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Midnight brunch at Mercadito and Hash House A Go Go

Julia Kramer and David Tamarkin chronicle—with their cell-phones—their forays into late-night waffles.

1/14

Mercadito(108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555). Serves midnight brunch on Fridays until 2am and Saturdays until 3am.
11:58pm I approach Mercadito and receive a funny look from the doorman. Outrageous. There�s a doorman for brunch? Actually, no. Turns out the doorman is for the bar downstairs, Double A. (My bad.) I go in and say to the hostess, �I�m here for the midnight brunch.� She hands me a menu on a postcard.

2/14

Mercadito(108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555). Serves midnight brunch on Fridays until 2am and Saturdays until 3am.
12:10am The room is kind of empty but our server is all smiles. Drinks? he asks. We say yes: an Auntie Ox for me and a mango Mimosita for my friend. Based on the ingredients in my drink (green-tea vodka, passion fruit, agave, orange, guajillo), I am fully prepared to hate it. But no! The Auntie Ox is crazy good. It�s the Mimosita, surprisingly vegetal and spicy thanks to green chile, that we hate.

3/14

Mercadito(108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555). Serves midnight brunch on Fridays until 2am and Saturdays until 3am.
12:23am There are five dishes on the menu. We ask Smiles: What�s the ahogados y tocino like? He admits he has no idea. We order it anyway. Turns out to be three rounds of bread, each topped with a poached egg, bacon and salsa. It could be more punchy, but as a precursor to more intense midnight brunch food, it�ll work.

4/14

Mercadito(108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555). Serves midnight brunch on Fridays until 2am and Saturdays until 3am.
12:35am Yo, Smiles�can we get a Bloody Mary? This mimosita is ill. Thank you.

5/14

Mercadito(108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555). Serves midnight brunch on Fridays until 2am and Saturdays until 3am.
12:42am Okay, so we could have added a fried egg to our chilaquiles. But we didn�t, and it doesn�t need it. Corn chips smothered in tomatillo sauce and crema and plated over creamy black beans. Can�t. Quit. Eating.

6/14

Mercadito(108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555). Serves midnight brunch on Fridays until 2am and Saturdays until 3am.
12:56
Steak and eggs and cactus salad. Smiles told us to get this one. We�d blame it on the upsell, but it�s the same price as the other dishes. The only explanation is that Smiles likes steak�somewhat chewy, somewhat bland steak. Know what would save this dish? More chilaquiles.�David Tamarkin

 

7/14

Mercadito(108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555). Serves midnight brunch on Fridays until 2am and Saturdays until 3am.

8/14

Hash House A Go Go(1212 N State Pkwy, 312-202-0994). Serves brunch until 2am Fridays and Saturdays.
12:15am Despite the traffic jam of limos outside, Hash House A Go Go (a San Diego-based chain) is near-empty when we stumble in. I look first at the drink menu: There�s a $100 bottle of Perrier Jouet orrrr something called O�Hare of the Dog: a 24-ounce can of Budweiser, in a paper bag, with a side of bacon. WHERE AM I?

9/14

Hash House A Go Go(1212 N State Pkwy, 312-202-0994). Serves brunch until 2am Fridays and Saturdays.
12:35am Hash House�s signature dish�fried chicken and waffles�arrives like (I soon learn) most other things on this menu: big enough to feed a small country and stabbed with a knife and a freakishly large rosemary sprig. Also please note the man closest to us at the table of four; he is 100-percent asleep at the table.

10/14

Hash House A Go Go(1212 N State Pkwy, 312-202-0994). Serves brunch until 2am Fridays and Saturdays.
12:40am My friend�s pancakes have been delayed. (�Chef definitely dropped a cigarette in your pancakes,� I guess.) In front of us is the most haphazardly fried piece of chicken I have ever seen. It is at once burnt and not even remotely fried. Also, at some point I realize the squishy waffles are stuffed with bacon.

11/14

Hash House A Go Go(1212 N State Pkwy, 312-202-0994). Serves brunch until 2am Fridays and Saturdays.
1am The manager comes over and explains they had shut down the flat-top and they�re going to comp the blueberry-pecan pancakes. Finally, the pancakes arrive, and it�s actually a pancake�singular�and it�s not only the size of an extra-large pizza but also has a good �-inch of height. My companion takes a few bites. I somehow manage to eat the butter.

12/14

Hash House A Go Go(1212 N State Pkwy, 312-202-0994). Serves brunch until 2am Fridays and Saturdays.
1:19am I had given myself the personal challenge to be the first person under 200 pounds to eat the entire plate of chicken and waffles. But I�ve failed, so the server brings a to-go box.

13/14

Hash House A Go Go(1212 N State Pkwy, 312-202-0994). Serves brunch until 2am Fridays and Saturdays.

1:21am On the way out, we pass a wall of celebrity-signed menus. �What does �You�re on not ice� mean?,� I ask, referring to something scribbled on a photo. My companion takes a glance at the wall. �Umm, notice?� It�s officially past my bedtime.�Julia Kramer

 

14/14

Hash House A Go Go(1212 N State Pkwy, 312-202-0994). Serves brunch until 2am Fridays and Saturdays.

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