Category Archives: cheap, tasty brunch

Restaurants that offer just that. Great brunch on the fly for around $10.

Sundae bar at Little Market Brasserie

Every experience I’ve had at Little Market Brasserie in the Talbott Hotel has involved a surprise. When having their delicious brunch on the outdoor patio this summer (hel-lo smoked salmon on crispy potato hash with cream cheese and capers) I was shocked to know that that the awesome acoustic music coming from inside the restaurant was actually live (the waiter came up and told me when he saw my iPhone foisted into the air, Shazam app frantically swirling and coming up empty..FYI..the singer is Michael Jansen, I later learned, of the Chicago band Mighty Fox). And during my more recent visit earlier this week, an even bigger surprise was revealed when I learned of the bounty of sweet-tooth, trick or treat heaven on a secret sundae bar. OK, maybe it’s not so secret as every Monday night, your vanilla, chocolate or swirl soft serve serves as the perfect blank canvas for the gummy worms, Swedish fish, dark chocolate disks, toasted coconut, candy corn, fresh berries and kiwi, crushed brownie bites, graham cracker crumble, sprinkles, oh god, there was more, and toppings like salted caramel and housemade magic shell. Why this bounty isn’t served nightly is beyond me (OK it’s probably to give the space back to the bar on busier nights), but we couldn’t think of a better way to start the week. All this was after an array of excellent savory comfort food dishes on the menu from mushrooms on toast slathered with shallot marmalade, a corn agnolotti with chorizo, grilled butternut squash with quinoa, and the sent-from-heaven grilled cheese of the month Melts for Meals created by Chef Andrew Zimmerman…somehow, we managed to find room. 10 E Delaware Place.

The sundae bar is definitely more treat than trick.

The sundae bar is definitely more treat than trick.


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Breakfast sandwich at Floriole

I may have found the perfect egg sandwich. Leave it to Floriole Bakery to slather their killer fresh baked French baguettes with Butterkase (buttery cheese) before adding a generous slab of baked egg, crispy bacon, sweet onions, tomatoes, spinach and Cheddar to make a sandwich that doesn’t even fall apart as you take a bite, and doesn’t take too many bites to finish. 1220 W. Webster Ave.

Floriole breakfast sandwich

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On the table: Bite Cafe

I liked the old Bite, I loove the new one. 4 napkins, 4 forks, 4 spoons, 4 knives, salt, pepper, hot sauce, sugar packets. Bite Cafe, 1039 N. Western Ave.

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Housemade granola at Atomix Coffee Shop

It’s safe to say that I am a Greek yogurt parfait junkie (Chia seeds, honey, fresh fruit, the works), and am about to venture into trying out some granola recipes (suggestions welcome!). I’m pretty particular about my parfaits, with Milk & Honey topping the list, and any sugary fast food or airport version slowly torturing my soul. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Atomix Cafe of all places added a housemade granola and yogurt to their ever-expanding brunch selections (they have egg sandwiches too!). Being in the hood, I used frequent Atomix more, despite the quizzical look everyone sitting down gives you when you walk in, the very un feng-shui like set-up (fueled mostly by the mess of half-read newspapers and flyers stacked up when you walk in, and the stacks of random boxes in the back) and the uncomfortable chairs. But they brew a mean mug of coffee, make awesome lattes, and now, make their own granola with whole almonds, oats, dried fruit, and topped with coconut. It’s not too sweet or sugar-coated, and has a nice spice to it. I also like that the yogurt is served in a bowl on the side so you can mix it in, add on a banana and generally settle in for a surprisingly good breakfast. Atomix, 1957 W. Chicago Ave.

Yogurt and housemade granola at Atomix

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On the table: Kingsbury Street Cafe

6 glasses, 6 napkin rolls, plant, salt, pepper. 1523 N. Kingsbury (Across from the mega-Whole Foods)


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And in brunch news

In case you were wondering, yes, there still is a ridiculous wait for weekend brunch at the Bongo Room, and yes, they do still put ridiculous things like this on their brunch menu. Pictured is French toast with raspberries, cream and chocolate streusel (and this is a freaking half-order). Bongo Room, 1152 S. Wabash

French toast with raspberries

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Floriole tartines…

As if Floriole Bakery wasn’t lovely enough, they had to go ahead and put these two open-faced tartines on their lunch menu last week…a goat cheese with zucchini, radishes and summer squash, and eggplant with feta, balsamic and spinach. These open-faced sandwiches are served with a fresh greens salad, and are small enough to leave room for dessert. Floriole Cafe and Bakery, 1120 W. Webster Ave.

Goat cheese, zucchini and summer squash tartine

Eggplant tartine

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French toast post

Out of town guestage this weekend allowed for not one but two brunch opportunities, and it’s always hard to figure out where to go. I opted for two of my favorite patio- friendly standbys, Jam and Lula Cafe. OK, so technically it was lunch at Jam, but that didn’t stop us from devouring one of the best things on the brunch menu along with our savory lunch selections—the famous malted custard French toast with macerated rhubarb and whipped lime leaf cream sprinkled with crunchy pink peppercorns. I think I could just snack on pink peppercorns alone, but they also add little dots of spicy crunch to citrusy, light-as air cream, and the vanilla and malt dipped brioche is almost impossibly moist (it’s from the sous vide preparation), fluffy and sweet. And what good are duck confit and morel omelets and salmon scrambles without a sharable order of lavender custard-stuffed brioche French toast with fresh blueberries, olive oil shortbread crumble and whipped mascarpone from Lula Cafe? A layer of creamy lavender-tinged custard is hiding inside thick French toast while perfect blueberries and the rich crumble top it all off. Get a half order for the table, and then immediately wish you made it a full. Lula Cafe, 2537 N. Kedzie, Jam, 937 N. Damen.

Malted Custard French toast at Jam

Lavender custard-stuffed French toast

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