Reviews of Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois

Southern Belles WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

Yes I’ve reviewed them before. this review is going to be short and sweet. This is day 5 in the new Southern Belle location. The Carpentersville area was definitely in need of a new breakfast spot. I was very happy to see them open.

Southern Belles opens at 6am 7 days a week!

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Exterior

 

This place is HUGE. You shouldn’t have to wait too long for a table. There is a couple of meeting/party rooms as well.

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Interior

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Interior

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Interior

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Interior

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Interior

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Interior

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois

 

OK let’s get going.

Our excellent server Brookney brought water, Coffee, and menus. The menu was big but not crazy big. You know how I feel about big menus. There were enough choices to please the adventurous and non adventurous alike. The Coffee was in a carafe   9   the Coffee itself was decent   7   The music was a contemporaryish mix   7

First Up

Pork Belly & Eggs

Pork Belly, (2) Eggs Any Style, Served with Hash Browns or Grits, Includes Choice of Toast or (2) Buttermilk Pancakes

This is a dish that is definitely the sum of its parts. I usually dismantle  the dish and judge each element before I decide if I like it. As it turns out this one is best served as intended. The crispy porky Pork Belly with the grit cake and poached egg was delicious.   8   

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Pork Belly and Eggs

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Pork Belly and Eggs

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Pork Belly and Eggs

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Pork Belly and Eggs

 

Second and Last up

Corned Beef Hash

House-Made Corn Beef Hash (Shredded Corned Beef, Onion, Green Pepper & Potato), (2) Eggs Any Style, Served with Hash Browns or Grits, Includes Choice of Toast or (2) Buttermilk Pancakes

House Made Corned Beef Hash is always risky. A good portion of your audience is expecting canned Corned Beef Hash and is not going to be happy with the attempt at the real deal. I of course ordered my eggs Sunny Side up for testing purposes. The Corned Beef was pretty tasty. It was seasoned well and the charred veggies were a good counterpoint to the beef. The eggs were a tad under for me but it takes an egg master to pull it off. Overall a good representation of a classic.   7/8

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Corned Beef Hash Skillet
Served in a Skillet

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Corned Beef Hash Skillet

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Corned Beef Hash Skillet

Southern Belles Carpentersville Illinois
Corned Beef Hash Skillet

 

Well that’s it kids. Short as advertised.

Welcome to my neighborhood Southern Belles

 

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

Abby’s Breakfast And Lunch St. Charles Illinois

WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

It’s a 5 degree morning. I parked outside of Abby’s and waited for them to open up. I didn’t see anyone through the window so I decided to venture out since it’s 5 minutes past opening time. Due to the frigid conditions, I hastily snapped a few exterior shots. I see a few people inside, but I didn’t see anyone enter. I checked the door. It was locked. One of the servers opened the door and informed me that this was the back door and the entrance was on the opposite side. D’OH! I Told the server (Pat) the purpose of my visit and she told me to pick a seat. I took a 4 top and put my stuff down. there really wasn’t a window seat so I knew I wasn’t going to have good lighting which is a big disappointment. I apologize in advance. The pictures are not great.

Since I came in the back door I walked through the restaurant and went out through the front door into the parking lot and took another picture.

The interior of the place is pretty neutral and is decorated with foxes a good portion of which are creations of Abby’s customers. Pretty cool. The music is a mix of classic rock, oldies, reggae, and pop.

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Back Door (LOCKED)

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Main Entrance

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Interior

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Interior

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Interior

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Interior

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Customer’s Fox Art

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Customer’s Fox Art

I came back to my table and parked. Pat started me off with Coffee and water. The coffee was decent   7   The menu states that it’s Kona.  Some of you know that I used to own a coffeehouse, was a member of the Specialty Coffee Association and quite the Coffee Geek. In my opinion Kona has that fantastic Coffee aroma but it falls short on flavor. I much prefer a good medium roast Guatemalan. Kenya AA is a great Breakfast Coffee. Costa Rican is a good everyday Coffee. OK enough Coffee talk.

Pat gave me three menus. A fairly extensive booze menu, which is becoming commonplace at breakfast joints, a cute kiddie menu, and the main menu. The main menu is relatively short which my regulars know pleases me. (See my rant page) Along with the usual cast of characters there were a couple of standouts so you know that’s what I’m going to order…

(Copied from the Menu)

WAFFLE BISCUTS AND GRAVY
A new twist on a breakfast staple. We hand craft our biscuit batter and prepare this popular dish in a waffle iron. Our homemade Andouille sausage gravy is something to tell all your friends and family about.

