Reviews of Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants

Chuck’s Southern Comfort Cafe Darien Illinois

Chucks Website

Good Morning Gators!

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning and we’re right on time. Chuck only serves breakfast 3 days. Friday Saturday and Sunday at 7. The rest of the time this converted banquet hall has regular restaurant hours serving an eclectic mix of Barbecue, Mexican, and Cajun food. I was a long time customer of Chuck’s original Burbank location when I was living in the South Burbs. Back in his earlier days I used to have regular conversations with Chuck just hanging out chit chatting. This was before his write ups and TV appearances. Im sure that he doesn’t have time for such things now. I just recently became aware of the Darien location and the fact that he is serving breakfast so this visit was a must. But I digress…

As per standard operating procedure Diane went inside to procure a table near a window and I grabbed my exterior and interior pictures. Chucks is like 2 restaurants in one. When you first walk in it’s like stepping into a sports bar. Walking further in is more like his other location. Cajun inspired Decor. The place is 1/2 carpeted which I hate. Restaurant carpet is like a Petrie Dish of bacteria. Yum. The music is light New Orleans inspired Cajun and the tables are decorated with dust catching silk flowers.

Our excellent server Venus brought Coffee and Menus. The Coffee was moderately strong had decent personality and was a good match for breakfast. 8 The menu was of reasonable size and wasn’t overwhelming. It was a decent mix of standards with a few specialty items. I had already checked the menu online and had a couple of things in mind. It didn’t take long to make our choices.

First Up

Huevos ala Frontera

Two sopes filled with refried black beans, poached eggs, poblano cream sauce, crumbled chorizo, diced tomatoes, tomato-chipotle rice

The Chipotle Cream sauce was smooth and delicious. 8 The Poached Eggs were near perfect. Just a tad under. 8 The Corn Cakes were tasty, corny and crispy. 8 The rice was well seasoned, had a touch of heat, and is pretty tasty which is unusual for your normal yellow rice. Overall this was a great start. I would come back for this. 9

2nd Up

Chuck’s Machacado

Scrambled eggs with smoked beef brisket, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, sides of tomato-chipotle rice, refried beans and tortillas

Chucks has a variety of Hot Sauces to choose from but alas no Valentina

The Brisket is Decent. Smoky but not overly. 7 The veggies were fresh. The Eggs were a little over for me but not hammered which scrambled eggs often are. The refried black beans were definitely above average. These are often tasteless. 8 More Yellow Rice. The supplied corn tortillas made for creating tacos. I am not a fan of breakfast tacos but with the addition of some hot sauce it made for a pretty delicious combination of flavors and textures. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. 8

Last but not least

Louisiana Sweet Potato Pancakes

Blended sweet potatoes with our flapjack mix

Your basic pancake Zhuzhed up. Quite good. Fluffy tender with a hint of spice. 8 This is yet another missed opportunity to upsell some real Maple Syrup. I would have gladly paid extra.

Well Gators that about wraps up our visit at Chucks and a good one it was. Im very happy to have re found him. If you see him ask him about the time he cut himself at a Marshall Fields Cooking Demo.

As for us we’re off on another adventure.

Little Goat Diner Chicago IL

WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

It’s a miserable rainy cold winter day but that won’t stop breakfast. We arrived at opening. I dropped Diane in front and went to find a parking spot. While she was getting a table I was getting soaked on my walk from the car to the restaurant. This photo was from my last review.

Little Goat Diner Chicago
Little Goat Diner Chicago
Little Goat Diner Chicago
Little Goat Diner Chicago
Little Goat Diner Chicago
Little Goat Diner Chicago
Little Goat Diner Chicago
Little Goat Diner Chicago

The little Goat is part of a trio (soon to be a quad) of restaurants co owned by Chef Stephanie Izard. More about her here. There is also and older review of Duck Duck Goat here. At some point I will do a follow up on it.

Little Goat is a clean, modern, woody, goat filled place with contemporary music playing in the background. It has a couple of things that my regular readers know that I am not a fan of like communal seating and counter service. Restaurants should be aware that 1/2 of the population are introverts and a lot of them do not want to sit shoulder to shoulder with a stranger.

Coffee and menus were waiting when I took my seat. We had a fantastic server. Not only is Joan a server she is also a Bread Baker, Dog lover, and a Mushroom Hunter. 10 The Coffee was a bit lack luster. A bit weak for my taste. I was a little surprised by this. 7 The menu is cute and as I prefer not a ton of selections. It didn’t take long to choose.

