The Chicago Bitches love to joke that we’re the “A Team” because all of our names start with “A”: Amber, Alexis, and Allison. And when our D.C. Social Bitch Annie informed us that she was going to be in town for the weekend, we decided to have an even bigger “A Team” Bitch brunch together in The Loop.
I know, I know. We’re slightly ridiculous. It all started in early October, during our first ever Bitches Who Brunch retreat in D.C. where all the teams—D.C., Chicago, and New York—had the chance to meet and brainstorm and, of course, brunch. We loved Annie the second we met her.
As it turned out, the same weekend Annie was coming to town, Meli Cafe had reached out to us and invited us to brunch at the downtown location on Dearborn. Meli Cafe has a variety of locations all around the city—and for good reason. It’s a popular place that has the appeal of a cafe, while still serving gourmet food. There is also the option of getting carry-out or coming in and ordering a simple cup of coffee.
But with all those various locations, yours truly didn’t pay enough attention to the invite as to which location we were dining. So, low and behold, it took me much longer to get to the restaurant than the other ladies who pay attention.
Eventually I sauntered in, mildly defeated and incredibly annoyed at myself. I needed a coffee and a mimosa, pronto. By the time I arrived, Amber, Alexis, and Annie all had ordered coffees and mimosas. Amber and Annie had decided to try some smoothies, as Meli Cafe boasts a fairly large smoothie menu. Amber opted for the strawberry banana while Annie chose Pure Gold, which was a combination of carrot, ginger, pineapple, and apple. Both said they were delicious, and I’ll take their word for it! I was pleased with my mimosa’s balanced ratio of champagne to OJ. I would have preferred more champagne, but that could have been because of my left-over annoyance at hiking to the wrong location. The coffee was a nice blend, and was served with its own tiny pitcher of cream, just the way I like it.
We decided to get an avocado toast and split it. I think my tardiness affected the decision, since all the ladies were starving. The toast was really delicious. It featured peppers, black beans and two perfectly poached eggs on top. It’s always nice when restaurants take the liberty to put their own twist on their toast and Meli absolutely did.
When it came to entrees, Alexis was about two weeks out from her wedding, so everything she was opting for was lean and carb-free. So she went for the Lean and Mean eye opener, sans the wheat tortilla. It was a good healthy option that was egg-white-based and brimming with green veggies: spinach, peppers, and avocado.
Annie ordered the Farmland breakfast bowl, which was hearty and green, perfect for our dreary rainy day. The dish had spinach, mushrooms, havarti cheese, zucchini, and tomato with eggs. Annie chose scrambled eggs but wished she had done poached, especially after seeing how great the eggs were on the avocado toast.
Amber was craving something sweet and with the assortment of crepes that Meli Cafe offers, she couldn’t resist. Amber ordered the Cobbler crepes, which were loaded with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries and topped with whipped cream. However, they were a bit too crispy for her liking and the edges of all the crepes were burnt. A bit disappointing, but it didn’t stop all three of us from digging in.
I ended up opting for the Farmers Egg Benedict, which was loaded with veggies—absolutely overflowing with vegetables. There was spinach, zucchini, tomato, red onion, and a mild salsa with two perfectly poached eggs. While the eggs were to my liking, the amount of zucchini portionally to the other ingredients was overwhelming and, honestly, I don’t really know if there was tomato on there. That’s how inundated with zucchini this Eggs Benedict was.
The A Team was satisfied with the brunch and glad to be reunited. The portions were large and made it easy to get your daily dose of vegetables in one entree. The staff was friendly and prompt with our service. But it was a rainy day, and so we chatted and caught up, and then parted ways to finish off our Sundays in Chicago.
The Bitches say B+. We weren’t “wowed” by anything in particular to make this place a go-to brunch spot, but it was still a friendly, happy atmosphere to dine and catch up.
500 South Dearborn St,
Meli Cafe serves brunch every day, all day long.