Well, I guess the first thing that I realized in trying to plan for six meals in Chicago is that there is just too much food and way too many choices to narrow things down to six meals! Chicago has some delicacies that are surely "only in Chicago" foods - from the ubiquitous "Chicago-style hot dog" to the somewhat more hidden breaded steak sandwich; chicken vesuvio to shrimp de jhonge; from deep dish pizza to...well...deep dish pizza! On top of that, there are some restaurants that are great to hit - if only because they are in Chicago. Plus, I don't know why you chose to eliminate breakfast as an option, but Chicago is a strong breakfast town. So, I skewed your rules should anyone else stumble upon this thread, by adding a three-day breakfast recommendation and a slot for one snack each day. Rather than set out as a three-day itinerary, I will just list breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I also have some "honorable mention" spots - and some will immediately call me out for not including a hot beef sandwich or deep dish pizza on my itinerary. Hey...you can't please everyone, so ya gotta please yourself. For an out-of-towner, I think I could make the case for a pretty good three-day meal plan with this.... Breakfast #1 - Yolk
- 1120 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 (copied from something I wrote a while ago - sorry, no photos)
(Not reviewed on Roadfood.com)
Located in the South Loop (on Michigan between 11th and 12th). This was a 5-star breakfast with 2-star service (at about a 4-star price). We chose to go on a Sunday early afternoon on a GORGEOUS day for people to be out and about, so the place, obviously, was pretty crowded. When we arrived, there was a serious gathering of people outside waiting for tables. We were told that there would be about a 30-minute wait, which was about what our pre-determined limit was going to be. Honestly, the weather was so nice, it wasn't hard to wait in the nearby outside area, where they have a dog bowl filled with water for the neighborhood folks out with their pets.
We were seated after a 28-minute wait (how they get that close, I will never know). We got a good table, geographically, as it looked out the window onto Michigan Avenue, but the table was extremely cramped, and there was no way that I was getting my fat behind between the table and the window. I think that they expected a couple to sit next to one another there. Fortunately, (a) my friend and I are very much on the same page regarding same-side restaurant seating being a no-no; and she could easily squeeze her significantly more svelte behind between the window and the table.
As busy as the place was, the server greeted our table relatively quickly, if not particularly enthusiastically. She offered coffee on the spot, but we decided to both be particularly difficult and ask for decaf and hot tea. She returned with drinks, and we ordered off of their rather expansive breakfast menu. We both had omelettes - she the Denver, and I had a bacon-cheese; both came with a choice of potatoes or fruit (a nice offering, really); AND a choice of breads, including pancakes, toast, English muffins, etc. I opted for the fresh fruit and the pancakes. For $8.95, there was a goodly amount of food there. The wait for food was interminable
- and not just because we were pretty hungry. It took about 25 minutes for the food to arrive at our table (good thing I am good company!). In the meantime, I will say that I saw some stunning looking plates of food hit the other tables. In particular, I was told that the cream cheese-stuffed french toast is fabulous! The skillets and fritattas looked good, as did the pancakes - again, the menu is pretty large for a breakfast/lunch place.
My omelette was excellent, and while I did not try it myself, my friend said that her's was also really good. They are sizable (again, for the price, they oughta be). The eggs were fluffy, and there was just enough bacon to give it taste, without it being a plate of bacon with some eggs scrambled around it. The cheese was melted on top, but not inside, which is actually the way I like it. The primary taste was of the eggs
- which, if you name your place "Yolk" probably ought to be the case, no? The accompanying pancakes (2) were very good - fluffy, but with texture. I believe they were served with real maple syrup, too, but I may be mistaken. The fruit was a right-sized portion including canteloupe, pineapple, watermelon, and orange slices. I would have loved some strawberries, but I really can't bitch. I didn't quite the finish the pancakes and it was a struggle to put away the last five or so bites of the omelette.
The bill for the two of us (two omelettes, one coffee, one tea) came to nearly $24, plus tip. So, if you are ready to drop $30/2 for breakfast, this could be the place - but, don't look for the quick turn service of Mom's Diner, either. The food, overall, trumps the wait and the less-than-stellar service
, which seems to echo the reviews from Yelp and others. Breakfast #2 - Cozy Corner Diner and Pancake House
- 2294 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago (also copied from something I wrote a while ago, but this time there are pics!) Roadfood review
Located in a somewhat gritty Chicago neighborhood, this place is a winner. They have the 'Roadfood' article from the last book photocopied and framed right by the door. When I mentioned that was how I found out about the place, I was encouraged to take as many photos as I wanted - "you could help make us MORE famous," I was told.
I'll do what I can.
When I travel, I don't often do breakfast out at restaurants, and here I am on back-to-back days in Chicago.
Between the neon and the faux '50's signage decor, the place is a throwback. At most places, the row of photos beneath would be a representative sampling of the "famous" (Channel 12 News anchorman and what not, for most places) faces that have been by, but I think here they are just photos of random famous people.
My breakfast entree consisted of these delicious banana and strawberry pancakes. The bananas were cooked into the batter, and the strawberries were fresh fruit - not the compote that some places use. It does look like they added a touch of sugar, just to keep things moving along, but it was not syrupy, which I hate. I could have been satisfied with just that order and been done. But no....
...the Sterns recommended the hash browns, so I had to have them. Unfortunately, the picture looks better than the actual potatoes. Don't get me wrong, they were good, but I like them a little crispier (probably could have asked for them to be done that way). I ate less than half of them, though, as I was just plain stuffed.
Excellent breakfast - highly recommended. Total cost was about $12 (pancakes, hash browns, hot tea, tax and tip).
Breakfast #3 - Ann Sather
- 909 W Belmont Ave, Chicago Roadfood review
This is a Swedish restaurant that has a number of outposts in the Chicagoland area. I recently went for breakfast and my biggest problem was deciding which item to order of the - again - vast breakfast menu. Fortunately, buffetbuster
was with me on this trip, so we did what any two good Roadfooders would do - we ordered three meals split between the two of us!
Some of the meals are served with excellent cinnamon rolls - so, we knew that one of the meals we ordered had to include these:
The other meals consisted of a bacon and eggs (need some protein!), Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, and potato pancakes with homemade applesauce. I normally HATE applesauce - mostly because it has the texture of baby food, and I hope that I am done eating things that are strained for a few years. This applesauce had some serious chunks in it - kind of like Mom's mashed potatoes when she didn't quite get out all of the lumps - but, in a good way! Honorable Mention
- Lou Mitchell's
- 565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago
<message edited by The Travelin Man on Tue, 05/26/09 7:09 PM>