While it is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, weekend brunch is the meal I look forward to the most. Typically, it's the one meal that brings my favorite things together - the leisurely consumption of wonderful food and the amazing people I'm so fortunate to have in my life. Whether I'm cooking brunch for a group of friends, hosting a catered buffet in my jewelry design studio for my customers or enjoying a romantic dining experience with my significant other at a fantastic cafe, brunch always seems to be the meal that unifies us, de-stresses us and gives us a moment to just Be.
I'm fortunate to live very near New York City where dining out is an art form. I do it so often, I now consider myself somewhat of a combination foodie/connoisseur/critic. My list of favorite restaurants for dinner are a carefully chosen, select group that I rarely stray from but I'm a risk-taking road warrior when it comes to finding new places for brunch. Right in my own neighborhood we discovered the classic American pub, Light Horse Tavern where you can get the absolute best Eggs Benedict around. My girlfriends swear by their Bellinis (made with pureed peaches) but I'm partial to the fresh Blueberry Lemonade when it's available. After a late date night with the man in my life, when all we want is a great cup of coffee and a place to "roll" into without much pretense, we cross the river into the Tribeca section of NYC and join the crowd at family-friendly Bubby's for Sauteed Banana Walnut Pancakes or Grilled Turkey Zucchini Burgers. Yesterday we were coaxed into leaving our dry, cozy home to brave the cold, drizzling rain by well-meaning friends just to try a new brunch place with a taste of French flair in the Meatpacking District called Paradou. Unlimited champagne was the original draw, yes, but I found the food to be very good, especially the Omelette Paysanne with thick bacon, creamy potatoes and flavorful goat cheese. Full disclosure: I initially had some doubts about spending money in this establishment because of some rough reviews it received on Yelp but our experience was pleasant, the service was attentive and overall I'd give it a thumbs up.
Whether it's the superbly posh gastronomic experience at Nineteen in the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia, PA or the comfort of family and friends in my home enjoying my favorite quiche, brunch will always be my quintessential happiness meal.