Last Sunday, Nate and I met fellow Milwaukee foodies Lori and Paul, of Burp! Where Food Happens blog. We were supposed to go to County Clare at 11 a.m.--I had heard they had a great Irish breakfast, and Nate and I loved the Irish breakfasts we had in Ireland a few years ago. But when we got there, I noticed a sign by the door said they open at noon and then someone in the bar area informed me they did in fact not open until noon. The website says 11:00, so that was a bummer.
But have no fear--you put four foodie, hungry and in-the-know people together, and you figure it out. After going over our options, we elected to go to Chili Lili's--the restaurant was debuting its brunch menu that day.
We got there about 11:30, and got a seat right away and ordered four spicy bloody Marys. The bloodies were good--a good amount of spice, and they came with a pickle, green olive, mushroom and huge piece of celery. The only downside was that they were in tall hurricane glasses, and toward the end of the drink--even with a straw--it was hard to drink.
We each ordered something different. Paul got the Menomonee Street Magma Chili with habanero cheese omlette, which is pretty much what it sounds like--a plain egg omlette with chili inside. The omlettes came with hash browns, too.
Lori opted for the Texas steak chili and grits, which I thought Nate would order (he's a sucker for grits!). It looked really good, and seemed like something different than you would find on a lot of brunch menus.
Nate ordered the breakfast burrito. He originally wanted the southwest roasted corn chicken chili, but they didn't have it. So he got the buffalo chicken chili instead (think classic chicken wing flavor). The chili was wrapped in a huge tortilla with eggs, habanero cheese, onions and a trio of peppers, and came with hash browns. The burrito was really good (I think I liked this a bit better than what I ordered). I think the type of chili he ended up with really made it.
I ordered the omlette with vegetarian chili, goat cheese (like Nate is a sucker for grits, I'm a sucker for goat cheese) and tomatoes. It was good, but it definitely needed some hot sauce to kick it up a bit (luckily, each table has a few bottles of different hot sauces). I wish it had had some more goat cheese, but there was just a bit crumbled at the top. I, too, had hash browns, which were nice and brown but a bit greasy.
All in all, our experience was good. If it sounds weird to you--chili for breakfast--it's really not. If you like breakfast burritos and Mexican-like flavors for breakfast, you'll like this a lot. I also liked the portion size--they plates were huge and overwhelming. I ate everything and felt comfortably full (important in my book!) And if you can't get there for brunch, get there for lunch or dinner--the chili is really good, and you can get it served over great cornbread.