Little Goat Diner Chicago Custom Coffee Cup
Little Goat Diner Chicago Custom Coffee Cup

We started with Crumpets. (How British of us)

The Crumpets were fresh from the fryer. HOT and a bit greasy. They were crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. More savory than sweet. They were a great start. 9

Little Goat Diner Chicago Crumpets
Little Goat Diner Chicago Crumpets
Little Goat Chicago
Crumpet

Next Up:

THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO CHINA

sesame cheddar biscuit, sunny side eggs, sichuan pork sausage, chili garlic chive sauce, gooseberries

The Chili Garlic Sauce is a punch in the mouth. I suggest that you not take a big taste of the sauce on it’s own like I did. It is spicy sweet and well seasoned. The menu description said eggs but it was actually egg as in 1. It was about as perfectly cooked as a Sunny Side Up Egg gets. The Sausage was quite flavorful. Spiced right, and not overly salty. It was a bit overcooked. The biscuit is baking powdery good. Crunchy exterior soft light interior. This was a pretty good entree 8

Little Goat Diner Chicago This Little Piggy Went to China
Little Goat Diner Chicago This Little Piggy Went to China
Little Goat Diner Chicago This Little Piggy Went to China
Little Goat Diner Chicago This Little Piggy Went to China
Little Goat Diner Chicago This Little Piggy Went to China
Little Goat Diner Chicago This Little Piggy Went to China
Little Goat Diner Chicago This Little Piggy Went to China

Next:

OKONOMIYAKI

Osaka street food with pork belly

A thick Savory Pancake with Bonito Flakes. It looked alive in person. Sea foodie flavor with lots of Umami. This was such an unusual combination of flavors I couldn’t decide if I loved it or hated it. I decided not to rate it. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.

Little Goat Chicago Okonomiyaki
Little Goat Chicago Okonomiyaki
Little Goat Chicago Okonomiyaki

And Lastly

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Light Fluffy Puffy Delightful! Just the right amount of chocolate chips. Served with Chocolate Butter and house syrup that tasted like a combination of real and fake Maple Syrup. 8

Little Goat Chicago Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Little Goat Chicago Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Little Goat Chicago Chocolate Butter
Little Goat Chicago Chocolate Butter
Little Goat Chicago Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Little Goat Chicago Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Little Goat Chicago Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Well that’s it kids. A good visit.

As for us we’re off to our next adventure.

The Gators go to New Orleans

Good Morning Gators!

Time for another special Edition. We were able to get to 5 places on this outing. The reviews are streamlined for 2 reasons 1 because there are 5 reviews and I want to keep things moving and B because I’m old and in spite of having my usual cryptic notes I don’t remember all of the details. Off we go.

 

Morning 1

CURIO

Curio’s WEBSITE

 

 

Our lead off set the tone for the rest of the week. Curio was a pretty nice joint. Cloth napkins and all. Contemporary music played in the background. There is no exterior shot because I had a small brain hemorrhage and didn’t take one.  The decor was a mix of old New Orleans and a bit of modern flare.

Curio New Orleans
Interior

Curio New Orleans
Interior

Curio New Orleans
Interior

Curio New Orleans
Umbrella Stand and Bags
Nice Touch

Our server Ashley brought coffee which was a tad weak but passable   7   The menu was fairly small so we zeroed in on our selections right away.

We wanted to start with some Beignets but were informed that they weren’t ready so I started breakfast with a sad face.

Diane:

As soon as we were seated I knew we had picked a winner. Although there were only a few other patrons here, it was Monday morning so there would be lots of time to savor a leisurely breakfast. We sat near an open patio door and although it was stifling hot, there was a light and lovely breeze. The hot coffee was great and I’m not certain if it was the heavy cream in a tiny stainless pitcher, or the brew itself….either way; I surely felt spoiled,

Nola Benedict

Cajun Style Slow Roasted Pork, Buttermilk Biscuit, Brown Butter Hollandaise Sauce, Brabant Potatoes

The Hollandaise was silky smooth and tasty but a tad salty.   8   The potatoes were crisp and fresh.   8   The pork had a delicious mustard based slightly sweet sauce applied. Yummy.   9   The house made Biscuit was one of the best I’ve had. Fluffy tender deliciousness. Fantastic   9   The Eggs were a bit under   5   A great springboard to our trip. This was one of the best Benedicts that I’ve ever had.   9   

Diane:

To be fair, the only taste I had of this dish was the pork and baked biscuit. The biscuit was high and tender and salted perfectly 9

 

Curio New Orleans
Nola Benedict

Curio New Orleans
Nola Benedict

Curio New Orleans
Nola Benedict

Curio New Orleans
Nola Benedict

Curio New Orleans
Nola Benedict

 

Shrimp and Grits

Louisiana Gulf Shrimp, Andouille Gravy, Jalapeño Cheddar Grits

 

One of the things that I looked forward to coming to NO was being able to have some local fresh shrimp. As you may or may not know It’s pretty unlikely that you’ve ever gotten shrimp in the midwest that are actually fresh. They are either frozen or previously frozen. I was very excited. The Andouille Sausage Gravy was on point. The seasoning was perfect with a nice slightly over salted salt level. Not a trace of flour taste and not a lump to be found.   8   The grits were a tad under but the seasoning and cheese level was right where it should be. 8   The Local fresh Shrimp was the star. I didn’t know that shrimp actually taste like something. The ones you get at home are more texture than flavor. Often they are overcooked are are like chewing pencil erasers. These were tender and delicious. Very Shrimpy.   9   Another winner   9   

Diane:

Ever since I was a wee one, I loved shrimp. From the little Sausea brand jars with tiny rubbery shrimp and cocktail sauce, to the corner tavern newspaper wrapped Lenten jumbo shrimp dinners my Dad brought home, my favorite treat has been shrimp, But until I tasted fresh shrimp in Galveston Texas years ago, I was not aware of the vast difference. These shrimp were sublime. 9 The gravy and grits literally melted in your mouth, and the grits were married with a subtle cheese, not a Hit You In Da Head cheddar. Wow 10

 

Curio New Orleans
Shrimp and Grits

Curio New Orleans
Shrimp and Grits

Curio New Orleans
Shrimp and Grits

Curio New Orleans
Shrimp and Grits

Curio New Orleans
Shrimp and Grits

 

Somewhere in the midst of all of this we met the Manager Oscar. Great guy. He obviously loved working here.

