Grand Lux Cafe is a stand-by on the restaurant lists for many Chicago visitors-- and for good reason. They're located in the heart of the Magnificent Mile, perched up on the second floor at the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Ontario Street. It's the perfect location for a little mid-shopping trip break and an even better spot for people watching. It has been a few years since I've been to Grand Lux Cafe, but I'm a big fan of their famously big portions and their expansive menu (there is literally something for everyone) and was excited to go back.
I met my husband for lunch and we both decided to order from Grand Lux's lunch menu, which offers a nice selection of more modestly portioned meals. Since I decided on a salad, I felt okay with ordering the fries pickles off the Small Plates menu to snack on before our meals arrived. Thick cut pickle chips were perfectly breaded and fried until crispy and not greasy. They are served with a bold mustardy remoulade sauce for dipping and were completely addictive!
Since the Grand Lux menu is so expansive, I definitely recommend navigating right to the Lunch Specials page if you're there at lunchtime. Not only are the portions a bit more manageable, but they offer some great combination meals with soups, salads, or bento boxes if you'd like a little variety. That's what Alex decided to do, going with a Rustic Pizza & Salad special. The free form pizza was perfectly sized for one and generously topped with cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom. It was paired with a small Mixed Green Salad to round out the meal.
I love the salads at Grand Lux Cafe, so I pretty much knew that was what I'd order. They are a really good size and full of great ingredients, making even a salad a totally filling lunch. This time around, I went with the Grilled Chicken & Avocado Salad. It begins with mixed greens, topped with grilled chicken and large slices of avocado (of course), along with shredded carrots, chopped cabbage, fresh cilantro, and crispy tortilla strips. It was a great combo of southwest meets south Asian flavors made even tastier by the dressing: a sweet spicy savory Citrus-Honey Dressing and Peanut Vinaigrette. The salad was light and flavorful on its own and the dressing really kicked up the flavor!
If you still have room, the dessert menu at Grand Lux Cafe is not to be overlooked! They have a big selection and many of them are baked to order, so plan ahead when you're ordering your entree and put in a dessert order too! The warm sticky bun bread pudding isn't one of those, however, it is not to be missed. It was amazing. Served warm, this bread pudding is already super decadent with the flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg and the custard makes it melt in your mouth. To really push it over the top, Grand Lux serves it with a thick caramely whiskey sauce, fresh whipped cream, and candied pecans. Even though we were feeling so full, we couldn't help but (almost) finish this dessert because it was just so delicious.
And if that bread pudding sounds good to you, you're in luck because I'm sharing the recipe with you today! Now you can make it at home to celebrate National Sticky Bun Day or any other special days (or special someones). Enjoy!
Grand Lux Cafe's Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding Recipe
- 8 oz. (2 sticks) melted butter
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Cut the bread into 1” cubes.
2. Place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine the butter, sugars and spices in a mixing bowl, whisking to combine completely.
4. Pour the mixture over the bread, tossing to fully coat the bread cubes with the mixture.
5. Spread out into a 9x13 baking dish.
6. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Be sure to stir the bread cubes once or twice while toasting.
7. While the bread is toasting, make the custard.
8. Whisk all ingredients together until evenly combined.
9. Once the bread has toasted, remove the pan from the oven.
10. Pour the custard over the bread cubes.
11. Allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking.
12. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place into a 300° oven.
13. Bake for 20 minutes.
14. Remove foil from pan and continue to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown and the custard has set. You can test this by inserting a paring knife into the center of the pudding. If the knife comes away clean, or with very little pudding clinging to it, the pudding is ready.
15. Allow the pudding to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
16. To serve: Top the pudding with toasted pecans and warm caramel sauce. Serve with either vanilla ice cream or crème anglaise.
Editor's Note: Recipe c/o Grand Lux Cafe.
A Complimentary meal was provided by Grand Lux Cafe in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.