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 —————

Brunch, Beers, & Boutiques

Location: O’Shaughnessy’s Public House
Neighborhood: Ravenswood

O'shaughnessy's
Hangover MeterO’Shaughnessy’s is located right on Ravenswood in a little industrial nook and is a real neighborhood kind of joint. It has very typical Irish pub decor, lots of wood and decorative windows, very pretty. The place is actually HUGE but we sat ourselves in our own little corner by the bar where they were playing the Olympic Ski Jumping on the TVs (wtf is that sport tho?)

We were feeling weird this morning, due to our extra boozy Saturday night and also the fact the the weather was super beautiful for once. Sun? Is that you? We’re going to the pub anyways.

irish brunch

DRINKS:

O’Shaughnessy’s does not have a brunch drink menu but it’s a pub so it basically has any alcohol you could want.

B: Since no drink menu was provided, I went with beer (Three Floyd’s Gumballhead). Sometimes, plain beer is just nice to have with brunch because you can drink it early in the day, but still not be too much of an alcoholic. Also, bars always be runnin out of Gumballhead so you gotta take it where you can get it.

Howe: Allagash White, yummy and light! I’m usually drinking this beer when its available and its a pretty good breakfast beer IMHO. We thought about asking for beermosas, but in a pub? We did not want to shame our fathers.

McD: Had too much beer the night before and could not stomach another, so I ordered a ginger rye. I gotta say I felt like my Great Aunt Sheila drinking this highball so early in the day. It had fresh lime juice which I don’t think is typical, so that was a nice touch. ravenswood drinks

FOOD:

irish brunch

McD: Had the O’Shaughnessy Omelet, which had bangers, sausage, rashers, onions, green pepper, and Irish Cheddar. I mean, you really can’t go wrong with this combo. Unless you’re a vegetarian. I know I once said I didn’t like omelets, but brunch blogging has changed my whole outlook on life! I have seen the [omelet] light! The standout was the potatoes. Cooked to perfection.

egg plate

B: Was deciding between the breakfast sandwich and the Corned Beef Hash, and went with the latter. I was expecting to be truly impressed with the Corned Beef Hash because Irish, but unfortunately, this fell pretty short. It has a preservative-y aftertaste, which just got worse and worse as I continued. Not even my beer could make me feel better about this.

brunch plate

Howe: THE HANGOVER SANDWICH. Lets just say if I had a real hangover I would not have been able to handle the sight of this. This started off good but it was SO MUCH to cut through. The meat was sub-par; wish the Irish bacon was cooked a bit longer. But the breakfast potatoes saved the day.

OVERALL:

Gonna keep this one short because although the food was pretty solid, there was nothing really remarkable about this typical Irish pub. (I actually couldn’t even remember where we had gone/what I had had -B). None of our plates or drinks stood out as being anything special. That being said, not to name names here but there are plenty of shitty Irish pubs on the Northside and O’Shaughnessy’s is definitely not one of them. It’s clean and has an extensive food menu. I don’t think we would go out of our way to come again but if you’re in the neighborhood definitely check it out. Any place with a “BREAKFASTMEATS” section is a place you can respect.

AFTIES:

ravensgoods

If you know anything about Ravenswood you know its one of the most adorable neighborhoods. On a nice day, like the one we were living, it has a movie-esque quality and it seriously feels like you are not allowed to be there unless strolling with your BF, BFF(s), or dog/baby. That being said, we decided to hit up some of the small shops after brunch.

