Ralph Lauren Restaurant (Chicago)

My Memphis interlude between weekends in Chicago and New Orleans has served as a breath of fresh air. Summertime travels have been a doozy, though they've been no less than exhilarating. And as I flipped through the new July issue of Bon Appetit this morning, I realized, "Oh crap! Fourth of July is in four days and I don't have a red, white and blue recipe for the blog." Then, I realized, "Oh, yeah. I balance Caramelized with a full-time and part-time job, am in the midst of possibly purchasing a town home, and am staring at a bare fridge due to my insane travel schedule."

Reality check. And though I most likely will find the time to pick up fresh berries for a blueberry cobbler (priorities), the recipe may not arise in time for your holiday planning. My apologies, truly!


However, while scrolling through photos from this past girls' weekend in Chicago, the Ralph Lauren restaurant brunch shots kept catching my eye. Quintessentially patriotic from the iconic Polo symbol to the American classics menu, RL Restaurant had me swooning over every red, white and blue flourish. I prepared myself for a blog post without even realizing!

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We sat on the breezy Chicago Avenue patio and ordered from the model-esque waiter, whom I swear could have been featured in a Ralph Lauren catalogue. Once complimentary pastries and a few coffees were served in the classic "RL" labeled coffee cup and saucer, we ordered two hearty dishes between the three of us; one sweet, one savory.

The gold coast benedict was simply too good. Who needs an English muffin when you can base your benedict with a perfectly prepared potato pancake? I felt like I had just received a new favorite Jewish holiday present: a golden latke that doubly served as a new breakfast concept. Happy Chanukah to me. Poached eggs and smoked salmon toppers, with hollandaise on the side, comprised the total package.

More notably of the thematic color palette was the berry and granola parfait. Sure, you think you have had a yogurt parfait before...But no parfait beats the RL version. Piped layers of extra dense, honey Greek yogurt were flecked with fragrant vanilla bean. Every berry was, of course, delectable, and the honey granola served as a mild, complementary texture to the other two ingredients.

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Though I know most of you will not be residing in Chicago for the holiday weekend, I hope Ralph Lauren's iconic inspiration serves you well for Independence Day. I'll be road-tripping to New Orleans to Bacchanal and St. Roch Market, among others.

Cheers to red, white, blue, and latkes!