Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

The Belmont Cafe in Belmont

One of the first places I ever ate in Chicago was at Clarkes on Belmont near to the Belmont El Stop (read more here).  I had come up here looking for an apartment and their was an agency just along the road that I had spotted when checking out the area. That place was great it was open pretty much 24 hrs and I had stopped in many a time when in need of some kind of late night sustenance after a few beers, and also late weekend mornings when my head hurt little and I just needed some eggs to help my body sort itself out. It was with that sort of food comfort in mind that I had headed up to Belmont only to find that the place I once relied on had been replaced with The Belmont. Well it seemed to be just the same sort of place so I stopped in to look for some sort of breakfast.

Breakfast Sandwiches at The Belmont Cafe

For a moment or two I contemplated ordering The Classic which was a bagel with eggs, cheese, and a choice of either ham, hickory smoked bacon, or sausage from the Breakfast Sandwich section of the menu as it did sound pretty good. I didn’t really want any bread though and I had in my mind something with breakfast potatoes. I knew that I would probably find what I needed in the basic Eggs section of the menu so looked through the menu to find what I desired.

Eggs Menu in Belmont Cafe

Now this was more like it! I ordered the Eggs any style (I had scrambled) with a side of bacon and a large glass of fresh orange juice. I almost had the NY Steak and Eggs but to be honest that was $13 and the Basic Eggs was just $5. Also I really wanted some bacon!

Eggs any Style at the Belmont Cafe

Side of Bacon at the Belmont Cafe

Now this was just what I wanted and just what I remembered. The Scrambled eggs are more like a broken up omelette, but they are light and fluffy and not at all greasy, love them like this. The house potatoes seem to vary so much from place to place, sometimes with peppers, sometimes packed with onion, happily I was to find that the ones served at the Belmont were nice and simple with just a little bit of grilled onion in amongst the crispy cubes.

The side of Hickory Smoked bacon was awesome. It was nice and crisp, and still meaty, it was packed with smoky and salty flavour. Love it so much. It was a perfect accompaniment to my plate of eggs. I have to order this every time I have breakfast eggs!

Bill at Belmont

 

I really enjoyed this breakfast plate at the Belmont. To be honest it was better that all that I had at Clarkes and the place seemed to be more relaxed and more casual. I’ll come back here again.

Belmont Cafe Sign

 

The Belmont Café at 930 W Belmont Ave is within sight of the Belmont CTA stop where the red and brown lines split. It is literally a couple of minutes walk from the station.

It is located between Wilton Ave & Clark St

The Belmont Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Eggsperience

Eggsperience was one of the first places that I ever had breakfast at in Chicago. I was staying in a hotel just near to the Grand El stop on the Red line while I looked for my first apartment in the City. Over the years I came back here pretty often, sometimes sitting up at the counter, sometimes in a booth. Each time I was sustained with a decent breakfast that kept me going for the day and also that kept me coming back.

This branch that I like to go to is at 35 West Ontario Street in River North

This is how they describe themselves on their website

Eggsperience Pancakes & Café in Chicago is a bright restaurant in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood. We’re sure you’ll find dishes in the Eggperience selection to please any appetite — like our hearty Corned Beef Hash & Eggs breakfast, our Butcher’s Choice Eggsquisite Benedict , our lunchtime Cajun Avocado Burger, or a bowl of Piping Hot Soup.”

When you walk in they are supposed to always say “Welcome to Eggsperience” which actually is not as annoying as you might think as you kind of feel that they probably mean it.

Bacon and Scrambled Eggs at Eggsperience

On this visit, just for old time’s sake, I ordered up a simple plate of thick cut bacon and eggs any style (I went for scrambled). It also came with a side of hash browns which just looked like shredded potatoes to me) or as they described them “Fresh cut Idaho potatoes done just right.”

I like the bacon here, it is thick and crispy, smoked full of flavour and is almost close to being candied. Could be some of the best breakfast bacon I have tasted for a while at one of these breakfast diners.

I also have to note that this is one of the few places that can actually provide a decent cup of tea! You get an actual pot of tea as opposed to a cup of hot water and a tea bag. I really did appreciate that as I managed to drain about three big mugs of tasty English Breakfast tea from that pot as I ate my breakfast.

