Breakfast and Brunch, Lunch, West Town, Wicker Park

Hash

Hash
Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch
Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Address: 1357 N. Western, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone Number: (773) 661-2964
Website

Price Range: $7-11
Our Rating: 4 out of 5

What We Tried: Pork Bubble and Squeak, Truffle Hash

Our Take: Another weekend, another brunch. But actually this wasn’t brunch, it was breakfast. This is an important distinction because it allowed us to go to lunch that afternoon. Ideal, if you ask me.

I digress. Hash is a cheery little spot in the heart of West Town with all the charm  of a classic 70s diner, the neighborhood vibe of your favorite childhood post-Church breakfast spot, and the “chalkboard-cool” aesthetic of a hip urban café. Though the place is small, we were seated right away. Hash uses an efficient order-at-the-counter system so even if you do have to wait, they move diners in and out pretty quickly so it won’t be long before you’re seated.

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nestled on a cozy corner in the heart of west town

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order-at-the-counter = less wait time

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yes, cookies before noon seems unhealthy, but it’s vegan sweets don’t count, right?

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avocado on the side will cost you extra, but not much at this ultra-affordable spot

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drizzle anything in truffle oil and i’m sold

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post-breakfast walk was on point

Carolyn and I decided to try one of the namesake dishes – a hash. Each hash comes with potatoes and other mix-ins topped with either one or two eggs, your way.

I opted for the Truffle Hash – perfectly crispy potatoes over sautéed kale and carrots drizzled with truffle oil and topped with two eggs, scrambled in my case. The truffle oil was definitely the key to this smooth, full-flavored dish, but the finely chopped sautéed kale and carrots were surprisingly welcome, if not traditionally desirable in an egg and potatoes dish.

Carolyn’s Pork Bubble and Squeak reminded me of pot roast with the addition of brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes – which is convenient because those are two of our favorite things. The pork shoulder was fall-apart-on-your-fork, while the mustard cream sauce added the perfect tangy zip to the otherwise classically flavored dish.

We both left satisfied, but more breakfast-full than I-can-go-without-eating-until-7pm-full – the ideal way to fuel our 5+ hour city walk!

This isn’t the place to go for your 3-hour bottomless mimosa brunch rolling 15 people deep, but if you’re looking for a fun spot to grab a quick (and cheap) breakfast, brunch, or lunch and a little piece of neighborhood in your big city life, Hash is the call.

-Meredith

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Bars, Breakfast and Brunch, Dinner, Wicker Park

Trenchermen

Trenchermen
Brunch, Dinner, Drinks
Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Address: 2039 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone Number: (773) 661-1540
Website

Price Range: $15-23 for brunch, $25-35 for dinner
Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5

What We Tried: Black Forest Ham & Gruyere Danish, Pork Flight, Pretzel Bagel, Bacon Mortadella Breakfast Sandwich, Avocado Toast, Kyle’s Breakfast Sandwich (AKA Breakfast Reuben)

Our Take: The building in which Trenchermen now resides opened during the 1920’s as the Luxor Russian Baths, a social space for hard-working immigrants to take a load off, steam, and grab a drink and bite to eat. Though the baths are long gone, many pieces of the building’s past have been incorporated into Trenchermen’s effortlessly hip Prohibition-era décor. More importantly, though, the friendly service and New American-style bistro food keep the Luxor’s “come in, stay awhile” attitude alive almost one hundred years later.

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the exterior of Trenchermen reminded us of afternoons wandering Kensington whilst studying abroad in London

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definitely coming back for drinks

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trenchermen’s prohibition era décor paired nicely with their modern take on classic dishes

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Black Forest Ham & Gruyere Danish, Mustard, Rye

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pork flight: house sausage patties, beeler’s bacon, coffee-cured bacon, link sausage

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avocado shrimp toast with soft-boiled egg on sprouted grain bread

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not your standard cantaloupe/honeydew/pineapple

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swiss & eggs (sub cheddar here), smoked pork Shoulder, caraway sauerkraut, mustard aioli

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bacon mortadella breakfast sandwich: sunny side egg, sharp cheddar, breakfast potatoes

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pretzel bagel, smoked salmon, mustard cream cheese, pickled onion, cucumber, greens

While we vowed to return for drinks and dinner before we even ordered, the food most definitely did not disappoint. The pastries were nearly impossible to choose from, but we decided to split the Black Forest & Gruyere Danish because Carolyn and I are trying to limit our refined sugars this month (we don’t want to talk about it). As a bonus, it’s fun to watch the appointed “orderer” try to pronounce gruyere. At any rate, it was a fantastic choice; the perfectly flaky exterior and soft buttery interior would have been enough, but the ham and gruyere definitely amped up this pastry.

