Arbor Chicago Illinois

Arbor WEBSITE

They open at 6:30! You know I love that!

Welcome Gators

Arbor is inside of an office building on the second floor. Sort of an unusual location but I guess it works for them. Let’s go in. It’s 6:25am

BREKFST Mobile
BREKFST Mobile
Arbor Chicago Office Building Location
Arbor Chicago
Office Building Location
Arbor Chicago Entrance to the Office Building
Arbor Chicago
Entrance to the Office Building

The building is trying to be a modern art museum. There are very modern pieces of art strewn about the place. Hanging from the ceiling are machine washers on wires.

Arbor Chicago Washer Art
Arbor Chicago
Washer Art
Arbor Chicago Washer Art
Arbor Chicago
Washer Art
Arbor Chicago Entrance
Arbor Chicago
Entrance

OK. Finally here.

Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Interior
Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Interior
Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Interior
Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Interior
Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Interior
Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Interior
Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Interior
Arbor Chicago Interior
Arbor Chicago
Coffee Menu

Sleek and ultra modern. Like eating in the mess hall on the Starship Enterprise Modern music playing that I was too unhip to git.   4   

A couple of hits right off the bat. The floor was dirty and unswept. Whomever closed last night wanted to get out of there.   1   

The place works like this. Place your order at the counter. Pay via iPad and the server totes your meal to your table. I went up to the counter, picked up a menu and got some Very Strong Mexican blend Coffee.   8    Your sweetening options were a large open container of Sugar and a bottle of Simple Syrup.

Water from a bottle filled from the tap.

Arbor Chicago Water Bottle
Arbor Chicago                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Water Bottle

I took the very short menu to a table and made decision #1 I went back up front and placed an order.

#1

Tortilla Española
Baked egg and potato, chorizo braised peppers, manchego, greens, quince vinaigrette

Arbor Chicago Tortilla Española
Arbor Chicago
Tortilla Española
Arbor Chicago Tortilla Española
Arbor Chicago
Tortilla Española
Arbor Chicago Tortilla Española
Arbor Chicago
Tortilla Española

This is an interesting dish, It’s like a slice of Bread Pudding or Strata. It didn’t have a lot of flavor. The Chorizo was good. The chunks of cheese were Parm esq maybe Grana Padano. The salad was ok but the dressing was bland. Overall an OK Dish   7   

#2

Midwest Grains
Illinois wheat, farro, barley, grilled vegetables, scrambled and soft egg, chili oil, sunflower sprouts

Arbor Chicago Midwest Grains
Arbor Chicago
Midwest Grains
Arbor Chicago Midwest Grains
Arbor Chicago
Midwest Grains
Arbor Chicago Midwest Grains
Arbor Chicago
Midwest Grains

The Egg was near perfect   9   The seasoning was good The grains were well cooked and the plating was cute but crowded. Overall another   7   

#3

Baller Crepes
Buckwheat crepes, tonka bean ricotta, rooftop honey, coffee-poached apricots, Georgia pecans

The ricotta was near flavorless. The Jam or whatever they mixed into it helped. The Crepes were overcooked and greasy   6   

Arbor Chicago Buckwheat Crepes
Arbor Chicago
Buckwheat Crepes
Arbor Chicago Buckwheat Crepes
Arbor Chicago
Buckwheat Crepes
Arbor Chicago Buckwheat Crepes Ricotta
Arbor Chicago
Buckwheat Crepes Ricotta
Arbor Chicago Buckwheat Crepes Blood Orange segment
Arbor Chicago
Buckwheat Crepes Blood Orange segment

 

That’s It. Short and not so sweet. I was on the fence on reviewing Arbor. My regular readers know that if I don’t like the place I don’t review it. Maybe it’s me. YELP rated this place 4 1/2 stars. Perhaps I’m not Hipster enough to “Get it” So I gave it the benefit of the doubt. HEY I’m pretty HIP.

This isn’t a destination especially since it’s in the Logan Square Hood where you will find Delicious Places like LULA or JAM.

As for me I’m off to my next adventure.

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WHISK Chicago Illinois

WHISK WEBSITE

Happy Valentines Day Gators!

Happy Valentines Day Gators!
Happy Valentines Day Gators!

We arrived at WHISK early as usual so listening to tunes in the BREKFST mobile was in order. WHISK opens at 7 YAY! You know how I hate those City places that don’t open till 9.

OK 6:55 and I’m ready to go. I check the door and it’s OPEN. I’m very happy about this. I’ve been to several places that didn’t open till 8 or 10 minutes past when they were supposed to.

WHISK Chicago
WHISK Chicago

 

As soon as I stepped through the red breezeway door I knew I was in for something out of the ordinary. To the left is A giant fork and whisk.

WHISK Chicago Giant fork and whisk
WHISK Chicago
Giant fork and whisk

To the right is a Ron Swanson art gallery.