 

Last Up

Caramelized Baked French Toast

Seasonal Fruit, Local Cane Syrup, Soft Whipped Cream

 

The soft scoops of whipped cream were reminiscent of very light Ricotta Cheese with a super subtle almond flavor. Whatever form of New Orleans Voodoo they used on this it worked. Iv’e never had anything quite like it.   9   The baked FT was a mix of soft custardy to crunchy crisp. A great contrast of textures.   9   The popular Cane Syrup is a not too sweet syrup with just a hint of molassesness. This was a great end to a great meal.   9   

 

Diane:

We were fortunate to meet the manager, Oscar, a local who loves NOLA. He told us about how much he loved his city and enjoyed that his birthday was in Autumn. Due to the heavy whipping cream, I drank more coffee than usual and was a bit jacked up and loopy. However, the French Toast was the highlight of breakfast with its crispy carmelized edges and custard silk middle. The whipped cream was denser than any I’ve ever tasted and had the consistency of whipped ricotta with hint of vanilla. A warm drizzle of Cane syrup finished this off perfectly  9

Curio New Orleans
Baked French Toast

Curio New Orleans
Baked French Toast

Curio New Orleans
Baked French Toast

Curio New Orleans
Baked French Toast
Gone

Thanks Curio You are the one to beat

 

HORNS

Horns WEBSITE

Horns New Orleans
Exterior

Horns New Orleans
Exterior

Horns New Orleans
Exterior
Lost Shoes

 

Horns reminds me of a lot of the places that you find in Portland Oregon. It has that Hipster vibe. From the beat up furnishings, the Hipster pop rock music, and the hand made pottery that the owner turns out herself. It’s kind of like the basement of a 70’s house. 70’s family photos and stuffed animal heads. No chicken decor is present.

 

Horns New Orleans
Interior

Horns New Orleans
Interior

Horns New Orleans
Interior

Horns New Orleans
Handmade Butter Butler

Horns New Orleans
Handmade Butter Butler

Horns New Orleans
Interior

Horns New Orleans
Interior

 

Darrel took our coffee order and it was delivered by a lip ringed young man in shorts and cowboy boots. We checked out the menu and made decisions.

 

Savory Breakfast

Savory Spinach and Mushroom Bread Pudding Topped with 2 Over Medium Eggs

 

It’s crazy savory. Soft moist mushroomy earthy peppery   9   Fantastic.  Super original. The more I ate it the more I liked it.

Diane:

I loved it as soon as we walked up and saw the maryjanes under a bench on the sidewalk outside. Fun and quirky. The National and Naked and Famous playlists. I’m thinking …..Gosh this has to be the sign of a very inventive menu, and indeed it was!

The savory bread pudding caught our attention and we knew we would start with it, and although it did not look colorful and pretty, the deep rich mushroom and pepper taste was unlike any dressing we had ever tasted. It was crusty outside yet moist on inside. Delicious 8

 

Horns New Orleans
A Savory Breakfast

Horns New Orleans
A Savory Breakfast

Horns New Orleans
A Savory Breakfast

Horns New Orleans
A Savory Breakfast

Horns New Orleans
A Savory Breakfast

 

Crabby Wife
two eggs on top of a crab cake soaked in crawfish stout ffée served with a biscuit

Super Crabby and Spicy. There are a few Crawfish in there for good measure. The Crab Cake was decent. It was pretty flavorful and seasoned well. The broth was tasty and had a good salt level. The eggs looked like they were cooked in a ring. it was perfectly round. Overall this was a Crabtacular   8

 

Diane:

This fragrant and dish was full of crabmeat and crawfish which was seasoned well 8 The biscuit was nothing out of the ordinary 6

Horns New Orleans
Crabby Wife

Horns New Orleans
Crabby Wife

Horns New Orleans
Crabby Wife

Horns New Orleans
Crabby Wife
Egg close up

 

Sweet Potato Pancakes

This was a special. A little sweet a little savory a little Cinnamony. Darrel brought us some Local Dr. Bills Syrup that was a mix of Cane and Maple Syrup It was delecious and Vitamin Fortified. I feel healthier already. The Cakes are not very photogenic but delicious.   8

Diane:

We learned about Cane syrup from Darrel who told us that in the South, its as common as table honey in the North. These cakes were fluffy and had a distinct spicy cloves Sweet Potato flavor… unique and so tasty. I really enjoy the syrup because at times , a strong maple syrup can overpower a less dominant flavor, and this is a great example 8

Horns New Orleans
Sweet Potato Pancakes

Horns New Orleans
Exterior

 

Horns New Orleans
Dr Bills Syrup

Horns New Orleans
Dr Bills Syrup

Horns New Orleans
Dr Bills Syrup

 

That’s it for Horns. A great second stop.

