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).

“Green” Buzzword Brunch

Restaurant: Uncommon Ground on Clark
Neighborhood: Lakeview/Wrigleyville
Attendees: the classic trio

 

If you remember our last brunch catastrophe at ActOne (not enough food) and thought we deserved some good karma, here it is, folks, an overabundance of egg-based foods at Uncommon Ground.

When we strolled in this past Sunday around 11 we were greeted with a wait time of 15 minutes (we wanted a good table) and an array of Uncommon Ground’s highest awards: the Mayor’s Landscape Award Winner in 2011, the Governor’s Sustainability Award 2010, USGBC Environmotion Award 2009, etc. (Award for most awards coming soon–it was like the Meryl Streep of Green Restaurants) Pretty impressive but most impressive is the fact that they were on Check Please!, amiright? Check Please! is the key to everything in this town. (We miss you Alpana Singh! the new lady has crazy eyes.)

While we waited for the table we got our first round o drinks at the bar…

DRINKS:

uncommon ground chicago drinkmeter

B: Started with a Bloody Mary (on special for $6) but wasn’t particularly impressed, so she switched it up with an Ancho Villa for her second drink. Unfortunately, not only was it a little too strong for a brunch drink- I mean, I want some alcohol in da morn, but not at the expense of seeming like I need it – it was served with a lemon garnish instead of cilantro and I am a cilantro fiend, so it was disappointing.

McD: Can’t remember what it was called but I ordered a drink that was basically vanilla infused bourbon with hot water and fresh lemon juice (not a hot toddy, it was something else–anyone out there know what this might be called?) It was so gooooood and smooooooth you couldn’t even tell the bartender spilled a shit ton of bourbon in there. Unfortunately it was so warm in the restaurant I couldn’t finish it without having multiple hot flashes but it was something I would order again.
30 rock jack burban

Howe: had the Grapefruit juice drink which I also forget the name of… Basically a more tropical, more alcoholic greyhound. A good way to start the morning, but kinda set me off since I may have still been a little drunk.

FOOD:

B: The seasonal omelette, made with local, fresh ingredients(!), had caramelized onions, mushrooms, and cheese. All of these are standard and solid omelette ingredients- Uncommon knows not to mess with the formula too much, leading to satisfying dishes. The caramelized onions also made an appearance in the hashbrowns, but I love caramelized onions so I couldn’t even hate. I also had sourdough bread toast and a homemade, slightly runny jam.

McD: I got the chilaquiles that I’ve had on my mind since our last brunch. I’m glad I waited for these ones–a bit spicy, generous portion, and the tortilla bits were slightly crunchy, not soggy. Not sure what else to say… it’s hard to critique a dish that is eggs, tortilla, cheese, and chorizo. Plus they came with hashbrowns! Which were honestly average but I can’t complain, I mean they were organic! I do prefer my hashbrowns to be very brown and crunchy, though.

Howe: The sustainable egg sliders. I could not bring myself to say that full name out loud, so I technically just had the egg sliders. These things were HUGE. Not actual sliders, but 2 full on breakfast sandwiches (took one to go y’all.) The hashbrowns were amazing, but these sandwiches were my favorite brunch item in a while – crazy flavorful! They were served on zee fluffiest english muffins I’ve ever encountered, and while they were crazy greasy, it was a “real breakfast satisfaction” kind of greasy. Seriously, amazing.

Post-meal I ordered a spiked peppermint coffee (the Peppermint Patti – Obvz) off Uncommon Ground’s mega coffee list. Overlooking that they are SERVED IN BOWLS, we had a lul fest when that arrived at the table. Deliciously embarrassing.

giant coffee bowl

OVERALL:

We’d come again for the bowls of coffee (McD rull sad she missed out on that one) and to try out other things on the menu, especially that extensive drink menu. Of note: both hashbrowns AND breakfast potatoes are offered as sides, though we all opted for the hash. Maybe we should go back in the name of potato reviewing?

This is a solid brunch option. The crowd was fairly diverse, at least in terms of age, though we might have been the only non-Lakeview yuppies there. Also, the Shamrock Shuffle was earlier that morning and Uncommon Ground seemed to be a post-shuffle hot spot, which made us feel like losers for not running a 5k before sitting down to a sustainable meal. #DudesWithCalves.  But no one minded as we snapped the pics for NJB and loudly recalled our hilarious brush with butt-grabbing assholes at a taco establishment that previous Friday night #feminism.

Beer Glorious Beer

[not brunch]
Location: Union Station

Chicago Beer fest

NJB got together early this past Saturday and for once, it was not for brunch. But it was still in the name of day drinking!

We attended the Chicago Beer Festival at Union Station and let’s just say we are definitely going back next year. The place was packed with almost 100 breweries from all over the country offering their finest ales (winner: Greenbush Belgian… Where can we buy you???) The music was bumpin, the pretzel necklaces were crumblin, and the beer was flowin. Special shoutout to cute Lagunitas guy!

Chicago beer mini pint

Upon entry we were given these [adorable] mini pints to use for sampling and, as far as we know, there was no limit on how many times you could refill. So in true NJB fashion, we got tipsy drunk. Then proceeded to take a nap and go out later that night. College life, you’re still in our blood! Never leave us!

We really recommend Chicago Beer Fest, the organizers have a few kinks to work out but for being such a new thing it went pretty smoothly. If you’re beer lovers like us, it’s definitely worth the $40 entry to get to sample so many different brews in one afternoon.

chicago beer

Chicago brunch beerfest 2014

—— No, Peggy, we planned on writing this blog WHILE we were drinking.

Act One: We’re Still Hungry

Location: Act One Pub
Neighborhood: Rogers Park
Guest: MoMoneyMari (repping her own hood!)

