When I’m asked what I write about on TheRebeccammendations, my answer includes: restaurants, shopping, music, art, entertaining at home, and basically, anything fun. I also mention that I don’t include negatives, but luckily the name lends itself to a positive slant – I only ‘Rebeccammend’ things and if something is sub-par, I leave it out or don’t highlight it. And when I get questioned on whether my blog posts are true reviews, the answer is – they’re not reviews. They’re descriptions of experiences that I have. (Which is also why I rarely write about something I have not experienced myself.) And, my visit to Longman and Eagle in Logan Square was quite an experience.
I feel fortunate to work with coworkers who have style and are in-the-know who pointed me in the right direction for brunch when some tried-and-true friends came to visit Chicago – Longman & Eagle, an earthy and minimalistic, yet full-of-character bed and breakfast with six rooms where you pick up your keys in the adjacent restaurant. In fact, the woody ambiance hinted at an early Americana style, and was so popular, that there was a minimum 2 hour wait when we arrived with healthy appetites on a holiday weekend Saturday. Luckily, my memory served me well when I remembered the other Logan Square brunch spot my colleagues suggested: Jam (which I recently gushed about).
So, when Monday, Presidents Day, came around, Aviva, my creative and stylin’ friend from Brooklyn, was determined to experience L&E before heading home late afternoon. This time, we successfully snagged 2 stools at the bar where we watched complex vintage cocktails stirred up, including her spicy and earthy bloody mary complete with a pickled green bean garnish. We had about 3 hours to kill (what a delicacy!) and had every intention of enjoying a leisurely ladies brunch until time came for her to head to the airport.
We both enjoyed a delicious and farm-to-table-inspired and rustic brunch. I chose the Market Omelet of Spinach, Carmelized Onions, Seasonal Mushrooms, and Housemade Fromage Blanc (similar to goat cheese) from the Brunch Menu. (Notice the first item on the list comes with an option to add a midwest classic Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) beer to kick off your morning.) Perhaps one of the unsuspected highlights was the fresh sourdough bread toast from local La Boulangerie bakery in Logan Square served with what I first thought was apricot jam, and discovered was quince paste. (I always wondered what it tasted like since it’s often cooked with on The Food Network – it is sweet and has a texture of apple butter!)
Other than classic girl talk with Aviva, the most memorable part of the meal was learning about the history and tangible aura at Longman & Eagle. I like sitting at bars (I have managed to get free sushi rolls by inquiring about what I saw when sitting at the bar in the past) because I can see cocktail craftsmanship in practice and sometimes food preparation. In this case, the bartender shared some insights with us that round out the full picture of Longman and Eagle, though you have to visit to experience it yourself. He mentioned that Logan Square is home to many artists, musicians, and restauranteurs. Apparently, on Mondays (such as the one we visited on), those who owned nearby restaurants would frequent Longman & Eagle since they work late weekend nights and sleep in, waking up hungry wanting a day off from cooking. So L&E is their go-to. Maybe, then it wasn’t quite the coincidence when we met a musician from Brooklyn sitting next to us that was visiting for a show at the acclaimed Chicago jazzy music venue, The Green Mill and he stopped by L&E to get a taste of the chicken and waffles.
We also learned from our educational visit with the bartender that the name Longman & Eagle comes from the Logan Square monument designed in 1918 by the same architect as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. with an eagle on top to represent the Illinois State flag and sculpted by Evelyn Longman.
I’ve heard L&E is also a fantastic dinner destination – who’s coming with me?