Tag Archives: brunch

Sunday Brunch?

Joan's Eggs Benedict-Florentine

It’s that day of the week, folks.  Sunday, when most of us make breakfast the singularly most important event of the day, surrounding ourselves with our best friends and celebrating the fact that it’s a day with no obligations with various cocktails.  It’s an institution in this city, and while I dream of my mother’s Egg Benedict-Florentine (see above, she made that for me on a recent visit home) I might be visiting one of these spots today (also, check out my other posts on brunch in NYC, here and here.

If I’m feeling over-the-top:

The Oak Room at the Plaza.  It’s a $65 prix-fixe, which gives me options like smoked salmon “benny” with potato cake and horseradish hollandaise, french toast holes with orange marmalade and nutella, a raw bar and lobster roll sliders.  It’s decadent on every level, and about as classic New York as you can get.

10 Central Park South, 212-758-7777.  Visit their website here.

If I want traditional, good ol-fashioned brunch:

Clinton St. Baking Company.  Be prepared to wait upwards of two hours, because the food here is so good and everyone knows it.  Their buttermilk biscuits, warm crumbly wonders, are served with jam and their bloodies in pint glasses (this is important).  I’ve never tasted more deliciously fluffy blueberry pancakes.  For excellent, traditional execution of brunch, this place is it.

4 Clinton St between E. Houston and Stanton, 646-602-6263.  Drool over their menu here.

If I want charming and quaint:

Tartine in the West Village is great if you’re having an intimate brunch with your best friend.  It’s tiny and you may have to wait in line.  The menu is small, but it’s only $14.95 and it includes items croque monsieur and french toast.  The location is ideal, looking out onto a pretty corner of brownstone-lined Village.

253 W. 11th St at W. 4th, CASH ONLY.

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Brunch and the City

Brunch on the weekends in New York is automatic.  A special occasion or holiday is unnecessary to brunch, because it’s just what you do.  The difference between getting breakfast and brunching is this: you eat later,  you drink mimosas, bellinis, or blood mary’s, you order an extra plate of pancakes “for the table.”  After the last plate is cleared, you rub your somewhat bulging belly, lean back in your seat and announce you’re not eating for the rest of the day.  

While waiting for Shorty's to open, I enjoyed a big, steaming cappucino and the Times at a little cafe down the street.

While waiting for Shorty's to open, I enjoyed a rare and lovely moment on Prince St. in Soho, at a little cafe with seats out front, and big, frothy cappuccinos.

I enjoyed two great brunches this weekend at Shorty’s 32 and Clinton St. Baking Company,  but the latter came with a 90 minute wait.

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Sun, Breeze, Brunch

 

Brunch at Morandi in the West Village

Brunch at Morandi in the West Village

On Saturday I met my lovely friend Dana for brunch at Morandi in the West Village.  I had read about Morandi’s breakfast and seeing as I had imbibed far too much wine the night before at Aroma, an Italian-style brunch filled with breads and and eggs and prosciutto and crespelle sounded like the ideal antidote to my headache. We got a table for two outside under the awning and ordered uova camicia, poached eggs with onions and peppers, occhio di bue, a flatbread with pancetta, pecorino and sunny-side up eggs on top, and for dessert fazoletti di ricotta, a lemon ricotta crespelle (crepes) with fresh strawberries.  The food was excellent, the sun warm, the breeze divine, and the atmosphere casual bordering on lazy.  Around us tables of friends settled in for the afternoon, ordering bottles of rose and sharing various antipasti.  It was beautiful.

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The Neighborhood Standby… why it is what it is.

Viva Cafe Habana!

Last night I went to the birthday party for one of my best friends (and my roommate) Erin.  It was a heady, champagne-fueled, dance-filled affair that lasted until the wee hours of morning, but aside from some salt and vinegar chips I chomped on the way home at 4:30AM, my nourishment came in the form of (delicious) bubbly liquid.   Inexplicably, I woke up five hours later feeling quite spry and went to one of those hardcore conditioning classes at my gym- you know, the one involving various sets of weights, those step thingies and a bordering-on-sadistic instructor.   Why do I disclose such trivial details of my night-into-morning? Because it’s the only way to appreciate the magnitude of my appetite this afternoon.  I was ravenous, and thus not too picky about where I went so long as it was close by.

I woke up post-birthday girl Erin and told her to get dressed as we were going to EAT.  We decided on Cafe Habana, a tiny Nolita restaurant that has been consistently packed since it opened in 1998.  To be honest, I ignore this place most of the time. Having lived in the Nolita area for the last four years, I’ve seen lots of restaurants come and go.   Sometimes the simplicity of Cafe Habana’s food and the crowds that form outside (lots of them with guidebooks in hand) make me shrug it off as the neighborhood teflon.  It’s ubiquity and unwillingness to change must mean it’s descended into mediocrity.  

Well, sometimes I’m totally wrong.

The food is  Latin comfort food- a solid cuban sandwich, decent mojitos, and grilled corn on the cob that made the place famous.  For the one person who doesn’t know (you know who you are), Cafe Habana’s grilled corn is served on a skewer, smothered in mayo, cotija cheese, a sprinkle of cayenne, and then a squeeze of lime. It’s an awesome snack.  The place is tiny, the prices are ridiculously cheap, and the crowd is still pretty cool after ten years.  

We sat at the bar and ordered two cafe con leches, rich, whole milk mixtures served in tall milkshake glasses, two ears of grilled corn, scrambled eggs with chorizo and black beans, a cuban sandwich, a side of sweet plantains, and after we finished the coffees, a Dos Equis to take the edge off.  It was so filling and so good.   The service was awesome- everyone seemed sincerely happy (despite the fact they are working brunch on Sunday).  The bill was $35. To put that in perspective, I paid $27 for a lobster roll yesterday.  I left Cafe Habana feeling not just full but fulfilled.  

Some restaurants stay around forever because they’re real good at what they do.  They don’t pretend to be anything they’re not, they deliver on what they promise and they serve it well.  There’s never an identity crisis with Cafe Habana.  It’s a neighborhood spot where the food is cheap and good.  As long as they do that, they will always have the crowds.  Which is why I left the bartender such a big tip…I want him to remember me next Sunday when I walk in looking for a spot to sit and chow.

 

Cafe Habana

17 Prince at Elizabeth St

212.625.2001

www.ecoeatery.com

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