For my 16th birthday, I had it all planned out. I would take my driving test on my birthday and the next day treat seven of my friends to Sunday brunch. I borrowed my uncle’s eight-passenger station wagon for the occasion.
But then I failed the driving test and panicked about brunch. There wouldn’t be room for a parent to drive (we always wore our seat belts and never crammed in extra people). Fortunately, there was time to take the test again that day. I passed and brunch went on as planned.
So for my son’s 16th birthday, I suggested brunch at the penultimate venue in Chicago–the Peninsula Hotel’s amazing Sunday brunch in the Lobby restaurant.
I’ve posted about the Pen before, but this is the first time my family and I have tried brunch there. Background music flowed from little balcony fashioned after the one in Hong Kong. (When the violinist finished “Back in the USSR”, people clapped.)
I’ve had my share of Hong Kong brunches and this one did not disappoint! It’s pricey, but worth the cost. The service, food, and atmosphere were all top notch. I didn’t want to be obnoxious and photograph the never-ending buffet tables, but here’s a look at some highlights.
I picked Peking duck from a carving station. Diners can add condiments as they please. The rectangular marbled potatoes were divine–thin slices of potato lightly fried. I also had kung pao chicken, a vegetable dumpling, roasted vegetables, and smoked salmon with capers (always a favorite at Hong Kong buffets).
The hot and sour soup was also delicious.
My kids loved the watermelon, cilantro, and feta cheese palate cleanser here, as well as the make-your-own yogurt parfait and the mixed juice.
This is a view of the dessert station, which was another highlight.
Up close, here are four different dessert combinations we selected. This one has passionfruit mousse, a peanut butter cake, French macaroon, and a cup of mousse and cake crumbs.
Tiramisu, another macaroon, tres leches cake, chocolate mousse, and a key lime cup.
For Jake’s birthday, the Pen presented him with this birthday dessert plate.
We all had a fabulous time. It’s not something we would do on a regular basis because of the price and the quantity of food, but it’s perfect for a special occasion.
The Lobby is located at the Peninsula Hotel, 108 East Superior, Chicago. Phone: 312-337-2888. Sunday brunch is served from 11am until 1:30pm. Reservations are strongly suggested.