>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009
crazy little thing called brunch...
I moved to Forest Hills after returning from the Victorian dorms and Gothic cathedral libraries and Latin crests of college. At the time, brunch wasn't on the radar. But in the span of mere months, brunch suddenly became important. Brunch! It was rising up, little sister, turning on the light when I was still exhausted. It was breakfast with liquor. It was eggs benedict and espresso. It was waffles that didn't come out of a toaster. It was dating. It was friends. It was flirting with the hostess at Alice's Tea Cup to avoid the two-hour long waits. It was the East Village, where people line up down the block. It was Park Slope, where you can't walk ten feet on a late Sunday morning without someone sticking a mimosa in your face. It was the Meatpacking District eating between celebrities and their tourist gawkers. It was, my MetroCard refills kept telling me, not Forest Hills.
Brunch. Half breakfast, half lunch, it seems, defines the dining character of a neighborhood. The better the brunch options, the better the dinner options. Maybe this is because brunch neighborhoods are foodie neighborhoods and foodie neighborhoods demand a certain level of goodtasteitude that other places are ambivalent about. Maybe its because foodies who need to fight their hangover with a prescription-strength mimosa don't want to walk very far to the pharmacy in the morning and, like tortoises, all magically find their way to living in certain key parts of town.
I lament the lack of brunch options our neck of the woods. See, it's not about being open at the same time as brunch, or about even having a menu with the word "brunch" on top. One lazy day in the not-too-distant past, Bro pointed at one of the sections in the menu of the Forest Hills Diner, "See? Brunch." I just shook my head sadly. Sorry, man. Calling your breakfast menu brunch, or calling your lunch menu brunch just because you offer a complimentary bloody mary with it... Not the same thing. A diner doing brunch is like Miley Cyrus singing Portishead. It's just a foolish waste of time. Brunch requires a certain je nais se quoi.
Speaking of je nais se quoi, there once was a French restaurant on 70th Road called Rouge that had a great brunch. The rest of their food was solidly forgettable, but not so with the brunch. Alas, they passed on to the great MenuPages listing in the sky. Aged now has a brunch, which I vow to try. In fact, I'm going to try to do 'em all. Bonfire, Just Like Mother's, Network, Danny Brown... I'll skip La Terrazza, which does its brunch "buffet style" for those just dying for breakfast to remind them of their stay in a cheap Las Vegas hotel. But I think it's time to start encouraging brunch again. Wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across your head.
Brunch. It's the most important meal of your Sunday afternoon.