I ordered my egg poached

While I was waiting I met Rob the owner. A very nice guy that gave me the fairly short history of the place and also brought me a sample of their house made Bloody Mary Mix. I have to start by saying that in spite of the fact that I enjoy ALL things Tomato I do NOT enjoy Tomato juice. I was pleasantly surprised. I rather liked it. It was very tomatoie, spicy, and well seasoned. Great job Rob!   8  

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Bloody Mary Mix

 

My Entree arrived

The Gravy is Tasty. Very smooth with a fair amount of sausage. could be a bit spicier for my taste. It’s served on an unusual vehicle. A biscuit that’s cooked in the waffle iron. It was crispy on the edges and soft from the gravy in the center. I ordered the egg poached. The  menu said it came with one egg but I received 2. They were perfectly poached   9   Overall this was a delicious   8     It wasn’t an attractive dish but it made up for it in taste.

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Waffle Biscuits and Gravy
Good but not good looking

 

Next

(Copied from the Menu)

CORNED BEEF HASH & SWEET POTATOES
Abby’s own corned beef diced, mixed with fresh cubed sweet potatoes seasoned to perfection topped off with two eggs. Served with choice of toast, English muffin or pancake.

I ordered my eggs Sunnyside Up as a test and a Blueberry Pancake

I have to start with the eggs. They were cooked close to perfect. That’s 2 for 2 The chef really knows how to cook eggs.    9    This dish was delicious but quite sweet. If you’re in the mood for something savory this is not for you. The house made Corned Beef was tender and tasty.  The seasoning was on point. This was a solid    8    The Blueberry Pancake was the wrong choice. Toast would have been better. That being said, It was light, fluffy and tasty    8    They would be great on their own or with a more savory entree.

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Corned Beef Hash and Sweet Potatoes

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
Corned Beef Hash and Sweet Potatoes

Abby’s St. Charles Illinois
A Blueberry Pancake

 

That’s it Gators. Short and sweet. A good visit at Abby’s with Rob and Pat. Abby’s is a great addition to your list.

 

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

 

 

OMG (Wheaton)

 

OMG WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

It’s been a while. I had a lot  going on but I’m back. Did you miss me? Of course you did.

Some of you gators may know that I’ve reviewed OMG before.  Mary (the owner) has opened a second location. This spot is a smaller streamlined version right near the train station. It has a scaled back menu tailored to the quick bite crowd. This is probably the shortest review that I’ve done due to the fact that there isn’t a lot to review. A few sandwiches, a few scrambles, and a few extras perfectly suited for the location. It’s another cute spot. Simpler but similar decor to her big sister. The music was of the festive Christmas variety. Humbug

It’s about 6:15am Lets get going

omg-w-exterior-1-w

OMG Wheaton Exterior

No table service. It’s order at the counter. I was given the 411 by our excellent hostess Larniecia or her alias Dominique. (I failed to ask why).

OMG Wheaton Interior

OMG Wheaton
Interior

OMG Wheaton Interior

OMG Wheaton
Interior

OMG Wheaton Interior

OMG Wheaton
Interior

OMG Wheaton Interior

OMG Wheaton
Interior

OMG Wheaton Interior

OMG Wheaton
Local Artwork

OMG Wheaton Interior

OMG Wheaton
Interior

OMG Wheaton Interior

OMG Wheaton
Interior

OMG Wheaton Open Kitchen

OMG Wheaton
Open Kitchen

 

As per usual Coffee and water. The Coffee was sourced by a local supplier. I Have A Bean Coffee that believes in second chance employment. The Coffee was a medium roast which is my preference. When coffee is roasted medium to medium light you can taste the personality. It was a reasonably strong   8   

First up

Bacon Cornbread Muffin

Good and Corny  with Bacon as advertised. A touch dry but Butter fixed that issue.   8    

OMG Wheaton Bacon Cheddar Corn Bread in a muffin format

OMG Wheaton
Bacon Cheddar Corn Bread in a muffin format

OMG Wheaton Muffin Half Butter fixed the slight dryness

OMG Wheaton
Muffin Half
Butter fixed the slight dryness

 

Next

Wheaton Bowl

Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Tomato, Onion, and Swiss Cheese over Rice. Served in an environmentally friendly disposable bowl and topped with Creme Fraiche.

