Craving: Brunch — from hash to waffles, sweet to savory, bloodys to mimosas
In our nearly four-year “Craving” series, we’ve covered dozens of topics — tacos, burgers, chocolate — and every meal. Well, except brunch. Yes, we gave you Chicago’s best breakfasts in 2016, but brunch is its own thing. So for the month of September, we celebrate brunch in all its glory, from deceptively simple hash that actually hides an impressive symphony of ingredients, flavors and textures, to now classic chicken and waffles, to towering bloody mary concoctions that are more meal than drink. Our list will update every weekday, so that you can plan your weekend brunch.
Carbonara and farm egg brunch pizza at Pizzeria Portofino
The last place I want to be on a weekday morning is pushing through crowds wearing matching T-shirts on Chicago’s Riverwalk; also it’s never a good sign when you show up at a restaurant 10 minutes before it opens and the place is so popular with tourists you wait 15 minutes for an outside table. But while there’s warm weather in Chicago, I urge you to land a riverside table and order the crave-worthy carbonara and farm egg brunch pizza ($18) at this newly opened Lettuce Entertain You spot. It’s not a giant pie but, between two (at most), it’s a perfect split brunch. The egg is solid and doesn’t flood and create a sink hole; the crust is thin and lightly charred; and the top (this is the best part) is a Pollock of crispy, baked bucatini noodles with salty strips of pancetta. Should you still need to eat after this, try the lovely lemon ricotta pancake in a heavy skillet. But stick with the namesake. 317 Clark St., 312-900-9018, pizzeriaportofino.com — Christopher Borrelli