Reviews of Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants

Oswego Family Restaurant Oswego Illinois

Good Morning Gators!

We are kicking it old school today with a visit to a 50’s Diner. We have been coming here for awhile now on a pretty consistent basis. There are a couple of places that I haunt that I’ve not reviewed. I feel like my regular spots are mine and I won’t share. I broke with that tradition with OFR as they refer to themselves. They certainly don’t need any recommendations from me as if you get there an hour after they open you’ll be standing outside waiting for a table.

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

We arrived about 15 minutes early to be sure of securing a particular table that I wanted. About 5 to 7 we got out of the BREKFST mobile, took a couple pics, and went in. Diane was greeted by Zetti our server. They had a chit chat while I took the interior shots. I returned to the table and tasted the coffee. Since I’ve been here before I already knew that although not spectacular the Intelligencia coffee they brew is certainly superior to most diners.   7   Zetti told us about the specials and we made a few instant decisions. I also told  Zetti that I want one of their spectacular (oops spoiler) Cinnamon rolls when they are ready.

This place is pretty legit. It’s a mish mash of stuff from old radios to bikes hanging from the ceiling. From classic artwork reproductions to Andy and Starsky and Hutch. I love that fact that it’s not full of forced 50’s junk. this place has it’s very own real personality. The music is provided by the radio playing one of my favorite stations. A local Aurora/Naperville station “The River” Classic Rock   9   

Diane:  When we moved to the area last Summer, G tried a few local places for breakfast, and I was not very surprised to hear his response when I eagerly asked if he enjoyed his meal. Not ever one to mince words, he would usually respond with a heavy sigh and a frown. So I was more than a bit surprised when he told me about a little place in downtown Oswego with a glimmer of hope in his dreamy brown eyes (he may be blushing about now). So on some Sundays we get up early and show up shortly after the staff to have a delicious breakfast. A giant part of their success is the way the staff makes you feel. From the get-go, you get the sense that your patronage matters. The warm yet unobtrusive waitresses keep your coffee topped off, notice if you are squinting from morning sun coming through the blinds (and adjust them accordingly), and greet everyone as they enter. I always feel valued and this place is so damn charming you feel hugged by the time you leave.  Not a fan of  diner decor, I must admit that here it is just right.  10

IMPORTANT REALITY…… bring cash as your plastic is NO good here.

 

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois
Classic Diner Advertising Revenue Generator

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois
Sugar Butler

Oswego Family Restaurant
Oswego Illinois
CASH ONLY BITCHES

The first thing we ordered was a special.

Surf and Turf Hash

Filet Shrimp Bell Peppers Tomatoes Red Onion Mushrooms Applewood Smoked Bacon Sharp Cheddar and Home Fries and eggs.

Much to our surprise the owners son delivered to us something that was going to be brand new to the menu.

Leaning tower of Biscuits

Quite a concoction. it had a whole lot of stuff going on. Classic White Sausage Gravy, Fried Chicken, Bacon, Sausage Patty, 2 Hard fried eggs and of course a couple of biscuit halves. Impaled through its heart by a metal skewer. A sloppy but amazing presentation. The Gravy is smooth and creamy but a bit under seasoned with decent amount of sausage. The Fried Chicken is Crisp and Chickenie. The Bacon is well rendered and smokey. The Sausage and Biscuit were pretty standard stuff. Although I really don’t like hard cooked fried eggs this worked perfectly in this conglomeration. Overall this was a pretty well crafted and thought out dish. As you know I had a million breakfast combos but certainly none with a plating like this. Good job Chef.    8    This will be a great menu addition and something that I would order again. Right in the middle of dissecting this the Hash arrived. I kind of suspected that this may happen. I was annoyed but tried to speed things along in my process. The tower doesn’t photograph well. You’ll have to go there and see it in person.

Diane:

Few things impress me more when dining than a table visit by the proprietor In my opinion, pride in what kind of product you produce and present, whether a automobile, a piece of art, or a culinary offering….is a key component to its quality. Nick the owner should be very proud that his kids make such an impactful part of OFR’s success.This dish was presented with a sly grin and a promise that it will soon join the rest of the menu. Delicious savory sausage gravy bathes a  kebab type plating of tender and juicy chicken breast, baking powder biscuit, smoky bacon, melts American cheese and hard cooked egg. You can rest assured I will be back and order this 9

