I cannot believe what I am about to do. I am about to journal a breakfast eatery. But, Gino, you said that you were going to journal ethnic restaurants only. I know. I know. But I have a problem with my food alarm and I am constantly going to some diner, cafe, restaurant, or friend’s house to whet my palate with some loving from the oven. Such as the case today when two friends and I went to a breakfast restaurant that recently opened in Chicago’s River North neighbourhood.
At the corner of Clark Street and Ontario Street, is Eggsperience at 35 W. Ontario Street. Inviting. Spacious. Well lit. All the good things that one may look for in ambience. But then you have a menu placed in front of you. Rain stops. Clouds disappear. Men place their coats over puddles so that women may walk across — only to sneer at the sheer stupidity of putting one’s coat on the ground with the expectation of getting a phone number. And you find yourself mesmerized by the selections and the smells from the open kitchen. Thinking the portions would be much like what you get when you go to most breakfast nooks, my friends and I placed casual orders for food and had to ask ourselves the question, “What in the hell were we thinking?” when the plates arrived at our table.
One friend ordered a plate that, from an optical illusion standpoint, looked to be a quarter of her size. Her plate, filled to the rims, held a rather eye-popping Mediterranean omelet and hashbrowns. The omelet was a sunny omelette of fresh spinach, tomatoes, kalamata olives and imported feta cheese. And it was enough to defeat a rugby player. The cooks had goofed up her hashbrown order, sending out a plate of regular hashbrowns instead of the gourmet hashbrowns. When the gourmet choice came, it was all over but the uh-oh. The gourmet hashbrowns had cheddar, mozzarella, onions, and green peppers in it. Even God looked down, shook his head, and declared, “There is no way that child is going to eat all of that.” Well, never doubt God because my good friend could barely put a noticeable dent in the omelet, let alone gobble the hashbrowns to completion.
My other friend ordered a banana shake that he swore tasted like bananas. I guess we can no longer assume that everyone uses powder in their shake mixes. It certainly appears that Eggsperience grew, mashed, and blended milk and bananas for the shake that my friend had. Then he had a colossal plate piled with crepes. But these were not just your plain crepes. No, they had a nice dose of apples, walnuts, and nutella. Stupid. Ridiculous. Outrageous. Delicious. All the good things. Like the Mediterranean omelet, the crepes were stretched across the plate, the edges hanging off like feet over the edge of a bed. I wonder if Goldilocks would have complained about the crepes being too hot or too cold, or if she would have gotten natural with them for being just right. Of course there would have been a rather aggressive belch afterwards, not so becoming of a lady, but it would be hard to find someone who cares after sinking their teeth into such a treat.
I opted for a Belgian waffle and got a baffling surprise. Many restaurants bring out a fluffed Eggo waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar and call it a Belgian waffle. You can hear Ta-Da after the waiter or waitress plops the plate before you. Not at Eggsperience. The waffle left very little room for the orange wedge that came with it. There was little voice in the background that screamed, “Damn! Now that is a waffle.” But I was not being modest. I also ordered a plate of scrambled eggs with cream cheese. Having had cream cheese in some eggs at another restaurant, I am hooked officially on how to get down with cream cheese in my scrambled eggs.
During this outing, I also did something different that I have not done before. I made some video recordings along with still photography of the food. I am thinking that this may be a good way to advertise, a way of adding another personal touch to the dining eggsperience. Insert sound byte of sad trombone. Yes, I know that using eggsperience in place of experience was corny. I could not resist. It was so eggcelent. And someone is now rolling his or her eyes.
The price is right. No, this is not a call for a contestant on the game show. The atmosphere is certainly great for conversation without a club feel, not as if you have to scream to talk to the person sitting across from or next to you. The service is fantastic. And the food is outstanding. A higher selling point for the restaurant is that the doors are open twenty-four hours. You heard me correctly. If you have munchies, hopefully not from smoking demon weed, or you want to fill some empty space in your belly, hop on over to 35 W. Ontario Street and see what the menu has to please your taste buds. The restaurant is certain the meet all of your eggspectations.
20 October 2010