Chicago’s Best of Brunch | Spring 2017

Brunchin’ is a habit – seriously. I’m not sure when ‘brunch’ turning into verb, but it’s safe to say that brunching is one of Chicago’s most coveted pastimes. Long gone are the days when brunch was considered just a meal. Now it’s a full blown lifestyle. I mean, a menu that allows you to order pancakes with a side of bacon AND a turkey club with french fries? What more could you possibly want in a meal?

After reading the Chicago Tribune’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Dining Awards, I felt inspired. It’s been a while since I changed up my dining routine and decided to give a few of the Trib’s best brunch spots a try. Even if you’re not a brunch enthusiast as myself, these Chicago spots may just change your mind.

Longman & Eagle

This nostalgic restaurant takes you back to the early days of Chicago’s social scene. And not early 1970’s early. I mean early as in 1800s early. A much simpler time when travelers sought a hearty meal, pale ale, and a place to rest their head under one cozy roof. Where strangers became friends and a new city became home. AKA an inn.

Longman & Eagle takes a look back into this concept with sleeping quarters and obviously, nationally renowned food options. The menu is a delicious combination of good ol’ fashion food and a sprinkle of New Age flare: Fried Chicken & Waffles, Sunnyside Duck Egg Hash, Cinnamon French Toast, Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, and a personal favorite – Beef Shank au Poivre with truffled potatoes and a sunnyside egg.

Longman and Eagle courtesy of ChiFoodCravings Instagram

Fried Chicken & Waffles from Longman & Eagle // Courtesy of @longmanandeagle via Instagram

WHISK

Ok, this restaurant’s slogan is “brunch by day, burgers by night” so this one automatically made it to the top of my list. WHISK’s menu is not for the small-minded (or the ‘small-stomached’). If you have a big appetite and you’re ready to do some damage – this place is for you. Each item on WHISK’s menu sounds better than the next. And there is something for everyone.

While a majority of the menu is southwestern-inspired, it offers a wide variety of other dishes as well. WHISK’s chefs take traditional brunch dishes and add their own personal flavor for one of a kind plates. Whether you’re in the mood for something savory like a Chorizo Omelette or something extravagantly sweet like Snicker’s Stuffed French Toast (yes, that is a real thing), WHISK’s menu won’t let you down.

Whisk Chicago courtesy of Whisk Instagram Well-Tailored Life

Chilaquiles from WHISK Chicago // Courtesy of @whiskchicago via Instagram

Mortar & Pestle

This rustic, feel good joint is a must-try. Their menu is far from cookie cutter, but in the best way possible. With a collection of traditional plates with globally inspired flavors, Mortar & Pestle’s food is phenomenal. From Foie Gras French Toast and Alaskan King Crab Benedict, to a Bavarian chicken dish and a good ol’ Patty Melt – this eclectic menu will not disappoint.

Well-Tailored Life Mortar and Pestle courtesy of Mortar and Pestle Instagram

Foie Gras French Toast // Photo courtesy of @mortarandpestle via Instagram

Publican Anker

Okay I’ll admit, this one isn’t on the list. But it’s my favorite brunch restaurant of all time. The food. The people. The vibe. Every inch of the Publican Anker’s homage to 20th century timeless fare is on point. Just pay them a visit and you’ll see what I mean.

Well-Tailored Life Publican Anker courtesy of Publican Anker Instagram

Mackerel Toast with Soft-Boiled Egg from Publican Anker // Courtesy of @sarahischi via Instagram

While I have yet to make it to all of the brunch spots on the Chicago Tribune’s list, you better believe I will. Don’t forget to VOTE for your favorite restaurant spots for the Chicago Tribune’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Dining Awards!

PS – Sugar Hills Bakery & Cafe will be starting their very won BRUNCH in the next few weeks!! Follow our account on Instagram to stay up to date! @sugarhillschi

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

With the winter season comes busy schedules and back-to-back holiday parties! What better way to thank your host than with a delicious treat. My go-to is always my Mom’s homemade sour cream coffee cake. Because obviously, coffee + cake = the world’s greatest duo! Crumbly cake, sweet, rich goodness – what’s not to love?!

A true comfort food, this sour cream coffee cake recipe will be a crowd favorite! As long as you don’t eat it all first 😉

Ingredients

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups flour

For the cake:

  • 3/4 stick of butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs, (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

For the streusel:

  • Combine the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl
  • Stir in the melted butter and then flour. Mix well and set aside

For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan, set aside until end
  • In an electric mixer on high speed, mix/cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes (or until a light cream is created)
  • Reduce the electric mixer speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and sour cream
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture from the last step until combined
  • Add in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to ensure the batter is completely mixed
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan from step 2 and spread it with a knife
  • With your fingers, crumble the streusel mix evenly over the batted
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes
  • Cool completely and lightly sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over the top
  • Enjoy!

jacob-neminarz-of-well-tailored-life-sour-cream-coffee-cake-recipe

jacob-neminarz-of-well-tailored-life-sour-cream-coffee-cake-recipe-with-blueberries

Broken English Taco Pub

Broken English Taco Pub is a spot that has been on my radar for quite some time. As a lover of Mexican cuisine and a believer that I shouldn’t have to go all the way to Pilsen for a good taco, I was delighted to finally have the chance to check it out.

