Chicago: Nightwood

I made reservations for Sunday brunch at Nightwood a week before my best friend was scheduled to arrive.  I was a little surprised that the only open table for 5 was at 2:00pm, but after conferring with my friends, I made the reservation anyway.  It wasn't until later that I realized our little brunch excursion coincided with Mother's Day.  It was a bit of a "duh" moment for me.

Since our brunch was more of a late lunch, my best friend and I stopped by Maxwell Street Market for some pre-lunch snacking before meeting up my friends at Nightwood.  Church ran a little late, so we only had enough time at Maxwell to scarf down a quesadilla and a churro each.  We weren't quite able to do Maxwell justice, but there was no way we were going to miss our reservations at Nightwood:  

















My best friend and I were halfway to feeling full before we even got to Nightwood, so we decided to play it safe by sharing an entrée and a bacon butterscotch donut:























Not going to lie...the not-so-little puddle of grease that the donuts were sitting in was a bit troubling.  We tried to brush it off as some kind of syrup at first, but reality sunk in pretty quickly.

This donut shows how awesome my best friend is.  She let me order a bacon donut despite the fact that she doesn't eat meat.  At all.  And like the stubborn, inconsiderate jerk that I am, I kept prompting her to "just try some."  (I think I was still in denial at that point.)  She was the epitome of patience, however, and just scraped the bacon off her portion.

This pattern continued for the rest of her stay.  She would encourage me to order stuff with meat, I would pick out the meat pieces, and she would eat what she wanted.  The downside to this arrangement was that I felt guilty.  The upside was that I got extra meat.  I hope my best friend enjoyed the food we had during her trip as much as she claims she did, or else I would be the worst best friend ever.  EVER.

My friends ordered the chocolate caramel donut:

















There's a lot of hype over the donuts, but I don't really see what all the fuss is about.  The grease pool was off-putting, for sure, but the donuts themselves weren't even all that impressive.  They tasted like they'd been fried for a tad too long and ended up soaking up the oil.  I do have to say though, the bacon bits were amazing.  They were sweet and crunchy...and I could've eaten it by the spoonful (which I kind of did).

My friend ordered the two egg omelet, which came with romesco, potatoes, and green garlic:























Even though I didn't try any of the omelet, I'm including it in my post because the hash browns ball was fantastic and very much appreciated when I was almost overpowered by sweetness.

You see, my best friend and I ordered the Illinois sweet cornbread pudding with summer berries and whipped goat cheese:

















The server described it as being similar to a french toast, which was what convinced me to give it a go.  The actual cornbread pudding was almost polenta-like in texture, dense and moist.  I definitely enjoyed the dish (especially the corn kernels in the bread), but toward the end it just got way too sweet for me.  I always, always let myself get tempted by sweet things even though I know I will end up wishing I ordered something savory instead.  Sigh...

Before we left, our server brought us two complimentary lemon bars:























There was no way even a bite of that bar could've fit in my stomach, so I happily relinquished it to my friends.  They'll have to let me know if it was any good.

A very satisfying meal, though I probably would've enjoyed it more if I hadn't had a carne asada quesadilla and a vanilla cream filled churro in my stomach beforehand.  


Nightwood
2119 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3385
http://www.nightwoodrestaurant.com/

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