Brunch is the ultimate weekend luxury. You can sleep in, amble up to the table at your favorite spot, down a few mimosas and take your time while you indulge in not-quite-breakfast, not-quite-lunch fare. You probably already have a favorite local spot you love, but what about if you’re visiting other cities?
In no particular order, here’s a guide to the best brunch spots in the country. Afternoon nap optional, but highly recommended.
What: Green eggs (without ham) are all the rage here, which are two eggs scrambled with spinach, artichoke hearts and Monterey Jack cheese. Other menu standouts include the buttermilk waffle topped with powdered sugar, fresh berries and banana slices and the bottomless glass of orange juice. You may have to stand in line on the weekends to try them, but Baby Barnaby’s has umbrellas, fans and free water available while you wait.
Where: 602 Fairview St., Houston, TX 77006
What: If you’re vegetarian, you’ll love the Croque Vert, which is grilled sourdough bread topped with grilled market vegetables, gruyere, Dijon mustard and sunny side-up eggs, and the roasted garlic polenta with mushroom ragout and poached eggs. If you’re more meat-inclined, order the equally lovely Croque Madame made with gruyere and country ham for an unexpected salty kick.
Where: 2211 W North Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
Mike & Patty’s
What: It’s all about the “Bacon and Egg, Fancy” at Mike & Patty’s. This dish brings together fried eggs, bacon (substitute tomato if you like), cheddar, red onions, avocado and house mayo for the ultimate breakfast sandwich – the secret’s in the garlicky sauce. If you’re craving something spicy to help heal that hangover, try the migas – eggs scrambled with salsa, cheese, tostadas, roasted poblanos, guacamole and refried beans – or the breakfast torta, which includes all of the migas’ ingredients plus sweet potato.
Where: 12 Church St., Boston, MA 02116
The Café at the Ritz-Carlton
What: It’ll cost you, but it’s worth it for the more than 50 selections chosen to suit all ages. The brunch here is out-of-the-ordinary with seafood on ice (crab claws, King Crab legs, oysters and Gulf shrimp), various smoked fish and blinis, antipasti, salads, carving stations and pasta. The selection pays homage to tradition with a made-to-order omelet station, Eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles and fresh fruit.
Where: 3434 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30326
What: Don’t let the name fool you – this place is quite relaxing and unbelievably luxurious. The four-course brunch menu is by reservation only, and it constantly changes. Indulge in dishes like rich short rib, wild onion and morel hash with asparagus, turnips, green garlic, poached farm eggs and hollandaise, a cheese course and yes, even brunch dessert. The menu is based on ingredients available at the market the day before, so you can be sure they’re mostly local and all fresh.
Where: 5425 NE 30th Ave., Portland, OR 97211
What: Three words: Goat cheese biscuits. At Rioja, order the Rioja Benedict – bacon, spinach, tomato, poached eggs and parmesan sauce – served on a goat cheese biscuit, the pulled pork croquette, hand-made mozzarella wrapped in smoked prosciutto, white miso soup with steamed mussels or artichoke tortelloni. Choices for a brunch buzz include a chocolate and coffee liqueur espresso, grapefruit granita, and the usual mimosa and Bloody Mary suspects, though the house-made limoncello and gin drink is worth a second look.
Where: 1431 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80202
The Village Bakery and Cafe
What: Stop here for brunch if you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere, where you can sit at the wrought-iron tables on the patio and sip coffee for a few hours while people-watching. Since it’s a bakery primarily, its specialties are on the baked-goods side, such as the lemon rosemary almond olive oil cake, house made granola and the donut muffin. For a protein boost, try the grilled polenta cake with parmesan, scrambled eggs, spinach, tomato and applewood smoked bacon.
Where: 3119 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/edoneil
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