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For the Love of Brunch

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DIY Prosecco Brunch at Sotto 13 in the West Village

February 22nd, 2013 by Brunchmaster
Alcohol, All You Can Drink Brunch, Bloody Mary, Brunch Pizza, Drinks, Eggs and Omelettes, Fancy brunch, Foodie Find, Italian, Mimosas, Special Occasion, West Village

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but that doesn’t mean romance has to go completely out the window. At least not if you plan on dining at newly opened Sotto 13, a West Village Italian tapas restaurant named one of “America’s Most Romantic Restaurants” by Travel + Leisure.

Sure to be loved by aspiring mixologists and romantics alike, Sotto 13 features the city’s first Do-It-Yourself Prosecco bar that allows brunchers to become their own mixologists with a bottle of prosecco and a tray of five mixers, including signature fresh juices, liqueurs and toss-ins like candied ginger, fresh berries and more. Brunchers can use the provided recipe card or freestyle it to craft their very own bubbly brunch cocktails. Priced at $55 per DIY tray, which includes one bottle of Prosecco, the concept isn’t easy on the wallet but makes for a unique experience for that special occasion.

DIY Prosecco Bar at Sotto 13 Brunch

DIY Prosecco Bar at Sotto 13

For the more budget conscious brunchers and the boozehounds, Sotto 13 offers a $25 AYCD boozy brunch that includes your choice of a couple tapas or a wood-fired pizza and unlimited brunch cocktails for 2 hours. With AYCD beverage choices that include bloody mary, mimosa, raspberry white-peach bellini, sangria and screwdrivers, you’re sure to find something that will keep the buzz going.

Tuscan Poached Egg at Sotto 13

Tuscan Poached Egg

Brunch highlights include Italian inspired breakfast tapas like Cacio e Pepe with soft scrambled eggs topped with Cacio cheese, Baked Crispelle spinach ricotta crepes with creamy tomato sauce, and Tuscan poached egg on rosemary foccacia with pomodoro and parmigiano. A variety of crisp wood-fired brunch pizzas topped with all sorts of toppings like buffalo mozzarella, spicy fennel sausage, wild mushrooms, grilled vegetables and more, round out the self-proclaimed “Social Italian” menu.

Cacio e Pepe at Sotto 13

Cacio e Pepe

So whether you’re feeling romantic, in the sharing mood, or you just want to get your drink on, Sotto 13 has a new twist on brunch that will surely satisfy.

Sotto 13
140 W. 13th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave)
West Village, NYC
(212) 647-1001

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Williamsburg Kitchen Opens for Brunch in East Williamsburg

December 15th, 2012 by Brunchmaster
East Williamsburg, Eggs and Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Williamsburg

Nearly a year after writing about the burgeoning Grand Street in East Williamsburg, a new restaurant, Williamsburg Kitchen, recently opened with a vision of bringing a little modern flair to the neighborhood’s mostly generic offerings.

An offshoot of Bushwick Kitchen, which opened last year in the adjacent Brooklyn neighborhood, Williamsburg Kitchen’s new Euro-American fusion cuisine offers some exciting options for both brunch and dinner. Executive chef Luis Santos, formerly of L’Artiste in Queens, seems to push the boundaries a bit more on his dinner menu, which I’ve yet to try, while offering a more simplistic, yet refined menu for the brunch crowd.

It had barely been open a week when I visited, so there was still some work in progress as evident by the lack of descriptions on the Williamsburg Kitchen brunch menu and coffee not being readily available. This wasn’t too off-putting as they’re working out the few kinks of getting up and running. Luckily they executed where it counts as the food highlighted the afternoon’s brunch experience.

