The Joy of Brunch: Recipes and Reflections
There are few things that I love more than brunch. I could break into rhyme I love it so much. Lemon ricotta pancakes, cinnamon raisin toast, bottomless mimosas, hollandaise sauce as far as the eye can see, and oh the coffee. My toes are tingling at the thought of it all.
I am a brunch connoisseur. My favorite thing to do in a new city is grab a pack of my friends, squinty-eyed and still a bit crumpled from their beds*, and drag them to 11am brunch. Fat Dog in Rotorua, Benny's in Ann Arbor, Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in Boston, Real Food in Grand Rapids, I could go on and on. If you're serving breakfast food at 11am, and I don't have to put on fresh make-up for it, then I'm there. I'm there with a book, I'm there with friends, I'm there writing a paper, I'm there with people I barely know, I'm there procrastinating something important; for whatever reason, I'm there.
The best brunches happen unexpectedly.
Some mornings you just wake up and know. Wake up in the morning to the first real snow of the season. Take a few minutes, take as long as you want, and stare out your window at the untouched snow. Eventually pull yourself out of bed and brew a pot of coffee. Yes, a whole pot. You're not going to class or work or running errands this morning. You're staying home for brunch. Choose your favorite feel good movie, your softest blanket, your biggest mug, your favorite person, and collapse onto the couch. Eventually get up to make pancakes or eggs or toast, but only when you feel ready.
When you wake up and it's gray and drizzling outside, that is a day for brunch. Sigh unhappily at the weather, then bravely get up to dress in a similar fashion. Feel your mood elevating the closer you get to the restaurant, to your people. Stomp into an oversized puddle and be shocked when it splashes all the way into your face. Sigh, happily this time, when you pull open the doors and feel the hot air rush into your face, quickly drying the droplets still caught in your hair.
Going to brunch brings joy at all times of the year.
Case in point, brunch menus consistently change from season to season. Fall features a myriad of maple and pumpkin flavors, only to soon be replaced by winter's mint and hints of crème brulee. These winter flavors drag on a bit too long in the midwestern states but are happily replaced with fresh and fruity numbers the moment you can smell spring in the air or spot a hint of blue in the sky. Brunch, like diamonds and movies featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, is timeless.
There is no wrong way to do brunch. Go to a farmer's market in the fall and buy expensive coffees and fresh farm baked pumpkin doughnuts while you walk through artisanal stands with your best friend. Go to a tiny corner cafe with a friend you haven't talked to in months and catch up. Ask about her new boyfriend and grad school plans. Go out with your friends the night before with the stipulation that you must, must, must be awake by 10:30am to meet up at the fancy breakfast place downtown. Be late and roll your eyes at each other but end up giggling five minutes later. Don't let your roommate give his number to the waitress. Go to the random breakfast place the hostel owner recommended and be appalled at the prices, but order the french toast anyways. Trust me, it comes with bananas. Drag your boyfriend out of bed despite his aversion to life before eleven am. Tell him about the $3.95 breakfast specials at Benny's. And whatever you do, always order the coffee.
Wake up somewhere where the light is peaking through the blinds and you have time to stretch. Put on your comfiest clothes and the old shoes that fit perfectly. Walk there if you can. Try not to even think the word 'calories', just order the waffles as fast as you can and grin when they're delivered. Take a moment to simply smell your coffee. This is an endeavor in happiness, not to be taken lightly.
*I must confess I am often the squinty-eyed and crumpled one being dragged from my bed. My past roommates can attest to this. That does not take away from me loving brunch just as fiercely as a mother lion loves her cub.
A Light Brunch Meal Plan
Feeling ambitious? Ready to be everyone's favorite friend? Why not plan a brunch feast in your own home?! This meal plan offers a little bit of everything, but won't leave you feeling like a greasy load of bricks after.