brunch for a crowd

Last Saturday Miss Fats put on her social chair hat (yes, that position is real) and threw a brunch for a crowd.  Her task was to feed between 20 and 30 people following a boozy department party the night before.  Since Miss Fats attended the prior night’s festivities, she wanted to keep morning cooking duties to a minimum.  BUT that doesn’t mean she wasn’t all about a spread.


Clearly Miss Fats opted for the excessive cheese and meat platters.  Who doesn’t love a wide variety of cured meats and creamy cheeses?

IMG_2064Epic cheese plate. Miss Fats doesn’t really know that much about selecting cheeses, so she basically just went for one of every animal.  And since she wasn’t paying for it, obviously fancy jam had to happen.  Thanks to her brilliant friend, Miss Fats now knows the beauty of blue cheese and Bon Maman cherry preserves.

IMG_2059Yeah you know you want that salty porky goodness following a night of too much wine and department nonsense.

IMG_2055Along with some bowls of salted almonds, pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe and papaya, this end of the table featured all of Miss Fats cooking additions.  In the early morning hours she whipped up two quiche lorainnes, a batch of her patented peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (not sure the reasoning behind that menu addition), and some of that crazy delicious buttery lemon cream cheese coffee cake she told you all about last week.

IMG_2056Now there’s no way Miss Fats could have done this on her own, and she is no drink expert, so she handed bar duty off to her co-social chair who turned it out.  They had the good orange juice (no concentrate for Miss Fats), bellinis, and bloody marys (and of course a TON of coffee).

Miss Fats considers this brunch to be a big success.  Plenty of food for their large hungry crowd and even some leftovers for post party snacking.  It’s hard to say what the final budget came to (this was thrown in conjunction with the department Oscar party), but she’d say somewhere around $150-75 for everything (including alcohol!).  Miss Fats enjoyed this little get together, but can’t say she’ll be throwing any more of these big brunches any time soon:she prefers to leave brunch to the professionals.  She resembled this sleepy kitty afterwards:


Brunching at Nightwood + Sunday Sundaes at George’s

Team Miss Fats hasn’t spent much time in Pilsen, so they were excited to venture into this neighborhood to get their brunch on. (Though they fully recognize this brunch is a NOT a representation of Pilsen’s excellent Mexican restaurants.  THEY WILL BE BACK FOR MEXICAN BREAKFAST. DO NOT WORRY.)  Nightwood has been at the top of their lists for a while, but is way far out of their price range.  But per Miss Fats’ style, brunch is always an option.

And what could make Miss Fats more excited?  Surprises.  Nightwood does not have a set menu and changes their options every week, so they only had a vague idea of what they were in for.  Look at the super cute hand written menus:


Miss Fats thought listing just “fried skin” (what animal? who cares.) as an ingredient was pretty dope.  Game on, Nightwood.


Bacon butterscotch donut

J: Having had an extremely unpleasant experience with the Maple Bacon Manhattan at The Southern, Miss Fats avoids bacon in places where bacon shouldn’t go. Actually, Miss Fats generally never eats bacon, and doesn’t understand why it’s such a thing. (Go ahead, lose all respect for Miss Fats as a person right now. Go ahead!!! She’s used to it.) This wasn’t half bad though. Except when her “better half” dropped the last bite on the floor. Doof.

M: Miss Fats is just going to say it: this is the best donut in Chicago.  (Maybe even one of the best things in the city.) Hands down.  Fuck. No words. SALT. SWEET. CRISPY. SOFT.  Miss Fats isn’t even sure how to go about describing this incredible treat.  It was literally the most heavenly contrast between the soft, fluffy cake center and crisp tender outside that was smothered in butterscotch glaze.  Don’t even get her started on the crispy bacon goodness. BEST.  This is the stuff of dreams.  Which turned into a nightmare when she dropped the last bite:




Chocolate cherry cashew donut

J: This was a pretty great donut. There wasn’t really a detectable cherry flavor, it was more like the very very distant memory of a chocolate-covered cherry. Both of the donuts came with three tiny donut babies. Free baby donuts! Miss Fats really likes when food comes with extra food, like how when you order a Bloody Mary you get a free surprise snack. Sometimes it’s celery, sometimes it’s cheese-stuffed olives, you never know! Sometimes you order a donut and you get donut babies! The only bad part about the choco donut is when Miss Fats dropped one of the cinnamon-sugar babies on the floor. Doof. (see above if you want to cry again.)