 

The Ruby Slipper

The Ruby Slipper WEBSITE

 

 

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Exterior

 

 

Spacious dark and felt like a New Orleans Bar Movie Set.

 

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans

 

Jazz music plays in the background which fits the venue. Our most excellent server Nicole served coffee. The coffee supplier is French Truck Coffee. It’s dark and super strong   8  

Nicole and I

 

The menu is pretty extensive. It took a few minutes to narrow down the final choices.

Diane:

Gene nails it when he compares this place to a movie set. A unique feature here is the bar in the center where patrons were seated as single brunchers. We glanced up to spy a young lady dressed  in a fitted shirt dress in a 50’s print kitten fabric, red cat eyes, full sleeve tats, and a navy ponytail seated next to a guy with a boxy tweed jacket, slicked back side parted hair, and stovepipe slacks. Everyone comes here to eat, it’s really a rich feast for all the senses. Our waitress was so charming and patient and kept our coffee cups filled.

 

BBQ SHRIMP & GRITS
Sauteed Gulf shrimp with beer & rosemary butter reduction, over creamy stone ground grits served with a buttermilk biscuit

 

The Barbecue sauce was sweet and tangy. The Local Shrimp were super flavorful. The Grits were good on their own. The Biscuit was Tender light and fluffy. It was served with Cane Syrup Butter. In spite of the fact that it was served on a chipped serving dish it was a very tasty   8    

Diane:

The biscuit was great and reminded me of Popeye’s biscuits, btw that is a good thing  7  Shrimp were very fresh and flavorful yet the star here were the fabulous grits, cooked and seasoned to a tasty 8

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
BBQ Shrimp and Grits on Chipped Serving Dish

 

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
BBQ Shrimp and Grits

 

 

Trifecta Benedict

EGGS COCHON
Slow-cooked, apple-braised pork debris served over a buttermilk biscuit, topped with two poached eggs,finished with hollandaise

CHICKEN ST. CHARLES
Fried chicken breast served over a buttermilk biscuit,topped with two poached eggs, finished with a porktasso cream sauce

SHRIMP BOOGALOO BENEDICT
Gulf shrimp sauteed with pork tasso and creole tomato sauce served over fried green tomatoes, a buttermilk biscuit and two poached eggs

 

 

I spite of the fact that the eggs were a bit overcooked these were   8s  across the board.

Diane:

More of those lofty, salty and crisp top biscuits, they are so delicious. Since I ignore poached eggs as a rule, my focus is always on the creativity of sauces and middle stuff. I adored the Boogaloo even though it had so much going on. The fried green tomato was crispy and firm inside. This is a Must Order! 9

 

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Trifecta Benedict

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Trifecta Benedict

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Trifecta Benedict

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Trifecta Benedict

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Trifecta Benedict

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Trifecta Benedict

 

PANCAKE FLIGHT
A tasting of our specialty pancakes, including one each of Cinnamon Swirl, Bacon Praline, & our Pancake of the Day  (Cream Cheese Blueberry Danish)

 

Let me start by saying that you need to go the the rant page and read how I feel about mix pancakes. THESE were NOT from a mix. They were slightly crispy fluffy tender soft and slightly greasy just like Gramma made em. They were   8s   across the board.

Diane:

Lawdy Mama…. closest to the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted. ( David from WHISK in Chicago still wears the crown) The Cream Cheese blueberry Danish was sinful. Every bite is a “mmmmm hmmmm” 8

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Pancake Flight

The Ruby Slipper New Orleans
Pancake Flight

 

 

Elizabeths Restaurant

 

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Exterior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Exterior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Exterior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Exterior

Craziest Interior Ever. A Cajun Explosion. The music was all over the board just like this place. R&B Country Lionel Richie. And to make things worse there was radio music blasting from the kitchen. I like when people enjoy their work but the blaring side music was a bit annoying.

Diane:

It was HOT. It was LOUD. I passed on a cup of coffee due to the sticky condition my condition was in.

However, the interior was so kitschy bright and cheerful that I found myself in a great mood to be there. I am a sucker for loud and bright vinyl tablecloths. I ordered a freshly squeezed jumbo orange juice and listened to the two crude dudes behind us talk about the waitresses while perusing the smallish menu.

 

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Interior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Interior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Interior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Interior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Interior

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Interior

 

The menu was fairly smallish so it did’t take much time to make a decision.

 

 

EGGS ELIZABETH

Grilled French Bread with Ham, Poached Eggs & Hollandaise

 

 

The Grits were cheesy and buttery. A decent version    7    The eggs were near perfect    9    The Hollandaise was smooth silky and tart    8    The thinly sliced Ham was slightly charred and Hammy.    8    The french bread was crusty and lightly toasted    8    Although it was a slightly different take on your normal Bennie It wasn’t all that exciting over all. I probably wouldn’t re order it.    7    

Diane:

I can only comment on the grits since I did not try the rest. The truth is that NO is full of places that serve their own signature style of grits. These were smooth and very cheesy. 7

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Eggs Elizabeth

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Eggs Elizabeth

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Eggs Elizabeth

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Eggs Elizabeth

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Eggs Elizabeth

 

FRENCH TOAST BURRITO

Eggs, Bacon & Sausage inside a French Toast Battered Tortilla w/ Sugar and Syrup on top

This was something I had never seen before therefore I HAD to order it. I suspected that this was going to be a bomb. As it turned out it was reasonably tasty but of course the tortilla was sort of useless for a french toast device. In spite of that it earned a    7    The sausage that they used in the stuffing saved it.