Oswego Family Restaurant
Leaning Tower Of Biscuits

Oswego Family Restaurant
Leaning Tower Of Biscuits

Oswego Family Restaurant
Leaning Tower Of Biscuits

Oswego Family Restaurant
Leaning Tower Of Biscuits

Oswego Family Restaurant
Leaning Tower Of Biscuits

Oswego Family Restaurant
Leaning Tower Of Biscuits

Oswego Family Restaurant
Leaning Tower Of Biscuits
Egg Flaps

 

The Hash arrived

More delicious bacon. Deep fried potato nuggets that they call home fries. the veggie mix made the plate. It was tender crisp and charred. The over medium eggs were cooked to my liking. The Filet was a bit overcooked for my taste but tenderloin can take a little overcooking. the medium small shrimp were grilled as well and again for me a bit over. This was another tasty dish and again something that I would get again. A STEAL for under 10 bux. Another    8    I forgot the toast. Challah toasted well and pre buttered!    8  

Diane:

Each time I have been here with G, there is some type of Hash on the Specials board. Last visit there was Corned beef hash (Great!) Today Zetti told us that in addition to the Surf and Turf hash, Chef would be happy to craft a Salmon hash or other variations too. The portions are gigantic as well 9

Oswego Family Restaurant
Surf and Turf Hash

Oswego Family Restaurant
Surf and Turf Hash

Oswego Family Restaurant
Surf and Turf Hash

Oswego Family Restaurant
Surf and Turf Hash

Oswego Family Restaurant
Surf and Turf Hash

Oswego Family Restaurant
Surf and Turf Hash
Home Fries

Oswego Family Restaurant
Pre Buttered Challah Toast

 

 

Finally the Roll

Heaven. Soft supple sweet. Light but firm dough. The frosting tasted like it had cream cheese in it. lots of cinnamon. This roll is worth the trip all on it’s own. Go get one.    It’s probably the best you’ve ever had    9    

Diane:

There is no appropriate adjective to adequately describe this cinnamon roll. G summed it up…you need to try these. During this visit, 3-4 passersby  came in for rolls to stroll. Another huge hit 10

Oswego Family Restaurant
Cinnamon Roll

Oswego Family Restaurant
Cinnamon Roll

Oswego Family Restaurant
Cinnamon Roll

Oswego Family Restaurant
Cinnamon Roll

Oswego Family Restaurant
Cinnamon Roll

Oswego Family Restaurant
Cinnamon Roll

 

That wraps it up Gators. A  great visit to a place in a time warp. A basic breakfast spot with a few twists. Take the drive over there you’ll thank us. Oswego Family Restaurant is on the Gator favorites page.

As for us were off to our next adventure.

 

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Bonefish Grill Schaumburg Illinois

Bonefish WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

It’s in the Middle of the Afternoon around 10AM. Diane and I are waiting for them to open up. This is a Gator first. I have never been to a place so late before. If it wasn’t for the fact that they take reservations I wouldn’t be here. I was actually kind of surprised at the lack of a ton of people waiting to get in at such a late start time.

Bonefish Grill
Exterior

I can’t remember ever reviewing a corporate chain before. I am not usually interested. I was poking around looking for a new place to review and saw that they do brunch. I had a feeling that not a lot of people were aware of that fact. Bonefish is part of Blooming’ Brands that owns Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and Outback Steakhouse. 

We went inside and as usual got situated and I wandered off to take pictures. The place is just like me Big and beautiful. Modern fishy interior complete with fish art and big metal fish. Carpet free.     7     The subdued lighting is nice but for photography it sucks. Sorry in advance. The music was a mixed contemporary bag of borderline elevator.    6    

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Interior

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
OHHHHH
BARA CUDA
Oh wait you’re probably too young

 

Our very friendly server Theresa brought coffee and menus. I can smell the darkness of the Coffee. I am opposed to dark roast coffee especially for Breakfast. It bulldozes over almost all Breakfast foods. At least it wasn’t weak and wimpy.    6    There wasn’t a lot of breakfasty choices. It was a mixed bag of stuff from the Lunch/Dinner menu with a few Breakfast items. This made choosing pretty easy. There are Salt and Pepper mills on the table!    

Diane: Since I realllllly liked the fact that we could sleep in and still have plenty of time to make the opening of 10am,  I was bright and bushy tailed !! I had an old playlist queued up on my IPod and we waited for Bonefish to open their doors while lip syncing in the Gator mobile. Adrenaline pumping, we were seated toward the back where the windows were. The lighting was subdued so we made the best of it. Theresa took great care to ensure we had coffee mugs full at all times. The steel blue walls and silver accents with dark wood decor was soothing yet modern. First impression  9

   

Diane has decided that we should Booze it up this morning. They have a few bottomless offerings to help make your morning brighter. Diane opted for Blackberry Sangria and I went the Italian route with Peach Bellini. They were both good.    8    We had a visit from Steve the culinary manager. A really nice guy. We chatted about the Brunch  Bidness.

