Monday, June 8, 2009

Comparing Orange and Oranges

Orange, the popular brunch spot, recently opened their third northside location at Clark & Fullerton. Now, Lincoln Park residents can enjoy the same citrus-infused brunch that Lakeview and Roscoe Village residents have enjoy for years. Located walking distance from Lincoln Park Zoo and the lake, this is the perfect spot to dine before a trip to the zoo or a after a jog along the lakefront.

As the name implies, you'll find a array of orange-flavored goodies from freshly squeezed orange juice, orange-flavored coffee, and orange-rosemary french toast. Not to be missed, cinnamon roll pancakes and jelly doughnut pancakes, which are filled with homemade jelly and topped with citrus butter. Can't decide on which to order? Try their pancake flight, a weekly changing theme of pancakes. You'll get a four types of dollar-sized pancakes, each with a common theme such as this week's South American selections with guava, raspberry, passion fruit, and dulce de leche fillings.

For the sushi lover in you, Orange is also home to Frushi which is fruit served inside a flavored rice roll. If you're in the mood for eggs, try their Dr. Seuss-inspired green eggs and ham. It's a yummy blend of scrambled eggs with basil pesto, diced ham, roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella. And your kids will love the Fruity Pebbles babycakes - mini pancakes made with the popular cereal.
So which Orange is best for you? The newest location is by far the largest with seating for seventy people. The restaurant occupies two stores fronts, so twice as many people get a window view. Feel free to bring a bottle of wine or champagne, the restaurant is currently BYOB as they await their liquor license.

While the Lincoln Park location is the newest location, the Roscoe Village outpost at 2011 W. Roscoe is the only one with a liquor license. Here you can enjoy champagne or a mimosa, or their champagne flight for $11.95 which is three glasses of champagne with your choice of three juices: orange, strawberry, pineapple, or pear. Come early if you're looking for al fresco dining and you'll be lucky to nab one of just sixteen seats outside. On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, you can enjoy people-watching in this family-friendly neighborhood filled just as strollers as adults.

The original Lakeview location at 3231 N. Clark probably is still the most popular. Their biggest draw is its proximity to Wrigley Field and Clark & Belmont shopping area. You can either stop here before a game or before doing some shopping. With seating for fifty people, you'll usually find a line of people outside waiting for a table. You're best bet is to put your name down before going shopping or come at an off peak time to not wait in line.

Rumor also has it, that they will opening a fourth location in the River West area near the Funky Buddha Lounge since purchasing the bar last year. No matter which location you choose, each has a variety of tasty treats for you to enjoy. And of course I have to say this, with all these the delicious egg dishes and sweet pancake treats, it'll make you say "Orange you glad we came here".

Blues Brunch at Buddy Guy's Legends

Koko Taylor was a Chicago favorite since debuting her hit single Wang Dang Doodle in 1966. On June 3rd, Chicago Blues legend and Grammy award winner known as the "Queen of the Blues passed away. Koko Taylor was also a staple at the Chicago Blues Festival, even headlining the event last year.
With the three day festival kicking off June 12th in Grant Park, many blues clubs are throwing events to celebrate this festival. One can't possibly enjoy an all day festival on an empty stomach? We'll the one solution is to start your Blues Fest weekend at Buddy Guy's Legends for their Blues Fest Brunch. Located at 754 S. Wabash, this southside hot spot is celebrating twenty years of business and has a packed schedule for this weekend, including brunch and performances from morning till night.
Take part in Blues Fest Brunch at Buddy Guy's Legends on both Saturday June 13th and Sunday June 14th from 11am till 1pm. The cost is $15 a person. On Saturday starting at 11am, you'll have blues harmonica wizard Matthew Skoller performing during brunch. On Sunday, you'll have Chicago vocalist and guitarist Guy King performing during brunch. Log on to for information on other acts performing at Buddy Guy's Legends and information on their upcoming 20th anniversary party.
Also, The Chicago Blues Festival is free and runs June 12, 13, and 14th from 11am till 9:30pm. Check out their website for the full line line-up at

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

European Brunch in Lincoln Square

During the summer months, Lincoln Square might be more known for their beer fests than their brunch spots. The neighborhood hosts two of Chicagoland's largest beer fests, Mayfest and The German-American Fest. While most festival-goers probably don't get a chance to venture far from the festivities, this colorful Chicagoland neighborhood is not to be missed.

Lincoln Square is host to over three hundred local businesses, with a wide variety of European bakeries, cafes, and restaurants. One of the most unique places is Pannenkoeken Cafe, a mother and daughter-run breakfast and brunch spot. Before you Google it, a pannenkoeken is a traditional Dutch pancake very similar to a crepe. Currently, there are twelve different varieties of pannenkoekens on the menu ranging from bacon and Havarti cheese to chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. This seven table cafe is undoubtedly European, with the exception of some traditional choices such as omelets, oatmeal, and French toast. Pannenkoeken Cafe is located at 4757 N. Western, but make sure to stop by the ATM first, it's cash only. Also, don't expect to see a mimosa or bloody Mary on the menu, no liquor is served. Pannenkoeken Cafe is open 8am to 3pm on Saturday and Sundays, closed on Tuesdays and open 7am to 3pm every other day of the week.

