Best Bites, Chicago

Best Bites: Chocolate cinnamon roll & gas station sandwich, City Mouse

Chocolate cinnamon roll with espresso and marshmallow

Chocolate cinnamon roll with espresso and marshmallow

City Mouse is the all-day eatery inside the West Loop’s still-new Ace Hotel. It’s helmed by Jason Vincent, currently of Giant and formerly of Nightwood. I’ve missed Nightwood’s brunch since they closed 2 years ago, so I was hoping City Mouse would be somewhat of a reincarnation.

We had to start with this cinnamon roll, which combined all the best dessert flavors (espresso, chocolate, caramel, and marshmallow) into a caramelized morning masterpiece. I would easily go back for that alone.

Gas station sandwich with hashbrown, egg, cheese, grape jelly, and sausage, served with Michigan-grown fruit

Gas station sandwich with hashbrown, egg, cheese, grape jelly, and sausage, served with Michigan-grown fruit

I already knew the gas station breakfast sandwich was emerging as an early favorite from the brunch menu, so I had to try it for myself. And sure enough, I was delighted to find that the hashbrowns bore a striking resemblance to the ones served with Nightwood’s legendary bagel sandwich – just in a flatter form. The humble grape jelly did its job in pulling the meat, egg, and cheese together, and even the fruit on the side was an especially pleasant mix of apricots, strawberries, and blueberries. We sat on the sprawling glass-walled patio, whose fire pits will surely make it a hit into the cooler months as well.

Glass-walled patio, with a view of Google across the street

Glass-walled patio, with a view of Google across the street

The details: City Mouse at Ace Hotel Chicago, 311 N. Morgan St., Chicago.

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Best Bites, Chicago

2012 Best Bite #30: Bagel sandwich, Nightwood

Each day in December, I’m celebrating my best bites (and sips) in 2012, posted in chronological order.

Bagel sandwich

Bagel sandwich

Why it’s a Best Bite: OK, I know this is my second bagel-related post this week, sorry. I just didn’t realize that you could consistently crave a dish you’ve only had once, but this bagel sandwich kept calling to me all year until I finally had it again right before heading home for the holidays. This is one of the very few items that Nightwood keeps on its seasonal brunch menu every Sunday, which I support wholeheartedly. Really, this sandwich has everything. It’s anchored by smoked trout cream cheese, mustardy slaw, and greens, then topped with the thick bacon and over-easy egg that breakfast dreams are made of. The three round tots and ketchup on the side are a satisfying bonus between bites of sandwich.

The details: Nightwood, 2119 S Halsted St., Chicago.

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