Diane:

We spotted this item on the menu and were totally intrigued so ordered one. It looks very cool when Gene cut it for the purpose of taking a photo. I took a few bites but it just didn’t work. The idea was creative but dipping the tortilla in egg and browning it added no taste and depth to the dish. So-So 5

 

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
French Toast Burrito

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
French Toast Burrito

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
French Toast Burrito

 

 

DUCK WAFFLE

Corn Bread Waffle, Sweet Potato Duck Hash & Pepper Jelly

 

Shredded Duck with chunky smashed Sweet Potatoes. Sweet with a touch of heat.It was delicious. The Cornbread Waffle was Corny and tasty. This dish was pretty darn GOOD. an overall    8    

 

 

Diane:

Tasty brunch entree that should not scare you…. The waffle is sweet and full of fresh corn flavor. The duck was tender and tasty. My only disappointment was how mushy the sweet potato was in the hash. If that were corrected, this dish could be great  

I tried Chicory coffee and honestly, was not at all charmed 1

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Duck Waffle

Elizabeths Restaurant New Orleans
Duck Waffle

 

That’s it for Elizabeths a wild number 4

 

Final Stop

Jimmy J’s

 

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Exterior

 

I apologize in advance for the terrible lighting on the pics. there is no window lights and pitiful overhead bulbs.

 

We went in at opening and got Coffee of course    7    The crowd started gathering…  The menu was pretty substantial so it took a few minutes to decide. In the mean time our super friendly server Kevin kept us entertained. New Orleans Jazz music played in the background. It was pretty evident that this place was mostly filling with tourists staying in the nearby large hotels.

Diane:

This was the only place we visited in the Business District and it was very busy within 15 minutes of opening at 7am. Most of the patrons were from tour groups as they seemed to know each other. Kevin was our fun and patient waiter. The menu has so many choices, you need to concentrate on it while you sip delicious coffee. Tight quarters but comfortable chairs 8

 

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Interior

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Interior

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Interior

Diane started our journey with a Bacon Bloody Mary. In spite of the fact that I love Good ripe Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Ketchup and Catsup, I’m not a fan of Tomato Juice. In spite of that I did actually sort of enjoy this concoction. It was seasoned and spiced beautifully. I give it a shocking    8    

I like that they have a Bloody of the Day. The BBM was smoky and spicy and Gene kept sliding it over to his side of the table so you KNOW it was good 9

 

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Bacon Bloody Mary

 

Decisions were made and food was ordered

 

Eggs Lafitte

andouille crusted grit cakes with 2 poached eggs, crawfish hollandaise sauce, served with ratatouille

Hollandaise is smooth and buttery. Good but needs a bit more acid    7    The Grit cakes are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. A very tasty    8    The Eggs are near perfect    9    The Ratatouille was a good compliment and a Breakfast Gator breakfast first.    8    A good combo

Diane:

The grit cake was crispy, tender and very tasty and the ratatouille was simply perfect 9

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Eggs Lafitte

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Eggs Lafitte

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Eggs Lafitte

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Eggs Lafitte

 

 

Shrimp and Garlic Aioli French Toast

 

I never would have thought that this would have been good… but it is. The contrast of the savory Garlic and local fresh Gulf Shrimp against the backdrop of the sweet soft french toast actually works. An amazing     8  

Diane:

I believe this was one of my favorite brunch entrees while in NO, The savory custard toast with buttery garlic cream and fresh shrimp A definite reorder item 9

 

 

Pineapple Rum Raisin French Toast served with Neuske’s bacon or sausage

For some reason we didn’t get Neuske’s anything. Shame too. We did get a couple of sausage patties that were tasty. Porky and had a bit of heat. A tad overcooked    8    The French Toast was pretty close to right. The sauce was sweet but tangy This was a good combination    8    

Diane:

I was excited to hear that Jimmy’s makes their own sausage. The daily flavor was Blueberry but we opted for plain pork patty. It was very tast although a bit too crisped. The rum raisin pineapple FT was delicious and tender 8

 

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Pineapple French Toast

Jimmy J’s New Orleans
Pineapple French Toast

 

That was the last of the breakfasts.

 

Well that’s it Gators. Our journey has come to a conclusion

I have to say that we didn’t have any food on this trip that wasn’t good. From the Nola Benedict at Curio to the Steak Tartare at Coquette. All of my pre trip research paid off. Go Me

 

 

 

As for us we are off to our next adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

Savoury Cafe Bartlett Illinois

SAVOURY WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

It’s 6:00am. The opening time for Savoury Cafe. Alas they are not open yet. Soon the lights come on inside and the door is unlocked at 6:03. Ourselves and another patron go inside. I admit that I have a phobia about being late but I think that if you are going to fudge your opening time it should be on the early side.

