I love brunch. I mean, what’s not to love about a meal that serves as two, and is thus justifiably large and filling? And almost always (or in my case, always) includes bacon? Not to mention drippy eggs! I’m getting excited just thinking about it.
But to me, brunch is more than just a tasty meal. It signifies a state of relaxation and leisurely-ness that is rarely captured by other meals. My love of brunch dates back to freshman year of college. My girlfriends and I would gather at Kennedy Commons at 11 AM on Sundays to linger over somewhat inedible scrambled eggs and toast and discuss the juicy details of last night’s debauchery: who made out with whom, who didn’t make out (me), and who drank too much (usually the person still sleeping). Studying and exercising could wait! Post college, brunch took on a new meaning; with no homework hanging over our heads and more money in our pockets, my friends and I could afford nicer brunches. And if we weren’t too hungover, those brunches might include cocktails! Brunch is also my favorite meal to enjoy when visiting other cities, like this BLTE bloody mary at Jacob’s Pickles in NYC (and Nash’s fancy mimosa of some kind).
I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new brunch spots. My rotation frequently includes Northstar (duh, can you say Big Burrito?), PhilCo (excellent baked eggs and grits), and Tasi (healthy-ish), with the occasional Union buffet mixed in. But I get tired of those, so when I recently had the opportunity to explore two new-to-me cbus spots, I jumped at the chance (and actually remembered to take photos for once!).
The first new-to-me spot was The Whitney House in Worthington with my cousins Katie & Pete and their adorable son Edward. They live in Worthington, and since I rarely venture outside the comforts of the Short North, I was happy to make the short drive north to a “cool” ‘burb.
The menu at The Whitney House was a bit on the small and unusual side. If I had to choose between diner-style brunch (think 3-egg omelettes with greasy home fries and toast) and fancy schmancy-style brunch (think salmon salads), I’d always choose the former. I really love a low-maintenance, classic brunch that is as big as my head. But everyone once and a while, a fancy schmancy brunch place is a nice change of pace, and The Whitney House fit the bill.
Keeping with my theme of unhealthy brunch food, I opted for the Chilaquiles, which are basically nachos on steroids. And let me tell you – they were GOOD! I loved the chips that had become a bit soggy in the sauce. I even liked the pork shoulder, which is unusual for me seeing as I’m not much of a “weird meat” person. They were pull-apart tender and melted in my mouth – none of the chewiness I dislike about many cuts of meat. And as mentioned earlier, what’s not to love about drippy eggs?!
By contrast, Katie went the healthy lunch route, opting for matzo ball soup (a homage to her Jewish relatives) and a nice salad. She said they were both good, but I’m pretty sure my meal wins 🙂 Thanks, K, P, & E for getting me out to the ‘burbs and into a new restaurant!
A couple of weeks later, I brunched at another new-to-me spot, this time south of the Short North in the Brewery District. My yoga instructor, Jill, got a group of her students together for her 10 AM class followed by brunch. Sweat fest followed by food? Count me in! Post class, the group of us toweled off and headed to Westies, a “gastropub” that I had dined at before, but only for bar food during sporting events.
Right off the bat, Westies earned bonus points by serving these mini biscuits on the house (the photo doesn’t do them justice). To a group of hungry yogis, it was heaven! I also ordered a bloody mary that had antipasto as a garnish – yum! (seeing a theme here?).
The brunch menu at Westies was my speed – I had a hard time choosing between all the greasy options! I ended up going with the burrito, which was good but not quite as flavorful as I expected. #brunchsnob
The irony is, come Wednesday and my first day at Northstar Cafe, brunch will never quite be the same. Largely because most of the time, instead of being the slightly disheveled person enjoying brunch, I’ll be the very put together person serving slightly disheveled people brunch! On the rare occasion that I am able to enjoy a leisurely mid-morning meal, I’ll probably be too critical of the food / service to fully enjoy it. Ignorance is bliss? But alas, this is the path I’ve chosen, and so for the time being I’ll throw myself into making and serving YOU some of the best brunch in the city!
So next time you wake up hungry (and maybe a bit hungover), stop in to the Northstar Cafe in Beechwold and get yourself a Big Burrito. You won’t regret it!
What’s your favorite brunch spot?