Monday, July 27, 2009

One Weekend, 2 Brunches

My tummy was very happy this weekend. I ran 12 miles on Saturday and I think that "gave me permission" to pig out. I love brunch and really took advantage of that by visiting two of my favorite brunch spots in the city of Chicago.

Day 1 - Bongo Room - 1152 S. Wabash
I hate waiting in long lines for brunch. I'm hungry. I want coffee. I wanted to start eating 20 minutes ago when I began waiting in line. Bongo Room is one of those places that you're usually guaranteed a long wait. It's listed as a "must visit" in all the magazines for tourists, it's in close proximity to the museum campus and around the corner form lots of high rise condos. As one of the best brunch spots in the city everyone and their sister wants to eat here. That is after 10 am - aka the magic brunch hour. I hurried to shower and get out the door to be at Bongo Room by 9:45 am. With 2 of us we were seated immediately in a booth. By 10 am we could see the crowds starting to congregate outside the window. Suckers! There is no better feeling that being comfortably seated in the A/C, drinking an iced coffee and enjoying my absolutely fabulous breakfast.

Bongo Room has some phenomenal pancakes (peanut butter and white chocolate pretzel anyone?) and the famed chocolate tower of french toast, but when it's on the menu I really do have a tough time not ordering the special breakfast burrito. Chorizo. Rock Shrimp. Beans. Eggs. Spinach tortilla. Delicious. Add some rosemary potatoes on the side and you're golden.

I spent the rest of the day watching movies, icing my knees (yes from the running) and recuperating before a night of out to celebrate my friends bachelorette and my brother's birthday. I was out well after midnight, which I may be getting to old for.

Day 2 - David Burke Primehouse - 616 N. Rush
My gluttonous eating continued with a 2-hour American Dim Sum Brunch at David Burke's restaurant in the chic James Hotel. Very different atmosphere here as it this is hotel dining (at its best - in this blogger's humble opinion) and reservations are accepted. No waiting for a table. My party of 3 was comfortably seated in a large booth and we were raring to go. Though the service was not as attentive as I've seen on past visits, the food was never the less stellar and unforgettable.

Dim Sum, small plates of food, is served in the morning in Chinese restaruants. Head to Chicago's Chinatown and you can be waiting in Bongo Room (post 10 am) type lines for Pheonix on Cermak. Who can resist warm steamy bao buns or crispy chicken feet? Ok, I can't, but I'm sure there are readers who any case David Burke, being the incredibly inventive chef that he is, created his American version of this popular eating style at his eponymous Chicago restaurant on Sundays.

The menu offers 27 different small plates starting with traditional brunch goodies (eggs benedict and small panckaes with passion fruit butter); to chilled nibbles (smoked pastrami salmon, oysters, salmon tartar, oatmeal creme brulee served beautifully in a hollowed out egg shell, Caesar salad and granola parfait); to the more Asian inspired menu items (tempura green beans, lobster fries and beef dumblings); onto southern bits (mini hamburgers on brioche buns topped witha kobe beef corn dog, fried chicken drumstick, mac & cheese); and the final savory course a surf & turf (a fried potato skin topped with creamed spinach and beef tenderloin, unfortunately the salmon portion wasn't anything too exciting). Enough already you say? No, no, no...The sweet treats were our finale and we couldn't even finish all of them! The trolley of sweets included make your own mini sundaes, hazelnut or lemon creme brulee, the famed cheesecake lollipops, chocolate cake, chocolate mousee and who could forget the made to order mini fortune doughnuts.

Needless to say after over 2 hours of eating all this plus coffee I looked and felt like I was carrying a large food baby. It was difficult to even walk, yet I found myself purusing the racks at Nordstrom - big belly and all. I'm detoxing now, but there's always a new adventure next week after all, right?


  1. How do you think I felt after David Burkes? The Nordstrom's sales clerk had to give me two dressing rooms!

  2. I like David Burke's and have enjoyed their breakfast...I took my first wheat grass shot...which was disgusting! I like the doughnuts but I think that is the only memorable thing about it!

    Bongo room has never impressed me. In Chicago I much rather go to Eleven City Diner, Yolk or Janes in Bucktown.

    Brunch is one of my favorite meals to share with friends, a great time to catch up and get all the good gossip in a sober environment!

  3. Mmmmm how can you resist chorizo! Takes me back to having it in Tucson, ahh those were fun times!