This August is a month to celebrate autonomous nation-states and arbitrary geographic boundaries in an increasingly fragmented world. This is productive! It’s the Olympics, a time where our nationalistic tendencies in the country that trumps all others reach a fever pitch. What better way to mark the occasion than with some cultural appropriation and/or consumption. And what better way to highlight American excess than with the gluttonous double meal that is brunch.
Of course, I kid. This beautiful melting pot of a nation, and its glorious capital, are home to some of the best culinary flavors across the globe. We need to be thankful for this month and the way it calls to mind our interconnected world. The Olympics can be a shitstorm rife with controversy, but at least it reminds us of the things that bind us together as humans. Chief among them is food. Cuisine allows us to share our cultural traditions with the world. Where would we be if we were stuck with American food? So when you brunch this weekend, remember how the world is good to your belly. Eat the food of some other place at one of our five brunches around the world.
This is one of my favorite places in the city because it allows me to put my tongue on all the different corners of the globe. Compass Rose’s concept of world street foods is awesome and it’s always given me a reason to come back. They’re running a number of world-themed events throughout their “Weekend of the World.” And Sunday’s brunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., incorporates this theme without straying too far from home. It’s a Go-Go brunch with DJ Harry Hotter (no comment), highlighting D.C.’s iconic percussive sound, while offering entrees that span the Atlantic and beyond. Israel, Uruguay, Italy and Korea all feature on the menu.
The color and vibrancy of food finds some of its greatest fulfillment in Indian cuisine. Not to mention the spices and the smells. There’s nothing quite as evocative. I haven’t eaten yet today, and just looking at this brunch menu is actually killing me. Brunch is served small plates style, and 20 bucks gets you unlimited dishes. Throw on $10 for unlimited mimosas, or $15 for unlimited brunch cocktails including rum lassi and tamarind margaritas.
It’s a given that we’d have to give a shout out to the host nation of the world games. Brazilian cuisine might be best known for its churrasco flavors, and even though I love me a good Fogo sesh, The Grill from Ipanema’s brunch menu is giving me good reason to look into the country’s other culinary offerings. The $22.95 prix fixe brunch menu includes a three course meal and a complimentary beverage. You can tack on bottomless for an additional $15. Grilled meats still play a predominant role in the morning menu, and I hope you like black beans. And just because I can, I’m throwing in the most obvious Youtube video accompaniment. My friends just started listening to this song? This has been my jam since I first saw it on a television ad for some songs of the 60’s compilation CD. I was probably six or seven. Now that’s what I call music.
In the Olympic spirit of inclusivity, I want to highlight a nation for whom inclusion has a whole new meaning this year. It’s just a cool bonus that the resumption of diplomatic relations also means that tobacco products and excellent cuisine are more readily within our grasp. So go to Cuba Libre! They’ve got an expansive rum selection, Caribbean decor, and a brunch that I’ve been told is actually acceptable. Just note that I’ve had some issues with tomatoes there in the past. The tapas brunch menu is available a la carte or all you can eat for $29. You should drink a Piscojito.
The last Olympics were in Russia. The Russians are still in the midst of an Olympic doping scandal. In general Russia just tends to make headlines at this time of year (well, any time of year). So let’s have a Russian brunch. Russian food is pretty good, right? They have Borsch. At Mari Vanna, a restaurant with locations around the globe, $35 is the all-inclusive rate for the brunch buffet. That includes free-flowing adult beverages, of course. Plus entree offerings on the brunch buffet that change on a weekly basis. Toast to our perennial chief Olympic rivals. Enjoy their cuisine, then watch America “put-in” some great performances and best them at whatever events they’re allowed to participate in.