My breakfast reuben looked nothing like I expected but was everything I wanted. Seemingly contrasting flavors married perfectly in this sandwich, with the mustard aioli tying everything together. While the crumpet-like vehicle for this sandwich seemed odd at the time, I didn’t miss my toasted rye one bit (actually, I don’t care for rye so this was pretty clutch).

Even a non-bacon lover such as myself (please don’t kill me) could see the draw to the Pork Flight. Shockingly, because I also despise coffee, the Coffee-Cured variety was my favorite. Confusing, but definite props to the chef on that one! Each portion was generous for bistro-style dining, but still not overwhelming, allowing us to walk away from the table comfortably full.

Major shout-out to Jeremiah, our friendly waiter, potential new life coach, and reason enough to make a return trip. He was able to advise us on everything from vegetarianism to the body’s use of carbohydrates (all solicited advice, mind you). He even brought over a gargantuan book on the subjects, which was both delightful and confusing in the best possible way. We will, without a doubt, be returning for brunch, dinner, drinks, and dessert. It’s only January, but I’m already betting Trenchermen will end up on our Best of the Best 2015 edition!

-Meredith

P.S. Visit Trenchermen on Wednesdays when $10 gets you a burger, a beer, popcorn, and chips/a side! Check out their Instagram for each week’s theme. We stopped in for a Pimento Cheese & Fried Okra Burger with Whole Grain Mustard Potato Salad & a Flywheel Lager, and let’s just say, we were pleased. 

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Bars, Breakfast and Brunch, Dinner, Wicker Park

Fatpour Tap Works

Fatpour Tap Works
Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Drinks

Neighborhood: West Town
Address: 2005 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone Number: (773) 698-8940
Website

Price Range: $10-17
Our Rating: 4.2 out of 5

What We Tried: Lamb Eggs Benny, The Hipster Burger, Bloody Mary

Our Take: Located in the heart of Wicker Park, Fat Pour was voted 2013’s “#1 Beer Bar in the Country” by Nightclub & Bar. With over 50 good beers on tap and a diverse, chef-driven menu, I can see why.

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The Bloody Mary, which comes with a Miller High Life (On, Wisconsin!)

The Bloody Mary, which comes with a Miller High Life (On, Wisconsin!)

The Lamb Benny

The Lamb Benny

The restaurant has a fun, lively, too-cool-to-care attitude, and the waiters all treated us as if we were regulars. While we waited for our food, we kept an eye on the Wisconsin game (note: Fat Pour is a popular Badger bar), and watched beer stream up three stories through the glass keg cooler in the center of the room.

My Bloody Mary came with a can of Miller High Life (I would expect nothing less from Wisco fans), and a spear stacked with spicy pickles and feta-stuffed olives. Though I only recently joined the Bloody Mary bandwagon, I could tell that it was a five star concoction, and I had to make a conscious effort to sip it slowly.

Since we were eating at the post-spin class, is it still brunch, is it still lunch ambivalent meal time of 1 pm, we decided to order one brunch item and one lunch item, and split the two. Between the two dishes, I preferred the hipster burger (balsamic infused, topped with arugula and roasted tomatoes), but the lamb benny was a fresh and flavorful twist on a classic, too—not at all heavy, and the right combination of ingredients.

Fat Pour’s menu is large enough that I could—and would want to—go back a dozen times without eating the same thing twice. Next time I’m looking for a game day lunch or feeling a good beer/good burger kind of Friday night, you’ll find me at Fat Pour, for sure.

-Carolyn

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