Eggs Nova at Williamsburg Kitchen

Eggs Nova at Williamsburg Kitchen

Wanting to sample the menu, my friend and I shared three different brunch entrees all of which are $12 each. We started with Eggs Nova, a classic smoked salmon benedict served with mixed greens and home fries. The eggs were perfectly poached and the hollandaise was buttery, yet light as a nice complement to the salmon. The seemingly simple home fries were nicely sautéed and seasoned with turmeric, giving them a beautiful, bright yellow color and a delightful flavor to match.

We also tried the Bruschetta “Sandwich” as it’s listed on the menu, which was a bit confusing since it’s not really a sandwich. Chopped pears and crumbles of Roquefort cheese sat atop pieces of toasted baguette and topped with a delicious truffled balsamic reduction. The sweetness of the pears combined with the saltiness of the cheese and the touch of acidity worked really well together, though I’d probably suggest this as an appetizer to share rather than a main course.

French Toast at Williamsburg Kitchen

French Toast at Williamsburg Kitchen

The French Toast, again lacking a menu description, was a true surprise when it arrived to the table beautifully plated. Topped with orange marmalade and a drizzle of mixed berry glaze, the challah bread was browned to a nice crisp on the outside with a soft and chewy center that almost melted in my mouth. Syrup was served on the side, but it seemed unnecessary given the fruit toppings. I rarely order French toast at brunch unless it’s particularly unique, but I’d consider returning to Williamsburg Kitchen for this if it’s consistently executed.

Overall it is a promising start for Williamsburg Kitchen and I look forward to seeing how the menu and service evolves with the neighborhood. At the time of review, they did not serve alcoholic beverages, but were applying for their beer and wine license.

Williamsburg Kitchen

804 Grand St (b/t Humboldt St and Bushwick Ave)

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

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First Annual Bacon Bash 2012 in New York City

June 12th, 2012 by Brunchmaster
Alcohol, Bacon, Random, Times Square

If you love bacon (who doesn’t), then you won’t want to miss the First Annual Bacon Bash on June 23, 2012. Taking place at the Arena Event Space in the heart of Times Square, this homage to everyone’s favorite breakfast meat will feature notable restaurants such as Tommy Lasagna, Lucky 777 Chili Company, Prohibition Bakery, and Little Town NYC, pus sweets vendors Bacon Bites and Baconery.com. Vendors will feature everything from bacon-inspired libations to sweets, treats and bacon souvenirs to satisfy your cravings in a bacon-filled atmosphere.

General admission tickets are just $25 and come with a bacon vodka shot and 50% off craft beers or you can splurge for the $80 Oink Oink ticket which also includes 4 craft beers and 10 bacon tastes.  And for a limited time, I Heart Brunch readers can get 20% off any ticket with promo code “brunchmaster”.  Just click “Add Coupon” on the checkout page and enter “brunchmaster” for your delicious discount.

Bacon Bash 2012 at the Arena Event Space at Times Square

135 West 41st Street (between 6th Ave and Broadway)

GET TICKETS at iadventure.com and make sure to use coupon code “brunchmaster” for 20% off!

Bacon Bash 2012

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Alien Café Adds Sophistication to East Williamsburg Brunch

December 11th, 2011 by Brunchmaster
Brooklyn, Coffee, East Williamsburg, Eggs and Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, Foodie Find, French Toast, Williamsburg

There has been a lot said about the gentrification of Williamsburg over the last decade, and particularly the last few years since the rezoning of 2005 opened up the waterfront areas for development. Much of this “urban renewal” has taken place on the North and South sides, which are generally divided by Grand Street, but it’s the East side that is now experiencing a broader transition period.

Nowhere is this more evident than east of Union Ave on Grand Street where the gentrification process is noticeably making its way down the street, block by block.

Alien Cafe takes brunch in East Williamsburg up a notch.

Alien Cafe takes brunch in East Williamsburg up a notch.

Opening in early November, Alien Café aims to take the neighborhood up a notch. Formerly the Grand Street Grill, a quick-service takeout joint, Alien Café owner Robert Sandoval decided to revamp the space his family has owned since 1999 to create something a bit different and more refined. And he’s serious about the food, enlisting award-winning L’Artiste chef Luis Santos to create the menu.

