Brunch is my favorite meal, always has been. It’s also my favorite portmanteau; a perfect blend of ”bring” and “lunch,” because brunch literally brings breakfast to lunch. Genius. Which, conveniently, also applies to its origination — while most believe brunch to be the lovechild of Hollywood and artisan muffins, they don’t have the whole story. Really, brunch dates back to the pre-Industrial Revolution days when people were running out of excuses to skip church [obvi].
Over the years, it’s developed into the behemoth event that it is [especially in New York, where it's practically an Olympic sport] and choosing where to go is too often left to guerrilla tactics such as looking for the longest line outside the smallest café on the narrowest sidewalk on the coldest day in winter.
And so, to save us all the pain of scouring the streets for various 20-somethings screaming into their phones, “No! They won’t seat us until the whole party is here!,” [the hallmark of a good brunch] I thought…why don’t we just all compare notes and share our favorites?
Here are mine, in no particular order:
1. Resto, Murray Hill
Everything about Resto is hearty — from the thick-cut bacon to the eggs swimming in tomato sauce and slathered with cheese to the almost-charred tasting coffee. Come hungry. Come because it’s close to your apartment. Come for the ambiance. Stay because you’re subdued by food coma.
It’s all sorts of wonderful.
2. Cafe Orlin, East VillageCafe Orlin is the home of pumpkin pancakes topped with cinnamon-yogurt glaze. Anyone who’s been will tell you to order them. Yelp begs that you do so. The wait staff proffer them as the solution for any debating patron. NY Mag scolds the idiocy of anyone foolish enough to dare consider an alternative plate.
And me? Well I don’t order them and choose instead to stare, longingly, with a smattering of drool on my chin at every plate of them whisking by.
But it’s all good, really. And it’s cheap. And it’s crowded and you should get there early and if you do, you can sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of the East Village as it wakes up on Sunday morning.
3. The House, Gramercy
This is a classy one, y’all. This is where you take Grandma and Grandpa when they visit. Where you put on your trusty brunch-pants and favorite brunch-shirt and revel in the glory of being awake/showered/made-up before 11:30 on a weekend — I mean, it’s impossible to feel mature when you’re sitting on your couch, lights off, sucking down Cinnamon Toast Crunch at 4:17 in the afternoon.
No, here you’re a grown-up. You perch on your bar stool, you sit in that revamped carriage house and you exhale a sigh of relief: “I am a mature, put-together adult who can reasonably order a pizza for breakfast and a bloody mary before noon and no one will think less of me…” Or something like that.
4. The Guilty Goose, Chelsea
GG is good for exactly one thing: a boozy brunch. It’s the place you go when you wake up at 11 a.m. on a Saturday still mildly-to-completely drunk from the night before and think: “I am never drinking again, unless it is RIGHT now.” You [I] think this because you [I] know drinking is the best cure for a hangover….except that’s not true. It’s not ‘curing a hangover’, let’s be clear, it’s just ‘getting drunk’, again.
Anyway, you roll out of bed and begin assembling your brunch squad. “Guilty Goose in an hour!” you shout down the dark abyss of your hallways, hoping at least one roommate hears. You call your troop of delinquents from the last night, “What?! You’re still in bed?! Haven’t you heard? GG [a pet name, of course] in 30! Get moving!”
You don’t argue about location because where else can you get hours of bottomless mimosa pitchers, enormous entrees and Irish Coffees for $35? Oh, and those freaking frickles that you were certain you hated but suddenly can’t stop eating?
Plus, you’re spared the nightmare of trying to figure out who-owes-what [the constant curse of professionally stagnant 20-somethings]: “Your meal is $3 more because you added prosciutto. Sorry to be the bearer of the bad news.” “Um, whatever, you two shared an extra french press, hi! We’re even!” “Not really, because I paid .90 cents more on the cable bill this month, so get over yourself. Cheap ass.”
Save yourself. Go to The Guilty Goose.
5. Sarabeth’s, any of the locations
Crap, I love Sarabeth’s. I loved her from Missouri — hoarding jars of her preserves and hot chocolate mixes in every spare cabinet — and now I love her from a much more reasonable proximity. Between Taylor and I…the whole menu has been sampled. Devoured. Enjoyed. Sighed over. Face-planted into. You get it.
There’s just something magical about it, something that makes Sunday — the only buffer between us and the work week — seem like less of an evil beast, something that immediately gets you thinking, “Everything in here is going to uplift my spirits and make me a better person.” It’s that good. Too good. Especially the Morning Crunch in the summer and the Papa Bear Oatmeal in the winter. Oh, and the $7 dollar grapefruit juice, it’s totally worth it [we swear].
There’s more…but I can’t stand to hear my stomach grumble any longer…we’ll have to resume some other time!