Diane: The endless $10 breakfast drinks were perfect, this being Brunch, naturally! Fruity sangria was delish. The attention to keep our glasses filled earns Theresa a 9

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Booze for Breakfast ALA Diane

 

The Hollandaise was spicy and sweet like Orange Marmalade and Cayenne Pepper. Quite tasty.    8    The Small/ Medium Fried shrimp were spiced nicely but a bit soggy from the sauce.    7    The Poached Eggs were near perfect    9    The English Muffin was standard unbuttered and barely toasted.   6    The Asparagus was good. A smidge overcooked but still tender crisp.    7    Overall this was a pretty decent starter.   7/8  

Diane: As Benedicts go, this was top rate. the BB shrimp were tasty but unfortunately the sweet tangy sauce took away their crispy crunch. The marmalade spicy sauce was very good and the steamed asparagus Spears contrasted well with the sweet bath of orange. 7

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Bang Bang Shrimp Benedict

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Bang Bang Shrimp Benedict

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Bang Bang Shrimp Benedict

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Bang Bang Shrimp Benedict

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Bang Bang Shrimp Benedict Sort of toasted English Muffin

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Bang Bang Shrimp Benedict

 

Served with Potatoes Au Gratin and Toastage

 

The potatoes were served up in ball form. I wasn’t sure that I was a fan. As it turned out it wouldn’t have mattered if they served them in a Tennis Shoe. They were fabulous. Creamy Cheesy Buttery Salty Yummy      8    The Omelette was an anomaly. It was done in the Country French Style. Really rare in Breakfast places as they require some finesse.  I haven’t seen a Country French Omelette in the last hundred omelettes Ive had. Not familiar with Omelette styles? Hmmm? Click the link! Jacques Pepin Makes Omelettes  As usual it was overcooked. Too bad. I was really excited about it and hoped it would live up to the style. It was tasty though. Crabby and Cheesy. It was topped with fresh Basil which I love. Most places skip the fresh herbage. This had the potential of being a knockout.   7/8    The toast was fairly well toasted and it was actually pre buttered!    8

Diane: French Omelettes are my favorite. Puffy poofy eggs are just not my preference. The simplicity of this dish was simply divine! Silky melted butter with lemon juice and lump crabmeat atop the eggs tasted symphonic and the sharp creamy potatoes gratin were the perfect side dish. I would order this again and again  9

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Oscar Omelette

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Oscar Omelette

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Oscar Omelette

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Oscar Omelette
Au Gratin Potato Ball

 

 

 

This dish gave me fits. It was served to us on a plate that seemed like it had been refrigerated. This would have been fine for some desert items but not for french toast. It did a great job of keeping the fresh delicious whipped cream from wilting but the Bacon was as cold as the plate. It was pretty bad.    2    The French Toast although coolish was actually delicious. It was very orangie. The bread could have been soaked longer as usual but it wasn’t dry either. Served as usual with Fakle Syrup. (Fake Maple). In spite of its shortcomings The toast was decent and the fresh whipped cream was fab.    7    

Diane:  I absolutely agree with Gene about the cold plate making the bacon inedible. So while the kitchen gets props for caring to refrigerate their serving vessel, this was not the right application. 3

But let’s get to the toast , shall we !? the long oval slices are nice. The centers were lightly custardy and the French toast was griddled to the perfect brown gold. The berries were plump and sweet and the freshly whipped cream was great to dip the toast into.  7

The bottom line is that I would visit Bonefish again. The service was warm and caring, menu diverse without being bogged down will unnecessary choices. And there was Theresa:)

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Creme Brule French Toast

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Creme Brule French Toast

Bonefish Grill Schaumburg IL
Creme Brule French Toast

Well Gators that’s another review for you. I think that Bonefish is a good addition to the other breakfast hotspots in the Burg Like Wildberry Cafe and Egg Harbor. It’s a bit upscale. A nice place for a date or to take whiney relatives. Get over there. Ask for Theresa.

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

 

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Buttermilk Naperville

Buttermilk WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

Its 6:55. I’m outside of Buttermilk Naperville taking pictures. Cold and ready to go inside. The is the new second location. The first location is in Geneva Illinois. I have been looking forward to reviewing the new place. Naperville is really lacking for good places to eat good breakfast. It’s such a breakfast desert that even the crappy places do good business. We saw them unlock the door so we went in. As you can see there were others waiting as well.