Act One Chicago Drinks

*Enter 20 minute Rogers Park Sunday parking search*

After looping around a few blocks on the hunt for parking we strolled into Act One Pub. NJB was unaware that this location was connected to The Mayne Stage, which was a pleasant surprise. We were seated by a very happy hostess with super red hair (werk it gurl) and went straight into the menu. From our research we knew 2 things: they had bottomless brunch & they had pound cake french toast.

We also knew that we were all starving. Like, much more than usual. So we were ready to take on this brunch. But… we had to wait to place our orders for quite some time because our waitress never came. And then it turned out they were out of the holy pound cake. Both bad signs.

After we finally ordered and got our first round of drinks, we had to wait SO LONG for our food to actually arrive. We swear, this is not an exaggeration because we were hungry or anything. Meanwhile the table watched like 6 episodes of Roseanne while waiting (okay, that part was an exaggeration; it was more like 1 episode).

DRINKS:

Act One has a $20 bottomless brunch option, which includes your choice of brunch entree with bottomless Mimosas, Beermosas or Bloody Marys. However, to make this deal worth it, you have to have at least 3 drinks and we just didn’t have the time/tolerance/stamina for that on this particular day. But, if you are planning to drink a lot, that is legit a good deal. The individual drink prices, $5 per drink, is certainly not outrageous (especially because the mimosa comes in a huge wine glass instead of a flute, and is mostly champagne!)

drink meter act one chicago
It’s not that the drinks were that strong (well, McD’s mimosa was basically 90% champagne), but we were all working on pretty empty stomachs. Let’s say we were feeling it.

FOOD:

Act one french toast

Howe: Man. The table discussed the Poundcake French Toast for a while, and I settled on it because I’m looking for something to top the AMAZING Bongo Room french toast. When we ordered I was told that they are out of the Poundcake French Toast… WHAT. What ingredients did you run out of exactly?? Sigh. I switched over to the Thick-Cut French Toast, which was standard. Good, but nothing to brag about. I will say that, like everyone at this meal, we completely cleaned the plates. Which is highly unusual. It was a combo of us being ravenous & these portions not being as sizable as the average brunch should be.

Eggs B Chicago

McD: I was stuck between the Eggs Benedict and the Chilaquiles and finally ordered the Eggs Benedict over the Chilaquiles purely because they came with hash browns and the chilaquiles did not. Big mistake. Big. Huge. Such a disappointment when my plate came and there were breakfast potatoes instead of hashbrowns. Learn correct potato jargon, Act One. Worst of all is they weren’t even the crispy kind of breakfast potatoes. If you like non-crispy breakfast potatoes… you’re weird. The Eggs Benedict were good, really just your average Eggs Benedict.

Act one BLT

B: Even though the menu is not long, I still had a hard time deciding. Eventually, I went with something I had never even seen on a brunch menu before even though it seems obvious- a B.L.T. with an egg! You can have the egg any way and it comes with nothashbrowns. It was good  but you can’t really make a B.L.T. incorrectly, even with an egg, so I don’t think points can be awarded for how the actual sandwich tasted. Points will be deducted, though, BECAUSE THOSE WERE NOT HASH BROWNS.  (Also, not the usual amount of fullness of the stomach that a midday brunch usually brings.)

Brunch plate

Mari: I got a sausage, cheddar, and swiss omelette with “hash browns” and a beermosa. The beermosa was really good and I got moderately tipsy… but that could’ve been because it was the only thing to keep us company as we waited approximately 8 hrs for the food. The omelette was your average omelette, so if we went again, I’d go with my original choice (Belgian waffle). The “hash browns” were mere breakfast potatoes… so. yeah. We were all disappointed. *cue joke about us rioting* They do get points for providing ketchup without us asking doe…. the place was adorable, and RP 4lyfe.

OVERALL:

There was a Chili Fest going on in the actual music venue part, aka Mayne Stage (cute pun on the intersecting street, Wayne) so the bathrooms smelled like chili. A plus?

No one was satisfied by the amount of food we got. We all left still slightly hungry, how is that even possible for brunch? We are mostly concerned about this because you want to have a lot of food if you are going hard at a bottomless brunch.

The service, while uber-friendly, was not particularly prompt or attentive. We waited so long for the food and even longer for our second round of drinks. Our waitress was smiley enough but she never checked on us. Despite all this this we have to admit the prices are good; the most expensive brunch, Steak and Eggs, was only $11.

We should note that people definitely come here for the bottomless brunch. After 2+ hours in this place the crowd had not left, the same people that were there when we were seated were going strong as we left. People were getting SHITTY. And let it be known that there was no game on TV. In fact, Roseanne was on EVERY TV in this place [Howe dreams coming true.]
Roseanne brunch

AFTIES:

Since we were all still hungry and no one ordered coffee at Act One, some caffeine+sugar afties was needed. Which brings up another point, there was no coffee on the menu at brunch? We didn’t bother to ask, maybe they did serve coffee, but it was not listed on the menu and not seen on any other tables- kinda weird. So, we all got these fuckin’ sneaky milky-ass lattes from The Common Cup, a very indie coffee shop where they donate tips to charity (cool!) but also have shit tons of posters that talk about how sustainable they are, even though posters aren’t exactly tree-friendly last time I checked.

We also had an embarrassing photo shoot by some good old fashioned Rogers Park graffiti. All in the name of NJB! This is for you! McD’s dad always tells her to quit teaching and be a model (seriously), what do ya’ll think of her modeling skills? Is there a niche for models under 5’1” with graying hair? Do I have a chance? Let me know.

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

We are gems —————