M: Again: donut bliss. Miss Fats is such a huge fan of donuts she’s not sure this is even a fair subject to discuss.  And what’s basically the only thing Miss Fats loves more than fried dough? CHOCOLATE.  So obviously she was all over this shit.  Usually chocolate donuts are a little too sweet with their glaze, but this shit was filled with the tastiest, perfectly salted ganache.  She agrees with the other Miss Fats, however.  No cherry.  She wishes they had just omitted the flavor from the description or thrown a heaping spoonful of tart cherry preserves right on top.


Hello! I am cherry sales-kitten and I can help!


Wood-grilled Butcher + Larder Polish sausage, sauerkraut, neon relish, peppers & onions, runny egg

M: This was Nightwood’s cracked out version of a polish sausage complete with Chicago’s token neon green relish.  Miss Fats seriously struggled to get this monster into her mouth, but once she did, she was all about it.  The sausage was so tasty: perfectly tender and full of porky flavor that wasn’t over powered by spices (sausage often has too much fennel seed for Miss Fats).  Obviously this paired well with the sauerkraut and runny egg: two ingredients that cannot fail.


Pure joy.

J: What M actually said about this dish was, “I’M INTO YOU,” while pointing at it with her fork. Miss Fats forgot the sausage came with all that sauerkrauty gloop. Not a huge fan. It overwhelmed all the other flavors. Stupid bossy sauerkraut. But look at that eggsplosion! Best!


Bagel sandwich – Rushing Water’s smoked trout cream cheese, slaw, bacon, an over-easy egg and tots

M: This was a very tasty bagel sandwich.  The crispy bagel (Miss Fats needs to eat more bagels) and crunchy bacon were paired with mustardy sauciness and (always appreciated) runny egg.  Despite fully enjoying this dish, Miss Fats is disappointed to report the lack of smoked trout flavor.  She is ALWAYS excited about the prospect of smoked trout (there may not be a better smoked fish) and could not wait to get her salty-fishy cream cheese on.  However the shmear fell short: little-to-no fish flavor.  Still a damn good sandwich, but she was all excited about that trout! Guess Miss Fats’ fish luck ran out.

J: The fish luck didn’t run out! We just transferred some of it for ultra convenient parking spaces and ice cream luck. The bagel sammy was better than the sausage, but Miss Fats had to remove some of the bacon, because you just shouldn’t do surf n turf n egg like this. TOO MANY ANIMALS. It was too much!!! Miss Fats got spoiled with the ginorm serving of smoked fish they received at Jam, so the cream cheese did seem lackluster in comparison. None of this really matters though, because have a look at these breakfast potatoes….


tater tots

M: Ok these tater tots deserve a post all in their own.  Miss Fats could probably spend a full twenty minutes describing these to you.  Supposedly tater tots are a “food trend” now, but team Miss Fats has been munching on these suckers since birth.  Well maybe not these gourmet tots.  Nightwood’s tater tots were perfectly soft and tender inside and crazy crunchy deliciousness on the outside.  BALANCE. (Insert nonsense food talk about texture.)   This shit celebrated that potato.  Though Miss Fats will continue to order tater tots whenever she enters a bar, she will always remember just how good a tot can be.  And then probably run home and make a rez for brunch at Nightwood.

J: New plan is to contact chefs from Nightwood, Little Goat, and Jam, and have them make a mashed potato out of the Jam potatoes, then apply a Nightwood crispy filter and tempura fry them like Little Goat. It would be the best. The. Best. Ever. These were so so so so so ridiculously crispy. Each entree came with three of these golf-ball sized tater gems, but Miss Fats would have happily eaten a pile of these on their own, maybe with some different dipping sauces. #dreams
Oh yeah, and the fine staff at Nightwood kept our coffee cups FULL. So they get 10/10 coffee points from Miss Fats. Which is important. Coffee points are better than brownie points.


