loop craft beer

When hunger struck that afternoon we all had a steak taco from the people there representing Little Goat, and it was damn delicious. It better have been, because it was $5 for one lil taco. We later went into the [indoor] French Market to get more food because it was right there and because beer makes a girl hungry.

 

OVERALL:

A pretty fun time, slightly more crowded than your average Chicago street fest. There were only a couple strollers in the mix (thank you fest gods) so walking was slightly manageable! The price was right, the beer was cold, and there were some entertaining moments. Well done.

Favorites: some raspberry beer that was basically just juice, Revolution Rosa [duh], and we saved Lagunitas for last because it is king

See you next year, West Loop Craft Beer Fest!

 

AFTIES:

Chillin on a rooftop in Old Town sippin more craft brews while people watching. Slightly alarmed that 9/10 white women we saw were wearing white jeans.

 

west loop chicago

Saturday Morning Brew Tour

Half Acre Brewery   #NotBrunch
Neighborhood: Northcenter!
Guest: Maddy

half acre tour

Perhaps you have forgotten that we had a failed attempted to go on the Half Acre Brewery Tour this past winter, which led us to a brunch at Tweet. We showed up too late for the tour that time (it was snowin for godsakes!). However, we are not ladies to give up on the excuse to drink early in the morning. In case you haven’t met us:

new girl zooey brunch drinking
So we made the journey to Half Acre once again, and it was better, because Spring seems to finally be upon us.

After some coffee from Julius Meinl and some Jewel doughnuts, we got in line for the Half Acre Tour which starts at 11:00 AM. The deal with the tour is that for $10 admission you get 3 beers plus a Half Acre pint glass, but the catch is that they only let 60 people in, first-come-first-serve-style. If you want to get in, you gotta get there early and line up outside.

So it went down like this:
At about 10:05 there were clearly some groups of people circling the Half Acre entrance, but no one wanted to start the line cause is was cold in the shade that morning. After someone decided to start the line (approx. 10:10) all the vulture groups swooped into the line and our body temperatures immediately started to drop. The line got very long very fast after that, and we started to notice that we were… the only group of girls?
Yes.
What the hell is that, man? We know there are more ladies out there that like day drinking AND craft beer! So what gives? You don’t need a man to like a good beer! </rant>

Ahem, anyway, at about 10:30 something started to happen. First- our hands were closing to freezing. Next – a large man in a silver hooded cape began to walk the line wordlessly handing out the (beautiful) tour tickets. It was way creepy… but in a funny way cause dude was wearing gym shoes that had to be like 4 years old. WITH THAT CAPE? Nuh-uh, girl.

half acre brew tour ticket

We were then carded and herded into the building (which is not big). Everyone is handed a pretty pint glass (to keep!) with 3 little bottle caps which acted as tokens for each beer you get. Then it gets a bit weird. The tour goes directly into some wacky character performance which, admittedly, some people got a kick out of, but we were not having it #bitchface. Word on the street is that normally there is no hooded dude who hands out tickets or weird one man shows on the tour, but I guess we lucked out?

bottle caps
Be prepared that while this excursion is billed as a “tour” of the brewery, what we experienced on this particular day was really more of a lecture because the space is incredibly tiny, and our 60 person group just stood in the most open space sipping on our choice of brew listening to the [hot albino] tour guy (the one who thankfully was not in costume or putting on a weird act) talk about Half Acre’s history, beer-making process, etc. You may end up standing next to an exploding yeast bucket that is uncomfortably but intriguingly close. But seriously, this was not a tour at all. The most we got was background, Q&A, and pointing at things from a distance.

 

[Howe note- I’ve been told that other tours went around the place in depth and up to the second level. What the hell?]

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS:
a dad with a pretzel necklace who was LOVIN life, beer, some interesting facts and stories about the company, yeast bucket, albino cuties, getting p drunk early in the day, beer, cool art, the tap room next door, Chicago, beer, and eating doughnuts while loitering in a parking lot.

beer illustrations

LOWLIGHTS:
a million-billion couples, dumb questions, standing in the same spot for 3 beers, dad jokes, bros from all walks of life, still not fans of Daisy Cutter (we never have been, srrryyyy)

 

AFTIES:

As if downing 3 beers at 11 in the morning wasn’t enough, we decided we needed more. So we moseyed on over to the tap room right next door. Crowd favorite was the Over Ale which is labeled as a “styleless wonder”: kinda dark and damn delicious. The tap room was cute and small, pretty crowded and filled with strollers.

tap room half acre

At this point it was around 1 or 2 and all we had eaten that day was coffee, donuts, and beer. So after much deliberation about which fast food joint to hit up, we decided to seek our nourishment from Popeye’s. Dat spicy chicken doe.

