My favorite breakfast place in Chicago and possibly the whole world (at this point) is Sweet Maple. This little Tri Taylor gem of a cafe is always hopping and for good reason. The price is reasonable the breakfasts are big and the southern style food is delicious. Someday I will make biscuits as good as the ones they make there, but until then I will dream about their biscuits, their "Sausage, Egg and Cheeser" breakfasts sandwiches, their cheddar grits. I credit Sweet Maple with my appreciation of southern food. Grits?? No way! Fried Chicken for breakfast(!?!) on a Biscuit?!? Yuck! And so on and so on, but now I can see the genius in Southern Food and appreciate the excessive amounts of butter, grease, and cream that exists in every dish.
Another Chicago favorite, "The Map House", a neighborhood bar with one of the best beer lists in the city. We went on a rainy afternoon with two good friends for a pint and a chat. The atmosphere of the place hasn't changed. The walls are still lined in 70's National Geographics and its still populated by the same eclectic crowd of beer enthusiasts.
Reading Newspapers front to back is my vacation activity of choice.