Buttermilk Naperville
Exterior Including the bright red BREKFST Mobile

Buttermilk Naperville
Exterior

Buttermilk Naperville
Exterior

We parked at a table near the window but Diane knew that I was unhappy. While I went off to take the interior shots she procured a different table. I was much happier.

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

Buttermilk Naperville
Interior

The strong scent of Bacon filled the air. The Music was a mash up of several decades. The Decor is white and medium brown with a splash of cow. Carpet Free.    8    

Somehow by magic coffee appeared. I usually have some name of some coffee supplier inserted here. I don’t today so make one up. The coffee is good however. A blend of some sort. No distinct flavor profile.    8    No artificial coffee sweetners are present. This is generally a statement by the restaurant that says “we love you so much that we don’t want to poison you. I find it ironic that they serve  Heinz catsup loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup. They have white sugar, Turbinado sugar, and Stevia. Stevia makes your coffee taste like weeds.  The Cream was in a cute mini Milk Can.

Diane:

I enjoy the crisp white n’ black Decor of the original spot, so to see dove gray walls and beechwood greybrown wood accents really made it look fresh. The chairs are this faux driftwood looking style.  The warm smiles of the hostess and servers are a good sign. I must divulge that during a non-Gator breakfast trip to the Geneva spot several months ago with Man o’ mine, sour scowls were the collective face of Buttermilk staff on that Sunday morn. I love dining where you feel the staff has fun at what they do. Music was Vance Joy and similar popfolk type tunes. Like.

Gene was long over being wee bit cranky since the lighting was not right but we settled in at a four top which was much better. A carafe of hot coffee appeared. My first time trying Stevia was a bust. Double yuck, I need to pack my Splenda next time.  Emma was so friendly and made the meal even more memorable, very patient and accommodating when I switched tables so Gene could have optimum natural light. Nice vibes here. 9

Buttermilk Naperville
Tiny Milk Can

Our delightful server Emma pointed out the specials. It didn’t take long to decide. The menu was bigger than I would have liked but I’ll live. It’s the same menu as the Geneva location. They had a reasonable sized Vegan/gluten free menu and they also had some alcohol options. The first thing we ordered was one of the specials.

 

House made cheddar corn fritters topped with smoked BBQ Brisket, Chow Chow Relish Poached Eggs, a Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce and Pork Rinds

 

Our Entree arrived in seconds.

The highlight of this dish and the reason I ordered it was to try the house made Corn Fritters. I pushed the toppings aside to reveal a Golden deep fried disc. Close to Hockey Puck size but half the thickness. I forked through it and gave it a taste. Crunchy Corney Greasy and a tad sweet. Quite good.    8    Brisket next. It was super tender seasoned beautifully and smoke kissed.     9     The eggs were a bit under.    6     The Chow Chow Relish was excellent    9    This is a great conglomeration. They need to add it to the menu.    9    A great imaginative dish. It hits all the buttons. Sweet Salt and Fat. Good job Chef. Go get this before it’s gone.

Diane:

It could not have been simpler to pick our first dish. There were four specials, and this one sounded so right. It was delivered quickly and piping hot, so Gene got right to exercising his  photography chops. Much to his chagrin, I loathe poached eggs but I love the stuff that dresses up a Bennie. The pork rind garnish added a spot of whimsy to this superb dish.  8.  The corn cake was crisp  and sweet,  with the chow chow chutney adding a nice tiny flame to the forkful of taste.  8.  The brisket was thinly carved instead of served in little chunks, which was a nice touch. 8

I agree with Gene that Chef should add this to the Bennie offerings on a more regular basis. I call the sum of all this a solid  9

Buttermilk Naperville
Chow Chow Benedict

Buttermilk Naperville
Chow Chow Benedict

Buttermilk Naperville
Chow Chow Benedict

Buttermilk Naperville
Chow Chow Benedict

Buttermilk Naperville
Chow Chow Benedict

Buttermilk Naperville
Chow Chow Benedict

Buttermilk Naperville
Chow Chow Benedict
Pork Rind Topping

 

Diane wanted what is traditionally our last course to be the next course.

