As the year is winding down, it’s common to reflect on what you accomplished, where you traveled, and of course what you ate. Eating is very important to reflect upon, especially when your job is brunching!
On Tuesday, we gave you the Best & Worst Brunches of the Year in Chicago, D.C. and New York. Today, we bring you the best bites, pastries, cocktails and brunch staples from our Chicago brunches. So, make sure the next time you’re trying to figure out who has the best of what you’re craving, stop back here and we’ll point you in the right direction.
If you love a good homemade Southern biscuit with your brunch, head to Chop Shop in Wicker Park. Although it’s not known for Southern cuisine, Chop Shop knows how to make an amazingly flakey and moist biscuit. Their fluffy recipe is baked with bits of cheddar and bacon and is topped with a rich and creamy honey butter. This salty-sweet combination still has us dreaming of Chop Shop brunch to this very day.
Best Monkey Bread
A rule we always follow: If Monkey Bread is on the menu, you must order it to share. This rule never disappoints, especially at The Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park. Their skillet monkey bread comes piping hot in a cast iron skillet. The ooey gooey cinnamon balls of dough are drizzled with a very light cream cheese frosting and dusted with sugar. This perfect amount of sweet goodness took their meat-filled brunch from good to great.
We’ve sampled doughnuts from nearly every doughnut shop in the city of Chicago, seriously, just read our Doughnut Day Guide. One of our very favorite brunch doughnuts is the West Town Bakery ‘Doughssant,’ a hybrid of a croissant and doughnut. The deep fried, crispy outside leads to a doughy inside filled with a flavored cream. West Town Bakery has a variety of other doughnuts, all of which are worth the splurge.
Best Egg Scramble
The Mindy’s Hot Chocolate brunch menu is ever-changing based on seasonal ingredients, but if you ever see a scramble on their menu, get it. The veggie scramble we devoured was a healthy yet hearty mix of herbs, leeks, Gruyere and foraged mushrooms. The small dish was the perfect amount of food, especially great paired with their rich Hot Chocolate.
Best Eggs Benedict
Everyone loves a classic Eggs Benedict and the Winchester has done the classic with some, creative ingredients. The Winchester boasts an eggs benny with Poached eggs with braised bacon, kale, and apple all atop a sweet waffle. Who ever thought of this was a genius! We deconstructed it, but there is nothing wrong with that!
Best Lobster Eggs Benedict
We Bitches have had our fair share of Lobster eggs benny’s this year and the best was by far the one we had at…drum roll…Batter and Berries! We loved the large patty of lobster with the perfectly poached eggs and hollandaise.
Best Eggs Benedict With a Twist
Taking a classic and adding a twist can be risky, but Yolk’s risks have paid off with their Irish Eggs Benedict. Cubed corn beef, sliced tomatoes, poached eggs, and Hollandaise make this a Benedict worth talking about and, of course, eating every single bit.
Best Breakfast Pizza
Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at brunching time! Standard Market Grill makes eating pizza easy at brunch with their Early Riser breakfast pizza which is not only beautiful, but delicious. It also makes eating your vegetables easy, so it’s a win-win in our book!
Best Throwback Dish
It’s always special when an item on a brunch menu make you think back to your childhood and that’s exactly what Southport Grocery did for us! With their Adult Poptart, they took an American classic and made it sophisticated with Challah bread and sweet preserve filling. Nothing like the ones from our youth, but we’ll take it!
For some, coffee is just coffee. But, when a place really goes the extra mile on their cup o’ joes, we notice! Kanela Breakfast Club knows how to brew a strong, bold cup and offers a variety of flavors. Being basic Bitches, we’re partial to pumpkin spice.
Best Spiked Coffee
Many times when going to brunch, we have had to choose between cocktails or caffeine, but at Presidio you can have both! The spiked coffee at Presidio was strong, flavorful, and piping hot—just as spiked coffee should be!
Decadent is an understatement when it comes to the pancakes at WHISK in West Town. Salted Caramel, Reese’s, Pear…The flavors are out of this world. They always have a seasonal pancake flavor too, which makes it fun to keep coming back! A piece of advice from us to you, split the pancakes with someone else, they are much too rich to consume solo!
Best Health Conscious Dish
Brunch can sometimes be a drag on your diet but it Hampston Social makes it easy to stay on track with their Quinoa salad with a fried egg on top. It was healthy, filling, and all around delicious.
Omelets that are stuffed full of goodies are our favorites and the omelets at Orange in Lincoln Park don’t disappoint! We tried the omelet fifteen five which was loaded with herb cheese, kale, spinach and asparagus and while it was completely vegetarian, it left us brimming!
Best Breakfast Potatoes
Seasoning can make or break potatoes, and it’s no surprise that Hash House A Go Go has their seasonings on point! The breakfast potatoes were just salty enough and full of favor. Bravo!
Best French Toast
French toast can be hard but our clear winner this year was the amazing 48 hour Brioche French toast courtesy of Presidio in Bucktown. Topped with poached peaches and Vanilla Foie Gras butter on the side, this took the cake (or the toast) for us!
Best Potato Hash
When your potato hash entree comes stocked full of avocados, lemon cream, piquillo peppers, parsnips, and pesto, you know you’ve hit the jackpot! Bar Pastoral‘s colorful display of season veggies made their potato hash stand out and with such a display, I’m sure you can see why!
With an always available selection of various pastries, Lula Cafe’s house-made caramel apple pastry was just outstanding. It so good, it had us leaving the restaurant with a second, and dreaming about a third.
We have tried many-a-quiche since we began brunching all over Chicago, but one that is imbedded in our mind’s is the quiche at Lovely. This bake shop is so much more, with a variety of breakfast and lunch menu items, and their daily quiche is always on point.
Best Breakfast Cocktail
In the mood for something stronger than your basic bloody or mimosa to compliment your brunch? Look no further than Replay Andersonville. Appropriately called “Liquid Power-Ups”, the Brunch Cocktail menu at Replay Andersonville is awesome.
Best Breakfast Juice
Beatrix has a very impressive list of fresh juices that left us really refreshed and satisfied. We are obviously a sucker for fresh squeezed OJ (especially paired with champs!) but their juice options were next level.
Listen, every mimosa is good to us, but at Headquarters, for $5 you can get fresh OJ paired with one of our favorite affordable sparkling wines, La Marca. If you are looking to drink up at brunch without drowning your dollars, this is the best place to go.
Best Bloody Mary
Live country music and the best Bloody Mary bar in the city are two reasons you need to brunch at Bub City like yesterday. From bite-size grilled cheese sandwiches to fresh oysters and shrimp, this is by far the most variety we’ve seen on top of a Bloody so far. Top off your creation with a mini American flag, it’s the only way!
Best Brunch Sandwich
Simple and done right. If you are looking for a classic eggy sandwich, Nookies has a pretty good one.
While we enjoyed lots that Summer House Santa Monica in Lincoln Park had to offer, they had some really yummy bacon! Perfectly cooked with a maple glaze around the edges, it was the perfect combination of sweet and salty.