In the past I have also sampled a few other dishes here on an ‘Eggsperience’ that I would happily recommend. My favourite of the bunch is the Tommy Boy’s Skillet which will keep you going all day and maybe even the next day too! This is one of their ‘Super Skillets’ which is a great big cast iron skillet filled with “Diced potatoes layered with fresh ingredients and a melting of jack and Cheddar cheeses. Topped with two Grade AA fresh eggs your way, served with your choice of toast or pancakes”. For the Tommy Boy the menu says “We layer this hearty skillet with bacon, sausage and ham for the meat lovers”. I can concur that it is hearty and confirm that I am a Meat Lover.

I don’t think that you can go too far wrong at Eggsperience. Worth coming too just for the bacon and that pot of Tea!

Eggsperience on Urbanspoon

Yolk in Streeterville

I have walked past this particular branch of Yolk located at 355 E. Ohio Street on the corner of Grand & McClurg in Streeterville on many occasion on my way back and forth towards Navy Pier but until this day I had never walked in. I had been to one of their other sites over in River North before and I always enjoy their simple take on that wonderful meal that starts our day; breakfast.

On this trip back to my expat hometown I was staying just around the corner at the Allerton so it was much easier to stroll over for my morning eggs. Even though the outside temperatures had dipped well below freezing, inside I was to receive a warm welcoming plate of food.

Two Eggs and Meat

Eggs and Baccn

I do love a nice American style plate of breakfast and today I took it simply with scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes and some excellent crispy American bacon strips. The meal also came with a choice of breads and I went for the toasted English muffin, and to drink a pot of tea for whih I have to give a special mention. All too often over here in the States it is so hard to get a good cup of tea, but here at this particular  Yolk I received a really good pot full of scalding and warming tea, so good that I had three cups full.

Officially my choice from the menu was called “Two eggs and Meat” which was a choice of “Two eggs any style with your choice of hickory smoked bacon, sausage links, low-fat turkey, sausage, canadian bacon or hickory- smoked ham steak.”.

I had the hickory smoked bacon which was really good and almost candy like with a decent smoky taste. I kind of came here just for that bacon but everything else on the plate also made me happy as well. The scrambled eggs were soft, creamy, and filled half of that big white plate. The chunky fried red potatoes were also plentiful, and I even ate most of them as well mainly as I was glad that they still resembled actual potatoes too.

The toasted muffin was an added bonus and went well with one of those pots of free marmalade. All in all a very successful start to my morning and for $8.99 not too bad value either.

Other menu options I ate in my mind

Yolk allstar breakfast menu

I would have had this Yolk All-Star Breakfast and the only thing that stopped me from ordering this instead was that it didn’t come with an English Muffin. I wasn’t in the mood for pancakes, French toast, crepes, or a half waffle. If I had been then I might suggest that this was better value ‘volume wise’ than my actual choice of “Two Eggs and Meat”

Build -A -Scrambler Option

Yoll Scrambler Menu

I have ordered this ‘Build-A-Scrambler’ plate before at other Yolks in the city and it is huge. So huge that I didn’t order it today as I wanted to be able to eat again at some point. My choice of the three ingredients is usually the Chorizo, Jack Cheese, and Mushrooms. I kind of like that combination.  Spicy, Salty, Crunchy, Meaty, Cheesy and a Bit plate of Eggs. Awesome!

I should have had this….

Chicken and Waffles at Yolk

I think on reflection I should have taken a leap of faith and ordered the Chicken ‘n’ Waffles as it now sounds so good reading that section of the menu. What’s not to like? Bacon “affle? Chicken? Sausage Gravy? Maple Syrup? all sounds good to me! adding a fried egg for just another 75cents? How could one not? Perhaps this was a dish for a late breakfast or a brunch? and perhaps next time it will be the plate in front of me when I dine at Yolk!

Yolk on Urbanspoon

S and G Sign

The S&G Resturant or Sam & George’s Resturant is on North Lincoln in Lakeview on the corner of Wellington and has been on the corner serving up breakfast and diner fare for over 50 years since 1957. They are open 7 days a week, which is great for us, but must be tiring for them. The tagline on their website is simple and says ‘Just Good Food’ well that was enough to draw me into a little trip over to the area via the El to Wellington and then a 10 minute walk or so across to North Lincoln, just to get some breakfast.

Inside Sam and Georges

Inside Sam and George’s it is pretty much everything that I look for and that I hope for from a neighbourhood mom and pop type of place. You have quite a few booths that you can slip into (although be warned they are kind of quite a tight squeeze), you can sit up at the counter on a stool for some solo, or sociable eating action, or you you can sit in the back room area on a proper table. It has it all. The waitresses are friendly and accommodating and most importantly it feels homely and relaxed, juts the sort of place to pop into when you need something simple and wholesome.

