Monday, July 15, 2013

Carly Speaks: Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple, Sunday Brunch

If I have learned anything since moving to New York City, it is that Sunday brunch is one of the best meals of the entire week. Sure, I look forward to maybe going out to dinner or ordering my food from Seamless (online ordering website for food delivery!) at some point during my week, but it is going out to brunch on Sunday that I really look forward to.

I'm extremely lucky in the sense that I live close to a multitude of amazing restaurants that serve phenomenal brunches and I'm in the never ending process of trying them all. The first to mention is a place called Good Enough to Eat. With a name like that, it is understandable to have high expectations. "Is this place really 'good enough to eat' like the name suggests?" After my first time eating there, I wasn't sure if I was going to rush to go back. The food was good (I got the BLT omelette (sans lettuce) and a Bloody Mary) but wasn't unforgettable. I decided to give it a second try and got the Deep South (three scrambled eggs and biscuits and sausage gravy). The second trip was much better, the biscuits were nice and fluffy and the sausage gravy wasn't a thick glob of bland nothingness. My only gripe about this place is that they don't have Eggs Benedict, which forced me to have to find something else. My mom got the scones with strawberry butter and they didn't look like your typical rock hard, dry as the desert type of scone either. All in all, I can see why there is a ton of hype about this place (and the line out the door proves that as well).
One of my favorite local brunch spots is a place called Fred's. My roommate has been telling me to try out this place for a while, and when my cousin Kelly was in town we decided to give it a shot. They have plenty of sidewalk seating (a major plus) and it is a dog friendly restaurant, which is a perfect way of curing my homesickness of my yellow lab back in Portland. Just when I thought the sidewalk seating was going to be a major perk, I looked at the menu. They have a breakfast special where you choose any breakfast entree and either a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa for $16.95! That is a steal in NYC. At most restaurants, you will pay that much just for the entree and close to $10 for the Bloody Mary. Breakfast even comes with delicious little muffins and strawberry butter (I'm sensing a trend here...). In true Carly Stiles fashion, I ordered Eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary (I live a predictable life) and it was divine!

But the one place I've been dying to get brunch for two years now is Sarabeth's. Known to be one of the best brunches in all of New York City, getting a reservation at this place on a weekend is near impossible. I was getting frustrated because the Sarabeth's West location is a block and a half away from my apartment and I really wanted to try the food. My boss gave me a simple piece of advice: "Just walk in and see if they have a table." Duh, why didn't I think of that. I was so caught up in the fact that reservations are as rare as a unicorn that I didn't even consider that there still could be tables available. Low and behold, my mom and I walk up to Sarabeth's around 9:00 am and they seated us right away. Around 11:30, the line was out the door. Timing is everything!

One would think I would live up to my stereotypical brunch life and order Eggs Benedict, but I decided to what Sarabeth's is known for, their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and a Pickled Bloody Mary (complete with tons of different pickled veggies!). The pancakes were divine! I could really taste the tart lemon and the ricotta made the pancakes very light compared to your average buttermilk style. Butter, maple syrup and berries accompanied the pancakes; the dish was a simple classic with a modern touch. My mom ordered the Pumpkin Waffle with sour cream, maple syrup and various nuts and seeds on top. I thought for sure it was going to be a dense sort of waffle and sour cream? Really? I was wrong on all accounts, the waffle was light and fluffy and the sour cream was a great substitute for butter. Two amazing dishes, and neither one of them was Eggs Benedict. If my experience at Sarabeth's has taught me anything, it is that I shouldn't be afraid to stray away from my usual dish and I should branch out and look at the rest of the menu, I could find a new favorite!

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