Three Milks French Toast

Our version of a Tres Leche cake (french toast style) encrusted in coconut fakes and topped with cinnamon whipped cream and hazelnut syrup and a drizzle of coconut cream sauce

 

This order took a few seconds longer than the first one I’m guessing because the place started filling up. I tasted the cream topping first. Delish. Coconutty but not overly sweet. The hazelnut syrup was a sidecar. It was fake maple syrup with a slight hint of hazelnut. Eh it was ok. You know how I feel about fake maple syrup… Then there is the French Toast. Yes I know I don’t usually order it because I’m pre disposed to not like the preparation of it. This was how I felt about this. It was very tasty but inconsistently prepared. Part of it was just dry bread and part of it was soaked correctly, Soft moist and eggy. They were SO close to a big hit. In spite of the sloppy prep I enjoyed it.    8   Give this a few tweaks and it will be a 9.  Soak the bread longer and offer real Maple syrup as an up charge.

Diane:

The possibilities this dish held wooed me to want it as a second offering….toasted coconut and cinnamon whipped cream!!! The downside I see was that the crusts and surrounding bread was not nearly as custard like as the center. The coconut cream sauce was delicious so the hazelnut concoction was unnecessary.  I honestly felt as though four bites from each slice were so good, but the rest was totally not good at all. I really would like to see this prepared so the entire slice is silky.   7

Buttermilk Naperville
Three Milks French Toast

Buttermilk Naperville
Three Milks French Toast

Buttermilk Naperville
Three Milks French Toast

Buttermilk Naperville
Three Milks French Toast

Buttermilk Naperville
Three Milks French Toast
Dry Bread

Buttermilk Naperville
Three Milks French Toast
Fake but Hot Syrup

 

It’s 8:19 and the place is packing up. We placed our last order.

Stuffed Breakfast Biscuit

Homemade biscuit stufed with cherry wood smoked bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage gravy, cheddar jack cheese. Topped with more sausage gravy, cheddar, and crumbled bacon. Served with farmhouse potatoes

This technical breakfast marvel was the size of a Baseball. The gravy was smooth soft and savory. It had just a slight hint of flour taste but delicious.    8    The biscuit was more like a thin layer of bread. Iv’e never seen anything like it. It was sort of like a breakfast Calzone. Right under the surface was a layer of Heavily smoked chopped Bacon. It was perfect for this. The eggs were overcooked of course. The Farmhouse potatoes were your standard diced fried potatoes. They were embellished with cheese bacon peppers and onions. Yummy.  This engineering marvel was quite a delicious treat.      8     I would get this again.

Diane:

Its getting very noisy by 8:30am, so much so that you cannot hear your dining buddy clearly. There are many young families on this Sunday morning so I suggest  coming during the week or on Weekends at 7am sharp. IT GETS LOUD.  5

Ok now for the biscuit situation. Buttermilk has an entire segment of the menu devoted to biscuits. That’s right. We tried the mini basket with honey butter on another visit so I was jazzed to try a savory biscuit offering! It arrives with a flourish and when you lift the plate it feels as though it’s 7 pounds of food. One bite is full of egg, bacon, cheese and delicious sausage gravy surrounded by a whisper thin layer of biscuit dough 8

The farmhouse potatoes are available for all entries at a two buck upcharge, but they come with this dish.  Cubed red potatoes crisped and seasoned perfectly, with melted jack,  sautéed scallions and a dash of sausage gravy 9

My suggestion is that Buttermilk retool this dish so it’s half this size. Three hungry adults could share this and a short stack of lovely upgraded cakes and go home satiated nicely. A very tasty and hearty dish it is!

Buttermilk Naperville
Stuffed Biscuit

Buttermilk Naperville
Stuffed Biscuit

Buttermilk Naperville
Stuffed Biscuit

Buttermilk Naperville
Stuffed Biscuit
Overcooked Eggs

Buttermilk Naperville
Stuffed Biscuit
Biscuit Shell

Buttermilk Naperville
Stuffed Biscuit
Biscuit shell

Buttermilk Naperville
Stuffed Biscuit
Layer O Smokey Bacon

 

Well Gators That wraps it up. I’m pretty pumped that Naperville has a new Upscale Breakfast spot. It was a good visit and we will definitely be back. I’m going to add this to my “Best of List”

 

Get there early or wait. Your choice.

I HATE to wait. Good thing I didn’t have to

 

 

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As for us were off to our next adventure

Ovo Frito Cafe Evanston Illinois

Good Morning Gators!

 

Ovo Frito Evanston
Exterior Complete with conspicuous gas meter

 

We have another Tasty Suburban spot this morning. Michele and myself were off to the the North Shore. Evanston to be exact. Just a rock throw from Northwestern U to a place called Ovo Frito. Ovo has only been open 7 months at the time of our visit and has already amassed a fan base. Diane is having a SPA day with her offspring so I have a ride along.

