I love Chicago in the summer—it’s all awesome food, great shopping, young people, good vibes, and beautiful views.
I’ll be back-and-forth to the Midwestern Mecca for much of August and September, working on some fun events and marketing for Havenly, and brunching with our new Bitches in the Windy City come the weekend. (Be ready for a flock of savvy, Bitchy ladies to start populating the pages of this website very, very soon!)
Naturally, I landed and while I had plenty of work things scheduled—I didn’t have much in the way of leisure or fun. When your jobs are fun—events, marketing, parties—you tend to just want to relax when it comes to social obligations.
I looked up an old friend from college, Sierra, and it turned out she was available for brunch. It had been years since we’d seen one another—but we were able to pick up right where we left off.
Sierra is every bit as chic, kind, and gracious as I remember—more so, in fact. She and her husband have traveled the world, only to land in Chicago, where they both work for McKinsey and she blogs away at Posh Meets Pavement when she can find the time between her busy work and jet-set schedule.
There’s just something refreshing yet calming about being able to hit if off with an old friend—finding that, despite different life paths and locations—you’re still on the same page. You both get it—and enjoy each others’ company and, equally important, support each other. We nestled into a high-top table at the dark restaurant, Bottle Fork, which has a farm-to-table vibe focused on meats and hearty foods. We each began with the seasonal bellini, which happened to be watermelon. It was unique—it had a refreshing kick to it that was anything but bland—and was memorable on the palate. I’d not had a watermelon-and-champagne cocktail before, and I definitely enjoyed it.
Following the rules of brunch, we ordered the lemon poppyseed doughnut holes, as well as the tuna tartare, because we are basic Bitches. The doughnut holes were incredibly sweet, covered in sugar glaze, and packed with lemon poppyseed flavor. These ‘holes definitely made an instant impact on our palates—we both exclaimed “these are delicious!” almost in unison.
Tuna tartare—stuff white girls like. To be fair, the tuna was delicious, served in a little mason jar with avocado, and topped with fried crispy shrimp cracklins. It was delicious with our without the toasted, buttered bread served alongside. I also appreciated they served most of their dishes on marble slabs—clearly very keen to stay on theme, this restaurant.
Sierra changed her mind and opted for the brunch burger last minute—and she was not disappointed. This was no ordinary burger: it was a wood-grilled ground bacon burger, served with shoestring potatoes and special sauce—Sierra ordered it without the blue cheese.
Now, I never order salads. I need a heartier entree—something with a little substance, lest I get hungry an hour later. I’d been eating my way through Chicago lately, so I felt the need to order a salad. I chose the steak salad, proud of myself for ordering something with mixed greens.
Naturally, the Brunch gods found this humorous, because when my salad arrived at the table it was covered in French fries. I must have missed that—as I read “arugula, tomato, skirt steak” on the menu. What I received was a massive pile of French fries, topped with skirt steak, loaded with Béarnaise with a side of salad. When I could find it, the greens were drenched with dressing. This is pretty much the least healthy salad in the history of salads. Oh well. The roasted tomatoes were good, and the steak was too. But there was far too much dressing and far too much Béarnaise on the steak. All in all, a bit of a salad fail.
The Bitches say: B+. Great appetizers, cocktails, and burgers. The salad with French fries was a bit of a surprise.
441 North Clark Street
Bottlefork serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 10:30 a.m.