Foodie at Wildberry Cafe

Travelling to several states within this year alone, one of my favorite questions asked from friends would be, “What’s good to eat in [city of interest]?”

Venturing into the most colonized Midwestern city twice by far, shockingly I haven’t jumped into the pizza or Portillo wagon.  I have endured eating quests from an overwhelmingly unfocused Chinese restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown to an amazing Easter “egg hunt” at a Puerto Rican hole-in-the-wall joint in the southern suburbs.  For this particular entry, I’m concentrating more on where folks will intuitively walk around the most—downtown—and thus will describe about one of my beloved brunches in America: the Wildberry Café.

With 3 locations existing, this eatery is quite hospitably facing right across Millennium Park; if this sounds totally unfamiliar, I bet you’re aware of the shimmering, mesmerizing Bean—I mean, Cloud Gate.  There are 2 major caveats, where both can be prevented if time and planning are your wonderful allies.  If you dare use anything w/ a steering wheel and an engine, either you safely park it in a nearby parking structure or pay a lofty minimum of $10 if luckily adjacent to the meters.  The 2nd concern is that, because The Bean may as well be the scapegoat, a myriad array of customers—enough to occupy a large lecture hall—were waiting outside to hold onto their shaking device to indicate that their table was ready.
Yes, they carry Intelligentsia Coffee
Once we heard and felt their “Go” sound, we were led into an expected camaraderie of breakfast/brunch lovers surrounded by the vast, modern, cabin-like atmosphere–clandestine against the metropolis.  Other than their obviously renowned Pancakes (with a Wild Twist), they can cook up some classic breakfast dishes, Omelettes, Belgian Waffles, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Skillets, Crepes, healthy food (which I’d dissuade when on vacation)–whatever your hunger is calling you out to the most.  In this case, hunger and curiosity tied for their Red Velvet French Toast ($8.95), while my boyfriend and I effortlessly agreed upon the Corned Beef Benny ($9.50).

Scrambled Eggs w/ Fruit, Jumbo Sausage Links, & Wheat Toast
Our friend respectfully decided to eat classically, which on the menu it’s indicated as 2 Eggs Any Style w/ Choice of [Fill-in-the-Stomach].  The only item we were surprised to be offered generously by our friend was one of the Jumbo Sausage Links, and in an advisably frenzied matter: this was the juiciest, most flavored and well-seasoned piece of protein I have ever tasted and ingested.  That made me realized that, oftentimes, it’s not just the wild ones that stand out.
Homemade Everything: Whipped Butter, Syrup, and Wildberry Preserves (as the result of the friend’s order)
Now, onto the sweet side…
Red Velvet French Toast
Oh, it was marvelously delectable, most certainly.  It may be personally borderline sweet, but the critical Red Velvet flavor flaunted like it’s supposed to, in conjunction to the wowed Cream Cheese Frosting in between the stacks.  I have a heavy Salty Tooth, but I could catch myself temporarily converting into the other side.
However, I must caution the French Toast purists that I will admit that it lost a lot of its identity; upon chewing and moving the bits around my mouth, it’s quite deceptive for its cake-like moisture and texture.  To me I was absolutely fine with this party-sparking phenomenon, but I just don’t want my battered bread fans to get shocked when they’re diving into this utter indulgence.
Corned Beef Benny

The savory aspect was, on the other hand, more infatuating.  In my experience, tasty corned beef came from the can because this is a popular, inexpensive breakfast meat in Filipino cuisine–even if it’s healthily subpar.  This plate, however, completely changed my outlook on restaurant-quality, homemade corned beef, as well as discovering that this became one of my 2 cherished Eggs Benedict items (the other is located in San Diego). 
Just-right salty and terrifically pan-grilled in consistent shape, it synchronized lovingly with the gooey, runny poached eggs; plumped English muffins; scrumptious hashbrowns; and powerhouse kickin’ chipotle hollandaise sauce.  It was unexpectedly heavenly that, in order to completely fill the void of realism (it was our last Chicago day), we made sure to eliminate every crumb and liquid that once it’s accomplished, my brain strangely warned me–that moment–that my satiety’s done for the daytime.
And of course, as an everyday yet seriously amateur coffee connoisseur, regardless of mealtime I had to awaken my mind with Intelligentsia’s Hazelnut Coffee.  Unfortunately this flavor wasn’t frankly striking, but I did applaud for their slightly silky consistency!

There: that’s one of my answers to their Visiting-Out-of-State questions.  P.S. If you are reading this during the fall season & are currently in Chi-Town, please inform me if Intelligentsia or other local coffeehouses also are fanatically serving those alluring Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Overall Grade: A-

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe
130 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 938-9777

Wildberry on Urbanspoon


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