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Al Fresco

Savoury Cafe Bartlett Holding Pen

 

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Savoury Cafe Bartlett

Coffee is served promptly by our friendly and courteous server Michelle. The Coffee is from Umbria Coffee Roasters. It was Dark Roasted and strong.   8   The only choice of artificial sweetener was the awful pink stuff.   3   

We looked over the medium large selection of stuff on the menu. It was mostly standard breakfast fare with a couple of more original options. They had a few standard Alcoholic beverages as well. The menu encouraged you to create your own Omelette, Skillet, or Crepes. You know I hate that. Giving the general public this much power over the menu just bewilders them and slows down the ordering process. A bad idea for busy weekend crowds. We discussed our choices.

The place was gold and woody. It was carpet free and also free of your standard egg or chicken pictures. There was no music but there was TV. WGN morning chatter.   6   The vibe was like a million other suburban places that I’ve been to. zzzzzzzz

Michelle kept the Coffee flowing and we finalized our plan of attack.

Diane:

Surprisingly, I was more put off by the late opening than Gene, only due to my belief that if an establishment is sloppy about not opening its doors at published open and closing times, the quality of product and service will follow suit. However, this is not the case at Savoury.

Michelle came to our table cheerful and smiling a gigantic smile.

We started off with one of their custom juices.

SAVOURY SPECIAL

Sweet potato, red apples & carrots topped w/ cinnamon

Gene:
I found this to be just OK. I think that if it had some spice to it it would have been better. Maybe some Cardamon or something   6   The custom jar was a cute touch though.
Diane:
Cute custom Mason jar nets a hefty portion of beverage however….
The smoothie tasted weak and warm , which on a plus side, made the apple and carrot flavor more pronounced, but smoothies should be freshly crisp and well chilled…. So-So stuff.  5

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Custom Juice complete with hand model Diane

 

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
A poof of Cinnamon

 

PARMA

Gene:

Served on garlic ciabatta. Poached eggs w/ lightly fried prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes, basil & chopped scallions topped w/ hollandaise.

A lot of Italians feel like cooking Prosciutto is a sin. I’m OK with it.

The Hash Browns were your garden variety frozen Hash Browns (which is fine)    6    The Hollandaise was delicious. It was bright, citrusy, and eggy. It was pretty sparse however.    8    The Ciabatta was very barely toasted and needed more garlic butter.   5   The Eggs were just a tad over. That’s better than under.    7    The Prosciutto could have been a bit warmer and crisper and more plentiful.   6   It was pretty tasty in spite of a few easily fixable things.   8   I would order this again.

Diane:

I must admit that I nibbled around the edge of this dish, so the hollandaise and sun dried tomatoes were all I can comment on. It was very attractively assembled, the crusty bread a good alternative to a ho-hum English muffin. The sauce was okay, nothing special.  

The finely grated hash browns were tender and very fresh, and nicely browned. 8

 

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Parma Benedict
Complete with Oversize Crocodile Dundee steak knife

 

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Parma Benedict

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Parma Benedict

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Parma Benedict

 

 

Loaded Potato bacon, cheddar, green onions & fried egg

Gene:

Diane spotted this on the menu and asked me if I saw it. I said WOW a breakfast baked potato! We have to try it.We ordered it up. When it arrived it magically turned into Potato Pancakes. After we got over the shock we rechecked the menu. The Item was listed in the Pancake section. It was our quest for unusual original breakfast items that conjured up a breakfast baked potato. Boy were we disappointed. As it turned out they were delicious. Crisp Tender Bacony yumminess.    8

Diane:   

I still chuckle now, over a week after visiting this spot…. how we envisioned a baked tuber on a platter dressed up with topping, sort of a breakfast Loaded Tater! Coupled with the fact that this item took a while to come out of the kitchen, Gene commented that maybe the cook had to harvest the potato from the local Community Garden 😏

I think we both laughed heartily when our server set the dish in front of us. Freshly made Potato Pancakes were the palette for the toppings,

and this item did not disappoint. The bacon chunks were smoky and chewy, the cheddar sharp and tasty. The pancakes were tender, tasty and crisped properly, definitely a repeater.  8

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Loaded Baked Potato (Pancakes)

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Loaded Baked Potato (Pancakes)

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Loaded Baked Potato (Pancakes)

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Loaded Baked Potato (Pancakes)

Tiramisu Pancakes
Gene:
For a place that calls themselves a Pancake Restaurant they don’t have a lot of flappy options. Their website shows a picture of some delicious looking pancakes with layers of smooth creamy filling. The ones we got were not filled. They had a dollop of espresso flavored cream on top but nothing in between. The creme was smooth and flavorful. The pancakes themselves had a light subtle Mocha flavor. They came off as a bit dry. The filling would have elevated this dish considerably. All in all enjoyable.    7
Diane:
Hey Readers….you know how there is an ad for a meal that makes you instantly DESIRE  that exact  food? It can be a burger, hot wings, pancakes….
You venture out and order your crave. It arrives at your table and that bright Red Happy Shiny balloon inside of you goes “POP”!!??
This dish looked fab and tasted yummy but did not live up to the picture. Although the cakes were really from scratch and fluffy mocha flavored forkfuls, there was no tiramisu filling in between them. Three or four  tablespoons slathered in between would have improved this item very much. They were tasty but dry.  6

