We didn’t make it to Mardi Gras. Or JazzFest. Something tells us even if we had, the highlight of either imaginary trip would have been the food.
We found the best known Chicago substitute for Big Easy eating in the form of brunch at Big Jones. And we’ll take any excuse to wander about the quaint streets and charming shops of Andersonville. It’s the adorable neighborhood either of us might live in if we were real grown ups.
As you might guess, Big Jones has a distinctly Southern flair. The brunch menu, as you might also guess, features dishes abounding with shellfish, grits, greens, biscuits and Cajun flavors.
The bloody mary at Big Jones was no exception. We liked it because of its freshness and simplicity. Like much Southern fare, it doesn’t try too hard because it doesn’t need to. Lemon and Crystal hot sauce flavors take the stage, so the taste wasn’t too, shall we say, “tomato-y.” Just simple, slightly spicy, and delicious.
Hot sauces have become a topic of interest lately because they’re not just about different peppers and varieties. Each seems to have a local tie. Crystal, for example, is the “#1 hot sauce of Lousiana” adding cayenne pepper and a distinct vinegar flavor to this bloody. Also guest starring was housemade worcestershire and fresh horseradish. We also appreciated the delicious simplicity of pickle and okra garnish.
Now the food. We understand why Big Jones often makes the best-of-Chicago brunch lists. We get it, big (Jones) time. For starters, literally, you get complimentary beignets with your meal. Light, warm, fluffy and slightly sweet and savory. These were gone in minutes.
Had we known about the complimentary beignets, we may not have ordered the biscuits as starters. Or maybe. The menu said they came with a blackberry jam, but we were pleasantly surprised with this hot peppery jam that played nicely with the slightly sweet biscuits.
Carbs. If we didn’t have enough carbs already, we BOTH ordered the corn griddle cakes. They’re two savory corn pancakes (with cheddar in between!), topped with spicy green tomato salsa, two fried eggs, avocado and sour cream. With loads of black beans. So, so good. So good.
Our brunch guest Theresa ordered the Eggs New Orleans that comes with crab cakes, poached eggs and bearnaise sauce. I mean, come on.
We can’t say enough good things about this bloody and brunch. We’re already Jonesing to go back. Until next time, friends. Happy brunching.
Bloody Mary, Big Jones: Our rating (scale of 1–5)