Archives for posts with tag: brunch

Bari is perhaps my only friend who is every bit as food-obsessed as I am. First thing both of us did when we decided to meet in Montreal was start prowling food blogs, reviews, Urban Spoon, Zagat– scoping out out best meals in the city. We started off with a brunch at Le Cartet, heralded as one of the best brunches in the city, a big open space, half restaurant, half shi-shi gourmet market, right in Old Montreal. After an short little wait in line, we sat down and started the excruciating process of ordering. Thankfully, Bari is a sharer, so we get to do the double meal thing. Except… we usually order three meals and somehow fit it all in to our greedy foodie tummies. So we got “Brunch Sante:” yogurt with house made granola and blueberries, fruit, cheese, and thick crusty toast with a little smear of goat cheese, topped with bitter greens and a poached egg. I have no idea how, but that toast-goat-greens-egg combination was totally spectacular. More-than-the-sum-of-its-parts kind of deal.

Then: scrambled eggs with asparagus and cheddar and a side of smoked salmon. Then: French toast made with heaven-on-earth hazelnut bread and topped with what we believe to be extra-tart apple sauce and a big handful of blueberries. Our waiter was trying not to look horrified/impressed with our order. And even more so when he came to clear our plates, and found them totally empty. Later that night we had a massive meal (more on that later) but woke up on Sunday and headed out for another brunch, stomachs growling.

This time at Lawrence, a place we had considered, but was confirmed as a top brunch pick by our Montreal foodie water at dinner. Arriving to a chock-a-block restaurant, we prowled hungrily down the street in search of coffee and a little smackerel to wait our turn, and found ourselves as a deliciously funky café, where we held ourselves over with americanos and lattes and a big peach muffin.

Finally we got the call and rushed back down the block to take our spot at the bar. Not quite hungry enough for three big brunch-sized breakfasts, we ordered just two this time. English breakfast: one perfect sunny-side-up egg, thick toast, a roasted tomato (an idea which I plan to steal and have in my life on a regular basis), house made bacon, sausage, and black pudding. All so good, the rich fattiness of it all crying out for tartness, answered by the tomato. The black pudding…we did our best. But no, not beloved. And our second dish, a sausage and egg roll. Milk bun with a house made (of course) sausage patty, a bit of beautiful cheese, another perfect egg, tomato, and arugula. The McMuffin’s mega posh, very very distant cousin. Also very good.

We contemplated the French toast (topped with pears and cranberries in the Lawrence version) but our extraordinarily full bellies cried out for us to please, for the love of all that is holy, stop. So instead we waddled out and wandered the Plateau for a bit, went for a lovely tour up onto Mount Royal with our excellent local tour guide friends, then… went to the Atwater market for maybe just a tiny little snack. (Here’s Bari, global foodie companion.)

Miami again, Michael’s Genuine again. Had to. Boat Show = everything in Miami is booked, booked, booked. But apparently I’ve been living very righteously, and my “why not” last-minute call to Michael’s at 11:30 resulted in a 12 o’clock brunch rez for Bari (remember Bari, from Bali? we have a history of manual labor and fine dining together) and I. Feeling excited and hungry, we ordered: the famous homemade pop-tarts, lemon ricotta pancakes, reuben omelet, tortilla espanola, and chargrilled octopus (the classic brunch dish…)

The rundown: the pop-tarts, one strawberry and one guava n’ cheese (nod to Miami aka. Latin America) were good, if you were a sugar-hound six year-old. So sweet neither of us could finish ours. Not bad, just too sweet for the likes of us savory folk. Lemon ricotta pancakes, delightfully light (and not too sweet) topped with tarty blueberry sauce. Reuben omelet, so good. Egg wrapped around house-made pastrami and tangy thousand island sauce, a dark purple forest of sour cabbage on the side. Tortilla, my favorite. Contender for Mom’s tortilla, and that’s saying something.

Served room temp, as it should be, chock-a-block full of salty potatoes and not a whole lot else. Topped with tomato onion confit; killer. And the beloved octopus from dinner of course made a reappearance. Slightly different in brunch form, the chewy charcoaly octopus took its place amongst spicy stewed peppers, giant beans, and salty olives–finishing the meal on a perfect note. Anne hearts Michael’s Genuine.

Mother’s, a Portland brunch institution. Simultaneously cozy and fancy, Mother’s is full of people devouring omelettes whilst reading the paper as well as gaggles of women drinking coffee and chatting over pancakes. Our table held one order of deeply rich bacon-laden gravy and biscuits, cornflake-crusted challah French toast, and two orders of the house made lox alongside crunchy puffy bagels, thinly sliced red onions, mounds of capers, and meaty slices of tomato. I, one of the lox-eaters, heartily enjoyed my sesame bagel slathered in cream cheese and topped with a few rings of onion, covered in soft salmon, and dotted with a hundred salty capers. Happy and full, we wandered back out into the freezing cold, searching for antiques.

Beats college cafeteria bagel n’ lox by a long, long shot.

French toasty.

Sunny Mother’s.

Thank God Tasty and Sons is family-style, because there is no way we could have dealt with the stress of choosing just one dish each. Sweet Biscuits? Yes. Fritatta loaded with roasted vegetables? Yes. North African stews and sausages? Yes. Platters of beautiful house-cured meats? Yes, yes, yes.

Sitting at the thick wooden table amongst bunches of elated diners delighting in their perfect dishes, we ordered a breakfast board (a neighbor inspired choice,) Erin’s sweet biscuits with berry compote, Moroccan chicken hash, and a cast-iron frittata.

The breakfast board: sweet crisp apple slices (my one true love,) one perfect hard boiled egg, a hot pink mound of house-pickled beets, tough and tasty slivers of beef jerky, two intense bits of bacon, a smidge of chicken pate, a cloud of yogurt cheese with a tiny lake of olive oil, soft crusty bread, and crusty little crostinis. Yogurt cheese was so tangy and sunny, and thankfully Mark Bittman says it’s not so hard to make. Hallelujah, for I need it in my life.

Next, the sweet bitty biscuits with warm blueberry compote and a dollop of unidentifiable yet heavenly creaminess. The texture of a good ol’ fashioned southern biscuit, crunchy top and soft flaky innards, with the quiet sweetness of a high-tea scone, crumbling into a little sea of warm blueberries.

Then the Moroccan hash, a mish-mash of sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, olives, and chicken; topped with harissa cream and an over easy egg. All vegetables slightly crispy, the cream holding the tiniest bit of yogurt bite and that dark harissa spice, the egg providing a bit of an amalgam with the excellently runny yolk. Plus, brussel sprouts for brunch, could I ask for more?

A frittata, perhaps. Generous chunks of butternut squash, sweetly caramelized onions, long strips of swiss chard, and salty feta resting in airy eggs in a heavy skillet. Kate had a small out of body experience, Caroline won best restaurant finder award, and Anne just felt extraordinary bliss. Tasty and Sons, we love. Brunch version of Michael’s Genuine. Perfect shared plates in a lovely place. Sunshine streaming in from Williams Ave, hip and smiley waitresses in vintage black blouses bustling about and chatting, long open kitchen with a team of loud happy chefs plating our beautiful brunch.