From Little Lee

Big Breakfast in the Windy City!

There are some cities in America that seem to have been perfectly designed to entice the traveler to visit…places like Los Angeles, Nashville and Washington, DC. And, yes, one day, I will visit the Grand Ole Opry. Then there are those cities that unabashedly tempt the diehard foodie to explore…places like New York, San Francisco, New Orleans and…Chicago. Don’t agree? Well, does your favorite city have a pizza style named after it? Mmm hmmm…that’s what I thought.

The Windy City from above!
The Windy City from above!

Chicago has always been one of those places I’ve longed to visit. From its architecture to Michael Jordan to Second City and deep dish pizzas, it’s a place that’s intrigued me on many, many levels. So, when I learned that Hash House a Go Go Chicago was chosen as Illinois’s favorite breakfast spot by the followers of Little Lee’s BREAKFAST IN AMERICA (and after I nearly broke my 40-something-year-old back doing a cartwheel out of sheer happiness), I eagerly started planning my itinerary.

Since I was there only a day and half, I caught just a small sampling of what that terrific city had to offer. And, might I add…the PEOPLE of Chicago are AMAZING. It’s such a big city, but the people – every single person with whom I came in contact – were gracious, helpful and just plain nice. BRAVO. A special thank you to Debbie and Joe Reif who opened up the whole top floor of their beautiful home to a total stranger and made her feel like family.

I was able to sightsee a little checking out the Sears Tower…yes, to every true-blooded Chicagoan it will always be the Sears Tower. To everyone else, it’s the Willis Tower. I wandered over to Cloud Gate at Millennium Park…think GIANT Tiffany Bean. Got lost on Michigan Avenue and loved every minute of it. I made my way to Gino’s East for the most amazing deep dish pizza because I could, and I visited an old friend, the buh-rilliant James O’Donnell, chef extraordinaire at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse who introduced me to my first-ever Delmonico. Beyond insane.

Cloud Gate aka giant Tiffany bean
Cloud Gate aka giant Tiffany bean

Yes…and then there was BREAKFAST. Now, I had been to a Hash House before when they were voted Nevada’s favorite breakfast so I knew what to expect…but, you know about expectations, right? Well, sometimes reality has an uncanny ability of going beyond my expectations…which is what HH Chicago did.

Hash House here I come!
Hash House here I come!

First, thanks to Brad Gold for your generous hospitality. Like my visit to HH’s Reno location, Brad provided me with a small sampling of their food. Not that that’s possible since HH can’t do food that’s anything less than big and gastronomically pleasing. It’s just too bad I didn’t have five more of my friends to help me finish them!

Thank you, Brad, for your hospitality and taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me!
Thank you, Brad, for your hospitality and taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me!

As I did in Reno at the HH there, I started with a delicious treat of drink called the Butterscotch Latte Pop. Garnished with a wrapped piece of butterscotch candy, the coffee beverage had a slight hint of butterscotch and just the right mixture of whip cream and espresso.

After a couple sips of their delicious apéritif (sans alcohol), came three GIANT plates of food. And, when I say GIANT I mean GIANT. And, I was a bit scared.

I began my culinary adventure with Hash House’s Pork Tenderloin Eggs Benedict which starts with a layer of griddled mashed potatoes topped with a biscuit; then they add spinach, tomatoes, hand hammered pork tenderloin (breaded and deep fried) and scrambled eggs. And if that wasn’t enough, the whole thing is topped with their homemade BBQ cream sauce – one of the many sauces made in-house every day at HH. In my opinion, if you bread or deep fry anything you’re on your way to making something good. And, the Pork Tenderloin Eggs Benedict wasn’t good, it was great. The wonderful thing is that if you order the Benedict, no one else in your party of five will need to order. 🙂 Did I say it was GIANT?

Pork Tenderloin Eggs Benedict - to. die. for.
Pork Tenderloin Eggs Benedict – to. die. for.
(photo: Tastychomps.com)

Next up was their Meatloaf Hash. Now, I love me some meatloaf, but for breakfast – and in a hash? I wasn’t so sure about that. I think hash I think chopped up tiny bits of meat with potatoes which go well with eggs over easy. And, I guess this would be considered a hash. The only difference is that the chopped up bits of meat are the size of one inch squares! It’s overwhelming to see that much food on a plate so fortunately it is appropriately served on a medium-sized cast iron skillet. The presentation was perfect for a dish that size. What’s more, it was topped with a sprig of rosemary the size of a small tree branch.

HH's Meatloaf Hash! (Photo: Tribune file photo)
HH’s Meatloaf Hash!
(Photo: Tribune file photo)

Last but certainly not least was the Hash House Quesadilla. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tortilla that large before my trip to HH. Typically, a quesadilla is something that’s quick and easy, an on-the-go type breakfast…not so at Hash House. If the Hash House tortilla were a car, it would be a monster truck! This thing is huge and is filled with deliciousness –  eggs, mashed potatoes, tomatoes, jalapeños and cheese. It’s topped with a mildly spicy chipotle cream sauce that is a little smoky and a little sweet, and a perfect complement to this massive breakfast dish.

The Hash House Quesadilla...nuff said.
The Hash House Quesadilla…nuff said.
A much needed quiet moment atop the Willis Tower (I mean, Sears Tower) after devouring HH's amazing food.
A much needed quiet moment atop the Willis Tower (I mean, Sears Tower) after devouring HH’s amazing food.

Hash House a Go Go is located at 1212 N. State Parkway in Chicago. To learn more about Hash House a Go Go or to peruse more of their menu, visit them online at www.hashhouseagogo.com/chicago. And, if you’re in the Windy City, check ’em out and tell ’em Little Lee sent you!

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