I Heart Brunch

For the Love of Brunch

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Everybody in the Club Gettin’ Tipsy Tea Brunch at Tanner Smith’s

October 8th, 2016 by Special K
Alcohol, Eggs Benedict, Foodie Find, Live Music, Manhattan, Midtown West, Unique Brunch

Looking for a top notch brunch in Midtown West is no easy feat, but Tanner Smith’s is one worth checking out. The restaurant’s motto is to “provide our guests with a truly unique experience” and we’d say they’ve succeeded with their goal. We went for their new Tipsy Tea brunch, themed around Prohibition and named for the time when saloons went undercover as tea rooms and sold alcoholic drinks in teapots. And we walked away impressed.

Tipsy Tea brunch is from 11:30am-2:30pm and includes the following goodies for $40/pp:

  • Choice of any brunch entrée (good luck choosing!)
  • One alcoholic teapot (two servings) or two individual cocktails, wine, or beer
  • Booze-infused tea cakes (basically inventive flavored macaroons)

Let’s start with the booze.

It was on the warmer side the day we went, so we tried the refreshing Rosie Lee teapot consisting of Hendricks Gin, lavender infused tea, cane sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and champagne. Delicious! And drinking out of teacups adds that cute, speakeasy touch.

Tipsy Tea at Tanner Smith's

Rosie Lee Tipsy Teapot at Tanner Smiths

Sadly the bloody mary was nothing to write home about, but the weather is starting to cool off, so next time we’ll try the Bourbon Tea Brunch. This tipsy tea boasts Old Forester Bourbon, Benedictine, orange blossom water, habanero shrub, cane sugar, freshly squeezed lime juice, and green tea.

We tried a variety of entrees, and all were good. Standouts included their crave-worthy take on Eggs Benedict, Brussel Sprout Hash, and the Baked Eggs. The Eggs Benedict includes poached eggs with Irish bacon, and bernaise sauce served atop Texas toast. It’s the slight variations that make it great and the texas toast provides a nice, chewy base to soak up the sauce and runny yolk. If you want a heartier version there’s an option to add smoked pork for a few extra bucks.

Eggs Benedict at Tanner Smith's

Eggs Benedict at Tanner Smith’s

On the flip side, the Brussel Sprout Hash is a unique and veggie friendly option topped with two fried eggs and served with dill crème fraiche. It’s a bit lighter that the benedict, yet still satisfying with the mound of earthy and hearty hash.

Brussel Sprout Hash at Tanner Smiths

Brussel Sprout Hash at Tanner Smiths

Speaking of hearty, the Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce is served in a cast-iron skillet with dollops of goat cheese to complement the nicely seasoned tomato sauce. Sourdough toast comes on the side to soak up the remains or break up the toast and mix it in for a saucier panzanella-style mixture.

Baked Eggs at Tanner Smith's

Baked Eggs at Tanner Smith’s

We also tried the Avocado Smash, which was good though fairly standard given the vast number of restaurants now serving avocado toast with eggs. The Skillet Baked Pancake was thick and delicious if you’ve got a sweet tooth, but don’t forget you’ve got some tasty Tea Cakes coming to finish off your brunch.

Alcohol-infused Tea Cakes at Tanner Smiths

Alcohol-infused Tea Cakes at Tanner Smiths

If you’re not convinced already, they’ve got live swing music from 11:30am-2:30pm every Saturday and Sunday to round out the experience. And if you don’t want to shell out $40 on brunch, everything can be ordered à la carte to make it easier on your wallet. All in all, this place is a definitely a Midtown West brunch win.

Overall: 5 out of 5 hearts

Website: http://www.tannersmiths.com/

Address: 204 West 55th St. (between 7th and 8th Ave)

Hours: Sat and Sun 10:30am – 4am; Tipsy Tea Brunch from 11:30am-2:30pm

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Coca Flatbread Highlights Brunch at Tio Pepe in the West Village

January 3rd, 2016 by Special K

As our readers know by now, we love mexi-brunch and we love the West Village. So how had we never been to Tio Pepe for brunch before?

A neighborhood institution, compared to most places in the west village, Tio Pepe has been serving Spanish cuisine since 1970. But Chef Jose Zamora who joined the restaurant a couple years ago has since infused Mexican and even French flavors into menu. As our readers know by now, we love mexi-brunch and we love the West Village. So how had we never been to Tio Pepe for brunch before?