This is a good dish. It was flavorful and skillfully prepared by Issac.   8   

OMG Wheaton Issac busy making my bowl

OMG Wheaton
Issac busy making my bowl

OMG Wheaton Wheaton Bowl

OMG Wheaton
Wheaton Bowl

OMG Wheaton Wheaton Bowl

OMG Wheaton
Wheaton Bowl

 

In Between

Blueberry Muffin

Warm, Sweet, and stuffed with Blueberries   8   Butter wasn’t required but I asked for it because that’s how I muffin.

OMG Wheaton Blueberry Muffin

OMG Wheaton
Blueberry Muffin

OMG Wheaton Blueberry Muffin

OMG Wheaton
Blueberry Muffin

OMG Wheaton Blueberry Muffin Good Berry Ratio

OMG Wheaton
Blueberry Muffin
Good Berry Ratio

 

Lastly and Leastly

Irish Bacon Croissantwich

Some of you Gators know that I am not a big fan of sandwiches for breakfast. Unfortunately this didn’t change my mind. In all fairness to OMG they had the deck stacked against them. It was ok it just didn’t wow me.   I think it needs some sort of unique sauce   6/7   Your milage may vary.

OMG Wheaton Irish Bacon Croissandwich

OMG Wheaton
Irish Bacon Croissantwich

OMG Wheaton Irish Bacon Croissandwich

OMG Wheaton
Irish Bacon Croissantwich

OMG Wheaton Irish Bacon Croissandwich

OMG Wheaton
Irish Bacon Croissantwich

 

And that’s about it kids. I told you it was going to be short. So next time you’re in the Wheaton area give them a visit.

 

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

If you aren’t following me you should be.

Facebook-   Breakfast Gator

Instagram-   breakfastgator

gene-cartoon-2

 

 

 

Portland Oregon II

Good Morning Gators!

I’m back from my second trip from the brunch capital of the world. It was a great trip and a lot of driving. It was about 4400 miles. A lot of cows some horses and a few Llamas were seen.

Here is the results of the journey. I hope you enjoy it.

The reviews are a bit less “wordy” than normal. I didn’t want the blog to be longer than necessary.

A few  general observations about Portland.

They don’t like waking up early. A good portion of the restaurants don’t open till 9. UGH There is a line waiting at opening time. They really enjoy brunch. The Coffee is good. I didn’t have a bad cup except for the free stuff at the Motel. The prices are in line with downtown Chicago prices. I can’t refer to them as Hipsters since this is the bulk of the population. You really can dress anyway you want no matter how awful that it may seem. It’s perfectly fine in fact if you are dressed they way they dress in Downtown Chicago you are going to be the oddball. If you go bring a hat. It’s the norm. Everyone that I came in contact with was nice. Everyone there drives FAST. People getting hit by cars is shown on the the local news including impact. The highways and expressways are a snarled mess.

OK Let’s GO!

The first stop was after driving 24 hours. I may have been hallucinating but it was a good first stop.

Milo’s City Cafe

WEBSITE

Milo’s is a medium size place (at least by Portland standards). They open at an unheard of 6:30 which is when we were there. They play classic rock music   9   But they have carpet    3

Milo's Portland Exterior

Milo’s Portland
Exterior

Milo's Portland Giant Utensils

Milo’s Portland
Giant Utensils

Milo's Portland Interior

Milo’s Portland
Interior

Milo's Portland Interior

Milo’s Portland
Interior

Milo's Portland Interior

Milo’s Portland
Interior

Milo's Portland Customers and Reviews

Milo’s Portland
Customers and Reviews

 

1st Up

Fresh Dungeness Crab Cakes

Northwest crab cakes & béarnaise sauce

Bearnaise Sauce is great. Smooth Eggy with fresh Tarragon   8    Potatoes were O’Brian style. Onions Peppers. Correct salt level but a tad over brown   8    The Eggs were near perfect   9    The Crab Cake was excellent. Very crabby and not all filler   8    The English Muffin was barely toasted   3    Overall  a HIGH   8

Milo's Portland Crab Cake Benedict

Milo’s Portland
Crab Cake Benedict

Milo's Portland Crab Cake Benedict

Milo’s Portland
Crab Cake Benedict

Milo's Portland Crab Cake Benedict

Milo’s Portland
Crab Cake Benedict

Milo's Portland Crab Cake Benedict

Milo’s Portland
Crab Cake Benedict

Milo's Portland Crab Cake Benedict

Milo’s Portland
Crab Cake Benedict

 

