Walker Bros. gets it right (longish)
Had to get the breakfast itch scratched after the not-so-hot one at Lou Mitchells. (See previous thread).
My husband and two friends joined me in this culinary adventure. They knew their assignments. The mission? Get a spectacular breakfast at a reasonable price and eat as much as possible to describe to fellow hounds. (The things I do for you folks).
Appetizers at brek? You betcha. We started with Walker Bros famous apple pancake. It's sort of like a huge round yorkshire pudding with carmalized apples that forms it's own luscious syrup. Crispy on top, creamy in the center. Oh my. It was gone in minutes. Syrup dribbled down chins, fingers were used. No mistakes were made here. If there had been any left over - I imagine this is a dish as good cold as it is hot - thinking about how those apples in their syrup problably get crispy and crunchy once cold made me want to order another to go (but hubby gave me one of those "not on you life" looks - it's a mixed marriage - he's not a big breakfast person). And along with some very excellent coffee (they serve heavy cream on the side), this was one tasty delectable.
On to egg country and side dish land: One mushroom omelet. One Denver omelet. One order of basted eggs with bacon. One order of eggs over easy with chicken sausage. Your choice of toast or pancakes. We, of course, did both. A la carte side orders included hash browns (sorry NY - I guess I like to rub it in a little - ah, who am I kidding? I like to rub it in a lot), potato pancakes with both sour cream and apple sauce. Omelets were very, very nice. Huge and puffy and done more in the French manner - not browned on the outside - tender and moist inside. The mushroom omelet was stuffed full of shrooms and served with a very tasty mushroom/sherry sauce on the side. I was ready to not like it because it seemed like overkill, but like it I did. The Denver was impeccable. The ham was quite delicious. The vegetables were sauteed tender-crisp and there was no over abundance of one. Truly an egalitarian omelet. The bacon? Not Nuskes, but damn good. The sausage? This caused a slight stir at the table - although we could barely move at this point. Three of us thought it nice (read: ok for not being pork) and one found it too sweet. There was a touch of maple in there but I felt it was a nice foil for the big fluffy pancakes on the side. The hash browns you ask? And since you asked so nicely, I'll tell you. Wow, wow, wow, WOW! Just as they should be. Crusty on the outside, creamy on the inside with a hint of oniony goodness - I almost caught a fork in my hand the way were shoveling 'em down. The best I've had in a long time - and they're ubiquitious in Chicago. The potato pancakes caused another small division. Dino and I liked them very much but our Jewish friends thought they didn't have enough heft. I liked the lacyness of the pancakes. One bet the other $20 bucks that there was no matzo meal or schmaltz in them and won after asking the well-informed waitress.
All this food and a $50 bill? Yup. +A deserved 30% tip for the girl who managed to never once shake her head or look aghast at our utter piggishness, although the cook did poke his head out at one point.
Walker Bros is on Green Bay Road in Wilmette very close to the Metra station. About a 20-30 minute drive from the loop. Less, if you take the train. Weekends are extremely crowded so be ready to wait or better yet, do what we did and go later.
After a dinner of homemade soup and some biscuits my husband sighed rather loudly. "What's up?" I asked. "Oh, just dreaming about cold apple pancake," he mused, "we're going to have to get one to go next time." Walker Bros. I salute you.
Walker Bros. is indeed good. I'd describe the apple pancake as more of a giant, eggy, sticky bun with apples. I feel pleasantly sticky just thinking about it.
There is more than one location. Haven't lived in the area in years, but I know that there is one on Waukeegan Rd in Glenview. It's usually pretty crowded on weekends, unless things have changed.
Once, many years ago, when I was learning how to drive, I had a bit of a mishap that knocked down one of the big, white columns in front. I was a very traumatized 16 year old and the manager was very nice to me, mistakenly assuming we'd eaten there and were on our way out when the accident happened. I've been back many times, though. Apple pancake... mmmmmmmm.