Broken English is a vibrant Taco Pub located in the Loop. The restaurant is a concept from famed-Chicago restaurateurs Phil Stefani and Adolfo Garcia, the same people behind one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Pearl Tavern. The executive Chef Frank Valdez has created a menu based on the inspiring flavors of Mexico found in the traditional street tacos and foods throughout the country. I was counting down the days until my reservation with my dear friend Kaitlyn. Once you are in the mood for Mexican, it can be hard to think of anything else!

Upon arriving at Broken English, you can peer in the large front facing open windows, and see an array of colors displayed throughout the restaurant. Once you enter, you are fully surrounded by gorgeous murals, painted by renowned graffiti artist, JC Rivera. I absolutely LOVE the huge Frida Khalo mural at the back of the restaurant. The restaurant, is vibrant and an ode to some distinct Mexican cultural aspects you don’t see at most Mexican restaurants; men dressed in traditional lucha masks, sugar skulls and other elements of Dia De los Muertos, and old pictures of Mexican fighters. I must say, it is really cool.

Starving, we quickly grabbed a hightop. Our server greeted us and I stuck with water while Kaitlyn indulged and ordered one of their signature margaritas. I am always health conscious, and try to make good decisions when it comes to what I eat. So while I wanted to indulge, I wanted to be conscious of what I was ordering, and order something that was uber healthy, to make up for the corn chips and tortillas I was going to have as well.

We started with the achiote hummus because is just my kind of dish. A healthier alternative to guacamole with chips, this hummus was delicious and comes served with jicama. Jicama gives the perfect crunch that we crave when we eat chips, but is so much healthier, and a fraction of the calories. For those of you who don’t know, jicama is a very low calorie root vegetable of Mexican origin. It has a mild flavor and a perfect texture making it an ideal alternative to chips anytime.

The hummus was full of flavor thanks to the achiote, chile and cilantro. Knowing it was a healthy dish made me so happy. We also decided to get the street corn, or the grilled elote. It came topped with a spicy crema, but I i just spooned mine off. This was delicious.

For entrees, We of course ordered tacos to share. I opted for the grilled swordfish and the camarones, while Kaitlyn ordered the pork belly al pastor and the carne asada. Surf and Turf! The swordfish tacos were awesome, better than any tilapia fish tacos I have had elsewhere. I loved the shrimp tacos as well.

The meat tacos were full of flavor, and filling. Four orders of tacos at two each was more than enough for the two of us. I was starting to get full fast. I loved the charred pineapple on the al pastor tacos; it was just the right amount of sweetness. It was my first time having these type of traditional tacos so the bold flavors were exciting to me.

Broken English is definitely my new go to Mexican spot in Chicago. Not only is the food amazing but the atmosphere is so fun, and it is a great addition to the limited street-taco style fare that the city has to offer.

Broken English Taco Pub
75 E. Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 929-3601

Acai Protein Bowl

Sometimes you just have to indulge in those little food fads from time to time. My current obsession: acai. Packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, the Brazilian purple berrylike fruit is one of the most powerful out there. Benefits include slowing down the aging process, lowering cholesterol, burning fat, but most importantly, it reduces free radicals and improves heart health.

From acai vitamins to chocolate covered acai, this super-fruit has taken the world by storm. But my favorite concoction derived from this craze is definitely the acai bowl.

There are endless possibilities with the acai bowl – I can experiment, add and manipulate the ingredients (and my creativity) to the max. So I decided to mix things up a little and transform this super-bowl into a super protein bowl perfect for post-workout cravings or a balanced breakfast!


Jacob’s Acai Protein Bowl

  • Base Ingredients:
    • 1 cup frozen blueberries strawberries & raspberries (mixed)
    • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
    • 2 scoops whey protein powder
    • 2 scoops Acai powder or 1 Acai pouch (4 oz.)
    • 1 cup skim milk
  • For garnish:
    • 1/2 cup granola
    • Fresh blueberries
    • Fresh strawberries
    • Fresh raspberries
    • Banana

acai-protein-bowl-ingredients

  • Instructions:
    • Combine all base ingredients in a blender
    • Blend on high until the chinks are broken down and the mix has formed into a smoothie-like consistency.
    • Pour acai base into a bowl
    • Arrange the toppings/garnish in stripes for an Insta-worthy creation
    • Enjoy!!

acai-protein-bowl-1

Kimski: KoPo Infusion

Ever heard of a Polish-Korean infused restaurant? Me neither. That is until I visited Chicago’s Kimski’s last week. If you are a little unsure of this interesting food combo, let me be the first to put your hesitations to rest. The seemingly unfitting heritages make for a mouth-watering menu. I mean, Polish sausages with Korean condiments – what more can you want? Maybe I am a bit biased given my Polish roots, but I can assure you that this infusion eatery is delicious.

First let’s talk food: Chef Won Kim, Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen champion has seamlessly blended the two cuisines. From vegetarian potski and bulgogi cheesesteak to Kopo Wangs and polish sausages, Chef Kim has integrated the two traditions into a truly soulful and unique menu. I went for Maria’s Standard – a smoky Polish sausage with garlic and spice remixed with soju-mustard and tangy kimchi kraut. The sausage took me right back to Poland, something my Mother would have loved to hear!

Located in Bridgeport, Kimski is a counter at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar. The half-Polish and half-Korean brothers who own the joint, Ed and Mike Marszewski have created the perfect blend of a diver bar and warehouse feel ambience. Wood paneling, yellow bar stools, vintage chalkboard menus, and a lively crown give it the perfect hometown feel.

So if you ever find yourself craving something with an Asian tang and that smoky Polish flavor, you know where to go. I know I certainly do!