Halloween Hangover Hash- by Jessica
Updated: Feb 22, 2018
Picture this- it was a warm and windy day-after Halloween in Chicago. It’s safe to say that we did imbibe a bit, the night before, just as a part of the holiday shenanigans in one of our favorite cities… and we woke up, of course, starving- it was mid-day.
Looking around the kitchen was a less than inspiring… we had not been grocery shopping yet, so we had odds and ends of produce, a little bit of random cheeses, (we collect cheeses along the way and often have an eclectic selection on-hand. Really helps out with these impromptu brunch sessions…but I digress.) We had some pork carnitas left over from taco night. And the only thing at all that was inspiring was leftover French fries from our fast-food feast on the way home last night.
The way home last night. Like I said, it had been Halloween.
At this time, we lived in an amazing, close-knit, eclectic neighborhood downtown, in Chicago… So, we knew most of our immediate neighbors and businesses fairly well, and were close enough to everything that via our feet or share-bike we could get around pretty well. Half a block down from our apartment was the most disgustingly amazing little hotdog and hamburger stand. Disgusting as in everything is deep fried (even the bacon, for the bacon-cheeseburger- thus making the fries extra delicious), and also disgusting as in, a couple of times actually shut down by the health department… but if you yourself found yourself in the right state of mind and inebriation, this place was thee place to hit up on your way home from a night out! (Side note: unless of course you were lucky enough to stumble upon the tamale-guy, but that in itself is a story for another time.) “Our” little place was open until at least 4 am and the ladies inside knew us. Not by name, but because we would stop and chat with them, say hello, exchange pleasantries anytime we happened to saunter by their sidewalk window. They were nice. They liked us. And they knew our order: sausage egg muffin and a baby cheeseburger and a large fry for him and usually I got a chili dog and sometimes a polish and cheese fries.
Well last night, was no different. We had enough alcohol that we thought a small snack from the hotdog stand would be just what we needed. Usually you could amble in, without too much of a crowd or fuss, sit on a stool, order your food- and wonder if the mystery juke box might play you a random free song. You order, chat- watch the people eating their snacks and chat with the ladies cooking. Just writing this, I can smell the French fry grease and grill cleaner spray.
Halloween night. Hotdog stand was PACKED.
Clearly, we were not the only two people in our neighborhood who thought a 3 am snack would be fantastic. The inside of the place was wall-to-wall people and there was a huge line down the sidewalk of people waiting to order from the walk-up window.
Creon and I kind of skirted around the edge of the crowd, quietly trying to talk ourselves out of stopping for fat-fat, and just going home- which at this point, we can quite literally see our apartment building. The normal discourse on trying to talk oneself out of a fat-fat snack, once you’ve already committed to eating a fat-fat snack was what we were chatting about as we were trying to decide where and how and if we were going to get in this line. “Is there ice cream at home?” “Do we have any leftovers?” “Do we have bread?” I mean some leftover pasta or a sammy might do the trick… we were fairly wasted and just wanted a little snack before we fell out for the night.
All of a sudden- our favorite lady saw us! Somehow! She saw us, awkwardly surveying this situation and trying to decide our next steps. “Guys, hey!” She called to us, over the din of the inside noise and the ruckus of the drunken crowd outside, “Hi!” we called back- waving and unsure to be glad or embarrassed that we had been busted trying to decide our next move, then she surprised us! “You want the usual?” Over this big crowd of people. So now, we’re clearly getting some looks. Creon took charge, and he said, “Yes please!” This lady, bless her heart, made us our normal order. Gave us extra extra hot fresh fries and extra cheese sauce, and in about three minutes was handing us a bag chock full of our regular order. We kind of had to push forward through the crowd, we gave her a $20- which was more than enough for our food and a generous tip and we took our bag and walked away. Laughing. In-Shock.
And actually a little bit embarrassed.
Was this the most amazing miracle that had ever happened in drunken Halloween shenanigan history? ‘Til this day, I still have mixed feelings about this event. Sure, sure, everyone likes being treated like a VIP, but being the VIP of a grungy little hotdog stand. Hmm. Not sure of the prestige in that. Mostly, I think I feel happy about it. I certainly was happy the night it happened. I laughingly and joyously took my bag of fat-fat from this sweet lady, and floated off waving like a hotdog princess at the unruly and now somewhat annoyed crowed of onlookers in the line. It was a win. If you want. The looks we got from the people still waiting in line was hilarious. What kind of hotdog royalty did we think we were? Were we actually famous people? It was amazing.
So. All of that being said, now I can back to the hangover leftover brunch.
Basically, all we had were these leftover French fries and the carnitas.
Not that inspiring.
But we put our thinking caps on and decided we could chop those badboys up and make a little hash.
So into the pan went the French fry bits and carnitas, we added some onion and peppers and started a little sweet treat… for that we used leftover brioche and cherry jam to make a bread pudding- that we baked off and then sliced and made into French toast. The hash was amazing with a couple of sunny eggs, and the French toast, was also not-traditional but it was delish.
I think what’s important to understand is that brunch doesn’t have to be fancy or planned. Some of our best brunches are just random little opportunities where we are hungry and we challenge each other to stretch the limits of our imaginations to make something that tastes fantastic.