Chicago Brunchtastic: Flying Saucer

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BRUNCHTASTIC is a Young Mary’s Record series devoted to our love of eating breakfast at non-breakfast hours.  Our contributors are typically not morning people and dang it, we like it that way.  Our newest favorite brunch stop: Chicago’s Flying Saucer.  By Young Mary.

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Gavin took me to breakfast at Flying Saucer one of the first weekday mornings (by morning, I mean afternoons, almost always) I spent in Chicago with him.  Things I immediately liked: we showed up at 1:30PM on a Saturday, I believe - parked (shame, shame on me for having a car in the city) very nearby with no trouble, no wait to get a table and a chai tea latte ($3) in me, and service was knowledgeable, personable, but not obtrusive. 

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The atmosphere was clean, quirky, and easy - lots of tables and chairs, a couple booths, and a bar.  A perfect example of a diner not trying *too* hard to be “diner decor” but rather organically looking like a true neighborhood eatery where people actually congregate, conversate and eat.   That’s what Gavin and I did, too.

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I’m not sure if this was a *special* just for the day - but I ordered spinach/mushroom/cheddar quiche with roasted potatoes and kale salad.  I can’t find this item on the Flying Saucer website’s menu - but it was delicious.  Quiche was flavorful and perfect “quichey” consistency and the potatoes and salad were just right on the palate as far as sides.

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Gavin - an adventurer by heart - likes to keep a few things consistent in his life (smokes, beer, and certain menu items) and I think it would be safe for me to say Flying Saucer’s “trucker bowl” falls into his automatic go-to.  $10.5 - and huge portions — the trucker bowl consists of two biscuits, fries, and two eggs topped with gravy, cheddar cheese, ham and scallions — (yes, they can make it vegetarian, too!)   Hearty and yummy.  Simple as that.

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The total cost of our meal (chai tea latte, water, trucker bowl, quiche + potatoes + salad, and tip) was approximately $25-30 for both of us.  And we left with a very full container of leftovers.   For breakfast at non-breakfast hours, this place is climbing up the charts on the “our” places for Gavin and I - and should definitely be on your radar if you’re a Chicago resident or just visiting.  Take your mother.  Take your father.  Take your woman before you take your walk of shame.  

To check out Flying Saucer’s menu, click HERE.  And to like ‘em on ye olde Facebook: click HERE.

Flying Saucer is located at 1123 N. California Ave. - is CASH ONLY - and open til 3pm!

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Wise and Wonderful Cookery Brings Us: Simple Pad Thai

Leighanna Lucas lives in Chicago with her husband and two very personable cats.  A brilliant food-maker and generally sweet, hilarious human being - she’s also the brains behind Wise And Wonderful Cookery.  Big thanks to her for her contributions to Young Mary’s Record - as we would microwave the Thanksgiving turkey if it was an option.

If I have learned anything valuable in my short life, it is the dang truth of this little cliche: variety is the spice of life.

All those things people have uttered over the years, those worn-out sayings about life, they are all so true. There is a point in youth where you believe none of them apply; I’ve found the place now that laughs at the idea of defeating the cliches of life, because I know how futile it is. The sayings wouldn’t be so worn, like an awesome old leather jacket, if they didn’t fit the lives of most people. So friends, if the shoe fits, buy it—fake it till you make it— and then make pad thai at home.

Making a dish that is completely outside your realm of flavor understanding is a good thing. Being comfortable all the time, after all, never makes for anything spectacular. Lewis and Clark could not revel in exploring the west by staying at home. Sometimes we have to stick a toe out, then a whole foot, and by that time we realize how un-scary trying a new thing really is, and we are running for more. This is true for all you home cooks! The usual is great—it is fantastic to have to go recipes and flavors that let you exhale, as you sink into the comfort of your familiar couch. But not all the time! We have to throw some variety into our cooking, something that whacks your tastebuds across the face with awesomeness. (If a tastebud had a face…this could get interesting..)
I found this recipe on another blog, tweaked it a little to what I had available (and I always double the amount of veggies in most recipes) and it is so EASY. Whipped it up in like twenty minutes tops. And it was DELICIOUS. Having the exact ingredients on hand is one thing that I believe stops a lot of us from trying recipes—I must confess that Google has been my best friend sometimes (I search substitutes for things I don’t have all the time.) Don’t have sesame oil? Try peanut! No peanuts? Use slivered almonds (I did, and it was darn tasty!) No rice noodles? Use another noodle, it will be fine! You won’t end up having a perfectly authentic dish, but that is okay. Perfection of authenticity is so much less important than making something that tastes good, and feeds your family.
Today, lets all promise to mix it up a little. Go and start doing one of the things you’ve always dreamed of doing— buy that dress that you love, but looks a little too daring— try something new. Shake it up a little, friends! It will renew your love for life, and at the same time, remind you of why you love what you already have in this world.

Easy Pad Thai:

You will need:

  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles (wide, flat noodles are typical of pad thai but I used what I had lying around)
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup corn (I use frozen)
  • 2 large eggs, light beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts (I used slivered almonds because I didn’t have peanuts on hand; worked fine.)

Directions:

1. Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lemon juice, and soy sauce.

3. Heat sesame oil over medium-high heat in large skillet. Add peppers and cook 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and corn cook 1 minute. Add eggs and cook, constantly stirring and scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer to a plate and set aside.

4. Add soaked noodles and prepared sauce to skillet. Cook while frequently tossing until noodles are tender, about 1 minutes. Add eggs to mixture and toss together. Serve, top with cilantro and peanuts.



Young Mary Eatz: Pizzereal - Nashville, TN

(As you know, Aaron is in a band called The Black Shades.  I stumbled upon this restaurant one night prior to them playing a venue called The 5 Spot in Nashville, TN.  Please see The Black Shades tumblr, for more info on all the cool gigs they’re playing! They’re everywhere!)


Pizzereal, plain and simple, was an absolutely pleasant addition to our most recent journey for a Nashville show.  Before shows and near venues, bands (and their awesome girlfriends/pseudo managers) can run into some slim pickings when its come to getting a filling and delicious meal.     Pizzereal, for us, was the answer.  A stone’s throw from Nashville venue The 5 Spot, I suggest this place to all of you musicians out there, or anyone fiddling around in the Nashville area with a hankering for pizza, kebobs, more…or as their sign boasts, “to relax, enjoy…, nice!”

  

Aaron, Brandon (also known as Octajohn), and I ordered a large pizza with half feta cheese, half bleu cheese, and garlic and pepperoni all over.   I also ordered a greek salad as a starter, and at the suggestion of our server, had the house dressing—delicious!  Everything is made from scratch and without the use of heat lamps, and my palette thanks them.

The total cost of our meal was approximately $18 for the pizza (divided 3 ways between us) and $3.75 for my salad.  Completely affordable for a very nice (and still low-key) date night or family dinner. Or, as I previously suggested, a haven for all you band boyz and girlz playing The 5 Spot.

We’ll be back, Pizzereal. 

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YOUNG MARY RATING :

ATMOSPHERE: 5/5

TASTE: 5/5

SERVICE: 5/5

LOCATION/CONVENIENCE: 5/5 (Location in comparison to The 5 Spot, parking in area available.)