WHISK Chicago Ron Swanson Art Gallery
WHISK Chicago
Ron Swanson Art Gallery

Who is Ron Swanson? for those not in the know click the link that follows to find out.   WHO IS RON SWANSON?

WHISK Chicago Interior
WHISK Chicago
Interior
WHISK Chicago Interior
WHISK Chicago
Interior
WHISK Chicago Interior
WHISK Chicago
Interior
WHISK Chicago Interior
WHISK Chicago
Interior
WHISK Chicago Interior
WHISK Chicago
Interior
WHISK Chicago Interior
WHISK Chicago
Interior
WHISK Chicago Interior
WHISK Chicago
Interior
WHISK Chicago Interior Wall of Fame
WHISK Chicago
Interior Wall of Fame
WHISK Chicago Giant Ron Swanson
WHISK Chicago
Giant Ron Swanson

 

We were first to arrive. Normally I take a spot by a window for photographic purposes but this place is somewhat of a cave. The lighting is low and no windows. I apologize in advance for the lack of pop in my pictures. All of that said let me tell you that WHISK is at the top of the heap in unusual decor. It’s a crazy mix of styles and art. No carpet   10   60’s-70’s music   9   

Coffee is ordered and served.   7   It was supplied with a stick. An unusual and interesting move.It took me awhile to figure out why they would do this.  I normally end up using my spoon in my coffee so I hate to use it for anything else. The simple addition of a stick to the mix eliminates me sacrificing my spoon.   10

WHISK Chicago Coffee and Stick
WHISK Chicago
Coffee and Stick

  

Water is Corked and ready   9   and water jars are on hand.

WHISK Chicago Water Bottle
WHISK Chicago
Water Bottle and Jars

The menu is shortish   8   You know I hate extensive menus. The menu is also decorated with a Sugar Skull.

WHISK Chicago Menu with Sugar Skull Watermark
WHISK Chicago
Menu with Sugar Skull Watermark

It didn’t take too long to make a decision…

1st up

BRISKET HASH
House-braised beef brisket, bell peppers, fresh jalapeños, onion, and chard served on top of house potatoes, topped with two eggs any style and pepper jack cheese sauce, and choice of toast

Let’s talk TOAST.

START Rant– I like my toast toasted well. I know this is a personal choice. I also like my toast pre buttered. This is a controversial topic. almost as controversial as whether the toilet paper should roll from the top or the bottom of the roll. (TOP of course) It never fails. you get unbuttered  toast from the kitchen and by the time you get it it’s not hot enough to melt the butter so this is what you end up with.  Cold toast and unmelted butter. Sadness. I think that you should be offered buttered toast.– END Rant.

I need to point out in WHISK’s defense the bread that they used for the two kinds of toast that I got was of great quality.   8   for the bread quality  3   for the cool light toast.

WHISK Chicago Cool Toast that could be toasted darker.
WHISK Chicago
Cool Toast that could be toasted darker.
WHISK Chicago UNmelted Butter Sadness
WHISK Chicago
UNmelted Butter Sadness

Enough about toast already!

The house made brisket was good.   8   It was seasoned well and tender. I could have used a bit more of it. The eggs were undercooked and a bit waterlogged   5   The veggies were tasty and seasoned properly   8   Overall a good and tasty dish   8   

WHISK Chicago Brisket Hash
WHISK Chicago
Brisket Hash
WHISK Chicago Brisket Hash
WHISK Chicago
Brisket Hash
WHISK Chicago Brisket Hash
WHISK Chicago
Brisket Hash

BIG props WHISK. NO sneeze powder (pre ground black pepper) Instead it was replaced with a salt/pepper mill.   9

WHISK Chicago Pepper Mill
WHISK Chicago
Pepper Mill

 

NEXT

AZTEC OMELETTE
Egg omelette with corn, avocado, chihuahua cheese, bell peppers, jalapenos and onions served with house potatoes and your choice of toast

ADD Grits

The grits were good smooth creamy cheesy salty   8   

The Omelette was decent.    7   

 

WHISK Chicago Aztec Omelette
WHISK Chicago
Aztec Omelette
WHISK Chicago Aztec Omelette
WHISK Chicago
Aztec Omelette
WHISK Chicago Aztec Omelette
WHISK Chicago
Aztec Omelette

 

And Finally

REESE’S PANCAKES
Banana pancakes with Reese’s chocolate pieces covered with white chocolate sauce, fresh bananas and mocha mascarpone whipping cream

I expected not to like this. I was wrong. I was expecting this to be a Diabetes inducing sugar bomb I was wrong again. Yes it was sweet but not overly. It was chocolaty Peanut Buttery Bananaee and a touch Salty. A decadent    8

WHISK Chicago Reese's PB Pancakes
WHISK Chicago
Reese’s  Pancakes
WHISK Chicago Reese's Pancakes
WHISK Chicago
Reese’s Pancakes
WHISK Chicago Reese's Pancakes
WHISK Chicago
Reese’s Pancakes
WHISK Chicago Reese's Pancakes
WHISK Chicago
Reese’s Pancakes

 

This was a great outing. I had a talk with David the co owner, and his big brother Rick also stopped by to see if everything went well. A couple really nice young guys that are brave for going up against the burgeoning Chicago restaurant scene. Get over there and pay them a delecious visit. You’ll be glad that you did!