We’ve probably walked past it dozens of times on West 4th, just west of 6th Ave where the streets start to get diagonal. This time we walked into the busy but not overly packed restaurant for brunch. You could feel the timelessness of the place with it’s simple chandeliers and lanterns on the walls, though it has clearly been updated throughout the years.

Tio Pepe, Interior at brunch

Tio Pepe, Interior at brunch

We started with table-side guacamole that is customized to your tolerance for heat. Ours was a bit mild even though we ordered it medium, but the fresh guac was still delicious and kept us satisfied until the main courses arrived.

The huevos rancheros was a rich mix of chunky tomatoes, flavorful beans, cheese and eggs your way on top of crispy tortillas. A basic, satisfying version of the classic Mexican brunch dish.

Huevos Rancheros, Tio Pepe

Huevos Rancheros, Tio Pepe

The real highlight here though is the Coca, essentially a Spanish flatbread pizza baked in their wood-fired oven. We hadn’t planned on getting a brunch pizza, in fact we were leaning towards the Chilaquiles, but the waiter was so enthusiastic about the Coca that we had to try it. And we’re glad we did.

The Coca flatbread included goat cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon topped with two sunny side up eggs. The dough had the perfect balance of crispness and chewiness. We could have even eaten this without the eggs, though the yolk added a delicious savory element to the otherwise sauceless pizza.

Coca brunch flatbread

Coca brunch flatbread, Tio Pepe

Tio Pepe, while not the type of place you’d rage at, also offers a $10 bottomless brunch for two hours of unlimited mimosas or Bloody Marys in addition to any entree. Perfect for a pre-game to your Sunday Funday or a group birthday brunch, it’s a good value to satisfy those looking for a boozy brunch that won’t break the bank.

Insider’s tip: Make sure to request a seat by the window if you want some world-class people watching as you enjoy your meal.

Overall: 4/5 Hearts 

Website: http://www.tiopepenyc.com/menus/brunch/

Address: 168 West 4th St. (just west of 6th Ave), West Village, NYC

Brunch Hours: 12pm – 3:30pm Everyday


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More than Content with La Contenta Brunch in the LES

October 26th, 2015 by Special K
Alcohol, Bloody Mary, Eggs and Omelettes, Lower East Side, Manhattan, Mexican

Perhaps better known for their dinner, La Contenta in Manhattan’s Lower East Side actually has a pretty awesome and authentic mexi-brunch offering. That means you can still get a table relatively quickly, at least for the time being, compared to some of the other “hot” NYC brunch spots.

Located in a cozy space that could double as someone’s living room, La Contenta has a chill vibe that is perfect for a first date (or the hundredth), solo eaters, or catching up with a good friend. Though it has several tables, it’s a smaller restaurant so groups larger than four are probably better off elsewhere.

Bartender at La Contenta

Preparing Bloody Marias

It was just two of us and we opted to sit at the bar to watch the magic happen. The Bloody Marias were well worth the wait as we watched the bartender craft each with the utmost care. Savory and spicy, these bloodys were just the thing to start us off.

Bloody Maria at La Contenta

Delicious Bloody Maria

Speaking of starters, we immediately opted in for the handmade guac because you can never have too much guac. It was probably my favorite part of the meal, not because everything else wasn’t good but because the guac was so fresh and smooth and flavorful that I could have made it my entire meal. The freshly made chips were warm and crispy, yet delightfully flaky. I normally don’t care much about chips, but these were notable.

Chilaquiles at La Contenta


For entrees, there were some tough decisions. We went with the Chilaquiles and the Huevos Divorciados, a satisfying mix of fluffy eggs and melted cheese and homemade salsa. The chilaquiles were very good, albeit a little dry and could have used a bit more of the delicious tomatillo salsa. The Poblano Benedict and Torta de Milanesa de Pollo also caught our eye and those will likely top the list to try on our next visit.

Huevos Divorciados at La Contenta

Huevos Divorciados

If you’re in the LES (or looking for an excuse to be), we recommend checking out La Contenta— you’ll be more than content with your choice!

