I love brunch. Brunchy brunch brunch. It’s some of the best foods (waffles!) at the best prices (usually less than $15!) with the best people (the hungover ones!) and leaves the rest of your day open to socialize with friends or day drinking (which means the exact same thing to me!). As you may recall, BYT took a long, hard look at brunch last year, and we’re bringing it back this year too. More restaurants, more opinions, and more eggs benedicts than you can shake a sausage at. Keep an eye out for it next week.
In the meantime, here’s an amuse-bouche of Adams Morgan’s finest, just in time for Crafty Bastards this weekend. Make a day of it! Get brunch with friends, drink plenty of mimosas and bellinis, and go wander the stalls. Get a buzz on and buy some hand-felted sock puppets; everybody wins!
(note: photos aren’t of brunch places mentioned, just filler to get you excited about the prospect of eating powdered sugar for breakfast)
While there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said before (value! location! pancakes!), I have to put it on this list. The Diner is breakfast food all day, every day, and their brunch (though humble) is top notch. Is the Diner Royale a bit overpriced? Sure, but where else are you going to get that kind of spread in this neighborhood, whenever you want it? Instant gratification, friends. Kick back with an Irish Coffee and try to solve the mystery of why the only give you three pieces of toast (what do they do with the fourth?!).
Yes, the place where you can writhe on the dance floor into the wee hours on a Friday is the same place where you can get eggs and croissants on a Saturday. As you can imagine, the French menu is heavy on the savory and sparkling wine. You don’t hear me complaining. Lovely decor, delectable food with no after-smell (because no one likes bacon breath), a class act all the way. If I were the type of girl to go to a romantic brunch after a night out with a paramour – and I’m not – it would most certainly be here. Even better? It’s not on the main drag, so you can stroll around if you choose after one (or four) Kir Royales.
Bourbon became my saving grace this last New Year’s Day with their all day brunch, and if they do it again in 2012 you can bet I’ll be there again at 6:00pm, forcing down a frittata and chicken nuggets and eavesdropping on everyone else’s crazy NYE stories. The Kentucky Hot Brown, a staple of my Appalachian upbringing, makes an appearance here; it’s truly an underrated hangover cure. In the spring, the St. Germain cocktails provide some excellent hair of the dog remedies that make you think of gentle flowers while struggling to maintain your equilibrium. In the fall, you can’t beat the Bardstown Toddy with your brunch.
Cashion’s Eat Place
What I like about Cashion’s is that it reminds me so much of a wonderful restaurant I went to in Seattle that served brunch and only brunch. Everything was fresh, not overly seasoned, and, interestingly enough, written in Papyrus. Same goes here; the prices are higher than what you’ll usually find in the area, but it’s a great brunch experience. The cornmeal waffles stand out, and in my experience, stand-out waffles are hard to find in a sea of mediocrity. I believe that waffles are like sex; when it’s great, it makes your day come alive and you want to sing and dance. And even when it’s bad, it’s good. Unless it’s really, really bad, and then you want to tell all of your friends – where? – at brunch. I might not go here on a typical weekend, but I would come here as a treat. Or, you know, after really bad sex.
While Smoke and Barrel doesn’t seem to have a brunch menu (yet? maybe? c’mon guys, if anyone can find a way to turn bbq into breakfast food, it’s you), the downstairs is still kicking out great vegan brunch fare. And I hope they don’t stop; I’m not vegan, but I can’t get enough of their vegan pancakes and vegan wings. In the dark of night and light of day, I crave those vegan wings.
Bardia’s New Orleans Cafe
Haters gonna hate, but I found this place charming. Simple decor, good coffee, and a unique twist on brunch favorites without being gimmicky. When you eat as much brunch as I do, the usual suspects (eggs benedict again?) can become boring. I liked the sicy sausage in the Eggs Creole, and the interesting take on an old standard in the Eggs Baton Rouge (though honestly, the catfish bites at Madam’s Organ are better). Sweet fried beignets round it out.
I wasn’t going to mention this place. While I do like it, Slavic food isn’t popular in the US, especially the brunch options. The American palate tends to crave sweet, fatty foods in the AM (or maybe this is just what we’ve been told to like? All hail advertising!) and with the exception of the vatrushka, Slavic food seriously lacks these qualities. But what I like about Slaviya is that it doesn’t quite sell out to what most people want; sure, there’s marscapone french toast, but their brunch stock and trade seems to be the savory and salty stuff (olives, salmon, black bread), and it’s a nice break from the usual brunch options. That said, skip the Huevos Rancheros (so much better at places that aren’t Slaviya), and definitely get the $3.50 mimosas.
See where above I lauded Slaviya’s take on unique brunch fare? Ditto for Meze, though you will still find the carb-laden treats most people were raised on (eggs, more eggs, meat and potatoes). So many of my friends love Meze, and I think it’s primarily for the outdoor seating, though the food is solid and reasonably priced. Meze looks to be a real treat on what’s supposed to be a lovely fall Saturday apres-Bastards (sunshine and temperatures in the 60s? Yes AND please). I’m a bit of a pancake snob, and I think Meze makes ’em good, especially with the great fresh fruit options.
Stay tuned for next week’s epic brunch post, telling you where to go, what to order, and what to avoid. Is there a brunch place you think needs to be on this list, or worse, removed? One you think we should try? Wanna fight me about the Diner? Comment below.
DID WE MISS ANYTHING, LET US KNOW? (and keep an eye out for a full-blown city wide, multi-category brunch guide coming your way soon)