Sunday, January 07, 2007

how to have brunch

the best thing about living in new york city is the surfeit of new brunch places to discover. as a child, i was groomed to be a brunch-lover by my father, who set up camp in the kitchen on weekend mornings, spreading two newspapers across any available surface not covered by plates of smoked fish, bread, or fruit. while my brothers ran in and out, occasionally stopping -- to my horror -- to turn on and mindlessly watch some sports game, i learned to linger over food in companionable silence, at least until the paper turned up a detail to delicious not to share.

one always prefaced such sharings with, "listen to this," so as to introduce noise gently into the calm.

my routine has changed, of course, now that i live in the City of Brunch, where the custom is more to venture out for and make an event of the meal. but the spirit of thing remains constant: weekends are a luxury that should be appreciated; good food should be savored; a good bloody mary is a very fine thing.

today's outing to Downtown Atlantic (364 Atlantic Ave., if you're local & curious) was quite successful. i have high standards for brunch. the ideal place will combine relatively low prices, usually fixed at about/under $10, with a drink thrown in and if you're lucky french fries. the DA entrees were listed at a reasonable $8 without drinks, but they came accompanied by a basket of amazing sliced zucchini-carrot bread, and my veggie-n-ricotta frittata was huge enough for two meals -- and so much fun to say!

the alcoholic drinks they do offer are standard & on the expensive side; and i do believe that if one is going to partake before noon, one should never have to pay extra for the privilege. the soda, however, is bottomless. before you start partying too hardy about that, remember: the house always wins. drinking $3 worth of diet coke is not for the faint of heart.

of course, brunch is hardly brunch if it's not enjoyed in good company. mine was stellar. my neighborhood, once-college friend R., who has made much more pedestrian activities such as laundry & grocery shopping worthwhile, and i got to debrief about our respective holidays. i mused to her about why december was such a stressful month for me, what with family, travel, buying/receiving presents, realizing that the previous year i'd been unceremoniously canned, work stuff, and mr. ben's finals. she looked at me like i was nuts and said, "how could that NOT have been stressful?"

but now it's january. things are fresh, even the oddly springlike weather. thanks to R., i have, for the first time, my very own scrabble board. i plan on starting yoga this week, and seeing Children of Men (and A Prairie Home Companion, which i have from Netflix), and generally taking things slow. also, i plan on giggling periodically when i remember that saturday night i got dragged to what was supposed to be "burlesque" and was, in reality, topless amateur go-go-dancers -- as in, go go gadget pasties! yikes.


nate said...

Your post reminded me of this slate piece from a few months ago which you may or may not have already read, but in any case paints a nice picture and nails a very specific, genial mood to the whole thing.

angela said...

Want to come out to Astoria some time and check this place out some time? It's supposed to be good, and it fits your criteria perfectly...

Rebecca said...

saw Children of Men lasternight with quite a platoon of Ross-assembled irregulars. damn strong stuff, that! loved it. especially the much-needed and deftly placed humor.

Rebecca said...

I make pedestrian activities like laundry and grocery shopping worthwhile! How could I not have been reading your blog before with compliments in it about me like that. I have a sneaking suspicion that you only wrote that about me as a bribe so I would stop only reading your lj.

I’m so glad you are my neighbor. I didn’t have a neighbor who I hung out with before you. It makes me so happy. And we should set up our next scrabble game.