I have great friends. I have great friends who love to get together to eat. At the suggestion of one of these friends, a few of us went out for Easter brunch at Tweet (let’s eat). As we walked up to the restaurant we are greeted by our friend who put together the breakfast shindig. She (and a couple of people who she just met outside the restaurant) state that free coffee is waiting inside while you wait for your table. I don’t know why more places don’t do this. People like free stuff. The caffeine gets the digestive juices flowing. You eat more! A quick inspection of the façade of the building in the Uptown neighborhood revealed that Tweet looks to be associated with Big Chicks bar. A suspicion later confirmed once inside and after checking out their website.
Tweet’s menu offers typical, classic breakfast fare along with some not-so-traditional dishes including Benedicts, Burritos, and a gluten free menu. Tweet also offers a grill menu during the week which is actually the menu from Big Chicks next door. According to their website, Tweet’s goal is “…to prepare and serve, with love, the freshest, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic when possible: eggs, dairy, vegetables and fruit…” This is a trend that diners are starting to see at restaurants not only in dense urban areas but also in smaller cities.
Big Chicks’ sister restaurant boasts artwork (read photographs) from the personal collection of the owner, Michelle Fire. The artwork is centered around the theme or concept of space. I only point this out because it seems to be a point of pride judging by their website. To be honest, due to where I was sitting in the restaurant, I did not really notice any artwork (photographs) on the wall.
Tweet’s space is small, to say the least. We were surprised to only have to wait a half hour for a table on Easter Sunday for brunch.The place was elbow to elbow. This is no fault of my friend(s) or the restaurant (the Capitalistic model) but I find it is sometimes hard for me to actually enjoy my food when I am packed in somewhere like a sardine. With that said, we were surprised and somewhat joyed to find moist coffee cake awaiting our arrival at the table. It was a nice amuse bouche to kick off our gorging.
The breakfast cocktails, especially the Bloody Mary’s came highly recommended. Tweet does offer four different variations of the classic Bloody Mary. Each of varying degrees of spiciness. I ordered the traditional Bloody Mary. While it was good, I didn’t find it special. I have had a lot worse Bloody Marys. Tweet’s Mary had a good combination of alcohol and mixer with decent depth of flavor. I did end up adding some Tabasco brand Chipotle (several different kinds of Tabasco are available at all the tables) sauce to my drink to give a little kick.
For the main part of our breakfast, I ordered the Eggs Benedict with a half order of the biscuits and gravy. Tiffany ordered the arepa pancakes served with sour cream, egg, tomato, guajillo chili sauce, and avocado. You could also order it with chorizo or soy chorizo. She also ordered a side of corned beef hash. Our breakfasts were served with a sundae cup of mixed fruit. The fruit was good. Especially good when considering that none of the fruit is in season yet.
The Eggs Benedict were just above mediocre. The hollandaise sauce was overly citrusy for my taste. The Benedict did get high marks for its eggs. They were poached to near perfection. Other than the poached eggs, I cannot say that the Eggs Benedict was memorable. The hash browns that came along with the breakfast were EXTRA crispy. I would venture to call them a shingle of hash browns. I like my shredded spuds more on the well-done side but, for my taste, these were over-the-top well-done. Any flavor of the potato had been cooked out. The biscuits and gravy were not any better. I felt that the “creamy pepper country gravy with Hebron Farm Amish Country Sausage” lacked any flavor other than that of flour and milk. I was hoping for some sausage flavor. However, I was fortunate to find any sausage in the gravy. There is really nothing worse to me than a sausage gravy that has no flavor what-so-ever. This is too bad. The biscuit was actually really good but it was not complimented at all by the flavorless white goo. I wanted to order a side of sausage grease to mix into my gravy! It was somewhat unfortunate. Still, this was all very edible. It just wasn’t what I expected after hearing and seeing rave reviews. I feel I could have done just as good at home.
Tiffany’s arepas pancakes (basically pancakes made of corn flour) were actually pretty good. A nice diversion from traditional pancakes. The guajillo sauce and other toppings blended well with the corn flour. I know Tiffany really liked her dish. She told me several times (Actually, again last night Tiffany mentioned how much she liked her arepas pancakes). However, the Latin inspired breakfast was served with black beans. These were not a winner. I have had better black beans on my Chipotle burrito. They were very watery with little to no flavor. I would say the one real star of the brunch was the corned beef hash. It was almost like a Denver styled corned beef hash. Bell peppers and onions were sauteed in with the meat. This was definitely not the out-of-the-can, salty as the sea hash you get at a lot of diners. This had nice big chunks of beef. It was moist and juicy, unlike some other places I have been where the beef gets dried out and almost turns to corned beef jerky hash. Everyone at our table commented on the hash. In my opinion, it was the best part of this brunch. I only wish I would have ordered it for myself rather than having to steal it off my wife’s plate.