Next

Italian Sausage & Cheddar Stuffed French Toast

Of course the French Toast wasn’t soaked long enough so it was slightly egged grilled bread.  (See rant page). The Italian Sausage was smoked sausage not legit Italian sausage. Overall tasty but not a big winner for me.   7

Milo's Italian Sausage and Cheddar French Toast

Milo’s Italian Sausage and Cheddar French Toast

Milo's Italian Sausage and Cheddar French Toast

Milo’s Italian Sausage and Cheddar French Toast

Milo's Italian Sausage and Cheddar French Toast

Milo’s Italian Sausage and Cheddar French Toast

   

Nothing on the sweet side appealed to me so I passed. So that’s it for the first stop.

 

Pine State Biscuits

WEBSITE

Biscuits Geno? Yes indeed. There is something magical about a good Biscuit. Pine State knows how to do em. It’s a sandwich place. I hear you saying “But Gator You really are not a fan of breakfast sandwiches”! It’s true I’m not a fan of sandwiches for breakfast. I really think that they are a lunch item. One of the names that kept coming up in my pre trip research was Pine State so I thought that I needed to see what it was about.

As you will see the indoor seating is limited and there is no standing room so if you don’t want to stand outside and wait you’d better get there early. It’s a cute open air carpet free farmhousie place with 70’s pop rock music and good coffee.

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Exterior

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Exterior

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Exterior Open Windows

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Exterior
Open Windows

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Exterior Open Window

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Exterior
Open Window

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Exterior View from inside

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Exterior
View from inside

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Exterior Patio

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Exterior
Patio

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Interior

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Interior

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Interior Yep that's all the seats

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Interior Yep that’s all the seats

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Interior

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Interior

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Interior

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Interior

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Biscuit Making

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Biscuit Making

 

1st up

Reggie Deluxe
The Reggie with an egg

Fried chicken, bacon & cheese topped with gravy

The Biscuit is a marvel. Crispy exterior Light fluffy interior. It’s Ligit   9    The Gravy is one of the best that I have ever had. Period. I could by a quart of this stuff and eat it with a spoon.   9   I would give it a 10 but I have never given out a 10. The Chicken was pretty tasty   7    The fried egg was cooked through. I’m generally not a fan of hard fried eggs but it worked on this sandwich.  This was an overall   9

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Reggie Deluxe

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Reggie Deluxe

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Reggie Deluxe

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Reggie Deluxe

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Reggie Deluxe

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Reggie Deluxe

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Reggie Deluxe

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Reggie Deluxe

 

Next

BBQ Biscuit
Reverends pulled pork with Carolina style bbq sauce topped with slaw

Good slaw. Fresh and crunchy. The Pulled Pork is Carolina style. Soft Tender Smokey. The Vinegar based sauce added an acid and spicy bite. Another great Biscuit.    8

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Barbecue Biscuit

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Barbecue Biscuit

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Barbecue Biscuit

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Barbecue Biscuit

 

Sweet Stuff

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Thin Light Delicious. The cornmeal adds a touch of texture and the real Maple Syrup is perfect. This is a   9    Combination.

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Pine State Biscuits
Portland Oregon
Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

On the way out to the Brekfast Mobile a very nice young man ran over thanked me for coming and handed me a Biscuit and some House Made Apple Butter. How cool is THAT? Put PSB on your must go to list.

 

Next up  The Country Cat

WEBSITE

The Country Cat interior defies description. Its sort of Country French Googie. It was super clean. It was featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Drives and I also saw the owners on an episode of Chopped.

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Exterior

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Exterior

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Exterior

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Exterior

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Interior

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Interior

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Interior

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Interior

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Interior

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Interior

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Cat Cleaver

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Cat Cleaver

 

Our server Audrey was kind, attentive and she put up with my Gatoring.