Breakfast Specials

Now I came in here specifically looking for some sort of breakfast action and that is what I found on their basic Breakfast Specials Menu. I have to be totally honest, I really don’t know how some of these places manage to survive at these prices? It can be such great value!

Breakfast Menu More

OK so maybe you could ‘splash the cash’ a little towards the foot of the menu by ordering a plate of ‘country fried steak’ for $8.95, but one would not have to, there is plenty for around $5. Who needs Denny’s or ihop?

Breakfast Plate

I went for the option of “Two eggs, Two Sausage, Two Bacon and Hash Browns and Two pieces of Toast” for $6.55. I know I could have scored a really good cheaper deal, but I just wanted a bit of everything on the plate and I knew I needed to keep my strength up for some serious strolling around the city looking for other places for future food hunting visits. Well that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. It was all good on the plate, decent not spectacular, but just what I was needing at that very moment. You could have your eggs anyway that you wanted them (as always) and I chose to have mine fried so that I had a nice runny yolk to mix into my hash browns. The sausage links were fine, solid and meaty,  and the bacon was nice and crispy (just as I like). Did I mention that I also got a glass of orange juice as well? Most excellent!

Todays Specials

They have a lot more on the menu as well as just the breakfast plates. There are daily specials which seemed to be fair priced, the day I was there they were offering up Fried Ocean Perch for $9.95. You can check out their menu online, and there is a fair amount to browse through as well, including some pretty tempting stuff.

There is so much, but I have to pick out just a couple of things that I must return to try out! The first one of those is from the section that they call ‘The Melt Shop’ and that is the ‘Patty Melt’ which they describe as “1/3lb Burger Melts Between Two Slices of Cheese that Melts Between Slices of Onions, that Melts Between Two Slices of Rye for a Truly Melting Treat” did I mention that was from the ‘Melt Shop section? (not sure I needed to). The price for that is $10.95 and it comes served with ‘Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, French Fries or Tater Tots, Coleslaw and a Bowl of Soup’.

The second item is from their ‘S&G Super Sandwiches’ Section which all come with a Bowl of Soup and the same ‘Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, Coleslaw, French Fries or Tater Tots’. The Choice from this section is going to have to be the ‘Francheezie Deluxe’ which is a ‘Kosher Hot Dog Stuffed with Cheese and Wrapped with Bacon’ for $9.95…sounds yummy. It was the bacon wrapping that did it for me. Gosh and now I am thinking about it, I am getting peckish again!

I could go on and on and drool through the ‘Egg Skillets’ section, or the ‘Steak and Eggs’, the ‘Waffles’ and the ‘Pancake’ but I will be restrained and instead just encourage you to check it out for yourselves.

Sign

Sam and Georges Restaurant or S&G as the sign says is on the Corner of North Lincoln (3000 North Lincoln to be exact) and Wellington at a great big multi-way cross roads, so be careful of traffic. You can get there from the Brown Line at Wellington, or just take the bus up (or down) Lincoln Avenue which will probably get you closer and with less of a walk.

The last word is from S&G who say on their website that

‘Our Neighbors Often Copy Us – But Never Equal Us!

If you have the time, why don’t you check them out and see for yourselves? Enjoy!

S&G Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Southport Cafe Southport Cafe outside

The Southport Grocery and Café is unsurprisingly on Southport Avenue and is about 10 minutes walk away from the Southport Brown line El Stop. It always seems to be very popular on the weekend, with the breakfast and brunch crowd. I have walked past many a time and not been able to spot a free table, but this time we were in luck so we jumped right in with eager anticipation.

trademark menu

This does not seem to be the sort of café where you are going to be getting egg and bacon with toast, the ‘Trademark’ menu options are a little more advanced and a bit fancier. You could have had egg and bacon if you ordered them as two side dishes, but I was going to play the game and pick one of the combinations suggested by the Southport Café team.

Brisket and Eggs

I ordered the Brisket & Gravy  which was a plate of ‘house-smoked brisket gravy on a homemade buttermilk biscuit topped with two fried eggs‘ for $11. It was a very runny gravy, which might sound to be a strange comment, but you know more often than not the gravy is kind of gooey and it sticks to everything include the inside of your stomach. This brisket gravy was more of a soup and I really would have been better off with a spoon. It did have a really good creamy texture and the chunks of smokey brisket floating about in the gravy were really good, to be honest I would have liked bigger pieces of brisket and less gravy. Somewhere inside there was the buttermilk biscuit, it just soaked up the sauce and was a bit soggy. The two eggs on top were sunny side up and were just about cooked, they were still quite soft. This was a really tasty dish though, and it would be perfect for some old granny who had lost her teeth as there is nothing to chew. I am glad that I tried this, but I wouldn’t have it again as it is, I think I would need a side of homestyle potatoes or toast to add some texture to the bite.