On the exterior, Alien Café sports a spaceship sign that bulges from the front of the unassuming building and lights up at dusk. But don’t let the kitschy name and sign fool you. Once inside you’ll be eased by a casual bistro atmosphere, charming enough to bring a date, and impressed by food that may be the only thing otherworldly about the place.

Options like Eggs Benedict with chipotle hollandaise or French Toast with sautéed apples and walnuts are delicious and worth the visit, but it was the Three Color Omelet that truly impressed me. Perhaps the most perfectly cooked omelet I’ve ever had, the egg was light and fluffy and had a perfect ratio of mozzarella, fresh tomato and basil meticulously diced and speckled throughout the egg. Every egg dish is accompanied by mixed greens and nicely prepared home fries and I added a side of crisp apple wood smoked bacon to round it all out.

The food is as easy on the wallet as it is delicious – no breakfast entrée eclipses $7 and the lunch options are just a couple bucks more. Plus, coffee lovers will delight at the café’s use of the classic French press, emphasizing the bold flavors and captivating aroma of organic Blue Bottle Coffee.

Alien Café is a welcome addition to the East side that will delight neighborhood residents and hopefully continue the trend of culinary innovations in the area.

Alien Café
812 Grand St. (at Bushwick Ave)
East Williamsburg
Take the L train to the Grand St. stop

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Knockout Brunch Rolled Out in Williamsburg

June 18th, 2011 by Brunchmaster
Bagels, Bloody Mary, Brooklyn, Special Occasion, Williamsburg

On May 27th through the 29th, Brewskee Ball, the first-ever national Skee-Ball league, held its second annual national championship at Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I’ve previously highlighted Full Circle Bar for their Coney Island Style Brunch, but a special occasion calls for a special brunch.

The top 64 players from across the country (“from skee to shining skee”) flew in, drove in and “rolled” in for the chance to win sweet prizes like $1500 cash, a brand new iPad 2, a bicycle and of course the title of #1 Skee-Ball player in the nation. The number one overall seed, Joey the Cat from San Francisco, dominated the field and was only really challenged in the championship match by New York City’s own C-Funk, aka The Bear.

While the good times rolled during the tournament, the highlight of the weekend came on Monday, May 30th when the BBNC Knockout Brunch was born.

Atop a funky Brooklyn roof with a clear shot of the Manhattan skyline, the Brewskee-Ball guys served up a glorious Memorial Day feast for their devoted rollers and fans. On one table, an awesome make-your-own Bloody Mary bar with over 25 possible ingredients, endless vodka (and tequila) and four types of tomato juice. It was beautifully presented and everyone had fun making their own bloodys.

Knockout Brunch Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar

Knockout Brunch Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar

Another table was bagel heaven. They were no doubt Brooklyn’s finest and you could smell them baking in the sun. Salt, poppy, pumpernickel, raisin, garlic, everything, egg-rything, you name it and it was there. To accompany the bagels there were eight flavors of homemade cream cheese, whitefish and egg salad, fresh cheeses, gorgeous smoked salmon, tuna fish with scallions and velvety hummus.  It was quite a spread and the perfect way to cap off the long weekend.

Knockout Brunch Bagel Spread

Knockout Brunch Bagel Spread

Before heading home I spoke with Eric Pavony, one of Brewskee-Ball’s creators, about Knockout Brunches to come and he certainly has some big plans for it. “This will be an annual BBNC tradition and the Knockout Brunch must outdo itself every year,” said Pavony. “I want this thing to get way out of control, bagels and bloodies will seem like child’s play after next year. I see food trucks, bands and dunk tanks in the future.”

Dunk tanks? Count me in.

For more on Brewskee Ball and to keep tabs on the next Knockout Brunch, visit www.brewskeeball.com.

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