Sunday, February 2, 2014

Our Brunch Excursions

We're one month into the new year. Casey and I have been on the Chris Powell carb cycling diet ... the Turbo cycle to be exact and at today's weigh in, he's 21 pounds lighter and I'm stuck at 13. I hate men. I can honestly say that I haven't cheated not one bit. No wine in 3 weeks ... seriously, that in itself is worth more than 13 lbs. I haven't been as great at the working out part as I should be but I'll be better this week ... just takes a little planning. My husband is being critical because I'm mad that the scale didn't move this week because I had surgery and had to fast for 12 hours prior and so I missed 3 meals on the program and didn't want to eat the stupid carbs the nurses wanted to feed me when I woke up from surgery. I was off on my water consumption for the day but it just doesn't seem like that should be enough to keep the scale at 13 pounds. Oh well, we'll see what happens this next week. I do feel it in my clothes. My jeans are not constricting, no muffin top .... they don't look as good as I want them to but they are comfortable and I couldn't really say that before.

So on this diet, Sunday is free day and we live to eat breakfast at a new and unusual place. I thought it would be fun to tell you about our Sunday food romps ... perhaps you will discover a new favorite.

The first weekend we went to Chief O'Neil's. Some of you might remember it as the former sight of Oinkers Bar at 3471 N. Elston in Chicago. It's really an amazing brunch but not after your first week of clean eating. There's nothing clean about the after affects and I figured out that buffets are not really the greatest thing because you can't eat as much anymore but you want to so you push yourself and let's just say, that's not a great thing. But seriously, a total shout out to Chief O'Neill's. Deliciously BIG goblet of Mimosa with a strawberry on the rim. On the buffet they have fried calamari that is amazing, fish and chips with an oh so delicious batter, Guiness cheese soup, the regular breakfast fare complete with an omelette station, tacos, homemade corned beef hash, macaroni and cheese that my husband said is to die for and a beautiful fruit and yogurt spread and the dessert bar .... is out of this world. It's a winner, I just can't do it though but for those of you who can, I highly recommend it! Oh yes, make a reservation because they often book up!

The second weekend took us to Sweet Maple Cafe at 1339 W. Taylor Street in the UIC neighborhood. My husband searched it online and we gave it a try. It's a small little place, very simple but cute and clean. The walls are distressed and you feel like you are eating in the french countryside. We waited a bit for a table but that's always to be expected for brunch on a Sunday. The little waiting area by the door got a bit crowded as we waited but it wasn't too bad. We got seated at a small table near the window. Tables were a little too close for the liking. Service was great. I was really wanting pancakes but I also LOVE grits so I had a cup of grits which really filled me up (still getting used to eating such a small amount and being filled up). I could only eat half of one pancake and had to take the rest home but it was good. Cheese grits were AHHHHHmazing. Pancakes? Not out of this world and I could have probably ordered something better but it's what I craved at the moment. It was pretty good. Other things to try on the menu still and at some point, we may go back. The Peruvian Mocha was yummy!

This week was my choice and it wasn't the best choice but it was something different. Big Jones in Andersonville. Cute atmosphere although we got a high top table near the door where it was freezing because it was all that was available. They are sort of an upscale take on southern comfort food in a bar atmosphere. It was interesting. Complimentary beignets upon being seated .... I could have just stopped there and had those for breakfast, they were delicious and sprinkled with powder sugar. I ordered a Mimosa and was disappointed at the half of a small wine glass I got. Casey ordered an extra spicy bloody mary that was served in the smallest glass I had ever seen with a bread and butter pickle and a piece of fresh okra ... ew. The alcohol was all sitting at the bottom of the glass. Way to go, bartender! I ordered Shrimp and Grits for $15 and Casey had their version of Biscuits and Gravy and we ordered a side order of two cheese biscuits. The shrimp and grits were great but those couldn't possibly disappoint me. They used itsy bitsy small shrimp which was a little disappointing since the meal was $15. I'd expect a few good size quality shrimp in the grits but they weren't bad despite the midget shrimp. The biscuits weren't southern biscuits like you would expect. They weren't terrible, just didn't live up to expectations. Casey said his biscuits and gravy were okay, the gravy was not at all spicy. He ordered a side order of bacon that didn't come until we were finished with our meal ... big bummer without any attempt on the waiter's part to make up for that. The bacon was really very good. I had a great cup of coffee in a big mug and Casey ordered a tea that was really smokey and was the absolute perfect compliment to his meal. The smokiness of the tea was so different and left you wanting more. Unfortunately they didn't have a 'to go' cup so we had to leave the remainder of the pot there. Big bummer. All in all, it was okay but for a total bill of $65, Chief O'Neills blows this place away. Definitely not a do-over.

Who knows where our next adventure will be! Stay tuned!

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