OK Let’s Go

Eggs Benedict
On a sweet cream biscuit with smoked salmon or house-cured ham, preserved lemon hollandaise & home fries

The Hollandaise. OMG Lemony and smooth as silk. The real deal   9    The Country Cat does all of their own butchery. The house made ham was on point. Smokey Clovey and not overly salted.   8    The biscuit was Fluffy and Soft. You can taste the Cream.   8    The Potatoes were seasoned perfectly but a bit tough    7    The  eggs were a bit under   6     An Overall    8  

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Benedict

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Benedict

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Benedict

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Benedict

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Benedict

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Benedict

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Benedict

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Benedict

   

Next Up

Smoked Ham Hash

with marinated cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, grilled summer squash, & a sunnyside-up egg

The cubed Ham had a great char which enhanced the smokiness of the Ham. The vegetable mix was seasoned perfectly and had a touch of heat and the fresh Herbs brightened it up. The Sunny Side Up Egg was near Perfect.    9     This was a very yummy dish    9

Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Hash

Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Hash

Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Hash

Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Hash

Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Hash

Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Hash

Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Hash

Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Hash

Country Cat Portland Oregon Ham Hash

Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Ham Hash

 

Last up

Cinnamon Swirl Challa French Toast
Dipped in bourbon custard and topped with strawberry compote, clabber cream, & maple syrup

Let me start off by suggesting you read my French Toast Rant on the Rant Page. I actually expected that this was going to be good but it was barely soaked. It was like grilled bread. The cream and compote was tasty. It’s a shame that it wasn’t proper French Toast.    It was tasty but dry    6

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

The Country Cat Portland Oregon Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

The Country Cat
Portland Oregon
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

    

That’s it for The Country Cat. A good Visit

 

GiGi’s Cafe

WEBSITE

GiGi’s is a strip mall location. It’s a small place but not by Portland standards. It’s carpet free and there is 40’s music playing.

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Exterior

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Exterior

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Exterior

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Exterior

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Interior

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Interior

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Interior

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Interior

Right after we are seated and Coffeed our server Maya brought over a couple of Waffle Bites. They were crisp fluffy and had a bit of crunch from the Pearl Sugar.    8    

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Waffle Bites

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Waffle Bites

 

My first pick was Corned Beef Hash.

Peppers, onions and horseradish cream, house potato medley and two eggs your way

I know it seems like a pretty safe choice but it’s a waffle place and has a pretty short menu. Let me start by saying that the toast was toasted well and it was buttered! A rarity. The hash was really good. It was well seasoned. It was salty and beefy. The veggies were a mix of Onions Peppers Potatoes and even some Sweet Potatoes. It may be a standard but this was a good version    8    

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Corned Beef Hash

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Corned Beef Hash

 

Next up is an Award Winning  (I forgot what it was for)

Spicy Goat – Salami, arugula, chevre, pistachios and Kelly’s jelly

It’s called Spicy Goat and yet it contains no Goat. I wasn’t sure that Salami was going to work with waffles but you know I had to try it. It was surprisingly good and interesting but NOT spicy. An overall    7

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Spicy Goat Waffle

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Spicy Goat Waffle

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Spicy Goat Waffle

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Spicy Goat Waffle

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Spicy Goat Waffle

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Spicy Goat Waffle

 

The star of this show was not on the menu. It was a special Peach Waffle. Peaches Almond Pastry Cream Whisky Carmel Sauce Blueberries and Whipped Cream. The Peaches were from a local farm. They were Fan Freakn Tastic. They were cooked slightly. They were luscious Juicy Sweet and Super Peachy. This was an Outstanding Finish. One of the best I’ve ever had.    9    ALMOST worth the drive to Portland.

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Peach Waffle

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Peach Waffle

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Peach Waffle

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Peach Waffle

GIGI's Cafe Portland Oregon Peach Waffle

GIGI’s Cafe
Portland Oregon
Peach Waffle

Thank’s a LOT GiGi’s. I’m sure that I am going to have dreams about that Peach Waffle

 

hunnymilk

WEBSITE

hunnymilk is a popup. the restaurant operates as an Italian restaurant by night. Brandon the operator uses the spot just to prep and serve Saturday and Sunday Brunch. It’s a Prix Fixe Menu. You choose a Savory a Sweet and a Beverage for your price of admission. There are a few Ala Carte items as well

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Exterior

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Exterior

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Exterior

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Exterior

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Interior

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Interior

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Interior

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Interior

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Interior

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Interior

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Interior

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Interior

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Interior

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Interior

hunnymilk Portland Oregon busywork

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
busywork

It’s pretty small for an Italian restaurant but again not small for Portland. Carpet free and soft generic music playing in the background.

One of the drink choices Hot Chocolate with Homemade Marshmallows    8     

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Hot Chocolate and house made marshmallows

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Hot Chocolate and house made marshmallows

 

They serve everything on a 1/4 sheet tray. Not a fan. Those baking sheets draw the heat out of your food.

