Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Meal of the Day

One of the best feelings a person can ever have is waking up from a long night's sleep. Once you get that REM out of the way, the second best feeling is... BRUNCH! Come on... a good meal after good sleep is an important part of a productive day. A combination of the heartiness of breakfast with the flavorful goodness of lunch is all you need to get that day off started out correctly.

Fortunately for me, my long weekend in Chicago gave me the quality R&R I needed, as well as the fabulous BRUNCH that I longed for...twice! You know, it's rare for a person who works the day shifts to get in a good middle of the morning meal. In any case....

Bongo Room
This place is a great Sunday morning spot. After getting off the "El" at Wabash and Roosevelt, it took us a few minutes to find this hidden gem. Why? Because you could never tell from the facade of the building that a restaurant even existed here, not to mention the tinted windows with the blinds tilted down and lack of sign-age. Take a look for yourself.

See. I wasn't kidding. Regardless... they don't need any signs or to attract any more attention. They have plenty of customers and a waitlist that never ends. And we now know why...

First, my order... the Triple Chocolate French Toast. Who says you can't have chocolate before noon? Three slices of chocolate French toast with chocolate syrup and chocolate truffle shavings on top, with of course my favorite fruit, bananas. The toast was light and fluffy. The chocolate syrup in between each slice was decadent. Every bite was a blast of chocolate in my mouth. Honestly, if you don't like the sweetness like I do, then don't get this. But if you are a chocolate lover or have a humongous sweet tooth, then this is the mid-morning treat for you. Sweets always give me a tingle in the back of my neck. That's how I know it's good.

Next, my girlfriend's order.

This is a smoked duck breast eggs benedict. Looks good right? Yes it does. This was by far one of the most intriguing items on the menu, which had an array of eclectic items, and then a couple of the more traditional brunch items. What usually makes a good eggs benedict? The hollandaise sauce, right? Yes, but in this case, the combination of the creamy hollandaise with the smoky saltiness of the duck breast and even the leeks on the top made it really work. It was a combination that will never make you even think twice. If you see typical brunch foods and this item on the menu, you better take your chance with the smoked duck breast eggs benedict. It rivals none for the spotlight. This dish stands alone in the world of brunch.

The cozy atmosphere of Bongo Room and the delightful food is completely worth the wait. You should try it before a Bears home game. It's on the way.

Oh, and make sure you try their warm chocolate milk. Haha. It's good for you.

Of course, one brunch is not enough. And vacation calls for some indulgence. So round 2 allowed us a seat at  Yolk.

 What's nice about this place is right when you walk in, you feel happy. The colors are so vibrant and make it feel like a bright morning. And the food will warm you up too...

The top 2 photos are of the "When in Rome" omelette, which consists of Italian sausage, tomatoes, fresh spinach, and mozzarella cheese all topped with marinera sauce. This meal was so big, my girlfriend could not finish it.  It's a hearty way to start the day. There's nothing else that can be said except that everything tasted fresh. It's a meal that gets the brain moving.

The bottom 2 photos are of the bacon waffle and eggs. No, I did not forget to add a comma after bacon. It's not bacon, waffle, and eggs. It's bacon waffle and eggs. That's right. The bacon was incorporated into the waffle batter to create the bacon waffle. It's the perfect blend of sweet and salty, fluffy and crunchy. If you want additional sweetness, you can add some syrup, but as-is is great. I bet the texture would have been enhanced if I had ordered my eggs overeasy, but I'm a scrambled kind-of guy.

In the end, both places offered great menus. I can't imagine if I had to spend a few more days in Chicago. I'd probably have set a world record for most consecutive brunches eaten on one vacation. Maybe we'll try some other time...

Bongo Room
1152 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 291-0100


South Loop
1120 S Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312.789.YOLK (9655)