We went to Howe’s personal favorite boutique, Ravensgoods, first. And yes, it’s as cute as it sounds. Howe bought some jewelry and part of a gift, while B bought two posters of the CTA map, but classy–one was for her and one was for Mari’s birthday! They carry a variety of pretty unique posters, their featured poster being “Chairs of Chicago,” chronicling all the chairs people put out to block their shoveled-out parking spaces. I really can’t get enough of this shop.

 ravensgoods

Across the street we ventured to Amy’s Candy Bar. Just popped in to take a look but naturally walked out with some goodies (IRL/ENG imports!). This place is small, adorable, and I have never seen a child inside. “It’s like Dylan’s Candy Bar.” -B

After wandering to Montrose we popped into Starbucks. The baristo taking orders was either drunk or did not give a fuckkk about his job, as he was hanging over the counter being insanely sarcastic to everyone. It felt like we were on a secret camera show and someone was secretly filming our reactions to this crazy hipster man. (We liked this?) Drinks in hand, we went next door to hazel. This store has a little bit of everything and is always packed on the weekends. Always.
All in all, we had an awesome Sunday and spent some serious dollerz. #SmallBizness

Tweetle Brunch & Tweetle Dee

Location: Tweet
Neighborhood: Uptown
Guests: None! (back to basics)

Tweet Brunch Chicago

“Welcome to Tweet, do you care to see our gluten free menu?”

HELL no, but we appreciate the offer.

We were all set for an early Saturday get together at a particularly boozy location, but our plans (and dreams) were crushed by a long line of overzealous beer enthusiasts. The three of us were not dressed or interested in waiting in the snow to go on a brewery tour, which is what we had originally planned, so we hit up our brunch backup plan: Tweet! (Existed before the social media craze began in case you were wondering).

Tweet was brought to our attention by Howe’s map app, but also by this Chicagoist article.

Tweet looks like a total sketch mystery on the outside – which is so very Uptown. After a huge parking struggle (wow thx sno) that resulted in a mini tour of Little Vietnam, we stepped into the bigger-than-it-looks-on-the-outside establishment. They immediately asked if we wanted the gluten free menu and we were like wuuut. As we sat down, before we even picked up the menus or met our waiter, the hostess who seated us served us these free little coconut cakes and poured us coffee. We were feeling like the Queen of England with this service.

Tweet chicago brunch

On their website, Tweet describes the decor in their restaurant as “a jewel box of an interior,” and some of the artists featured on the walls are regulars of the restaurant. It is eclectic up in hurrr, in the best way tho. Walls full of frames, art deco furniture, and pillows in the booth/chairs.

Drinks:

Let it be known that this maybe the most extensive drink list that NJB has seen. Separate menu, covered front & back. Rotating craft beer list. Hot drinks. Light drinks. Multiple mimosa, Bloody Mary, and beermosa options. Tweet don’t fuck around.

breakfast drinks

B: got a Bloody Mary recommended by the waitress that had wasabi in it! Idk, i was in the mood for something a little different and this was definitely it. Who would ever put something like that in a bloody and who would ever think it would be so good? They also have a ton of other types of Bloody Marys, like one with Sriracha, and it was so big!

McD: Got the Devil in the White City, which was Intelligentsia coffee with Godiva chocolate, Jameson, and whipped cream. This sounds like a sugar fest, but it was surprisingly drinkable and not too sweet. Maybe because there was a shit-ton of Jameo? Whatever the case, it was delicious and inspired me to want to drink more whiskey in my everyday life. [Howe note- she had 2 shots of it later that night.]

Howe: Sassy Bitch. I didn’t choose this drink… it chose me. We share a bond that not everyone can understand. That being said, this thing was crazy sweet in a good way! Sugar rim, cause that is sass. But with a name like that you expect some real alcohol happening, and it was meh. (I know this is becoming a constant complaint lately… but c’mon y’all!) — When the waitress dropped it off she called it a “Sassy One,” lol nah.

Food:

tweet brunch fruit cup

Like the drink menu, the food menu was probably the most lengthy we have ever seen. It was filled with mostly natural and/or organic dishes. There were foldouts and add-on menus and wow.