Starter

Baked egg in a pastry puff, spinach-artichoke tapenade + mixed greens, marcona almonds, feta and sun dried tomatoes

The Egg was a bit under    6    and the pastry was a tad over but pretty tasty    7     The salad mix was good and the dressing was good as well. The salad was a bit overdressed. Overall this was a    7     

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Baked Egg Graham Cracker Waffle

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Baked Egg
Graham Cracker Waffle

 

Second

Graham cracker waffle dipped in honey butter with cheesecake mousse, chambord strawberries and brown butter bits –

The waffle was sweet and crispy. the cream was tasty.    8

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Graham Cracker Waffle

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Graham Cracker Waffle

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Graham Cracker Waffle

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Graham Cracker Waffle

   

Thirdly

Crispy pork ribs with cheesy garlic grits, slow poached egg, avocado and chimichurri sauce –

The ribs were crispy and had a decent rub. The grits with Chimichurri were good. The egg was pretty close and overall   8

 

hunnymilk crispy pork rib cheesy garlic grits, slow poached egg, avocado and chimichurri sauce

hunnymilk
crispy pork rib cheesy garlic grits, slow poached egg, avocado and chimichurri sauce

 

And Lastly

Bananas foster churro with cinnamon ice cream, nutella and bacon crumbles

It really wasn’t like a traditional Churro but it was a pretty good combination. The Churro cup was crisp light and tender.    8

hunnymilk Portland Oregon Bananas Foster Churro

hunnymilk
Portland Oregon
Bananas Foster Churro

   

This is a pretty ambitious undertaking for a young chef. He’s on the right track. with a few tweaks this will be a winner.

 

VERDIGRIS

WEBSITE

Cute place in a nice building. I actually had a reservation here. A rarity at Portland brunch spots

Country French Interior    8    Cement floors    8     Country Music    2     The music does not fit the venue

VERDIGRIS Portland Oregon Exterior

VERDIGRIS
Portland Oregon
Exterior

VERDIGRIS Portland Oregon Exterior

VERDIGRIS
Portland Oregon
Exterior

VERDIGRIS Portland Oregon Interior

VERDIGRIS
Portland Oregon
Interior

VERDIGRIS Portland Oregon Interior

VERDIGRIS
Portland Oregon
Interior

 

1

Braised Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Topped With a Fried Duck Egg

This was a good interpretation of a classic dish. Great seasoning and perfect salt level with a touch of heat. I think the heat level could have been kicked up a bit. The Duck egg was cooked pretty close. Overall a delicious    8

Verdigris Portland Oregon Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

 

Verdigris Portland Oregon Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

Verdigris Portland Oregon Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

Verdigris Portland Oregon Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Braised Chicken Gumbo with Fried Duck Egg

 

Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns Brown Butter Hollandaise

I’m usually not big on Hash Browns. Most places use commercially produced frozen potatoes which are ok but they are always dry or soaked. They lack character. I was intrigued that the offered these as an add on. I had to give them a shot. I’m glad that I did. They were crispy tender. I think that they could have used a bit more caramelization. Brown food is good. The Hollandaise was a good addition.    8  

Verdigris Portland Oregon Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns with Hollandaise

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns with Hollandaise

Verdigris Portland Oregon Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns with Hollandaise

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns with Hollandaise

Verdigris Portland Oregon Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns with Hollandaise

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns with Hollandaise

 

2

Tomato Braised Lamb

The 60 minute egg was under    5    The Lamb was super tender and the sauce was on the money. The caramelized Onions were a good addition. overall this was an excellent dish.    9     

Verdigris Portland Oregon Tomato Braised Lamb

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Tomato Braised Lamb

Verdigris Portland Oregon Tomato Braised Lamb

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Tomato Braised Lamb

Verdigris Portland Oregon Tomato Braised Lamb

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Tomato Braised Lamb

 

3

House Ricotta Pancakes

Fig Compote, Hazelnuts, Chantilly

 

Thick Crumpet like Pancakes. Surprisingly light and tasty. The fruit compote and Chantilly Cream went well with the Cakes. The addition of the toasted Hazelnuts added a good textural element. I would have loved some Maple Syrup with this  :0(   This was a good finish    8   

Verdigris Portland Oregon Ricotta Pancakes

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Ricotta Pancakes

Verdigris Portland Oregon Ricotta Pancakes

Verdigris
Portland Oregon
Ricotta Pancakes

 