If you're looking for the ultimate in Lincoln Square experiences head over to Cafe Selmarie. This family-run restaurant and bakery has been a neighborhood staple for over twenty- five years. Fans of this cafe can pick up a dessert from the bakery, enjoy an al fresco brunch, or dine inside the restaurant. Known for their savory sweets, Cafe Selmarie boasts slightly different brunch menus on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturdays, the menu offers brioche French toast, smoked salmon scramble, a breakfast burrito, corned beef hash, and a salmon club sandwich. On Sundays, you can enjoy chilaquiles casserole, Quiche Lorraine, red, white and blueberry griddlecakes, smoked salmon bagels, or steak and eggs. Saturday brunch is served 8am till 4pm and Sunday from 9am till 3pm. Cafe Selmarie is located at 4729 N. Lincoln.

If a traditional brunch buffet is calling you, then head over to Pizza D.O.C. for their Sunday special. You'll find a hearty variety of Italian and brunch favorites like pizza (of course), omelets, waffles, rosemary potatoes, sausage, bacon, poached salmon, salad, pastas, and a variety of pastries. Brunch costs $15.99 for adults and $7.99 for kids and is available Sundays only, from 11:30am to 3:00pm, call 773-784-8777 for reservations. Pizza D.O.C. is located at 2251 W. Lawrence.

If you are in Lincoln Square during the week, check out their Farmers Market every Tuesday starting June 9th from 7am till 2pm. Also, check out their Summer Concert in the Square every Thursday starting June 11th at 7:30pm in Giddings Plaza next door to Cafe Selmarie.
For more information on the restaurants, check out their websites and for daily specials and menus. Also check out for more information on festivals and events taking place in Lincoln Square.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lunchin at Lalo's

Brunch is longer reserved for Saturday & Sunday, because The Lalo's at 1960 W. Clybourn is serving it up 7 days a week. For only $6.95, you get an authentic Mexican buffet everyday from 11am - 3pm. Yep, that's right..$6.95! After seeing the giant sign in front of the restaurant, I needed to go and check this out ASAP. Yes, I've been to Lalo's before and remember that my enchiladas cost me $12.95, so I was intrigued at what $6.95 would get me?

The $6.95 lunch buffet includes: fruit salad, Caesar salad, Spanish rice, refried beans, chicken or chorizo sopes, chicken or spinach enchiladas, grilled vegetables, beef chimichangas, chicken flautas, chicken and steak fajitas, unlimited amounts of salsa, guacamole, sour cream, chips, and for dessert: bunuelos and flan. The guacamole tastes like it was just made at my table-side, the spinach enchiladas were crispy and were filled with a generous helping of spinach, and the chicken fajitas were fresh and hearty. Want to turn any weekday buffet into a Saturday night? Just add one (or two or three) of their signature margaritas to your order.

While I am sometimes skeptical of buffets, this one is exceptional. I couldn't tell the difference in taste or quality between the buffet and the cuisine they serve for dinner. If you are a fan of Mexican food, you'll definitely enjoy this fantastic brunch deal. When I spoke to Lalo's manager Juan Rodriguez, he told me the deal has been going on for roughly two months, but that it is not going away anytime soon. According to consumer based site the restaurant reviewers rate this restaurant as an "A-OK !" For more information on the local restaurant chain with over 10 locations in the Chicagoland area check out their website
Please note the only 1960 W. Clybourn is the only location with $6.95 lunch buffet 7 days a week from 11am - 3pm.
Most of the other Lalo's locations have lunch buffets and the deals go as follows:
733 W. Maxwell St., Chicago: $8.95 buffet 11:30am - 2:30pm (Mon - Friday Only)
1535 Ellinwood, Des Plaines: $8.95 buffet 11am - 2pm (Mon- Friday Only)
804 S. Oak Park, Oak Park: $6.95 buffet 11am - 2pm (Mon & Tues) and $8.95 (Wed, Thurs, & Fri)
1432 Waukegan, Glenview: $8.95 buffet 11:30am -2pm Fridays only
425 Roselle, Schaumburg: $8.95 buffet 11-3pm (Sunday through Friday, No Saturday)
4400 Fox Valley Center, Aurora: $6.95 buffet 11:30am - 2pm (Mon - Friday) and $8.95 on Sunday (No Saturday)
The following three locations do not offer lunch buffets: Midway Airport, 4126 W. 26th Street and 3110 S. Harlem in Berwyn.