Tag Archives: brunch

The Publican | Chicago

11 Jul

Porcine pleasure is said to reign at the Publican. Feeling peckish on a Saturday, I decided to try their Saturday brunch. I later found out that they have a renowned Sunday brunch, which is distinct from their Saturday brunch however. I spoke to a couple dining next to me, and they also informed me that their oysters are worth trying out.

******** Saturday brunch

Burton’s maple syrup-braised publican bacon. (4.75/5). Excellent bacon. An actual slab of the real stuff, which was also cured to a delicious (and it must be emphasised, not overly salty) state. The meat was tender, the fat delish.

Oeuf jeannette (baked eggs, Swiss chard, parmesan and tessa) (3.25/5). The bread was nice and crisp, and the eggs were well done. The cheese was a bit overpowering, and what looked like red cabbage was leaching was tasted like tannins into the dish. Average.

2001 vintage oak barrel aged pu-erh (started 4.5/5, rapidly deteriorated to 1.5/5). The pu-erh was surprisingly non-acidic, with a thick soupy consistency. However, that was due to the staff boiling the tea in a single pot, and not bothering to separate the tea leaves after the tea had been made. This allowed tannins from the tea leaves to leach into the tea. As the British would say, “it tasted like piss” afterward. I’m afraid if the tea was as good as it looked on the menu – and the first sip have drained the tea leaves, put the tea in a different pot, and let the tea stand without the leaves.


Kenneth’s 3 rules of tea.
A. After making the tea, put the tea in a different pot. Make sure tea leaves are drained, so less tannins emerge.
B. If you’re using a teabag, don’t leave it in after you make your tea!!! You’re going to get a papery taste otherwise (h/t Daniel Gildenlow)
C. If you can control your temperature, use sub-boiling water (90-95 degrees). I have heard 93 degrees is optimal. (h/t Taiwanese tea shop)


Verdict: The non-porcine items were a bit disappointing here. I might come back for one of their dinners/Sunday brunch – but probably not Saturday brunch.

Frontera Grill | Chicago

8 Jul

Brunch Menu

Being located 3 blocks away from Rick Bayless’s tri-conglomeration of XOCO, Frontera Grill, and Topolobampo has its perks. One thing is that good Mexican is never far away.

Rick Bayless, as a primer, was studying for a PhD in linguistics at the University of Michigan, when he moved to Meixco from 1980-1986. There, he learnt Mexican cooking, and then brought it back to Chicago. When Obama was inaugurated, Rick Bayless was apparently in the running to be White House executive chef.

I’ve been to Frontera twice now. (and XOCO 4 times). So far, I have not been disappointed.


Chilaquiles al Guajillo (5/5) – “Quick-simmered tortilla “casserole” with rustic red guajillo chile sauce, homemade crema, aged Mexican cheese (queso anejo), sunny-side up egg. Tangy baby greens.” Savory and fresh greens, great tasting sauce. Tortillas were semi-crisp – after sitting in sauce, they were a delicious mess.

Duo de Flanes (4.25/5) – “A duo of caramel custards: coconut milk-lemongrass flan with honey Manila mango salsa, plus silky Mexican vanilla. ” had a rich, sticky texture, in the region of peanut-butter stickiness. The custard cake contrasted well with the mango and wisps of coconut.


Lamb Shoulder in Black Mole (4.5/5) – “Grill-seared lamb shoulder braised in black mole, Nichols Farm potatoes, grilled calabacitas, anejo cheese.” Mole means sauce in Mexican. For this dish, I believe the “mole” here is a chocolate sauce. It was rich, and there were quite a few potatoes in the dish. It went excellently with tacos – the only minor complaint might be that the potato-lamb ratio was skewed in favour of potato.

Duck “Carnitas” Flautas (4.5/5) – “Crispy, crunchy taquitos of slow-cooked duck carnitas, (grilled white onions, garlic mojo). Tangy red chile escabeche, orange “shoots salad.”

Ceviche Trio – “Frontera Ceviche (albacore, tomato, olive), Yucatecan Ceviche (shrimp, squid, orange, cucumber), Tropical Tuna Cocktail (big eye, avocado-tomatillo, mango salsa)”
Yucatan Ceviche (4.75/5) – nice and limey, good contrast with shrimp and squid
Tropical Tuna Cocktail (5/5) – out of this world, perfectly salted avocado. Sweet mango complemented tuna perfectly
Frontera Ceviche (4/5) – another sour one.

Smoky-Creamy-Spicy Mushrooms (4.75/5) – “Brown beech, hedgehog, oyster, shiitake & black trumpet mushrooms, white sweet potato, Oaxacan pasilla crema, epazote.”

Verdict: Just go. Frontera only serves brunch on Saturdays, so it’s a once-a-week thing. Rick Bayless’s Mexican is magical.

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Yolk | Chicago

30 Jun
Address: 747 N Wells, Chicago, IL 60654
Number: (312) 787-2277
Other outlets:
South Loop
1120 S Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312.789.YOLK (9655)

355 E Ohio Street (corner of Grand & McClurg)
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-822-YOLK(9655)



The great American breakfast, which descends from the complete English breakfast, has one thing at its core – eggs.

Most American breakfast places serve a great many egg dishes – Eggs Benedict (poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce) and variants therof, omelettes, steak and eggs, french toast, eggs and potatoes, eggs done any way (laid on a hot plate to fry).

Yolk lives up to its name, by offering a few good spins on eggy dishes.
The Eggs Benedict (3.75) had a crispy muffin and well salted homefries. The substantial fruit side was nice. Overall, a decent eggs benedict. It was good enough for me to go back for breakfast two days later.

Croque Madame (4.5) , or a French toast – grilled turkey, ham sandwich with a sweet Dijon relish and a sunny side egg draped on top was an excellent and delicious sandwich well-fluffed with egg. French toast and Dijon relish went surprisingly well together.