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Tiramisu Pancakes

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Tiramisu Pancakes

Savoury Cafe Bartlett
Tiramisu Pancakes

   

Well thats it Gators.
Savoury is a decent local family restaurant that is a good addition to Bartlett. Add it to your local list of places to try.
As for us we’re off to Gator New Orleans in a few days.
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Briki Cafe Addison Illinois

  1. Briki Cafe WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

It’s LATE! 8AM! We are here a few minutes before 8 but Diane spotted that they had already opened. She went in while I took the required exterior photos and here they are…

Briki Cafe
Addison IL

Briki Cafe
Addison
Next to the Halloween store and the Skull and Thrones Hair Society
(whatever that is)

 

As it turned out they weren’t quite ready for visitors. The chairs were on the tables and the floor was being mopped. Our very friendly server Alyssa took the chairs down at the table we chose. Diane parked got menued up and ordered Coffee. I took the required interior shots and here they are…

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior
What is Diane Looking At?

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior
Cool Photos

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior
Cool Photos

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior

Briki Cafe
Addison Illinois Interior

As you can see the interior is Black Brown and white. It’s sleek modern and carpet free. They DO have “The Bench” (See rant page) but the tables are spread far enough apart that sitting next to your neighbor is not an issue here.   9   The music is contemporary coffeehouse classics. EH  7  

The coffee is a tough call. It was unlike anything Ive had. I couldn’t decide if it was quality beans with improper prep or low quality beans. It was strong but skunky   7

Diane:

The first thing I thought when we walked in was that the space was clean and open  and crisply decorated, clean floors and windows with lots of room for the staff to get around, which is nice for a change after visiting communal table places. The bathroom was shiny bleach clean too. Great start. 8

They are very relaxed yet bustle about at the same time. Once I found a well lit table, Alyssa walked up with a huge smile and menus in hand. I noticed how the staff worked together to get set up for Sunday breakfast clients, joking and chatting each other. However they all moved about on a mission. To me this is a sign of a well run establishment. Get the job done efficiently yet have fun doing it 9

There is an extensive Brunch menu as well as a listing on separate sheet of daily specials. Hot coffee was poured and found to be strong brew. They also have a specialty coffee menu with many choices of flavored lattes as well as Greek coffee. Prices noted to be reasonable. 8

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Greek Iodized Salt

  

LOUKOUMADES

Lokma (Turkish), loukoumades (Greek: λουκουμάδες, singular λουκουμάς, loukoumas), zalabyieh (Arabic: زلابية), or bāmiyeh are pastries made of deep fried dough soaked in syrup, chocolate sauce or honey, with cinnamon and sometimes sprinkled with sesame or grated walnutsThe common ancestor of Lokma varieties originates in Ottoman Empire.

 

Flavor of the month is Elvis. Peanut butter and Bacon. Hot Damn Tamale Baby!

These were crispy chewy soft tasty morsels with a super smooth peanut buttery sauce then sprinkled with smokey bacon bits. I expected much sweetness from this dish but as it turned out it was hardly sweet at all. It was actually borderline savory. It was a tasty way to start our day.   8   

Diane:

The Loukamades are on the menu, yet the dish we ordered was a special of the day… they were made fresh so plan on a 15-20 wait. The plate looked fabulous and to see the peanut butter sauce melting down the hot little morsels of fried dough made me swoon. The bacon was good quality, smoky and meaty. However there was a sweet factor missing, as the light dusting of confectioners sugar did little to counter the salty bacon/ Peanut butter sauce. I would like to see either a drizzle of good quality honey or some dark chocolate curls atop this beauty of a dish 8

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois Elvis Loukoumades

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois Elvis Loukoumades

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois Elvis Loukoumades

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois Elvis Loukoumades

 

Gene:

Along with the donuts I ordered Greek Coffee (Turkish Coffee)

 

Turkish coffee refers to a method of brewing very finely ground coffee. Any coffee bean may be used; arabica varieties are considered best, but robusta or a blend is also used. The beans must be ground to a very fine powder, which is left in the coffee when served.

Turkish coffee is made by bringing very finely ground coffee beans with water and usually sugar to the boil in a special pot called cezve. As soon as the mixture begins to froth, and before it boils over, about one-third of the coffee is distributed to individual cups; the remaining amount is returned to the fire and distributed to the cups as soon as it starts to boil. The coffee is traditionally served in a special type of small porcelain cup called a kahve finjanı.

Sugar is added to Turkish coffee while brewing, so the amount of sugar must be specified when preparing the coffee. It may be served unsweetened (Turkish: sade kahve), with little or moderate sugar (Turkish: orta şekerli), or sweet (Turkish: tatlı). Plain coffee is usually served with Turkish delight, or sometimes a piece of rock candy. It may also be spiced with cardamom.