Our server was friendly and service seemed prompt. Especially considering how busy they were. This is in contrast to what I have read about the service at Tweet. Several people have complained about slow or inconsiderate service. Again, that was not the case on this trip.
All in all, if you wanted my knee jerk, one word reaction to Tweet it would be, “Eh.” Most of what I had on Sunday was blah while lacking any true flavor. Again the corned beef hash was the best dish I tasted. I would go back for the hash. Actually, I would go back and order a couple of different items. I mean, can all of the four and five star reviews on Yelp be the product of brainwashing conspired by local restaurateurs? Probably not. Also, considering the group I was with seemed to be happy with their dishes, I may have just ordered that wrong menu items.
While the food, for the most part, was forgettable, I enjoyed my company and felt fortunate to be surrounded by such great friends. It is safe to say, I will eat a mediocre breakfast with exceptional friends eight days a week.
As far as a rating for this restaurant, I am torn between a two and half and three snips. I like the kitsch, I like the concept, I like the effort. However, in my opinion, the food did not live up to the hype. It makes the cut enough for me to come back. Yet, with so many other establishments offering a quality breakfast/brunch in the Chicago area, Tweet may just not be my first choice for a Sunday morning delight.
You can follow Tweet on Twitter: @eatattweet
Or visit their web page: http://www.tweet.biz/
If you have been trolling the internet I am sure you have at least seen the headline involving one of L.A.’s buzz worthy restaurants, Red Medicine. If you haven’t yet heard about this, you can read an article here. In short, the managing partner of Red Medicine, Noah Ellis, decided after having a frustrating weekend of no-shows (people not showing up for a reservation, or canceling at the last minute), he would publicly shame them by posting the names of the inconsiderate on Twitter with what some might call smart-alec comments. Some social media circles have dubbed it a Twitter tantrum. While some are applauding Ellis’ behavior towards rude non-customers. People from the L.A. restaurant world have also responded. Responses by restaurateurs are mixed. Quite honestly, I agree with the school of thought saying that this is a little too much. Yes, he is an accomplished “professional” in the restaurant and hospitality industry. He is a rising star! However, I hardly think that makes you bigger than the game. There are bigger names who have been in the game a lot longer who show more comportment than Ellis.
This past weekend, my friend @thefarmerslife (Brian) and his family came to Chicago from Indiana to visit and take their 2 year old son to the Shedd Aquarium. One night during their visit, my wife and I took them to Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop. This place has been one of our favorites in Evanston for years. Yet, somehow we don’t go that often. It has become tradition to take them to Lou Malnati’s during their visits so on this night we wanted to go somewhere a little different. For me, it’s somewhat agonizing to take friends to a restaurant that you really enjoy. I build up the experience and brag about the food so much, that when we get there, I am always worried that my friends’ or family’s experiences won’t live up to the hype. Or we may go on one of those dreaded days were the kitchen or server is having an “off” day and the place doesn’t live up to my own expectations. This was especially true during this trip because we had their 2 year old son, Matthew with us. Would his highly developed palate be able to find something on the menu that would satisfy his taste buds?
Although we are two months into the “new year,” I thought it appropriate to add my name to the list of bloggers who release their obligatory list of food trends that should be given a leave of absence. Since I am still a novice as a “foodie,” not everything on this list may actually still be trending. It may just be that I finally opened my eyes and noticed these hot culinary curiosities. Or, you may find that these trends are already on their way out. In that case, I am just furthering their demise.
About a month ago, or maybe longer, a few co-workers and I decided to go to Lou Malnati’s for lunch. This lunchtime trip is always a gamble. Sometimes it is hard to enjoy Lou’s pizza on an hour lunch break. The pizza itself can take up to 45 minutes to make, not to mention it’s lunchtime in downtown Chicago. These two ingredients can make for a long lunch. Even if you do get in and out in a timely manner, you always run the risk of over-stuffing yourself with Chicago-style deep dish pizza. While you are at the table, this isn’t a bad thing, however, when you are sitting at your desk, in your office for the rest of the afternoon, you can either a) go into a serious food coma (No really, you could go into an actual coma. Co-workers might feel the necessity to call 9-1-1.) or b) you just feel like the button on your pants will not be able to hold back the dam breaking force from your bulging gut as it digests the massive amounts of cheese, sauce, and buttery crust that you managed to shove down your gullet. At any rate…we decided to order our pizza in advance to solve the time dilemma and willingly accept the fate that awaited us during our afternoon stretch back at the office. Read more…