Andouille Sausage Gravy and Biscuits at Skillet
410 E. Whittier St., German Village
If rolling out of the warm sack into a bitterly cold January day feels like a Herculean task, then jump back into bed with Skillet's great biscuits and gravy ($9). The dish's dreamy blanket of creamy andouille sausage gravy is as soothing as any down comforter. Profoundly unpasty (unlike so many others), the gravy is smoky like bacon and has just enough Cajun herbiness and spiciness to hold your eyes open as your fork uncovers pillows of hearty, homey and buttery country-style biscuits underneath.
Keep working that fork till you get to the plate's firm yet delicate mattress - a perfectly cooked omelet-like package of local eggs. Then call a cab and have a nap on the blissful trip back to your warm sack.
Cloud Nine Pancakes at Northstar Cafe
Pancakes are like politicians - it's hard to find interesting, good and reliable ones. That's why I always vote for Northstar's aptly named Cloud Nine Pancakes ($9.50). Enticingly fluffy and intriguingly dotted with ricotta cheese inside, they arrive with a buttery and just-crispy pale golden crust outside. On top is pristine, fresh fruit. On the side are sweet whipped butter and terrific, warm, real maple syrup with lovely toffee notes to it. Cloud nine indeed.
Blue Ribbon Breakfast Skillet at Tip Top
73 E. Gay St., Downtown
For too long, pork products have hogged all of the starring meaty glory on first-meal-of-the-day plates. Thanks to Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails, though, now we can say: "Beef, it's what's for breakfast (and brunch)!"
For the Blue Ribbon Breakfast Skillet ($9), Tip Top's famous, tender and oh-so-juicy strands of top-notch pot roast get hopped up on a spicy ancho chili rub. Then all that love is laid out in a ceramic skillet - in unfinishable, mammoth proportions, I might add - along with redskin spuds soaking up the beef's fragrant roasting liquids plus curds of soft scrambled eggs.
Gild that lily with shredded cheese and a side of cooling sour cream and then repeat after me: "Pot roast, the other breakfast meat."