We arrived early as usual and popped in right at the opening gun. The usual ritual of photos and Coffee happened. The Coffee was roasted dark and properly strong.    8     The Coffee refill process was totally unique. It was just like a Brazillian Steakhouse. There is a coaster on the table with a yes no refill side. I had Michele steal another one so I could show both sides in the photo.  No booze menu.

Ovo Frito Evanston
Brazilian Steakhouse Coffee refill ordering system

 

 

The interior is interesting. Modernish with some pretty out there eggy art embellishments.

Ovo Frito Evanston
Interior

Ovo Frito Evanston
Interior

Ovo Frito Evanston
Interior

Ovo Frito Evanston
Interior

Ovo Frito Evanston
Interior
Eggy Art

 

The place was as cold as a walk in refrigerator. I actually had to put my coat back on. The music was Mexican flavored just like the menu. It fit perfectly. Speaking of menu, it had just enough choices to make choosing difficult but not overwhelming enough for me to think that there wasn’t  a lot of ingredients hanging out in back  getting old.

We finally settled on this morning’s line up and started the process.

Number 1

Hay Mama Estos Huevos

Scrambled Eggs with crushed tortilla chips Chorizo Jalapeños Chihuahua Cheese Sour Cream and Salsa Roja

I usually cut and paste the food descriptions from the website but alas they have none.

Our server took our order and returned quickly with a delicious looking Ham Omelette. We apparently got our wires crossed or my Spanish accent was not very good and Hay Momma sounded like Ham Omelette. He whisked it away and returned in a while with the proper dish.

Ovo Frito Evanston
Hey Mama Estos Huevos
(Not Ham Omlette)

Ovo Frito Evanston
Hey Mama Estos Huevos

Ovo Frito Evanston
Hey Mama Estos Huevos

 

As soon as it arrived I saw garnishes from 2 different decades. Orange slices from the 70’s and scattered herbage from the 80’s so you regular readers know exactly what I was thinking. Hey 1975 and 1986 called. They want their Garnish back.  (Note: Michele and Diane both LIKE the Orange slice)

Ovo Frito Evanston
Delux 70’s Orange Twist

This combo was supplied with Potato cubes that they like to call Desiree Potatoes and one slice of toastage of your choosing. Sourdough in our case. The Potatoes were average. Something you can get at many places. They tasted pretty fresh and decently seasoned.    6    The Toast was toasted and of course delivered unbuttered with a side of Smuckers. (see rant page)    5

Ovo Frito Evanston
Unbuttered Toast

I’ll say on the outset that I generally don’t like scrambles. The eggs are usually overcooked and watery from the ingredients added. This was the case here as well HOWEVER the crunchy tortilla chips and the on point red sauce saved the day. It was spicy but not too. It was an overall winner for me.    8     A great score for a Scramble

Second Up

Huevos Divorciados

A  couple of fried tortillas smeared with Refried Black Beans, 2 Over Medium Eggs, Salsa Roja, Cotija Cheese, Salsa Verde, with a dollop of Sour Cream and Guacamole

The Over easy Eggs were near perfect. The red sauce is sublime. The Tortillas crunchy. It also has a green Tomatillo sauce that was killer and I’m actually not a big fan of Tomatillos. (Did you know that Tomatillos are related to the Gooseberry)? This dish rocked. I would order it again.    9  

Ovo Frito Evanston
Huevos Divorciados

Ovo Frito Evanston
Huevos Divorciados

Ovo Frito Evanston
Huevos Divorciados
Must have hated it

 

There was a few pretty standard Pancake and French Toast offerings. You know french toast is a dangerous choice (rant page) and I saw an order being delivered to a neighbor and thought it was best not to go there. I have been thinking about Pancakes this week so it was a pretty clear decision.

Berries Pancakes

Three Pancakes filled with Black and Blueberries Granola and Blackberries Coulis whipped cream and Lemon Butter.

The Pancake Batter  was obviously House Made. If not it was a fantastic imposter. The Cakes were light and puffy fluffy. Cooked thoroughly but not dry. Just the right ratio of Cake to Berries. The sprinkle of Granola added a bit of textural intrest. Top Shelf.    8/9    Fakle Syrup (Fake Maple) These would have been a solid 9 with real syrup.  Please Please offer the real stuff for an upcharge. The Lemon Butter was fresh and tasty. A winner plate.

