a holiday. a spectacle really that comes once (maybe even twice) a week. brunch in the city is almost as common as swiping your metro card and is hyped as christmas before halloween even hits. i might even be able to name a few people that wouldn’t really know what to do with their weekend if it wasn’t for brunch. i admit… i love the idea of rolling out of bed at 1 pm and still having the opportunity to get eggs and pancakes at fairly respectable dining establishments, but i still want the non-pretentious aspect as well. it’s a meal kids. i gotta FEED myself!
what part of town you live in, how far you want to travel with that achey liver, budget, atmosphere, etc. all play a part in the decision making process. very rarely do you see people brunching alone. i do a lot actually. this is only because sometimes getting everyone together midday for some grub on the weekends is almost as stressful as it was planning your friday night -which literally only happened about 12 hours before. unless you’re a creature of habit, then you probably already have in mind what you want to eat, when, where, with whom – in which case, it all turns into a mindless excercise of showering, clothing, and getting yourself there.
me on the other hand, always want to try something new. it also helps that i have friends that keep an open mind for suggestions. a few places that i’ve rather enjoyed in the past and have revisited on various occasions are as follows (all of them are downtown, yes, but as the brunch oddessy continues, the list will grow) and items that i recommend as well:
Prune – the bloody mary list is almost a good enough reason to come here. 7 different kinds last time i checked. not to mention the garnish is wonderfully satisfying as well… “oh look! you got an ear of corn with yours!”. the menu is very diverse as well. anything from a danish breakfast to huevos rancheros. didn’t get the bowl of pasta ya wanted lastnight? try the carbonara to get your egg and bacon fix in. CLEVER and deeeeeericious! get there early or wait for an hour (or two).
Brown Cafe- hipster go-to. beauitful crowd, beautiful waitstaff, minimal setting, but the food makes it all come together. baked eggs. baked eggs. baked eggs. highly recommend the baked eggs (sausage and sweet peppers option is my favorite). they’re very visually appealing. served in a mini cast iron skillet, rustic bread, and cute little side dish of mixed greens – all brought out on a wooden board. the coffee is fantastic – mexican hot chocolate if you can catch it on a special day is to die for. the sandwiches are even a pleasure to inhale. i caught a meatloaf sandwich special on a really cold day that was … wow … unusual choice for me, but been waiting for it since.
August -the owner lived in Provence and modeled the joint and his menu after one you might typically find in the southern region of France. they also have the baked egg option here, but i have had the cast iron pancake and multiple daily specials. the woodfire oven is how the cooking process is primarily done here which is a draw in itself. the beer selection is wonderful … which also means the other brunch cocktails are right up there too! excellent frittata and a roasted pear option on the side.
Little Owl – something kind of nice, easy, and satisfying about eating out on Bedford st, but this small corner restaurant has a feeling that hits home. only about 7 things to choose from on the menu, but all of them are ranging from some eggs with hollandaise, steak, omelette, burger and wholewheat pancakes. everything is what you want, how you want it -if not better, and no surprises. brunch champagne AND wine cocktails go down nice. i recommend the bramble… fresh mashed berries in champagne. i’m sure you all know that they are known for their gravy meatball sliders having appeared on atleast 3 national food magazines… YES they are on the menu as well.
Walker’s – down in tribeca. i ran into this joint when the line was out the door for Bubby’s. don’t get me started on bubby’s, but it’s not on my list. walker’s happened because my stomach was tying itself in knots and couldn’t wait in the cold any longer. well, cowboy, ya walk in and it smells like a bar. considering it’s been around for decades, it looks like any other old fashioned watering hole in this town. dark wood, beer soaked floors, all kinds of memorabilia and drunk sketches posted on the walls. sit down and just look at the menu. a-typical yes, however surprisingly wonderfully made and good ingredients. an added bonus is the fresh mini pastries they give you before you eat. the omelettes are huge, but the burger. ugh. wow. with a nice draft beer. just hits the spot.
Five Points – all things bright and beautiful. this menu has more options than XM radio. and how could they possibly do it all? a well run kitchen, i guess. all the breakfast foods your brain could possibly fathom with more sides that takes two hands to count. great jones is a fantastic street especially in the summer time. outdoor seating is ideal and quiet. don’t worry about sweatin too hard, brunch is at the perfect time of day where the shadows are cast and you can enjoy that lovely bloody mary, iced tea, buttermilk biscuit, chicken salad, bagel with overflowing gravlax, burger, portobello sandwich, french toast, plus the other 298349283749823749 items. all perfect, never a complaint. for dessert, look at the appetizers, the honey sweetened polenta is wonderfully balanced sweet. then take a long walk.
Great Jones Cafe – ha. it’s directly across the street from five points, but when i say it’s a fantastic street, well, it really is! SOUTHERN at this joint. tex mex i guess is a better way to put it. cajun margaritas, jalapeno cornbread, scrambled egg delicious messes. jumbalayas. 4 fat pancakes with the fruit of the day. another cajun mary to help digest. come back for the sweet potato fries. unfortunately they aren’t on the brunch menu, but if you wanna hit some more of those beers later on in the week, get a basket of those heavenly strips of… heaven. hot sauce on top is a fanastic touch. while you’re at it. just put hot sauce on everything. your hair. just rub it all in. take a zantac for sure.
well, more to follow, this city is so big and there are hundreds of more weekends to continue this saga. after all, it technically is just lunch. something always super satisfying about a great sandwich. Atlas Cafe has a fantastic sandwich board that includes vegetarian options. Tiny’s giant sandwich shop has wonderful already made sandwiches, but you can also choose everything from the bread to however many salt and pepper shakes you want on top of the countless other selections.
i want comments guys. gimme your best shot at brunch!