Monday, January 24, 2011

Walker Brothers

I love American breakfast foods, but I've always preferred savory items (eggs benedict being my heavily favored preference). Free side orders of pancakes were often ignored. In fact, I usually request toast instead. But our friends recently told us to pay attention to Walker Brother's pancakes, because they're different, and they're delicious. I also stumbled upon a foodie site that talked about the beauty of their pancakes. I took these as signs to check it out ASAP.

I did a quick search on Yelp, and noticed the one in Wilmette is the Original one that many reviewers claimed is also the Best. We happened to be in Wilmette. This location is on GREEN BAY ROAD (we're Packers fans, a day away from NFC Championship versus the Bears at the time). There couldn't have been more signs that pointed us towards this establishment, on that day.

There were so much food on this menu that I was stressed out for 15 minutes or so. I went from contemplating which pancake from their pancake section... to ordering an omelette & crepe because they were also raved about, AND they came with 2 different types of pancake on the side.
Oven-Baked Omelettes: Three farm-style Grade AA eggs blended until light and fluffy, combined with the freshest fillings to make our omelettes a rare treat. Our cheeses are natural, not processed, and crafted by Wisconsin cheesemakers. All omelettes are served with three buttermilk pancakes, whipped butter and syrup.

Gourmet Feta cheese, fresh spinach, tomatoes, onions, oregano and Kalamata olives

We loved perfectly browned exterior and fluffy, moist center. The ingredients were all fresh. I think the flavor of the feta took too much away from the eggs, so I'd actually want to order a plain egg with lighter ingredients next time (veggie, or maybe just spinach?) But the Bob loved this combination.

Plain ole buttermilk pancakes weren't plain at all. Light, slightly chewy, perfectly flavored & cooked. The 'good' maple syrup & butter matched it well.
Fresh spinach blended with aged Cheddar cheese & minced onions and topped with hollandaise sauce. Served with three crisp potato pancakes (
Jumbo Idaho’s freshly ground and transformed into crisp, lacy treats. Served with applesauce or sour cream)

Crepes were also lightly sweetened, with a perfect texture. The thick amount of melted cheddar & hollandaise may have seemed overly creamy, but it didn't feel heavy. The crisp potato pancakes were a crispier version of hash browns.

Fresh-squeezed OJ & Kona Coffee were both delicious.

We loved this place. Portions are BIG (tho we finished it ALL). 3 people sharing what we ordered would've been perfect.

I really, really want to go back to try their '49er's flapjacks', described as 'chewey-gooey, thin pancakes' and 'dutch baby' - smaller version of German pancake. MMM!!!

Walker Bros Original Pancake House - Wilmette
153 Green Bay Rd. (847) 251-6000

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Executive Chef & Owner is Shin Thompson, who is born in Honolulu & raised in U.S. and Japan. Bonsoiree is his "Underground Movement" in Logan Square. On Saturdays, only those subscribed to the mailing list has an invitation to book a table & enjoy their exclusive menu. It only accomodates 26 guests at a time, and is BYOB. Cuisine is Japanese / French.

Winter Menu 2011 8 Courses for $85

1. Rabbit/Gnocchi/Sage/Tomato
Very exciting start to our meal. Very tender rabbit, creamy soft gnocchi, and overall great flavors. I can eat a full plate of this dish.
2. Porcini Mushroom Bisque/Umami/"Bread n' Butter"/Crispy Beets/Asparagus Slaw
The bisque is good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Brad n Butter was definitely interesting.
3. Oil Poached Baby Octopus/Lobster Takoyaki/Kabayaki/Winter Melon/Japanese Pickles
note: Kabayaki 蒲焼 is a dish of seafood (usually unagi (eel)) filleted, boned, dipped in a sweet soy sauce-based sauce before broiling on a grill.
The Bob liked the octopus, but I wasn't a big fan. Neither of us were fans of the takoyaki, but it might be because we really love the traditional takoyaki, and don't like this version (which seems to be very similar, but doesn't match its caliber. I'd be more intrigued if it was a different take on it).

4. Scallop-Crab Motoyaki/Scallion Crisp/Carrot
note: Motoyaki is a style of cooking, involving baked food topped with a mayonnaise-based sauce served in an oyster shell.
The first bite of this was good, then it got overly creamy and heavy. Then again, I've never been a big fan of motoyaki.
5. Barramundi/Buttermilk & Thyme/Blood Orange Polenta/Date and Parsnip Chutney/Chipotle-Shochu drizzle
note: Barramundi is also known as Asian Seabass (Chinese: 尖吻鱸)
Fish was very delicious and silky, really nice, light flavors. We also enjoyed the polenta.
6. Oxtail & Marrow Sauce/Venison Sous Vide/Winter Root Vegetables/Crunchy Soba Spaetzle
note: Venison = deer meat / Sous Vide = French method of using vacuum tight plastic bags to seal food, and place it in a bath water for a long time, aiming to maintain integrity of the ingredient (72 hours is not unusual)
Spaetzle is a type of egg noodle that's of soft texture
Nice flavors - the Bob really liked the oxtail & marrow sauce. Venison was tender, steak-like.. nice contrast from the soft, sauce-deepened oxtail.

7. Cheesecake Bite/Malted Milk/Crystalized Spearmint/Preserved Strawberry
We enjoyed the cheesecake, and thought the crystalized spearmint & preserved strawberry were interesting.
8. Carmelized Brioche/Macademia Butter Macaroon/Rasberry-Red Pepper Jelly/Melted Banana Brulee/Choolate "Chips"
The Bob really, really disliked this dish. Whether eaten separately or altogether, it was just super sweet. And the Red Pepper Jelly was just bizarre (in a not-very-delicious way).

Espresso ending was good ($5)
Overall, good service, clean space, extraordinary presentation, good food. A bit costly, so BYOB is definitely helpful. (P.S. on this occasion, we also got $25 off via Groupon)

Reference: Wikipedia on all "Notes".

2728 W. Armitage