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October 3, 2014

Eating Out Chicago:
Brunch is for gay people

BY
ERIC WILKERSON

Brunch is for gay people
My name is Eric Wilkerson. I'm gay, I love food, I drink wine, I enjoy variety, & I embrace diversity. None of these things define who I am but they all play a part in the effortless design of my life experiences. I live my life through experiences and I refer to them as effortless because I let them happen organically.

My most organic experience happens every Sunday. I call it brunch. Have you heard of it? Webster's dictionary defines brunch as a noun. So if it were to be used in a sentence, this is how the sentence would read: I am looking forward to eating brunch today. The definition reads: A meal that combines breakfast and lunch and that is usually eaten in late morning. While I appreciate Webster's "definition" of brunch, I define brunch as a verb. So if it were to be used in a sentence, this is how the sentence would read: I brunch on Sundays. My definition goes something like this: The action of participating in a stylish event that happens to be the gayest meal of the week.

Why do gay men love brunch? I feel that I have an answer, but you can let me know what you think. Gay men are amazing. We are stylish [to a fault], health conscious [critically so], and social butterflies [too often]. Brunching ties together each of these elements in some capacity. Honestly, every now and again, it's nice NOT to dress up, NOT to eat rabbit food, and NOT to have to be socially "on." Brunch, invented by a dude named Guy Beringer [probably very gay], gives gay men an opportunity to relax. While brunching, we can choose to be stylish but it is certainly not required and often frowned upon. This is a time for a hoodie, t-shirt, and a pair of jeans. We can eat things like chicken and waffles, pancakes, or chilaquiles without the fear of being judged. While we have spent the last week at a variety of events trying to impress people, at brunch we can let our guards down and gossip about those fun soirees. Gossip, you say? Yes, gays love to gossip. Add bottomless mimosa and a Bloody Mary bar to the menu then stick a fork in this Sunday-Funday, because it's done folks!

Speaking of food, today I brunched with my friend James. He is also super gay and he suggested that we try Old Oak Tap, which is an adorable tavern in the heart of Chicago's West Town neighborhood. Easy to find, this naturally designed, rustic restaurant has a delicious variety on their menu, not to mention a cruel beer list. You might ask yourself, "Why would this gay guy use the word 'cruel' to describe a beer list?" Honestly, I don't have a super logical reason except that, as a beer lover, I like to try as much beer as possible and if I can't get to all of the good ones during one session, I feel defeated, thus making the beer list a cruel one. I was also looking for a two-syllable word that began with a "c," so it all worked out well. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter, because neither of us had beer. Gay guys usually don't drink beer while brunching. Honestly, you won't find many gays drinking beer for breakfast, lunch, or dinner either. I'm basically a closeted beer drinker around the gays. This is the best reason in the world to have lesbian friends. That's all I'll say about that. Now you're probably thinking "Okay you big gay silly-willy, what did y'all eat??" I'll tell you. I ordered chilaquiles w/ my eggs scrambled. James had pancakes. The mimosas got to my head and I failed to try his pancakes, but since his plate was empty towards the end of our meal, I can only assume wonderful things about the flavors that he experienced. At one point, the waiter came by to ask if he could take our plates and while James had this genuine look of sadness in his eyes, he softly asked the waiter if he could keep what was left on his plate to finish the meal. The waiter approved the request, and then we jumped back into our heavy conversation of what it was like to "come out" in the South. That's a different story for a different day though. Let me tell you about these chilaquiles. Traditionally, this is a Mexican dish made with crunchy tortilla triangles, soaked in one of three sauces: Mole, green salsa, or red salsa. This particular dish had red salsa plus all the good stuff, like green peppers, jalapeños, and even the incorporation of a delightful chipotle flavor which will always make my taste buds dance. Marry this dish with good gay company, mimosas, and a patio on a day where temps hovered around 75 degrees and congratulations Sunday, you have won my heart.

Now that I'm still gay, a little drunk and stuffed full of food, let's make a deal. Moving forward, join me in my prideful foodie adventures! I plan to eat my way through this city one meal at a time, beginning with this brunch. What's something you can learn from this blog, besides multiple definitions of the word brunch? Here's your take-away: If you eat brunch, you're probably gay.

 
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