 

It’s like Gritty Coffee Gravy. It’s almost chewy. Super Extra Strength. Not for the timid or people with heart conditions. I really enjoyed it   8    The sludge in the bottom of the cup is so strong that it could probably be mixed in a quart of hot water to make a pot of Americanos. I liked the little anise flavored cookie that was served with it.

Diane:

I don’t even deserve to rate this since I merely dipped a clean spoon into Gene’s cup to sip. This is one crazy strong beverage, as my eyes popped and I felt a zingy tingly JOLT. Only the brave can handle a cup of this brew. Tasty yet strong as hell. Gene had fun with it!

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Greek Coffee

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Coffee Sludge

 

 

Breakfast Pita

(3) Mini pitas filled with egg, gyro, onion, tomato, topped with tzatziki. Served with diced red potato.

Gene:

The mini Pita breads were fresh soft and had a good pita texture and chew. The scrambled eggs were NOT hammered. I was pleasantly surprised. The Gyro bits were seasoned perfectly. Raw red onion is a palette buster. One bite of it and all you can taste after it is onion. I kicked it all off before I took a bite. I think a bit of pickled onion would be a great substitute. The Tzatziki was killer. You could eat it alone with a spoon. Probably the best I’ve had in years.  This combination was fantastic. It was simple but well executed. A difficult thing to pull off. I would order it again in a minute.   9   The potatoes were decent. They had a touch of heat and were seasoned ok. I would have been fine without them.

Diane:

Once in awhile as we venture out to Gator a new place, we see a menu that has a few items that just stand out due to the creative combination of ingredients, or local purveyors that supply seasonal items we may not get to try again soon. We love to order these types of dishes. This was one because of the gyro with freshly made Tzatziki in a TACO….!! I love red onion sliced paper thin but agree that less is more. The symphony of flavors leave nothing more to be desired here. This was the most delicious little taco. The potatoes were very tasty and a tad spicy and a slight hint of lemon made them perfect plate for the Greek style taco 10

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Breakfast Pitas

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Breakfast Pitas

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Breakfast Pitas

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Breakfast Pitas

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Delightful Pita Bread

 

 

Saganaki Benedict

Flamed Cheese Bacon Green Onion Potatoes Hollandaise English Muffin Fruit Cup

Gene:

This is on the “Specials” menu. The Hollandaise was OK. Had a decent citrus note and was smooth and had good mouth feel. There could have been more of it.   7   The poached eggs were overcooked. I suspect sitting on top of the Saganaki cooked them. There is not much that they could do about that except serve them on the side.  7     The Muffin was well toasted. This is actually pretty rare It looked like that it was grilled.   9   The cheese was classically prepared. Lightly floured and fried. This dish was another winner.   8  It was brutally salty as Saganaki is and the Bacon was really unnecessary but I enjoyed it just the same. The fruit cup was a good match. It gives you a break from the salt. Overall an original and inventive special.

Diane:

Ahhhh Saganaki. I was introduced to it when I was an older teen working at the Prime Minister as a waitress on weekends. Coworkers disliked the pomp and circumstance with which we were trained to present this dish to customers. I loved the hot metal chafing dish, pouring brandy on top, lighting the cheese and squeezing lemon juice on it. We ordered this dish with high hopes that it would be delicious. I skipped the poached egg and English muffin but tested the Hollandaise. it was lemony and silky. This rating is for the cheese and presentation. 8

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Saganaki Benedict

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Saganaki Benedict

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Saganaki Benedict

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Saganaki Benedict
Classic Cheese Prep

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Saganaki Benedict

Briki Cafe
Toasted Muffin

Briki Cafe
Overcooked Poached Egg

Briki Cafe Addison Illinois
Saganaki Benedict
Plate Goo UGH
See Rant Page

 

Baklava Pancakes

Filled with diced baklava pieces and milk chocolate. Topped with baklava, more chocolate and honey.

Gene:

Sounds delicious doesn’t it? Well it IS!

The pancakes are light super fluffy and have an amazing honey flavor. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s just from liquid Honey. You can get powdered Honey now (I have some) and I bet that it’s involved in this dish somewhere. It has Baklava bits sprinkled on top and some elevated chocolate syrup. This is a Diabetic Coma on a plate. It’s Freakn” AMAZING   9   A definite re order. I’ve been dieting all week. I decimated my effort with this.

Diane:

Baklava is delicious yet I believe a little goes a long way, and Briki gets this one right. The cakes are not standard box mix pancakes, they are tender and light and airy. There was just a bit of baklava in the batter…..perfect so as not to conflict with the pancake taste. The baklava chunks on top and mini dark chocolate chips were a fitting finish. I cannot wait to go back and order these. 9

Briki Cafe
Baklava Pancakes

Briki Cafe
Baklava Pancakes

Briki Cafe
Baklava Pancakes

 

 

Well That’s it Gators

Briki’s is a Super Greek establishment that doesn’t try to cover up their heritage. They have a good vibe and some delicious original inventive dishes. A friendly staff and Brandon has a Handle on the operation. Briki has earned a spot on the Gator Favorites List.

Get over there.

Thanks Christine for the Suggestion .

 

As for us? We are off to our next adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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