Brunch Bunch: Prairie Grass Cafe

You know when you ask people where they live, and they say some far off burb’ and you cancel the possibility of visiting?  Well, change your mind if they live in Northbrook and grab some brunch!


Prairie Grass Cafe, conveniently located right off the expressway, will make you wanna visit your neighbor to the north.  Chef-Owner Sarah Stegner and Chef-Owner George Bumbaris, both formerly of the fancy pants Ritz Carleton, partnered to created a casual environment with local fresh food.  Stegner is also a 2 time winner of the ultra prestigious James Beard award so just think of the awesomeness of experiencing her cuisine without the abominable months’ wait of similar city joints.  Prairie Grass Cafe hosted us one lazy Sunday afternoon to see what all the fuss was about.

Family Friendly

Prairie Grass Cafe was popping with kiddos during Sunday brunch, illustrating its’ kid friendly appeal.  Stegner is a founding member of the Healthy Fare for Kids initiative which encourages restaurants to ditch the junk for children and provide them with nutritional sound menu items.  The brunch menu for kids was comprehensive and our lil’ guest of honor, Monica’s nephew, scarfed down a cheese, fruit and veggie plate.  Prairie Grass was able to work around his allergies with this dish.


One small thing for improvement: as there were so many kids, there was no high chair available.  We made due with a booster seat instead thanks to the help of our friendly wait staff but this might not have worked for a littler dude or dudette.

Looking for more than just a meal? Check out “Make Your Own Pizza” Fridays where the toppings come to the table for a more active event for your tots.

Meatless Fare

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes


Pancakes can be a ho-hum or over the top in sugar at brunch.  We flipped, however, over Prairie Grass’ fluffy light Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  The citrus flavor measured up to our preferences and added a delicate sparkle to the cakes.  Go for the gusto and add the berry flavorful rasberry sauce and creme anglaise for that WOW effect.  We also sampled the french toast and although it was decent, the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes take the taste award.



The Chilaquiles will make any tummy happy with runny soft fried eggs melting over the top of a hearty pile of cheese, crispy beany tortilla chips, guacamole and pico de gallo.

Egg White Omelette


The Egg White Omelette is chock b’gawk full of farm fresh eggs, seasonal produce and topped with avocado and pico de gallo.  We added a side of perfectly seasoned crispy potatoes to round out the meal.  This omelette is big enough for 2 people so feel free to split.


prarie garden cafe

Prairie Grass Cafe is a dessert lovers’ dream with their bountiful selection of fresh homemade treats.  Chef Sarah spoiled us sweetness with the Coconut Cream Pie (seasonal), Double Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with local berries, and Strawberry crepe with grand mariner sauce.

The standouts were the Coconut Cream Pie and Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee.  Luckily, we had a group of 6 to avoid sugar shock. 🙂


Chicagoans, if there was ever a reason to meet your suburban friends half-way, this is a reason to venture beyond the borders of our city.  Not feelin’ the brunch buzz?  Get up later for lunch or dinner at your wake up whims.


Meatless Monday: Vegan Brunch!

Re-Mix your Meatless Monday recipe list with a veg-tacular event this coming weekend: Slo’Mo Remix Brunch w/ Live Lynnette’s Lynnette Astaire Join Live Lynnette, wellness wonder woman (pictured below) for a vegan brunch sound tracked by sweet soul jams from top notch … Continue reading

Brunch Bunch at Public House Chicago


Sigh…there is nothing better than a weekend brunch.  That’s only 1 reason (although a compelling one) why we gleefully accepted an invite from Chicago Food Bloggers to network at Public House, a spot we’ve been clamoring to check out.  We rushed out, delayed as always, to River North to meet blogger pals and try the new morning grub.


Public House did not disappoint.  The space had rich wood undertones and felt roomy.  Our group was treated to a buffet style breakfast where we could snag whatever breakfast treats we liked.  It was slightly meat and sweets heavy, but the manager gladly accommodated a request for a savory veggie option, a modified meatless breakfast sammich with arugula, scrambled eggs, tomatoes and shaved red onions on a toasted sourdough boulet.


The presentation of the sweet breakfast options made us drool.  The healthier option, a parfait pint (we got pint sized version of the pint) was layered with fresh berries, greek yogurt and crunchy granola.  The doughnut french toast also featured berries but we found it a little too deep fried for our tastes.  Our top contender, however, was a warm gooey sticky bun with the perfect balance of a soft bun, drizzled vanilla icing and nuts.  Our waitress was kind enough to sneak us another one after the buffet had been ravaged.




We were happy to stuff our mouths full of sticky bun and listen contently while  our energetic table mates debated about the next hot foodie trends.


Thanks to Public House for hosting us!  Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes our next on our Public House hit list :).


New to our Brunch Bunch: La Grande Vie

There is nothing better than Sunday brunch.  Even better is not waiting for Sunday brunch…a very rare thing in Chicago, much like unicorns.  When we arrived to the Gold Coast to get the scoop on La Grande Vie’s brunch service, we were a bit perplexed on how to enter as it is situated in a apartment building.  Once we jumbled our way in, we were intrigued by the loungey space and gorgeous chandelier hanging over the entryway.

La Grande Vie

La Grande Vie located in Chicago’s Gold Coast

Great atmosphere: Check!

We were immediately greeted, seated and whisked away to some awesome veggie brunch choices.

We started first with the LGV Panini, sans Ham, with creamy avocado, swiss, scrambled eggs and roasted tomatoes.  The panini was big enough for us to split and came with slightly spicy, crispy potatoes.


Next came the Frittata with asparagus, red pepper, onions, and cheddar, a solid and hearty dish but not as tempting as our other offerings.  Dipping the egg and hidden potatoes into La Grande Vie’s homemade fresh sweet and chunky ketchup made this dish more interesting.



The absolutely best part of our experience was the Orange French Toast with orange compote and triple sec maple syrup.  We need to preface this with an important point.  Neither one of us is bowled over by orange flavored breakfast goods but La Grande Vie got this dish supremely right.  It has all the right french (toast) curves.  The bread was crunchy on the outside and delectably soft and custard-y inside and our pick for one of THE BEST FRENCH TOASTS in the city.  The marmalade like topping was very mild and complementary.  A bigger surprise was the candied orange peel with it’s refreshing juicy pop of citrus that added a contrasting flavor profile.  Aww man, now we are thinking about this french toast at 9:37 at night and wishing it was here to comfort us in this polar vortex.



Fabulous Food: Check!

Cameron, our waiter, was both attentive and helpful throughout our meal.  We liked that nobody hovered and bothered us while we ate but we also didn’t feel ignored.  During our stay, we noticed a separate room with a party popping in it.  There was a networking event for gay men going on but unfortunately, we couldn’t really sneak in unnoticed.  Mark Buot, general manager, explained that La Grande Vie was trying it’s hand at new events.  The room is also available for no charge if you need a spot for a swanky baby or bridal shower.

Satisfying Service: Check!

We’re a little bummed that it’s Monday but hey, at least we made it through Monday and that’s only 5 more days til brunch comes back around.  Has anyone else experienced the culinary delights of La Grande Vie?  If not, get over there..and grab us some french toast in case we can’t get out snowy driveways.