CHICAGO - If breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day, then our Hungry Hound says there's a cafe in Rogers Park you might want to take a peek at. He says great coffee is a given, but it's the egg sandwiches, made with homemade biscuits or cornbread that are really worth the trip.
Breakfast sandwiches can be oh so average, like from a fast food chain, or somewhat elevated to new heights, in the hands of a chef used to making high-end cuisine. The latter occurs each morning inside smackdab, where a dedication to each component of the sandwich results in a delicious combination.
It's mostly about the biscuits at SmackDab, tucked into the edge of a Rogers Park strip mall. The rough dough contains both smoked yellow, as well as white aged cheddar cheeses, plus sage, rosemary, parsley, buttermilk and honey.
"We started as a pop-up to see if this community wanted something that we had to offer, which initially started as breakfast pastry and coffee in the morning, we've now expanded into more savory fare, mainly breakfast sandwiches," said co-owner Axel Erkenswick.
Rolled to an even thickness, then scored and cut into equal squares, they are baked for 10 minutes, turned around, then baked some more.
"We bake 'em with two sheet pans on the bottom, to make sure it gets a perfect bottom otherwise it doesn't really bake all the way. Biscuits are kind of tricky. You want to make sure the top and the bottom cook both perfectly," he said.
While they bake, there is coffee being made.
Grinding beans to-order, weighing, measuring and then pulling an espresso; milk is steamed last-minute too and poured to make bracing lattes.
When an order comes in, a biscuit is sliced in half, placed in a conveyor toaster for just about a minute, while eggs are cooked in a skillet and seasoned.
"We use Paul Prudhomme's salt-free seasoning from New Orleans," said Erkenswick.
You choose one of three homemade jams for one side of the biscuit.
"A roasted tomato jam; we've got a balsamic red onion jam, that has an infusion of red wine and herbs, as well as a bacon jam which is basically spreadable bacon," he said.
A garlic-chive-basil mayo graces the other side, then eggs in the middle. If you can't eat biscuits, a great gluten-free option is the cornbread sandwich.
There are other pastries here, like teacakes and muffins. Also doughnuts, which rotate frequently.
"We always have cinnamon sugar and we change up our fruit glazes every day," he said.
In Steve's Extra Course video, he talks about one of SmackDab's extraordinary (gluten free) chocolate chip cookies (the secret is oat flour).
Extra Course: SmackDab
6730 N. Clark St.