We kicked off the weekend at a brunch spot, having no idea the standard we would set and fight to meet throughout the weekend. In fact, upon starting to eat our breakfast selections at Dove’s Luncheonette, I think the comment was “how are we ever going to do better than this, this weekend?!” But, that’s a silly question in Chicago. Here’s how we did better.
Dove’s Luncheonette is tucked under the blue line Damen stop, just before you hit the intersection with North Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue. At the crux of old artist spaces and music clubs, meets retail destinations and the spread of food destinations into the west side, this neighborhood is constantly evolving. Across from Stan’s Donuts, this diner should not be strolled past. In doing so, you’ll be missing some of the best food in the area. Neighbors to two of their sister restaurants, and two more favorites of mine (Big Star and The Violet Hour), it’s no wonder this place is fantastic, the group also boasts The Publican, Avec and Blackbird.
Now, I can’t decide which one was better between the Burnt Ends Hash and the Machaca Breakfast Tacos, so it’s a damn good thing we ordered both. Discouraged from order a pitcher of cocktails for breakfast, the Bloody Mary was a decent substitute. It was at the point that we took the first bites that I can refer you back to the comment that started this post, because yes, the food was that fantastic that it was a legitimate concern.
Our second brunch experience was a little french restaurant off North California called Cafe Marie- Jeanne. The brunch menu listed an overwhelming amount of delicious options. I zeroed in on my favorite to ward off a quickly approaching hangover, the Croque Madama “Van Damme”, and a side of cheddar grits for good measure. As I looked around at the other tables slowly sipping espresso and mimosas over the Sunday paper, I felt like I had been whisked away to Paris. From croissants, to creamed herring, caviar toast, or a green curry lobster roll- you can find options from simple to refined, and sophisticated here. Just know “the arugula salad does not contain any arugula”, as our waitress informed us. Still remains one of the more curious things I’ve ever been told at a restaurant.
The last meal of the trip, and the last brunch, did not disappoint. In fact, after four days of eating at amazing restaurants until we were uncomfortably full, I thought the last stop would be a phone in. But I’d heard about the lines down the block on the weekends, and I loved the name, plus it sells pie, so I felt like it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. A small shop, with a great outdoor space, the Bang Bang Pie Shop sits on North California just north of Armitage Avenue. To most accurately describe what it looked like when I took my first bite of the biscuit breakfast sandwich, I’ll refer you to When Harry Met Sally, the diner scene. They serve the kind of biscuits that make me want to take a sabbatical and fully immerse myself in the world of biscuit making. I’d give up all recipes and knowledge of other things, and just become the woman known for making these, effing, mind blowing, biscuits. I was deep in very clearly understanding why people wait in line to eat here, when the waitress brought a free piece of pie to our table because “they had an extra”. Unbeknownst to her, I almost kissed her. Three pieces of pie, two biscuits, coffee, and souvenirs later, and we were out the door.
Putting our initial fear to rest that we wouldn’t be able to overcome the great meal that kicked off our brunches, Thanks to the Bang Bang Pie Shop, we ended our trip and eating adventures in Chicago (cue bad Dad joke) with a BANG!