Sunday 2/28: The Adventure Begins

This past week, my friend M and I decided that it was time to treat ourselves to some brunch. This stemmed mostly from my admiration at the frequency of her trips into the city and my rather depressing lack thereof, and also because college is hard. Life is hard. So treat yo self.

Sunday rolls around and we set off in search of Tweet, a supposedly cute and much raved-about gluten-free establishment in Uptown Chicago, just outside of Little Vietnam. Neither M nor I are gluten-free, but the place received such good reviews on Yelp (and I’d already picked out what I wanted to order after extensively stalking their online menu) that by the time we embark on our trip, we are already quite invested.

After an hour-long CTA ride, we finally arrive in Uptown and eagerly brisk-walk through Little Vietnam to Tweet. I also make a mental note to come for pho one day. Much to our chagrin, the wait time is approximately “45 minutes to an hour,” the host says. “Would you like to put your name on the list?” We deliberate briefly and promptly leave in search of a more time-friendly brunch space. An hour-long wait is just too much, we think, in midst of our heartbreak. There must be a more reasonable brunch spot. Unfortunately, after calling various restaurants and hearing them say “2 hour wait time” over and over again, we come to realize that 45 minutes is actually not that ludicrous. In fact, it is pretty damn good! Ah, such is the life of a wannabe foodie. But now we know. New rule: 1 hr or less = reasonable.

However, we are lucky and I call a place named The Bongo Room, where the wait time is only 30 minutes long, “at this moment.” Hurriedly we get back on the train and pray to all of the gods we can think of to please, please let there be a short wait time!

We arrive at The Bongo Room, prayers answered. “Thirty-five minutes,” she says. We nod enthusiastically and wander into Trader Joe’s to wait it out. M is very good at cooking and drinking wine and eating cheese and completing all the requirements of being an adult — whereas I am still congratulating myself on being able to wake up after only two Snoozes — so she takes me on a tour of her domain. Incredible place, Trader Joe’s. Did you know they have frozen dumplings made by “Trader Ming’s”? Still can’t decide if the company is trying too hard with that one or not.

After several rounds of checking the wait time, being told to wait a little bit longer, and then exploring a different nearby store (I manage to snag a free sample of guacamole at another grocery store and then promptly accidentally drop it on the floor, ’twas a tragedy), we finally hear our names called! What a miracle! Approximately 2.5 hours after the beginning of this great odyssey, we have finally succeeded in obtaining brunch.

The Bongo Place is crowded and noisy, which surprises me because from what I know of brunch, which is not much, it is a quiet and aesthetically pleasing location for catching up with friends and sipping mimosas and chowing down on pancakes galore. Our food unexpectedly arrives in a record amount of time, given the amount of brunchgoers currrently co-inhabitating the same space. I order the chorizo, potato, and avocado omelette, which proves to be one of the greatest omelette combinations I have ever eaten, and certainly one of the best to ever exist in history. M opts for a vegetarian croissant sandwich, which she says is primarily because she wants to eat “the sprouts.” This girl. So, with our mouths full and hearts happy, we spend a wonderful Sunday afternoon consuming scrumptious food and talking about our lives, just as a proper brunch should be. Brunch = complete.

I would also like to note that I consider the most significant part of this whole experience to be witnessing the girl at the table next to us order — and successfully inhale — an enormous stack of chocolate-doused, chocolate sauce-swimming, chocolate french toast. It truly was incredible.


After brunch, I wistfully talk about how I wish there is a comprehensive list of all of the great brunch locations in Chicago. We should make this list, I say. M says, “how about we start with 15 locations?” This is a great idea, I think. I’ll make a Google Doc list! No, scratch that, I’ll make it into a blog so we can document all of our past trips and also adventures to come! Thus, The Freshman Fifteen is born, and so here you are, reading the very first story to come out of our brainchild. I will also mention that I have a penchant for puns — you may see a few here — and hopefully they will be great (like “freshman fifteen,” am I right?).

This Sunday, we plan to go to Orange, a place that is so highly recommended by my lab partner that she even messaged me the link for the restaurant’s website for “my sanity.” So A, if you happen to be reading this, this one’s for you (and for my sanity, apparently).