Breakfast sandwich chicago

Howe: Croissant Sandwich Platter. I wanted a breakfast sandwich very badly and this was about as close as I was going to get. Croissants are not my fave sandwich base, but this had so many cheeses to choose from! I chose goat cheese because that’s not common enough in the B-which scene. As B said: “the soft cheeses are underestimated in breakfast meals.” Anyway, this thing fell apart right away but was CRAZY delish. The entire platter was awesome, esp the fruit cup. Once more I must say… we came so close to a deluxe fruit cup.

tweet chicago

B: Da Portland omelette, which I got cause i took that dumbass Buzzfeed quiz and it told me to move to Portland. And if Portland is full of omelettes like these: then It had EVERYTHING, cream cheese, bacon, tomatoes, human firehydrants, and I don’t know what else but the cream cheese was really perfect. The portions are also huge, and getting hash browns, a fruit cup and sliced tomatoes (instead of toast) made for a very full me by the end of brunch.

fancy brunch

McD: Ordered the Santa Fe Special. It was 2 black bean patties topped with poached eggs and salsa verde, with a side of hashbrowns. Honestly, I had already had a big breakfast at home since our original plan had been to go on that brewery tour, so though it was pretty tasty I just didn’t think eating so many eggs in the course of 3 hours would be good for me, ya know? I’m no Ron Swanson. I think my ability to self control my eating may be growing! Those hash browns were perfection, though. Couldn’t resist eating every last bit of those puppies. It also came with a fruit cup which was served before the real meal came so you could eat it first–so thoughtful!

Overall:

Even though we were pretty disappointed that we couldn’t go on our planned brewery tour, as Ron Swanson says, “There has never been a sadness that cannot be cured by breakfast food.” Even while we were still eating our food we were saying how we have to come back here. Not only because the menu is so large that we need to try more drinks and foods, but also because the service was great, atmosphere inviting, and prices reasonable, especially considering they use natural ingredients.

Generally speaking, Tweet has got it all: good and super friendly service, gluten free menus if you’re into that (and if you are sry, i dont want to be your friend [*unless you are gluten free for serious health reasons and not trendy diet reasons]), coconut cakes upon arrival to the table, and servers pouring your coffee before you can even figure out where to put the decorative pillow that is on your chair before you sit down.

hot sause +

-B thought it was v important to note how all the extras were laid out well on the side of the table for us before the meal started.

— Just a fun fact, their website was designed by Firebelly. Howe geeked.

Afties:

On our walk back to the car, we noticed many streets being blocked off by cops and/or cop cars. McD being the Negative Nancy/Debbie Downer/etc she is, was concerned there had been something serious like a shooting or an armed robbery (Uptown yo). Lo and behold, it was actually a PARADE! The parade for Chinese New Year was just starting (and we didn’t know this was a thing because whitegirlmoment). But we didn’t have time to lollygag so we just watched a little and snapped some pics. Still a wonderful and unexpected surprise though, and much preferable to another Chicago shooting, amiright?

chinese new year parade chicago

Highlight of the afties? Breakin’ the law and drivin’ the opposite way down a one way street because we are lawless and cRAzy (actually we had to do this because of all the blocked off streets and the cops told us to… but let us have this moment).

Lastly, B and McD went to Half Acre to fill up their growlers (okay okay, they were B’s brother’s and McD’s dad’s growlers). Is it some sort of prerequisite that you have to be good looking to work there because DAYUM. Let it be known that McD paid for her dad’s growler refill (Space in case you were wondering) and told him he does not have to pay her back the 15 bucks–true sign of adulthood.

DTLG (DownTown La Grange)

Maddy Brunch LaGrange

Location: Prasino
Neighborhood Suburb: The dirty LG
Guesty-Guest: Maddy
Home because she was sick: McD

Let’s keep this short & sweet because… MAAAAN are we late on this one, y’all.
A couple of weeks ago you may recall Drake hosted SNL and that night we slept over at Maddy’s, of NJB fame, house. Guess what? LaGrange has brunch, too! So famous that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have dined there! (no photographic evidence… but like ERRYONE in LG was talking about it.)

Crate and Barrel coffee creamer

Prasino is known for organic/earth friendly/vegan dishes and caters to the young and old alike. Drink menu was long but standard.

Drinks:

group breakfast drinks

B drank a Bloody Maria! A spicy Bloody Mary that was pretty good! Howe had the fruit-mosa (shock). But this thing was not as fruity as one would think. I mean, that name implies much flavor and that is not what was up. And when a drink is this small I think we all expect it to have a bit of a kick… and it didn’t. NVER AGN. Maddy got the champear “sparkler” for the alcoholz. It was really taystee. Amaretto makes anything taste like candy so yeah. I liked it. And it was pretty.

