Foodlife is a rather unique shopping mall food court run by Lettuce Entertain You (the ubiquitous Chicago restaurateurs), located on Michigan Avenue in Water Tower Place. It's popped up every now and then in a Jane and Michael Stern book, and even had a spot for a while on Roadfood.com (it's no longer listed). We hate malls, we hate mall food courts, but we were curious and finally paid them a visit.
You pass through turnstiles, get a plastic card, and then step up to any number of counters that specialize in pasta, or pizza, or barbecue, or sushi, or whatever else you are feeling like that day. Hand the server your card, where your purchase is registered, like a high-tech version of NYC's Katz's Deli (see the Roadfood.com review), then take your tray to a table. On the way out, you hand the cashier your card where your bill is figured.
We were there for breakfast, which means we ate at foodlife without really experiencing foodlife. This is because the turnstiles don't open until lunchtime. At breakfast, there is one food stand and a coffee stand just outside of foodlife proper. We had Joe's Scramble (with cheese, sausage, and spinach) and some hashbrowns. The other breakfast, at the top, was a Mexican-styled egg, cheese, and vegetable thing on something like a toasted bolillo roll. We asked our server perhaps three times to tell us what it was, and he did, but we never did quite understand him. Anyway, it was quite good, as was the side of Boar's Head bacon, and it's not on the regular breakfast menu. We ate at tables in the mall, near the escalators. The entire effect, at breakfast, is not unlike eating in an airport.
It was all fine, in fact better than that if you are already there to do some shopping. We wouldn't recommend a special trip to foodlife just for breakfast, though. As for the lunch/dinner foodlife, well, that's a totally different story, and one we can't tell.