Miss Fats wanted to take a nap after this, but instead WAS AWESOME AND WENT ON MORE ADVENTURES.

Cut to Andersonville.  (Don’t ask why we made this jump.  Just know that some serious appetite was created in the process. Aka sitting in traffic listening to Top 40 and wishing we were at the Chinese New Year parade.)


George’s – A new instant favorite for Miss Fats! George’s offers more options and amazing flavors than anywhere else around, with super cute chalkboard drawings & vintage photos with funny captions. And a photo of a raccoon eating ice cream with a bear or something. Yes please.


How Miss Fats felt after they conquered George’s.


coconut, birthday cake, horchata ice cream

J: This was a greedy combination of three flavors. Miss Fats could not decide between these three, pistachio nut, “Kitty Kitty Bang Bang” (a cheesecake ice cream with raspberry ripple, Oreo and chocolate chunks), and a raspberry soy ice cream that looked pretty darn yums. Unfortch, George’s doesn’t offer a size option for “Insane Gluttonous Food Bloggers Who Think They Can Justify Eating ALL The Ice Cream Because They’re Going To Write About It Later,” so Miss Fats had to choose.
The coconut would have been great on its own, as would the horchata, they were both subtle, rich, and got lost in the birthday cake wonderfulness. Miss Fats is a big fan of super tacky ‘party cake’ flavored ice cream, this was just like, THAT, but made out of REAL food ingredients. And had windex-blue swirlies in it! George’s horchata flavor was maybe a little bit too subtle for us, the cinnamon rice-milk gelato at Cafe Spiaggia really hit a better balance with their spices. Overall, Miss Fats found everything they tried at George’s to be better than Baume & Brix’s Fish Cream. SHOCKING!

IMG_20051 scoop Heaps of Love: oreos, pecans, caramel, chocolate ripple, cookie dough in vanilla ice cream; 1 scoop Yippie Skippie: peanut butter cups, caramel ripple, and more crack Miss Fats cannot remember; topped with hot fudge and peanut butter

M: Miss Fats fears she may have just given you a sugar attack just by listing those ingredients.  This was literally the most indulgent chocolate-cookie-peanut butter-caramel crazy time that Miss Fats has ever had.  It was someone gave her free reign and asked her to list all her favorite sweet treats and shoved them into a sundae.  She’d like to think that her six year old self dreamed this one up, but let’s get real: this is pure adult Miss Fats.  Not even child Miss Fats would have even gone this far.  And boy was that good.  While picking flavors Miss Fats was faced with her usual crisis: top with hot fudge or peanut butter??  She asked the kind woman at George’s which to do, and she made the reasonable rec to go with fudge… and THEN TOPPED IT WITH BOTH.  WIN. It was like every spoon full was a new treat: Miss Fats spent most bites exclaiming what new discovery she’d made.  This sundae is purely for chocoholic professionals.  Beware of choco-salty-sweet flavor explosion.

Hey, it also turns out it was the one month anniversary of Miss Fats! Four weeks ago Miss Fats was enjoying/taking unprofessional photos of some sundaes on a Sunday… and Sunday Sundaes was born. Miss Fats didn’t realize this till they were deep in the middle of today’s ice cream divertissement and had a bit of deja vu. Yay Team Miss Fats!!!


cat art from the Andersonville Galleria, where there were no treats. but that’s a story for a different day…

galentines part 2: JAM + Bang Bang Pie Shop

Miss Fats did galentines RIGHT.  Newly mobile, team Miss Fats got themselves up to Logan Square. the inaccessible [at least from where Miss Fats lives] mecca of hip[ster] food in Chicago.  Top of their list: Jam and Bang Bang Pie Shop.  Since they rarely make it this far north, Miss Fats was NOT going to let this opportunity got to waste.  4 course brunch, followed by pie dessert/dinners to-go. Get ready for some serious eats.