Hash at Southport Cafe

In hindsight and having seen my companions dish I wish I also had chosen to have the Hash for $9 with bacon for an extra $3. This was a great big bowl of ‘shredded potatoes, red onion, mushroom, peppers, white cheddar topped with scrambled eggs & chive-sour cream‘. It was more of my sort of dish, packed with lots of different textures, a whole lot of flavor, sweet pepper, salty bacon, creamy eggs, tart from the sour cream and lots and lots of perfect potato. On this day the best thing about this bowlful for me was its size, it was so big that my companion could not finish it all so I got to finish off the last few spoonfuls. This worked out perfectly as I dropped it onto the remnants of the gravy on my plate and (as suggested) this mopped up the rest of the gravy quite perfectly.

I am really glad that I got to try the Southport Grocery and Café,  If what you want is just the simple breakfast plate, then I think that it is not really the breakfast joint for you. If however you are looking for a slightly fancier brunch then this is going to be the place to go.

As well as the food, you can buy all sorts of jars, pastes, breads and pastries from the small grocery section alongside the counter. I bought a jar of bacon jam which is an excellent condiment for putting on the top of your burger or inside a sandwich. The Southport Grocery & Café is well worth paying a visit to, be warned it is very popular so be prepared to wait for a table or just get there early to stake your claim.

Southport Grocery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Some days missing the train can be a blessing and some days a pain, but on this occasion with the sun shining in the brisk cool air I was happy enough and spotted a IHOP sign in the distance and thought…why not? It is not really somewhere that I would ever have planned to go to, in fact it is more like I have actively planned not to go there. Despite the somewhat amusing name of International House of Pancakes, shortened to IHOP, which is often enough to make me curious. I never have been thus far.

 

But I was hungry, there is nothing else up by the Montrose stop that I have not already tried, and this just seemed a chance to make the most of a bad situation. The picture actually looks tastier than it actually was. I still cannot believe that I have the audacity to even blog about it. But I had to suffer the plateful so I just need to share a little of the pain. It wasn’t that bad, just a bit pricy for something so basic. At least now I can say that I have been. There are so few options up at the Montrose Blue stop that its probably this McDonalds or something from the gas station.

IHOP Restaurant on Urbanspoon

City Farms Grill is a small cafe that is almost easy to miss, in fact I have walked past several times and thought oh yes I haven’t been there yet, but then forget as it is not on my beaten track. This is a shame as it is a really nice friendly little place to get breakfast or brunch. So this morning I made a concerted effort to finally drag my ass up there for some brunch. Inside it is bright, clean, and welcoming. The tables are pretty much set up to be family style with a couple of long tables.

I had the best of intentions to just get something small, maybe a little sandwich, but I was attracted on the menu to trying on of their breakfast specials “The New York Scramble”. This was described on the menu as “scrambled fresh farm eggs, smoked salmon, sour cream, chives, and a toasted bagel with cream cheese. I was expecting to get the eggs and salmon on top of the bagel, but in the end as you can see it was a huge plateful. As well as a great big pile of eggs, salmon, chives, and cream, there was a great big portion of house potatoes. The potatoes were really good, cooked perfectly, seasoned lightly and accompanied with some finely chopped red peppers. The scrambled egg was good but too much for me, the salmon was nicely smoked and was quite salty, at first that was nice but by the end because the portion was quite large the saltiness was a bit overwhelming for me. That is just my opinion though I generally don’t put too much salt on my food so it was maybe just my palate. I also did enjoy the bagel, I am not usually a fan but this one was nicely toasted, not too thick or doughy and the cream cheese to bread ratio made for a nice bite. All in all this was good value and good quality, it is a place to get a nice lunch not a place for a hangover cure so dont come here for some greasy food come here for some high quality and tasty breakfast or brunch.

Located at 1467 W Irving Park Road, it is a 1o minute walk from the Irving Park CTA El station on the brown line.

Website: http://cityfarmsgrill.com/ you can also follow them on facebook

City Farms Market & Grill on Urbanspoon