Monday, December 15, 2008


I agree with k about a lot of things, but this brunch v. lunch thing is not one of them. Brunch is partly about the sort of food you order, partly about the time of day, but MOSTLY about the attitude you have toward how you are eating. Lunch is a hurried thing that you grab quickly to assuage your hunger so that you can get back to working, or to allow the tension you've built up over the day to dissipate just enough so that you can work again. Brunch is slow. Brunch is about the company and the food, and usually about a little booze. If you're waiting for lunch for more than 20 min. you're irate. If you're waiting for brunch for under 20 min. you either don't notice or you're amazed that the service is so fast.

That said, RTR is wonderful. They do fancy without pretense. You go there and you see the ridiculous wall and the delicious menu with somewhat different foods, but you don't think "damn I should have worn nicer clothing". Well, I don't, but I tend not to feel that way in Wburg where everything is ridiculous. I feel that way when I actually think "I don't own anything nicer, there is no way I could ever dress appropriately for this place, I am a charlatan." I hadn't been for a long time and it was nice to be back.

So first the wait. I have a new found respect for Lodge. Their waiting area is wonderful. RTR, I guess in order to be profitable, or to feed as many as possible, has the entire floor covered in 2 tops, so no one can really wait comfortably for a table. Happily Oslo is a half block away and has the best macchiato I've ever had so I was happy. (a breakdown of where I drink coffee and what I get at each place is most. def. in the works). We get seated by our smiling, friendly, and competent (or at least competent seeming, which is like 85% of competence anyway) hostess.

Our silent waiter came over and I got the same faux rock shandy that Kendall described below and it was great. I really like being able to get something other than a screw-driver or bloody marry for brunch sometimes, so well done! I also ordered this dish that had 4 things on it: a tiny silver cup with apple butter, 2 large and thick slices of fennel-raisin toast (with cornmeal on the edges ... and srsly, there is not enough cornmeal in the north), a tiny souffle cup with grits and white grated soft white cheddar on top and another with 2 baked eggs topped with the perfect amount of cheddar.

It was a lovely, well balanced, and good sized without being too filling meal. The toast was probably my favorite part. It was sweet (but not too), warm, and just amazing. The grits were tasteful, which is I guess the best thing I can say about grits if it even makes sense to say. The eggs, well, I love eggs. I like 'em baked. I should say for the sake of full disclosure that the yolk were cooked all the way through so that they were yellow and not golden, but this didn't detract from the meal at all. We weren't rushed out even though it was WBpeak brunch hour, but we were well taken care of which is really nice.

Of course all of this would have been wasted if the company hadn't been so good, but the jokes and stories were flowing freely (no doubt facilitated by the great dining experience).


CaseyMustPie said...

Thank you so much for clearing up this brunch confusion. I thought kendall was clear on the brunch idea, but apparently she has been harboring some misconceptions! Your description of br- vs. l- is spot on.

k said...

ouch, mike. i'm pretty sure we had a very different feeling about lunch not so long ago. when we were lunch buddies. i am deeply pained.

Queen of Cuisine said...

Wow. I've always been a HUGE, HUGE brunch proponent (please look for my review of brunch at Elephant & Castle, which is coming soon) for precisely these reasons! You've articulated it so well.

Now, who wants to have brunch with me?

mwr said...

Lunch and brunch both have their places in the world. I don't mean by extolling the virtues of brunch to diminish those of lunch. Remember at Tia's when I always had to rush through my empenadas to get back to Red Ribbon on time? Okay, now imagine a world in which that isn't a joke and you'll understand why brunch at least deserves it's own designation.

Erin, I want very much to have brunch with you, but I also want to know what E&C is.

k said...

okay, well, in that case i propose that it's called something like 'wunch' as in weekend lunch that does not involve breakfast at all cause no fucking hungover person goes to "brunch" at traditional "brunch" time, which is actually i think a word made up for old people after church. anyone else wanna call it wunch? i'm so right and i can't wait until you all know that.

CaseyMustPie said...

no wunch. it is still in part about the type of food that is typically served, which is predominantly breakfast food. and, when eaten, it is (or at least should be) the first meal of the day.

k said...

i'll only be okay with this if brunch stands for 'breakfast for lunch' and not eating a meal between breakfast and lunch times.

and i usually don't have 'breakfast for lunch' so in those cases when i do not have 'breakfast for lunch' i am going to call it wunch.

i hope we can still be friends.