Ovo Frito Evanston
Berries Pancakes

Ovo Frito Evanston
Berries Pancakes

Ovo Frito Evanston
Berries Pancakes

Ovo Frito Evanston
Berries Pancakes

 

OK Kids that wraps it up for our visit to Ovo Frito. Just like your unattractive cousin, not much to look at on the outside but a wonder on the inside. Next time you’re on the North Shore pay her a visit.

 

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

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Solstice Restaurant Western Springs

Solstice Restaurant WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

This morning we are off to another Suburban spot. Thats 2 in a row. This one however would be just as comfortable if it were in Logan Square.

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Exterior

We arrived in the BREKFST Mobile just shy of their 7am opening. As per standard operating procedure, I took the exterior and interior shots as Diane grabbed a table. I finished up and sat down. The only window side table is wall table with a bench. UGH (see rant page). Our server Lauren asked if we wanted something besides water to drink. I chose Coffee of course and Diane chose one of their loose tea offerings. (Roasted Almond) From Benjamin Tea Company. The coffee is from a roaster in Plainfield called Ten Drops. It was mild but good.   8    

The interior of the place is cute and small. Im quite sure that it was going to be stuffed full of Hipsters in no time. The Decor is Urban industrial. The wall art was a mix of Eggs, Plants, and Meats. The music was a mashup of current stuff with 60’s and 70’s easy rock.   8    

 

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Interior

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Ingredient Source Map

 

As you can see in the above photo they are proud of local sourcing. YES it’s good but some of you know that I really don’t care if the Chicken was born in Illinois or not.

Much to my liking the menu is short. It has a mix of standard breakfast foodstuffs and more inventive creations. Diane and I pretty quickly made some decisions.

Diane:

Full of glee that we found an intriguing Breakfast  destination in the western burbs, I kept my grousing to a minimum when Gene nudged me awake at 5:45am on this balmy 38 degree January Sunday morning.  LaGrange, Countryside, Western Springs area is my old stomping grounds (in the late 80’s and all of 90’s) and its cool to spot a gem as Solstice turns out to be. The music mix was very uplifty…a bit of soul, R&B, indie folk and 70’s pop. Gene and I both feel the the right music  is rather important to complement the personality of the restaurant

There is a decent offering of unique loose teas on the menu with names like Love, Coconut Frenzy, and Moroccan Mint. As it turns out, the Roasted Almond was served in a generous teapot. Lauren gave a mini lesson on proper steep time for my tea, and was very sweet so early in the morning. She knows the menu very well and informed us that she had tried every single thing on the menu and was very proud to share that she had been part of the team for well over a few years (they have been in business for 3 years).

 

Solstice Restaurant
Cloth Napkins

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Loose Tea

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Loose Tea

 

1

Fried Brussel Sprouts, Egg, Bacon, Sesame Seeds, Chili Glaze

A few years back there were about 6 people eating Brussel Sprouts. I was one of them. When they are prepared correctly they are delish.  The problem was that most people didn’t know what to do with them except boil them until they were very dead. Luckily they have made a strong surge in popularity due to imaginative chefs cooking them correctly. One of the great ways to cook them is in the deep fryer. We could actually smell them cooking. Chef and co owner Lucas Bumba brought them to the table and presented them to us like they were a precious gift. As it turned out they WERE. They were tender crisp fried nuggets of deliciousness. They had some house made bacon, a wonderful sweet and savory sauce that was a great compliment to the bitter sprouts. They were sprinkled with sesame seeds that they grow on the roof. OK that part isn’t true. What IS true however is the    9    Rating. The Sunny Egg was a bit under done though. A bit of a letdown for a near perfect start. This is a definite re order item.

Diane:

If brussels are on the menu, any menu, anytime of the day…I will most likely order them. Steamed with butter and salt, or baked and served with a dipping sauce…..they are just so yummy and vibrant. A vegetable that says, “hey you, I am a force to be reckoned with, and now that you are a grown up, its time you forget those long nights sitting sullen at the family table staring at your stone cold  vegetables, and give us a try!!!”  Yes indeed, these brussel sprouts spoke to us. Halved and browned nicely, with a generous sprinkling   of toasted sesame seeds and a sweet chile sauce, amazing! Smoky  and meaty bacon pieces mingled with the veggie, and Sunny egg with crispy edges sat on top. I am still thinking of this dish, a week later.   9

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Brussel Sprouts

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Brussel Sprouts

 

2

Farmers Toast

House Made Goat and Lamb Sausage House Made Jam Sous Vide Mushrooms

Again a proud introduction of the dish by the Chef

I’m no food Anthropologist but I’m pretty sure that Toast has been around since Fire and Bread were invented. Some genius Chef decided that if he made some really scrumptious toast he could get 8 or 10 bucks for it. BOOM Avocado Toast is seen on menus everywhere. These boys  Sexy Toast game is on point. The sausage is pretty spicy but not stupid. The salt level is perfect.  This interesting combination of stuff made for another rare score of   9   It was again topped with a SS Up Egg and although better than the last one still had some snotty whites.  Another reorder item.