 

OK Gators That wraps it up for Portland II. I’ve included a few vacation snaps below. As for me I’m off to my next and much closer adventure.

gene-cartoon-square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Big Jones Chicago

Big Jones WEBSITE

Ahhhhh Sunday morning in Andersonville. As many Dogs as People. A lot of hustle and bustle. It’s 9 O’clock. The middle of the damn day in Gator time but that’s when they open. In we go. A table by the window, water and Intelligentsia Coffee   served in an oversize mug spoon included for scale   8

Big Jones Chicago Oversize Mug

Big Jones Chicago
Oversize Mug

   

Big Jones Chicago Exterior

Big Jones Chicago
Exterior

Big Jones Chicago Exterior

Big Jones Chicago
Exterior

 

The interior was clean and rustic and carpet free. The music fit the space. Soul Blues Gospel Cajun

Big Jones Chicago Interior

Big Jones Chicago
Interior

Big Jones Chicago Interior

Big Jones Chicago
Interior

Big Jones Chicago Interior

Big Jones Chicago
Interior

Big Jones Chicago Interior

Big Jones Chicago
Interior

Big Jones Chicago Interior

Big Jones Chicago
Interior

 

The menu was a bit big for my taste but it was pretty imaginative. They make several house made bread items. I ordered one.

Sally Lunn
Believed to date from a 13th-century bakery in England, a staple in Southern cooking for centuries. Baked fresh every morning & served with honey butter and homemade preserves

Yeasty slightly chewy. Dense like a cross between brioche and Pound cake but not sweet. Was quite tasty   7  

Big Jones Chicago Sally Lunn

Big Jones Chicago
Sally Lunn

 

Our server Adolfo brought over some complimentary Beignets. Delicious puffy clouds of warm fried dough. How could you not like them.   8  

Big Jones Chicago Beignets

Big Jones Chicago
Beignets

Big Jones Chicago Beignets

Big Jones Chicago
Beignets

Big Jones Chicago Beignets

Big Jones Chicago
Beignets

 

OK down to the main events

Big Jones Benedict
House cured and smoked ham simmered in Kilgus Farmstead cream, served on a traditional farmstead biscuit with poached eggs & Potatoes O’Brien

Good Potatoes. Oniony and green peppery. Most of you know that I’m not a fan of green peppers but it worked in the potatoes. Crisp exterior soft interior. Needed a touch of salt.    8    One of the eggs was cooked pretty well and one was under.    7    The Bernaise sauce was on point. Mild Tarragon flavor and eggy.  8   The house made ham was good. Soft moist tender. Seasoned pretty well with a touch of clove   8    The Popovers were great. A great substitute for the usual boring packaged English Muffin. Eggy chewy puffy light airy and slightly crisp   9    Overall a good dish    8  

Big Jones Chicago Big Jones Benedict

Big Jones Chicago
Big Jones Benedict

Big Jones Chicago Big Jones Benedict

Big Jones Chicago
Big Jones Benedict

Big Jones Chicago Big Jones Benedict

Big Jones Chicago
Big Jones Benedict

Big Jones Chicago Big Jones Benedict

Big Jones Chicago
Big Jones Benedict

 

Summer Mushrooms
Local chanterelles and maitake mushrooms roasted with knob onions and butter, with creamy grits and a sunny duck egg 

The grits were pretty good but a little under. The Grits were Gritty    7    The gravy was tasty    8    The mushrooms were fresh and earthy    8    The Sunnyside Up Duck egg was near perfect    9     Overall a pretty good dish   7/8     

Big Jones Chicago Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago
Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago
Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago
Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago
Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago Summer Mushrooms

Big Jones Chicago
Summer Mushrooms

 

And for sweets

Blue & Raspberry Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes
Filled with coconut cream, topped with local farm berries, powdered sugar, and Caudill’s sorghum molasses

Delightful. Distinct rice flavor great coconut cream ripe super sweet raspberries. The cakes were fluffy and moist. Yummy    8

Big Jones Chicago Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

Big Jones Chicago
Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

Big Jones Chicago Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

Big Jones Chicago
Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

Big Jones Chicago Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

Big Jones Chicago
Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

Big Jones Chicago Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

Big Jones Chicago
Carolina Gold Rice Pancakes

 

That’s it Gators. A good visit. Big Jones was loud crowded and delicious.

As for me I’m off to my next adventure

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