I spent a good bit of time in Chicago this summer—the perfect time to be in Chicago. As I’ve only visited in the summer, I love Chicago—there are young, friendly people everywhere, amazing restaurants, great shopping, and plenty to do. I walked everywhere, working from coffee shops and hotels and exploring the dining scene in between.
Between work and training the new Chicago editors, Allison and Alexis, I did manage to brunch. I loved Hampton Social—read Allison’s review—as well as burgers at Au Cheval. I managed to check off many of the major dining must-dos.
I was invited in to brunch by the W Hotel City Center, and I asked my friend Kristin to join. Kristin is a delightful, beautiful blonde who writes freelance and also has a hysterical blog, the Bridentity Crisis, that aims to provide an honest, helpful angle to planning your wedding, rather than just inspire Pinterest inspiration and envy.
To me, W Hotels are known for their ostentatious, posh vibes—they’re the place to be seen, if you care about that sort of thing. Cocktails are over-priced and there are always plenty of Europeans. This Amy Shumer parody could not be more spot on.
That said, I’m certainly not opposed to luxury, and when I stay or visit a W Hotel—no matter how tongue in cheek I find the experience—it tends to be a good one. That said, luxury is a personal thing—and the contemporary vibes are not my preference. I’d prefer a more traditional, classic hotel when I travel.
The W Hotel City Center is more like a baroque church than a hotel. You enter into a lobby with enormous pillars and high ceilings, not unlike an Italian church. The building was actually built in 1931, in the Beaux Art style for an Italian count. It’s dark and glamorous—very Baroque. The prevailing tones are grey, stone, and purple. I felt like Dorian Grey may walk out and invite me to dinner—Dorian Grey, or Dracula.
We made our way to IPO, which boats “new Urban cuisine” and “contemporary American flavors.” If there’s one area where W Hotels excel, it’s ridiculous brand descriptions.
We began with coffees and fresh grapefruit juice—but you can also select from fruit smoothies and a full assortment of espresso drinks. Our waitress kept our coffees topped off and the grapefruit juices hit the spot.
IPO was posh in the modern, contemporary, glam sort of way. Not my ideal aesthetic—and I loathe the color purple. The glass light fixtures were lovely, but the space seemed a little cold to me.
I selected the chorizo skillet, which was a cast iron pan filled with a layer of chorizo, topped with baked eggs with goat cheese and spinach. It was incredibly flavorful, and absolutely delicious. It comes served with buttery white toast, should you want to dip. I would order this dish again.
We also each ordered a bowls of fruit, which was first-rate. The plate was filled with fresh berries, and there was no honeydew to be found. Thank goodness, as Bitches hate honeydew. I also ordered a side of bacon, which was crispy—not too greasy, not too hard, but just right.
We were on our best behavior until we decided to order the French toast. But, who needs good behavior at brunch? The French toast was really, really food. The bread was warm, soft, moist and full of cinnamon flavor. It was covered with a warm peach compote, and served with fresh strawberries and enormous dollops of whipped cream. There was nothing about this that could be bad—but it was just, so good.
The Bitches say: B+. A great place for a breakfast if you’re traveling or downtown, but not necessarily a destination for brunch.
W Hotel City Center
172 West Adams St.,
The W Hotel City Center serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and breakfast daily.