Food:

B had breakfast tacos with tofu. Not the most flavorful breakfast tacos, not the worst; overall, okay.

tofu tacos White breakfast taco avacado

Howe had the Jump Start Tacos. Seemed promising since you can’t go wrong with egg whites, avocado, cheese. But these things were so bland. I had to go heavy on the tabasco. As for the taters, they were tasty but way way too soft, don’t let their color deceive you!

suburban brunch omlette

Maddy got the city farm omelette. There was A LOT of goat cheese. So for me, it was fantastic because goat cheese. If you don’t like goat cheese, you’re dumb…but also, don’t get this omelette.  [Howe note: Maddy thought they legit dropped a log of goat cheese into some eggs to make this thing.]

Overall:

Prasino (pronounced the less cultured way you think it is pronounced because Maddy called their voicemail one time) really goes for their theme of natural and organic in their decor, as well. Lots of bamboo/light wood/tvs showing animal pictures (ahhhbviously) and the worst, cheapest wall art I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. Truly, Prasino, if you got rid of those random printed canvases  I bet even more celebs would make the random stop in La Grange to visit you. It looked like a stock photo house threw up in a pretty restaurant.

Adding these nice animal TVs was a pretty serious mistake:

Stock photo animals wtf

-Who did this?-

Afties:

We traveled back to da city and BGC to watch our lover Drake on SNL because we all took a blood oath we would watch it together. And then, of course, we watched more Drake vids. You need to watch that fucking episode, the man is a Canadian treasure.

drake-snl

A Departing  Poem:
Yes, this is a shorter post
than most
I don’t think anyone had toast
we had to leave to watch Drake host SNL.

p.s. There a Prasino in Wicker… might be worth checking out everyone. I’d assume less stock photos and old women in fur coats.
p.p.s. Our waiter had a nice butt and an accent

Oh Hoppy Day

Restaurant: Dryhop
Neighborhood: Lakeview (Sorry!!!)
Special Guest: Mari

dryhop brew

This is the MOST Portlandia-brunch-episode brunch we have ever had. (So much plaid!)

We were very lucky to have Mari of Revolution Brunch with us for a few weeks because she was home for winter break, and as a goodbye before she went back to school of course we had to go to another brewpub. After getting a parking spot right across from the place despite the crazy snow that was taking up much of the prime parking in Chicago, we walked into sparsely filled bar. We got there a little after it opened at 11, and even when we left a few hours later it was still not full, though the space is small. As we entered we noticed an abundance of plaid and even a couple beards, which can be hard to come by in Lakeview, so we were pleased. B.R.E.A.M.* team, baby.

As mentioned, the space is pretty small but they can fit quite a few tables in there so don’t expect a long brunch wait a la Bongo Room (the night crowd is probably a different story). It was dark in a good way, and since they brew their beer here you could see the huge vats where it was being made, which was cool. Also of note, since we seem to comment about this on NJB quite a bit, the bathrooms! McD got a huge ass beer and therefore was a frequent flier of the lady’s room, and she says they were very clean and new and nice. The walls were wallpapered with diagrams & charts of the beer making process – Howe approves.

dryhop chicago

Drinks:

20140104_112833

McD: I had the Batch 001, which is Dryhop’s first ever brew. I really really enjoyed this beer, and I normally strongly dislike beers with a lot of hops. I got the bigger oz size option, which ended up looking extremely large in a tall skinny mug. It provided me with a nice cool refreshing 15 minute tipsy, and lots of bathroom breaks. [Howe and B note: She looked like this.]

dryhop brew beer

B: Shark Verusus Hipster Beer— hoppy, wheat IPA, not too bad
Venus in Furs— sogewd

Howe: Venus in Furs— the table decided that this was the best beer ordered. DryHop was not joking when they said it brings yeast “to the party” a MUST try. This is what we came for.
Santo Meets Zeppelin— dark, tasty, but it’s no Venus.

