Gather

When our friends Scott and Katherine asked us to go to brunch, I gave them the difficult task of choosing our meeting place. All of their options were great, but Gather‘s menu looked too good to pass up.

So we recently headed north to Lincoln Square, which we haven’t explored all too much, but my God, is that area cute.

We checked in and waited for our friends at the bar, which is located across from a quaint kitchen counter where you can eat and watch the chefs create. Love this element of intimacy and the ability to chat with the chefs.

Soon after we sit down we met Scott, the bartender, who quickly talks us into a mimosa and a Bloody Mary. Scott was great, making us laugh and telling us his favorite dishes on the brunch menu (the Skillet, Chicken Fried Biscuit, and the Corn Griddle Cake). When Scott and Katherine arrived, we sat down and were pleasantly surprised that Scott was also our waiter.

We started with the donut and sticky bun (hello! yum!) that are perfect for sharing, followed by the Benedict for me, the Sunday Omelete for Katherine, the Skillet for Nate, and the Cured Salmon for Scott.

Let me tell you, the presentation of these dishes were so good, I was inspired. It really makes such a difference when your dish is just as pleasing to the eye as it is to taste. Since then, I’ve really tried to work on my presentation with the meals I make at home (check Twitter @secondcitygal for photos).

Can I also mention that they do something to their home fries that should be illegal. I don’t know what it is but they are whole potatoes that are perfectly crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside (I probably don’t want to know how they’re made!). The rest of my Benedict was good, too–fresh and thoughtfully prepared. Everyone was pretty pleased with their dishes.

As if these potatoes could keep me away, Gather also has a Sunday Dinner that I just need to try. Served family style, you enjoy a meal of three entrees for the table with sides and sticky buns for dessert. This traditional dinner concept is a must for me (want to come with?).

Lastly, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that I didn’t sit outside, but their outdoor space looked amazing. I need to go back to sit out there, too.

Whether you’re looking for a tasty brunch or family style dinner, you’ll find excellent service and delicious comfort food at Gather.

Gather
4539 North Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Square

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Week #18 – WhirlyBall

Well, friends, the mystery is solved. I now know first-hand what WhirlyBall is…and it’s pretty fun!

I was excited to see WhirlyBall on the agenda when I received the invitation for our friend Scott’s 30th birthday. I asked around a bit to see if other friends had gone and what they thought of WhirlyBall, and I only heard positive things. How’s that for word of mouth advertising?!

Saturday night was the big night. After filling up on Art of Pizza (some of the best pizza in the city!) and homemade cake at Scott and Katherine’s, we were ready to compete.

I played about three games, always on Team Red. (Tip: the black cars were rumored to be the faster cars.) My strategy was to knock the whiffle ball out of my opponent’s scoop, and T-bone people to throw them off when trying to pass. Ha.

If I’m going to be brutally honest, I was terrible at offense, but was confident in my defense skills (I was always a badass full back in soccer), and I was terrible at scooping up the whiffle ball. (I got extremely nervous and usually lost out to my opponent who was faster than me.) Needless to say, I never scored.

The biggest surprise I found—other than how much fun it is to hit your friends in bumper cars—is that you get really hot, temperature-wise. I really didn’t think I’d have to put too much effort into it, but if you take it seriously, you can get heated up!

Other nice surprises of the WhirlyBall facility are the big bar area where they have huge TVs and an excellent craft beer selection (I had a tangerine wheat beer named Clown Shoes), along with many arcade games, air hockey tables, pool tables, and—you guessed it!—a photo booth. (See below for my photos with Nate.)

Some unofficial rules I learned from playing WhirlyBall. 1. Ladies, don’t wear high shoes. My wedges looked really cute when I was hanging out in the waiting room, but they were not nearly as cool to drive in. 2. Prepare to get banged up! I have four sizeable bruises on my legs. Ouch!

If you have a fun group of friends who aren’t afraid to get competitive, WhirlyBall is a must. I’m so glad I tried it, especially while celebrating a good friend. Happy birthday, Scott!

WhirlyBall
1880 West Fullerton
Bucktown

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