Ended the day half passed out on Howe’s couch watching VH1 and chugging water so we would still be able to go out later that night and drink more cerveza. #classic

20140426_100735

 

Wristband Brunch: Return of the Buffet

LOLOLOLOLOL
Location: Duffy’s Tavern and Grille
Neighborhood: Lakeview

Duffy's lakeview

After a short car ride that included a shoeless driving McD and a hungover puke pit stop in a CVS parking lot [not McD], we found ourselves in Lakeview at another bar-turned-weekend-brunch-buffet place, Duffy’s. We had low expectations for this after Mistake Celt. When we walked up and saw the dog on their sign we were all “Oh, dog! Dogs are the best! Maybe it won’t be too bad…”

_HANGOVER-03
PUMP IT UP.

We chose Duffy’s even though we had our low expectations because the night before we had our Balls to the Walls (BTTW) night. This basically means we made a pact to get real shitty and let’s just say we accomplished this and then some. Needless to mention, we were hungover as f and needed quick nourishment, no waiting time, and something very low on the fancy scale.

We went into this brunch blind.

When we walked into ze bar we were 1. carded upon entry  2. the most underdressed people there and 3. seated right away in the front of the place. NOTE: If you come here hungover, ask to not be seated in the back because it is like a fricking night club back there: Dark, purple disco lights, and super loud thumping music. Actually, even if you’re not hungover don’t sit in the back because why?

brunch

Anyway, as soon as we sat down we were asked if we wanted Bloodys or mimosas. Bottomless drinks are part of the whole buffet deal, which is a semi-reasonable $25. Though we were not feeling very good we were just too hungover to turn down drink options, if that makes any sense. We went for the mimosas which were actually pretty good! We would have had more and really taken advantage of the bottomless aspect but we were definitely still drunk from the night before. Our waitress was really good about keeping our glasses filled, kinda (she would bring a full glass and then fill each of our individual glasses with it instead of just giving it to one of us).

After we got our mimosas, plates, and brunch wristbands (yes, WRISTBANDS), we had the buffet explained to us. It is in the back aka the d1sko n1ghtclUb r00m, on the stage (yes, THE STAGE). We made our way back there and thankfully it did not smell at all like stale beer and barf, as one would expect from a bar. All the food was right next to the DJ (yes, ACTUAL DJ IN A BOOTH) who announced a 2 for 1 jager bombs deal for the next 15 min (which is actually every hour so don’t be tricked!) Oh, and there was also a chocolate fountain (yes, CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN).

Duffy's brunch stageComplete disbelief that this brunch was really happening.

DRINKS:

_DRINK-03 snl thanks champFor being so hungover and throwing up on the way to brunch, I was reaaaalllllly into those ‘sas. -B

FOOD:

duffy's brunch plate

There was a pretty good spread up on that dark blue mood lighted stage: some super fake neon orange mac n cheese which McD weirdly loved, cheese ravioli which was random but nice, 2 kinds of potatoes, scrambled eggs, lots of breakfast meats, muffins, cinnamon rolls, etc.

The hashbrowns were ON POINT– salty and tasteful. The other potatoes offered were scalloped and they were NOT good, kind of undercooked. As a group, we agreed scalloped is the worst way to eat potatoes.

The bacon was really flavorful (read: fatty and greasy) and had the perfect amount of crisp.

Baked goods were obviously from Jewel or some other store and were meh. And the biscuits were so disappointing. Also disappointing, but not surprisingly, the fruit was pretty lacking. They also have a salad, which is basically just pieces of iceberg lettuce.

**Note- we did not take advantage of their seafood or non-breakfast meats, but they has a lil chef there to serve shrimp and lobster (?) and a carving station.

OVERALL:

We probably won’t be coming back, but if you want to spend your Sunday lounging around drinking unlimited mimosas and listening to a DJ spin bass-heavy hits then this is your spot. Duffy’s was a really mixed and super random crowd (not just bros! – #NJB), which made for some serious lolz. Minus the kids, because kids never make a brunch better.

 

AFTIES:

The lake was riiiiight there and the weather was nice, so we had a nice post-brunch walk down the lakefront path. Gave us a lot of time to catch up on our previous night, which we didn’t all remember the details of TBH.

chicago lakefront spring 2014

The lake was so pretty that day, y’all. You know, before it gets warm and full of plastic forks & bodies.

We also did a little shopping. JK, lots of shopping on Diversey.
Purchases of note: Howe got a kewt neon coin purse thing from Urban and a black dress from Express #summer? McD got a pair of jeans a size too small because goals are important in life. B got a pair of fre$h leopard-print Adidas sneakers.
you guys –

Our day ended at about 5pm. This is catch-up (ketchup?) for all our absent afties lately. But what will we do when free Sunday parking leaves in May?  Brunch as we know it will never be the same (well, it will be the same as it was a year ago when you always had to pay for Sunday street parking).