This past weekend I went to Chicago for the very first time. One of my closest friends moved there a few years ago and I finally made it out to see her.
I arrived late on Thursday night so that we could wake up Friday morning and start exploring. Our first outing was to Lincoln Park. We walked up and down Armitage Avenue bopping in and out of stores. I especially loved the stationary and gift store All She Wrote, the women's clothing store Bevello and the pet boutique Barker & Meowksy. We also passed a donut shop called Glazed & Infused. I made a mental note to add that to my list for my next trip.
After window shopping, we headed to Summer House Santa Monica for brunch.
Because we arrived right when they opened and we had a reservation, we had the choice of sitting inside or outside. Obviously we chose the patio.
Before sitting down I wanted to check out the inside of the restaurant. Just inside the door is a countdown to summer. On the day we visited, there were only 3 days left until the official start of the season.
A few steps beyond the hostess stand was the rosé cart. Isn't this the most adorable setup? I need to do this at my next backyard BBQ!
The bar area is huge, with lots of high top tables.
Around the corner is the dining room, also known as the Vitamin D room.
The ceiling is almost 100% skylight.
I love the baby blue sign on the far wall that simply says "Yes."
It was immediately clear to me that Summer House would be an amazing place to come in the winter when you need to remember that the summertime will one day exist again. With it's beachy vibe and natural light, it could make even a freezing cold day seem promising.
After looking around inside, I returned to our prime spot on the patio. Our waitress brought over the menu for the rosé cart.
My Chicago hostess decided on the wine from AIX en Provence. I went with a cocktail called the Back Porch Tea which was vodka, Jack Daniel's and lemonade.
The AIX en Provence rosé was light, crisp and super refreshing. Conversely, the Back Porch Tea tasted like it was 99% Jack Daniel's. The alcohol taste was so strong that I found myself purposefully sipping it slowly so the ice would melt and water it down.
To begin we decided to share the local burrata with tomato jam and grilled bread.
The burrata was just perfect. When you cut into it the creamy center spilled onto the plate and was very easy to spread across the grilled bread.
The bread was the ideal vessel for these goodies. It was expertly grilled to have a nice char on the outside, but not so crisped that you couldn't rip it or bite into it easily.
The tomato jam that came with the burrata was excellent. It had a little bit of heat to it which was a nice surprise.
For her entree, my brunch date decided on the Greek salad and she added grilled chicken. When it arrived, she was happy to discover the salad was sitting on a layer of hummus. Or as she described it, "A hidden hummus surprise!"
She said the salad was, "Really fresh. They were generous with the feta cheese and it had the perfect amount of dressing. The chicken was really well seasoned too."
I waffled a bit before making my choice, but ultimately selected the avocado toast. The plate came with two pieces of bread (the same bread as the burrata) topped with a thick layer of mashed avocado, poached eggs and scallion mascarpone.
This toast was fantastic! The eggs were cooked perfectly so that when you cut into them, the yoke ran down the side of the toast, coating the whole plate. The avocado was rich and buttery and it was sprinkled with a spice that added a nice kick to each bite.
The avocado toast came with a side of French fries. Upon first seeing them I was really excited that they were thinly cut and looked crispy, just the way I like them. Maybe the rosemary fries at Clover have spoiled me, but these just didn't have any flavor. I left most of them on the plate.
With our plates cleared and the bill paid my friend said, "Before we go you have to see the bakery counter." Who am I to turn down such a suggestion?
The Summer House treat counter will surely have you drooling.
The first thing I noticed was the s'more bars.
Then I spied the tower of Rice Krispy treats, including the version made with Fruity Pebbles!
My friend said her favorite is the sea salt chocolate chip cookie.
At the very far end of the counter was the holy grail, chocolate chip cookies topped with mini cubes of Rice Krispy treat. Have I died and gone to heaven?
We were too full to actually eat any of these sweet treats, but if I lived in this neighborhood, something tells me I would be there every night.
Brunch at Summer House was a fabulous kick off to my three days in Chicago. I am so excited to share the rest of my Windy City adventures with you!