IMG_1933Appetizer: half order of the “waffle of the day-” thyme waffle, with double fried chicken breast

M: Holy shit chicken and waffle.  This waffle is HANDS DOWN better than Longman & Eagle (famous for the bougie chicken and waffle).  They’re very lucky they don’t have to compete daily with this one. The chicken was so juicy and tender, and the waffle crisp and light. Despite being a bread/fried object, it was not heavy, dry or oily, like most waffle/chicken combos.  Instead all you got was pure flavor explosion and texture delight.

J: Chicken isn’t usually this dope. JAM took chicken as far as chicken can reasonably be expected to go, and then they put that radness on top of a reaaaaally nice waffle. Waffles are usually way denser than this one, which is NOT what you want with a chunk of fried cluck. The drippy was some kind of tomato syrup (?), there were some tomato-y things on top, and when all the flavors got together it was a SUPER AWESOME PARTY TASTE!!!

IMG_1934Second Course: Smoked Salmon, Potato-Leek Pancakes, Poached Eggs, Béarnaise, Salsify Slaw

M: Smoked salmon might be one of MIss Fats all-time favorite foods.  There is nothing better than a salty, soft piece of fatty smoked salmon.  And Jam paired this already indulgent ingredient with béarnaise and eggs, resulting in the go-to combo of creamy sauciness and salty fish.  While the salmon was absolutely satisfying and they did not skimp on the portion, the star of this dish was the potato-leek pancake: perfect salt, perfect crisp, pure potato bliss.

J: Skimp’s a weird word. Remember when Miss Fats ate Fish Cream? That bad fishflavor memory became fish dust in the fish wind, thanks to this ultra-pile. Omigod, it was so cute. Look at those poached eggs! There are few things more delightful than breaking the yolk on a perfectly poached egg. Okay, there are about 60,000 more delightful things, five of which are:


but it’s still pretty fun to smoosh an egg.

IMG_1935Third Course: Egg Sandwich, Pork Shoulder, Ricotta Salata, Plum Preserve, French Bollo, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

M: Ooey-gooey porky mess.  out of control. This was the best kind of hot mess, people.  The oozing eggs soaked into the tender pork and bread creating a sticky mess that you could not wait to get into your mouth immediately.  Miss Fats favorite part was the ricotta salata, which provided the perfect salty, cheesy contrast to the rich meat and egg yolk.  Now there was no way Miss Fats could finish this monster, but boy did they enjoy trying.  Nice work, Jam.  Oh and a serious shout out to those potatoes: you were so good soaked in yolk.

J: These POTATOES, people. Breakfast potatoes usually suck. They’re there because they take up space and are cheap, and peeps usually don’t put a lot of effort into them.
It’s kind of an All About Eve situation with this sammy though. Mr. Eggypork got UPSTAGED by his taterfriends. Don’t get Miss Fats wrong, it was a WONDERFUL SAMMY, but these potatoes, man, these potatoes. Can Miss Fats just add that their waiter Brandon literally said, “you guys are my heroes!” when Miss Fats apologized for not being able to finish the whole thing. Brandon: “You not only got a whole other entree, you got a half order of chicken and waffles, AND a dessert pancake, and you STILL got further into this sandwich than most people.” Miss Fats Wins. Every time. Brandon also laughed at Miss Fats and had to bring them extra napkins because their hands were totally covered in egg yolk and gloop.

IMG_1937Dessert: Maple Pancakes, Meyer Lemon Custard, Indian Sugar Brûlée, Citrus Rind Conserve

M: Where to begin with these? Miss Fats was promised the “weirdest pancake you’ve ever had.”  She’s not sure “weird” is the right word, however.  More like mouth orgasm pancake.  Such tart lemony custard, crispy bruleed sugar and tender tender pancake.  dfsksfjslsdfnsdfkieng.  yep. words dissolved.  just like that buttery custard. WIN.