Overall: 4 out of 5 hearts

Website: http://lacontentanyc.com/

Address: 102 Norfolk Street (between Delancey and Rivington)

Brunch Hours: 11am – 4pm Saturdays and Sundays

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All That Jazz: Brunch at City Winery

July 20th, 2015 by Special K
Bloody Mary, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Live Music, Soho, Unique Brunch

What is better than brunch? Musical brunch!

Brunch at City Winery is pretty awesome already, but on the second Sundays of August (9th) and September (13th) this summer, they are featuring PJ Rasmussen and the Boardwalk Jazz Band for a special brunch event. Their 21 piece ensemble, with 4 vocalists, plays original music with a simple mission: “Jazz is music to make the heart race, the blood pump, and the feet move.”

PJ Rasmussen and the Boardwalk Jazz Band

PJ Rasmussen (guitar) and the Boardwalk Jazz Band

This brunch is recommended as a date (or friend-date) spot or for a small group outing. The setting is casual, romantic and majestic all at once, and feels different from your typical restaurant given the entertainment. PJ Rasmussen and the Boardwalk Jazz Band put on an enjoyable show with great vocals that simultaneously provided a focal point and the perfect background for brunch conversation.

Oh, and the food? The food is pretty great too. We tried the French toast, which was doughy perfection—one of the top French toasts we’ve actually ever enjoyed. I savored each soft bite as it melted away in my mouth. The eggs florentine was great too, featuring runny yolk poached eggs and buttery hollandaise that was great with the roasted potatoes as well.French toast at City WineryEggs Florentine at City Winery

Breakfast not your thing? In addition to several breakfast options, the menu offers a range of lunch-friendly fare from tasty looking flatbreads to sandwiches like the half-pound “LaFrieda” burger and a Fried Chicken sandwich with spicy honey and avocado. For our next visit we’re anxious to try the Burrata with pickled peaches and arugula pesto as well as the Potato Pancakes with house-made apple sauce.

Although the food alone would be worth a visit, it’s the overall experience and light entertainment that makes this a special brunch to get away for a few hours and be transported to a jazzier place.

Overall: 5 hearts

City Winery
155 Varick St (at Vandam St)
New York, NY 10013

Jazz Brunch: 11am – 2pm
Featuring PJ Rasmussen and the Boardwalk Jazz Band
Sunday Aug 9th and Sunday Sep 13th

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The Bounty Adds Innovative Brunch Menu in Greenpoint

November 1st, 2014 by Special K
Biscuits and Gravy, Eggs and Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, Foodie Find, French Toast, Greenpoint, Unique Brunch

For a little while now, Greenpointers have flocked to The Bounty in the evening, earning the restaurant some rave reviews for dinner and cocktails. Ask those in the neighborhood about The Bounty and they’ll mention the fresh seafood or innovative new American menu, but brunch was never top of mind. That’s about to change.

Just off the G train on Greenpoint Avenue, The Bounty started offering brunch a few months ago, yet it tastes like they’ve been doing it for much longer than that. They’re still making tweaks to the menu as they find the right selections to offer brunchgoers, but our group tried a majority of what they had to offer and you really can’t go wrong with anything.

Whipped ricotta and pickled blueberries

Whipped ricotta and pickled blueberries

Start with the delightful whipped house ricotta with pickled blueberries to share. The thick, creamy ricotta spreads nicely on their homemade baguette and the blueberries add a surprisingly bright touch.

The menu has a little of everything, from traditional brunch fare such as eggs benedict/florentine to fresh baked biscuits & gravy with big chunks of meaty sausage or mushrooms, all of which did not disappoint.

Sunny fried rice

“Sunny” Fried Rice

Special shout out for the “Sunny” Fried Rice with smoked pineapple and the Rosemary maple crème anglaise French Toast. Whether in the mood for sweet or savory, both of these playful dishes push the boundaries a bit and succeed with unique brunch flavors that really work well together.

French toast with rosemary maple creme anglaise

French toast with rosemary maple creme anglaise

At I Heart Brunch, french toast has to be pretty special for us to take note, so The Bounty has certainly impressed so far. They are planning a seasonal brunch menu, so some items might not always be there, but we can’t wait to see what they’ll cook up next!

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 Hearts

Website: http://thebountybrooklyn.com/

Address: 131 Greenpoint Ave, New York, NY 11222 (at Manhattan Ave)

Take the G train to Greenpoint Ave

Brunch Hours: 10:30am – 4pm (Saturdays and Sundays)

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