Yesterday my wife and I had brunch with a dear, old friend, one of the very nicest guys we know, whom we hadn’t seen in many years. He’s a psych prof at an eastern university and doesn’t get into Chicago that much any more. We’ve known him for something like 30 years since he started college. I’d known his elder brother since college days, had some influence on his getting his first job, worked with him, was business partners with him, worked with him on many projects.
As we ate we caught up on our lives, exchanged news and gossip about mutual friends, talked about his research areas and the problems of higher education. A pleasant afternoon.
The place we selected for brunch was a restaurant new to us: Big Jones. Big Jones is in Andersonville (if you’re familiar with Andersonville it’s across the street from Swedish Bakery, next door to Calo). It specializes in what I think I’d call Creole food. Creole food is cajun food that’s served in the dining room rather than in the kitchen. They call it coastal Southern food.
My wife had a large bowl of their gumbo, our friend had a crayfish omelet that he pronounced the best omelet he’d ever had, and I had an intriguing hybrid they called Eggs New Orleans: poached eggs served on split popovers and fresh crab cakes, topped with bearnaise sauce.
Other alternatives included omelets, sandwiches (charcuterie), Sally Lunn french toast, rice waffles, buckwheat cakes, all with a Gulf Coast slant.
Large menu of excellent tea. Substantial menu of American whiskeys which, if it had been a bit later in the day, I’d have sampled.
The ambiance was pleasant but not pretentious, the staff young, attractive, chatty, and attentive. Prices were very reasonable: the rather elegant brunch for three came in around $50.
Recommended, particularly for brunch. We plan to go back for dinner.
That Eggs New Orleans sounds like a keeper. It’s gotta be restaurant food, though, because I’m sure not making popovers before I can get to my breakfast.