Mari: OJ & Dayquil (sick)

Food:
Apparently the chef here loves pig so the brunch menu is very bacon-centric, which we ain’t complaining about. The menu is also pretty small, which I always think is a good thing because decisions are hard, especially big life decisions like what to have for brunch.

Dryhop brunch

B: The Nudist on Strike (not sure why that is the name) Omelette with mushrooms, fennel, and swiss. It was pretty delicious even though I had to eat half of it with no ketchup or hot sauce because our waitress never returned to our table. Also, halfway through I remembered that I’m not really into fennel, but it is an interesting texture change for an omelette so I get where Dryhop is coming from.  It came with potatoes, which were in between potatoes au gratin and breakfast potatoes and were cheesy and delicious.

dryhop brunch

McD: I got Poutine, the only thing on the menu without a fun name. NJB considers ourselves poutine connoisseurs when we’re not brunching–shoutout to the poutine at Bad Apple you da best. This particular poutine came with cheddar cheese, sausage gravy, and bacon. It was appreciated by my stomach and taste buds (especially since this was the first time I went to brunch without eating something beforehand [see Frasca post for previous mention of complete lack of self control when it comes to food]) but we all agreed it was lacking in the gravy department, and isn’t that what poutine is all about? It basically tasted like cheese fries. For some bacony cheese fries they were very good, but for the poutine I was expecting?- they were meh.

dryhop brunch

Howe: ordered the Captain’s French Toast knowing this probably was not going to go well. Who is this “Captain” you might ask. Well… you happen to know him pretty well because its Captain Crunch. That’s right… this dish is white bread covered in pulverized CAP’N CRUNCH. So the very foundation of this dish is flawed, but I gave it a chance because of the toppings. The menu promised “Liquid Cheesecake, Blueberries, and warm Bourbon Maple Syrup” and I had a real taste for fruit! When the dish arrived, there we’re like LESS THAN 10 BERRIES. And it was all so overly/artificially sweet I could not finish. It was underwhelming and a way basic basic brunch. Naturally I ordered another beer to resolve this issue.

dryhop brew hanks plate

Mari: So I had “Hank’s Plate” and Hank must be boring cause it was just eggs, bacon, and a biscuit. Maybe Hank will read your blog and strike up a counter argument, but watever cause the food was eh. I got the eggs scrambled, they were your stereotypical scrambled eggs. The bacon was “hickory smoked, with a brown sugar black pepper glaze” and I might have been having an off day because I surprisingly didn’t like it. The biscuit was the best part. I asked for no gravy…they gave me gravy…but it was for the best. It was pretty good. Next trip – 4 biscuits and 4 beers. But i just checked the lunch menu and the lunch menu looks good too (holla at the skillet mac n cheese).

Overall:
We had a perfectly lolzy brunch, reminiscing about our drunk New Year’s antics, watching people try to parallel park outside in the snow, and smiling at a young child who came in with her parents for a burger. Dryhop: it’s for all ages!

We would definitely come back here for the beers, maybe at night because Yelp says the night scene is bumpin. We all enjoyed the brews we ordered, (and we all tried each other’s beers as well because it is our beer-loving tradition). Service was fine when we first got there, but then it kind of went downhill and we had to wait quite a bit to get ketchup, order more beers, and get the check, even though, as already mentioned, it was not very crowded. The food was very average… but you can’t expect every brewery to get it right.

Afties:
Intelligentsia – We planned on walking here (down the street) after brunch to sober up a bit. That SO did not happen because the place was PACKED with 100000 people acting like they were working on a Sunday… when we could see that erryone was on twitter. Ugh. After waiting in a giant line we ordered our drinks to go and got the eff out of there. Again- so Portlandia.

After coffee we did some light shopping on Broadway. Okay okay, we just went into Gap. B got this $7 jean jacket and McD could not hide her jealousy. She’s still not over it. Gap witnessed some serious intensity in the sale section that day…

*Beards Rule Everything Around Me