Diane:

Wonderfully inventive interpretation of savory french toast. Aside from the underdone Sunny egg, every bite of this dish hit the mark. The homemade tri-berry jam was not too sweet, and the house sausage was tender, not tough and chewy as some patties can be. There was a nice savory TANG without the salty sausage aftertaste. The toast was tasty but a bit overdone, otherwise a very nice dish    7

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Farmers Toast

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Farmers Toast

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Farmers Toast
Hated It

 

3

Brunch Poutine, Sunny Side Up Egg, Fried Chicken, Pimento Cheese, Potatoes

Another excellent table side presentation

Iv’e had breakfast Poutine at another place that I can’t remember. Possibly in Portland. It was A more traditional Canadian style version with Mushroom gravy and a soft cooked egg. This version is an elevated rendition. I have been inspired to serve Pimento Cheese with my eggs in the future. The chicken was tangy and mostly crispy. Most of you know that I’m not big on Fried Chicken but this is a winner winner. The potatoes tasted pretty fresh not at all like most places house potatoes that seem like they have been a Hotel pan on the steam table for a week. This delight was Tangy Spicy Crunchy and Creamy.  The Egg was the only miss in this Extra Delicious HIT.    9  

Diane:

When Lucas presents each dish, you can clearly tell he really enjoys his life’s work. Not only does he describe the dish’s content, but how it is prepared. No shortcuts in this kitchen!! The fried chicken pieces were soaked in buttermilk and spices, and it was evident that extra time is taken to ensure clear and distinct flavors. I loved the potatoes, they were definitely freshly prepared. The pimento cheese sauce was smooth and lightly bathed the potatoes and chicken. I am discounting the Sunny egg because as a rule, I do not eat them.

Something I noticed about each dish we tasted is that the chefs are highly skilled at spicing in proper proportions. Each bite of each item was so flavorful, but never screamed of one essence. Specifically, flavors never battle each other for attention. The combos here JUST WORK.    9

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Poutine

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Poutine

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Poutine

 

4

Brioche French Toast , Two Eggs

Instead of the Eggs I requested Grits. I wanted to try them.

Yes I know. I can hear your telepathic thoughts. French Toast Geno? I  was feeling brave. What am I talking about? Read my French Toast musings on the rant page.

While we were waiting for the FT we were treated to a Glazed Raised Donut from Stans Donuts. I am generally not a fan of these. I prefer glazed old Fashioneds however it was tasty. One of the best I’ve had. The dough part of the donut actually had some flavor. It was amazingly light and fluffy.    7

Diane:

I loved that a SUV pulled up the one of the front parking spaces, and a woman with a cute swingy ponytail got out with four large boxes of bakery goods. Here Comes the Donut Girl , I thought. It was a delicious gift from the owner, and it was light and fluffy and good 8

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Stans Donut

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Stans Donut

 

Gene:

Lauren brought the French Toast. I tasted the Syrup first. It was real Maple Syrup. Kudos to the decision not to wimp out and serve that other junk. The FT was spiked with Nutmeg and something else that I couldn’t identify. It was fairly well soaked in the batter. It could have used a few more seconds. It was a good representation of proper french toast. Custardy and moist.    8  

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
French Toast and Grits

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
French Toast

 

The grits were above average. Extra cheezee. They needed a bit more cook time but weren’t gritty. Yummy    8

Diane:

Gene and I agreed that the French toast had a distinct nutmeg flavor but could not discern the other spice. It was not cinnamon but may have been clove. Either way, this was velvety smooth and soft inside, and the real maple syrup was heated and a nice touch.      8

The cheesy grits were aptly named. So very cheesy, possible a very sharp cheddar. They were nicely peppered and a proper complement to the sweet FT.      7

 

Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Grits

 

You know what I hated about this place? Nothing

 

Well thats it Gators. This was like Downtown quality without having to deal with the parking. The place was standing room only when we left but was mostly families. There was surprisingly zero Hipsters.

I really appreciate when restaurant owners have the drive and the passion to put out a top notch product. it’s not easy and it shows in the end result. Thanks for the hard work. I will definitely be back.

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

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Solstice Restaurant Western Springs
Diane and Menu