As for me I’m off to my next adventure

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Lula Cafe Chicago Illinois

Lula Cafe WEBSITE

Lula doesn’t open until 9am. What? That’s like the middle of the day in Gator time. We were there about 45 minutes early and was able to park almost in front of the place. A few minutes later an old guy in a Lexus pulled up behind the BREKFST mobile. A crowd was starting to gather. As the time on my Gator Green watch moved closer to 9 more people were showing up. It was like a scene from “The Birds” 9:55 time to go.

Lula Cafe Chicago Exterior
Lula Cafe Chicago
Exterior
Lula Cafe Chicago Interior
Lula Cafe Chicago
Interior
Lula Cafe Chicago Bar
Lula Cafe Chicago
Bar
Lula Cafe Chicago Back Bar
Lula Cafe Chicago
Back Bar
Lula Cafe Chicago Interior
Lula Cafe Chicago
Interior

Lula is in a turn of the century Logan Square building. It’s old and hip like me. No carpet of course. I’m guessing original 1800’s wood floor and ceiling. Modern eclectic music to go with the decor of the place   8   

A seat by the window with the prerequisite water (in a bottle on the table) and coffee.    8   no Splenda Turbinado sugar rocks    7   or Stevia. Ewwww. Stevia tastes like lawn clippings.   3

Lula Cafe Chicago Water Bottle
Lula Cafe Chicago
Water Bottle
Lula Cafe Chicago Cute Turbinado Sugar Rocks
Lula Cafe Chicago
Cute Turbinado Sugar Rocks

 

The menu is VERY limited. You know I like that but it’s almost too limited. My decision was almost instant. The 3 Specials

Pozole

Red chili pork stew masa dumplings roasted squash 60 minute egg sour orange

What is a 60 minute egg you may ask? Go Ahead. Ask.

It’s an egg cooked in 62.5 centigrade water for an hour sous-vide style. Thank’s for asking.

WOW I rarely am at a loss for a descriptor. It was spicy comforting crunchy crazy goodness.   An extremely rare   9   It was a fantastic interpretation of the classic dish.

Lula Cafe Chicago Pozole
Lula Cafe Chicago
Pozole
Lula Cafe Chicago Pozole
Lula Cafe Chicago
Pozole
Lula Cafe Chicago Sour Orange and Cilantro Trim
Lula Cafe Chicago
Sour Orange and Cilantro Trim
Lula Cafe Chicago Sour Orange and Cilantro Trim
Lula Cafe Chicago
Sour Orange and Cilantro Trim
Lula Cafe Chicago Pozole Loved It!
Lula Cafe Chicago
Pozole
Loved It!

Corned Beef Hash

Brussel sprouts confit potatoes tarragon sunny side egg

I never would have thought that a restaurant of this caliber would dare give you a snotty sunny egg. They DID dare.   3   Crunchy Brussel leaves and tender well seasoned sprouts   8   The Corned beef was in 1/2 3/4 inch cubes. Tender salty pretty good   7  Overall an   8   If the egg was cooked properly it would have been a   9   A new spin on an old classic

Lula Cafe Chicago Corned Beef Hash
Lula Cafe Chicago
Corned Beef Hash
Lula Cafe Chicago Corned Beef Hash
Lula Cafe Chicago
Corned Beef Hash
Lula Cafe Chicago Corned Beef Hash
Lula Cafe Chicago
Corned Beef Hash Bite

 

Banana bread french toast

Butterscotch vanilla bean yogurt chocolate granola

YES I’m still chasing this unicorn and NO I didn’t find it. Was it good? Yes   8   Was it french toast? No. It was Banana Bread dipped in eggs. Do they get it? Yes they Do!  Alton Brown Makes French Toast better known by Gator fans as The Link. Please enjoy the Video… “THE LINK”

The Banana Bread was good. The Yogurt was tangy and the Granola was chocolaty and crunchy

Lula Cafe Chicago Banana Bread French Toast
Lula Cafe Chicago
Banana Bread French Toast
Lula Cafe Chicago Banana Bread French Toast
Lula Cafe Chicago
Banana Bread French Toast
Lula Cafe Chicago Banana Bread French Toast
Lula Cafe Chicago
Banana Bread French Toast

 

Lula is a Breakfast Gator Top Pick

The food is good and the service by the supplimentary staff is top notch. I have to say though that the last 2 times that I was there my servers started strong out of the gate but faded fast. I’m not sure what causes this phenomenon.  That aside this is a destination place. They only do a full menu on the weekend. During the week there are extremely limited choices so go on a weekend and get there before they open or be prepared to wait.

