Eat This: Brunch, Chicago Style

August 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm 3 comments

While in Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival, we managed two get in two excellent brunches. One was at Chicago stalwart Ann Sather and the other was at the hip and delicious Southport Grocery.

Menu at Ann Sather

Ann Sather has four locations, with the original one on W. Belmont having been around for over sixty years. We went to the N. Southport one and were not disappointed. Ann Sather has become a standout in the breakfast and brunch category, mostly due to their legendary cinnamon buns that have even become incorporated into the decoration on the awning outside.

Cinnamon Buns and Frosting at Ann Sather

So, when faced with ordering, one of us clearly had to get the item on the specials menu called French Toast Fantasy. Apparently trumpeted by Rachel Ray, this dish involves “marscarpone-filled cinnamon rolls, battered, grilled and topped with granola and fresh seasonal berries.”

Fantasy French Toast at Ann Sather

Fantasy French Toast at Ann Sather

We figured this would kill two birds with one stone and allow us to experience the Ann Sather cinnamon bun in a whole new way. And boy did it ever. Surprisingly, it was not too sweet, and we even wished for a little more cinnamon flavor. The marscarpone was an awesome addition, and the granola on top added a lovely crunchiness. I think granola on top of French toast should become a regular thing.

Sticky Buns at Ann Sather

As insane as this sounds, if you order this dish we still recommend getting a regular cinnamon bun or sticky bun, as that experience is pure and wonderfully delicious and should never be replaced (we’ve had it before this trip).

The next day we headed to Southport Grocery, a favorite of DevoLT’s on her annual trips to Chicago. This place is so hip and adorable it almost makes you cringe (especially when you see the wait list), but the food quickly makes up for that. The unique choices for brunch, including Sweet & Savory French Toast (“french toast layered with smoked ham & gruyere with a side of maple-mustard syrup”) and Bread Pudding Pancakes (“a pancake made with gooey bread pudding topped with cinnamon-sugar butter & a side of vanilla custard sauce”), are exciting and enticing, and they also have some great extras, like a Grown-up Pop Tart and Grilled Coffee Cake.

Grilled Coffeecake at Southport Grocery

We decided to start with the Grilled Coffee Cake, which features their homemade our cream-cinnamon-walnut coffeecake that is grilled and then filled with cream cheese. Yum! It was a little intense for the first thing to be put in our mouths that morning, but it did wake us right up! The Stuffed French Toast (“banana bread, fresh strawberry cream cheese stuffing with a strawberry champagne sauce”) sounded pretty amazing, but after yesterday’s endeavor we decided to still with eggs.

Bruschetta at Southport Grocery
Chicken Sausage at Southport Grocery

We got the Spinach-Artichoke Omelet and Bruschetta, which is actually a crostini topped with scrambled eggs with a healthy dose of bruschetta (tomatoes, onions, balsamic) and queso fresco on top. It also comes with chicken sausage but we had ours on the side. For some reason balsamic vinegar is not usually found in breakfast dishes, but this dish makes a great argument for changing that.

Spinach Artichoke Omelet at Southport Grocery

Meanwhile the Spinach Artichoke Omelet is super creamy, thanks to the use of River Valley Ranch spinach artichoke dip. So no, this was not a light omelet. And, the potatoes on the side were some of the best I’ve ever had: deliciously creamy and flavorful.

Because our curiosity got the best of us, we decided to order “The Cupcake” Pancakes. You can order just one of any of their pancakes, which is a nice way to be able to taste something. Southport Grocery has a bit of a following for their cupcakes, sold in the bakery inside. This pancake featured “the same cake you love in the vanilla cupcake topped with vanilla sugar butter & a side of maple syrup.”

"The Cupcake" Pancake at Southport Grocery

I actually thought it would be a lot more cake-y then it was–it was not just a giant top of a cupcake which is kind of what I expected. It definitely has a more pancake-y texture and the vanilla sugar butter is delicious and not heavy like frosting. So it’s decadent, but not as decadent as it could have been.

Southport Grocery market offerings

Dough mixes at Southport Grocery

Spices at Southport Grocery

Southport Grocery cupcakes and other treats

What’s cool about this place is that it is also a little gourmet market. They sell many of the items they use for dishes on the menu (like the River Valley Ranch spinach artichoke dip mix and house-made vanilla butter) and there is also a bakery with the above-mentioned cupcakes and other treats. All in all a great spot in the Lakeview area of Chi-town.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2010 Janelle Monae’s video for “Cold War”

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sweetgirl  |  August 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    great blog I will add it to my favorites.

    thanks

    Reply
  • 2. Best Brunches of 2010 « Toast 'N Jams  |  December 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    […] Every time TNJ is in Chicago we make going here a priority. Their brunch dishes are not only creative, but supremely delicious. And the decor and market are adorable to boot. For a more detailed review click here. […]

    Reply
  • 3. Top 5 French Toasts « Toast 'N Jams  |  July 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

    […] Ann Sather, Chicago, IL Ann Sather's French Toast […]

    Reply

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