When I'm visiting friends in other cities, I defer to their expertise regarding hangover brunch spots. So after a particularly excellent night out in Chicago, I found myself shuffling after my determined hostess in 90-degree heat to the Windy City Cafe. But it was worth it: this unassuming cross between a diner and a cafe in River West offers an impressive selection of skillets, a comforting stir-fried mess of hash browns, meats, vegetables, and cheese topped with two eggs, however you like 'em.
The Gypsy Skillet ($8.75), which includes onions, mushrooms, green peppers, cheddar cheese, and ham, is a perfectly proportioned deconstructed Denver omelet. Order your eggs over easy—the skillet beneath is an excellent vehicle for runny yolks.
Every bite included the right amount of cheese-coated crispy hash brown bits, and the generous cubes of caramelized ham were particularly outstanding, adding a smoky, salty flavor to everything else. This dish was particularly curative when splashed with Tabasco.