That wraps it up. As for me, I’m off to my next adventure!

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Benedict’s Eggs and More East Dundee Illinois

Benedict’s WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

Here we are at Benedict’s again. It’s been almost a year and time for another visit.

We were there right before opening and people were already arriving. I grabbed a couple of exterior shots and in I went.

Benedict's West Dundee Exterior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Exterior
Benedict's West Dundee Exterior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Exterior
Benedict's West Dundee Exterior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Exterior

It’s an OLD house converted into a restaurant. It’s has OLD carpety and Chickeny beat up country decor.   4    Kids Crayon pics adorn the walls in the back room   8    The highlight of the place is the tree in the back room. Yes a tree. The music is 40’s style.   8   Let’s take a look…

Benedict's East Dundee Interior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Interior
Benedict's East Dundee Interior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Interior
Benedict's East Dundee Interior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Interior
Benedict's East Dundee Interior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Interior
Benedict's East Dundee Interior Complete with tree
Benedict’s East Dundee
Interior Complete with tree and crayon creations

A seat under the tree. Intelligentsia Coffee   8   and water.

They have a BIG menu. You know I hate that. Too many things on a menu mean too long to make a decision and way too many things to try and keep fresh behind the scenes. It’s a lose lose. So after an extensive self debate I made some decisions. I told the server that I was going to order several items and that I wanted them one at a time so that I could take photos and notes.

For Starters Beignets. Plain and Apple.

Benedict's East Dundee Beignet Bowl
Benedict’s East Dundee
Beignet Bowl
Benedict's East Dundee Beignet Close Up Crispy Pillows
Benedict’s East Dundee
Beignet Close Up
Crispy Pillows
Benedict's East Dundee Beignet Apple Interior
Benedict’s East Dundee
Beignet Apple Interior

In spite of my request right after Caroline brought out the donuts she brought out the entree. This completely throws of my timing. I get to work taking pictures and notes.   Grrrr   3    

The outside of the Beignets are crisp and golden. The inside of the plain one is light and fluffy. The one with the Apple is tasty cinnamony and is just sweet enough. The bottom is a bit gummy though. An overall   8   

Benedict’s ala Munich

Grilled Sheboygan bratwurst, caramelized onions, poached eggs and a mustard hollandaise sauce, served on two potato pancakes.

Benedict’s East Dundee Munich Benedict
Benedict’s East Dundee
Munich Benedict
Benedict’s East Dundee Munich Benedict
Benedict’s East Dundee
Munich Benedict
Benedict’s East Dundee Munich Benedict
Benedict’s East Dundee
Munich Benedict

Unfortunately by the time I got done with all of the pictures and note making on the 2 dishes this was a bit cool. The potatoes were pretty average for this style of potatoes. The potato pancakes were OK they could have been crisper. The sausage needed to be spicier. The mustard hollandaise was good tangy eggy. The eggs were cooked pretty nicely and in the cooked in plastic wrap style. Overall this was an interesting and decent entree   7   OH I almost forgot. a TRIPLE orange slice! 1965 called. They want their garnish back.

Goat Cheese, Artichoke and Smoked Ham Strata
Ham, artichoke hearts, goat cheese, and Parmesan

Cheesy Goaty Chokey Creamy Fluffy Savory Bread Pudding. It was GOOD. Surprise!   8   

Benedict's East Dundee Strata
Benedict’s East Dundee
Strata
Benedict's East Dundee Strata
Benedict’s East Dundee
Strata

 

Rant Alert: You can skip ahead if you want.

Why try to have an upscale attitude then give someone a plate with goo on it? How long does it take to wipe off the edge of a plate before it goes out? Rant over.

Benedict's East Dundee Plate Goo
Benedict’s East Dundee
Plate Goo

 

 

SPECIAL  Chocolate Waffle with Door County Cherries

Chocolaty and cherry studded. Tastes just like you are imagining.   7   I put syrup on it. Oh yes I did. It bumped it to an   8   

Benedict's East Dundee Chocolate Waffle
Benedict’s East Dundee
Chocolate Waffle
Benedict's East Dundee Chocolate Waffle
Benedict’s East Dundee
Chocolate Waffle
Benedict's East Dundee Chocolate Waffle
Benedict’s East Dundee
Chocolate Waffle
Benedict's East Dundee Chocolate Waffle
Benedict’s East Dundee
Chocolate Waffle

 

Benedict’s is another decent suburban spot. If you haven’t been there it’s worth checking out.

 

Well that’s it Gators. I’m off to my next adventure!

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