Breakfast – Meli Café www.melicafe.com
It’s my last morning in Chicago and I have a long day of travel ahead of me (I’m headed to Phoenix for a few days before I go home). Just three blocks from my hotel I again walk for my meal. This was another recommendation from my co-worker CT from the trade show. The small café is cheery and my table looks out onto the street. The restaurant specializes in organic and house made goods including their own marmalade. Reviewing the large list of options I choose a goat cheese, sun-dried tomato, portobello and pancetta omelet. The server asks about my toast choice and I ask for dry white. She assures me they would not butter my bread for me. I understood when everything came.
As I sipped my Earl Grey and watched commuters on their way to work, a team laid out my spread. A standard omelet order turned into a feast. The omelet had to be 4 eggs; there was a mountain of red potatoes and a slice of cantaloupe. A second plate was employed for two large slices of fresh bread and a third plate for butter, house made strawberry jam and ketchup options. A little intimidated by the bounty in front of me I pick up my fork and decide to go big or go home.
The potatoes still taste like potatoes (I hate it when all you taste is the oil) and were tossed lightly in oil with herbs, salt and pepper, browned lightly and simply perfect. The omelet was full of the toppings. Each bite had some of the tart sun-dried tomatoes, chewy pancetta and earthy mushrooms. The goat cheese was its own layer creamy, rich and soft in the middle of the fold. The tomatoes were left in very large ribbons and added great texture to the whole affair. The menu mentions that they use only Egglands Best eggs and goes into great detail about the better taste and better for you farming practices. You could tell the eggs were very fresh but since everything was mixed into the eggs instead of acting like a center filling it was hard to taste them on their own.
Strawberry jam is my favorite and it was staring at me from across the table. The bread was thick and soft, barely toasted with a sweet nutty taste. All in all it was quite possible one of the most perfect breakfasts ever created.
I threw in the towel after only about half the omelet, half the potatoes, one slice of bread. I could have shared the plate with a friend. I always feel bad wasting the food. I won’t take a box with me since I’m getting on a plane and won’t see a fridge or microwave for days but I will be attempting to recreate this omelet when I get home. I made the grocery list as I walked in the sun back to the hotel to get packed.
Chicago, you were good to me but I am off to Phoenix.
Until we eat again,