J: Yeah, no words. Gonna use someone else’s words, to paraphrase good old e.e.:

i carry this bite with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my pancake;and whatever is not eaten
by me is your doing,my darling)


Following this meal, Miss Fats was borderline ill. But there was pie to be had. So off to Bang Bang Pie Shop they went.

IMG_1946Check those steamy windows and super cute interior.

J: Omg, it was steamy cause hot boys were inside! And hot pie!

M: Having read reviews before hand, Miss Fats ordered the Meyer Lemon Custard Pie, Chocolate Chess Pie and a Biscuit to-go.  They were very lucky to have gotten their hands on one of these coveted biscuits: apparently they stop serving them after 2 pm, however it being Valentines day, they had extras (probably just for Miss Fats.)  The real draw of the biscuit was the Jam and Butter Bar.


M: Yeah, gurl.  You know you want all of that.  While loading up on jams and butter to-go, Miss Fats was trying to figure out how to split the pies as they parted ways. Overhearing their flustered dilemma, a wonderful (adorable) pie man offered up Miss Fats a couple of extra (sizable) pie scraps of each!! PIE WIN.  Little does he know, he gave them the greatest valentine ever.


M: Miss Fats hereby owns the rights to future pie boy missed-connections screenplay. DON’T ANYONE GO STEALING IT.

IMG_0076M: Miss Fats started with this infamous biscuit.  She smothered the buttery, fluffy pastry in the homemade blueberry jam and cherry preserve.  Despite being hours old at this point, it was still flakey, soft, tender and moist.  This biscuit is PERFECTLY salted.  A rare quality for a biscuit, which usually is a sad side to some over-oily salty meal.  NOPE. This shit shines all on its own.  Miss Fats was particularly into the combo of the tart cherry preserve and salty crisp biscuit top.

IMG_0077M: Miss Fats is a huge fucking chocoholic.  So naturally she went home with the large slice of chocolate chess pie.  This was essentially a brownie with a pie crust.  The cakey center was fudgy but tender and not too sweet.  Yum Yum.  One little critique is that she’s not sure what was happening with the caramel sauce.  Supposedly this bad-boy has some caramel goodness in the bottom that was oozing out the sides.  However she could not taste this!  Disappointing.  Mostly because she could see all that amber sauce but couldn’t taste it.  Additionally, the crust was a bit too crispy.  Frankly, Miss Fats didn’t need it.  When she tasted it separately, of course it was delicious, but she’s not so sure it added anything to this pie.  The filling was star.

IMG_0074M: Not the prettiest picture.  But hey, that shit was FREE.  No complaints.  This meyer lemon custard pie was near pastry perfection.  Miss Fats has always been wary of fruit pie because it often borders on too sweet for her.  She just has never really understood why delicious fruit needs so much extra sugar.  But this lemon custard was amazingly tart and creamy.  The well-salted crust provided the right crispy texture against the fluffy filling.  mmmmmmmmm fluffy tart filling.  Yeah meyer lemon rind, you get in my mouth too.

J: Miss Fats is lazy and tired from the long hard day of eating all the food and so this is her 2 cents by way of altered song lyrics:

Chocolate chess pie you are making me crazy
I’m in love but I’m lazy (sort of the Beatles)
When you cut it, cute pie boy, save me a slice
Your chocolate pie, I declare, it’s sweet and nice  (sort of Led Zep)
Taste so good make a grown man cry
Sweet lemon pie, yeah (sort of Warrant)
You’ll be my lemon pie until the day I die, I hope that’s a long time,
cause I don’t wanna die and live without my Meyer lemon pie – (sort of Of Montreal)


J: Oh yeah, Bang Bang had Bacon. In a jar. Just in case you’re still hungry, or something.

M: Miss Fats didn’t even SEE this! Double win, Bang Bang.

This Galentines/Valentines was right near the top of best all time.  Miss Fats felt and looked EXACTLY like this at the end of the day: (this is a happy cat, people)

PudgeTheCat_valentineImage courtesy of Pudge the Cat.

Sleepy kitty needs a pie nap.