I Heart Brunch

For the Love of Brunch

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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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Hidden Gem! Bell Book & Candle for Brunch in the West Village

October 25th, 2014 by Special K
All You Can Drink Brunch, Eggs Benedict, Foodie Find, Pancakes, West Village

If you’re not paying attention, you might just miss out on a great West Village brunch spot. Bell Book & Candle, a subterranean eatery on W. 10th Street, has a following for dinner and cocktails but they also know how to do a great brunch.

BB&C’s philosophy is all about local, organic, sustainable, responsible procurement. In fact, the menu is highly seasonal and heavily influenced by what is available from their aeroponic roof-top garden.

Bell Book & Candle

You’ll find this this “hidden” gem by looking for a wooden sign painted with “BB&C” on it hanging off the side of a building. Look down and you’ll see a few steps leading you to the basement level where you’ll enter through the bar. Once you make it to their cozy dining rooms, their farm-to-table philosophy translates into a delicious brunch you can feel good about eating.

Heirloom salad with buttermilk bleu cheese

Heirloom salad with buttermilk bleu cheese

We started our meal with the day’s special salad, heirloom tomatoes (from the roof-top garden) topped with a homemade buttermilk bleu cheese dressing. The creamy dressing and bright flavors of the fresh heirlooms set the stage for the rest of the meal.

Offering a range of traditional breakfast and lunch items, BB&C also has a few smaller plates from their dinner menu  (like their famous lobster tacos) if you feel like mixing it up, though we stuck to the brunch stuff!

Blueberry buckwheat pancakes

Blueberry buckwheat pancakes

Steak and eggs benedict—high-quality steak and perfectly-poached eggs with a well-matched Béarnaise sauce—was a hearty and satisfying pick. On the sweeter end of the spectrum, we tried the blueberry buckwheat pancakes, which may have been more impressive—soft, fluffy, and full of fresh blueberry goodness, topped with real Maple syrup.

Steak and eggs benedict

Steak and eggs benedict

Everything was so good that we didn’t have room to try other items we’d heard were excellent like the BBC burrito and those aforementioned lobster tacos. And we won’t even get started on the dessert menu we had to pass up…

Looking for a boozier brunch? BB&C offers unlimited brunch cocktails (options include aperol spritzer, bellini, spicy mary, mimosa) for an additional $20.

Add a little adventure to your weekend and go find BB&C! The food is quite special, especially given how much of it is grown on-site. But we were most impressed with the consistent quality across different types of items—their chef knows brunch. So whether you’re looking for classy, boozy or somewhere in between, BB&C should be on your brunch list.

Overall: 5/5 Hearts

Website: http://bbandcnyc.com/

Address: 141 W. 10th St., New York, NY 10014

Brunch hours: 11:30am – 3:30pm (Saturdays and Sundays)

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The Black Ant Kicks Off Innovative Mexi-Brunch in the East Village

September 15th, 2014 by Special K
Alcohol, East Village, Eggs and Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, Foodie Find, Mexican, Special Occasion

It’s no secret that we at I Heart Brunch have a soft spot in our hearts for Mexi-brunch, so we’re always excited about new restaurants that can satisfy that craving. From the same folks behind Ofrenda in the West Village, The Black Ant has been open in the East Village for a few months now and just added brunch to their menu, so we were eager to try it out. We’re happy to report that The Black Ant lived up to its early Yelp hype and did not disappoint!

Let’s start with the ambiance. It’s a really fun space—long and narrow and somehow modern and vintage and trendy all at the same time. There is a range of seating options from traditional to bench seating facing the bar (great for solo diners) to tall cocktail tables with barstools on the small street-side patio (great for people-watching).

And the service was great as well. Everyone we met was so friendly and seemed truly passionate about the food. They were happy to make recommendations (and accommodations) with a smile, and got us excited about options we might not have necessarily considered without their explanations.

Ensalada Mixta

Ensalada Mixta

And oh yeah…the food! We started with the Ensalada Mixta, a pretty mixture of heirloom tomatoes and arugula and fruits to kick our meal off on a lighter note. We tried to stay “good” and skip the guacamole, but thankfully listened to our server and tried it—yum!

For the entrees, the winner was hands down the Huevos Pochados con Langosta, Black Ant’s take on a lobster benedict. Perfectly poached eggs were carefully placed atop a generous portion of fresh lobster on warm jalapeno biscuits and covered in a chorizo gravy. It was a rich and hearty dish that holds up to some of the best benedicts around and we’re still licking our lips thinking about it.

Huevos Pochados conn Langosta

Huevos Pochados con Langosta

The vegetarian in our party noticed that the menu lacked a savory veg option. It would be nice if they added a veggie option to the menu, but the server was more than happy to work with her to create a modified version of Los Rancheros de Teresa. This basically turned into a create-your-own scramble, accompanied by sides of black beans and hash browns, which were actually more like finely diced home fries. Probably not how the chef intended it, but we were satisfied and appreciated the accommodations.

Los Rancheros de Teresa

Modfied vegetarian version of Los Rancheros de Teresa

We nearly ordered the Pan de Dulce —a Mexican-style French toast with Manchego toast, salted caramel, berries pico de gallo, and verbena ice cream —for dessert but we were just too full. We’ll have to get it next time along with the Duck & Eggs or Grilled Octopus Bacon Roll that we sadly missed out on trying.

Overall, The Black Ant is a welcome new Mexi-brunch in a city that doesn’t have enough. Try it before everyone else discovers it!

Overall: 4.5 hearts

The Black Ant

60 2nd Ave (b/t 3rd and 4th St.) in the East Village, NYC

Website: http://blackantnyc.com/brunch/

Brunch Hours: 11am – 3pm (Saturdays and Sundays)

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Bottomless Brunch By Any Other Name at LIC’s Creek and the Cave

August 9th, 2014 by Bloody Kimmy
Alcohol, All You Can Drink Brunch, Bloody Mary, Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros, Long Island City, Mexican, Mimosas, Outside Seating, Queens

Looking for something off the beaten path (but not too far off of it)? Then you might want to check out The Creek & The Cave, which offers a tasty excuse for a mini day trip to Long Island City!

The Creek & The Cave, a local bar and grill turned comedy club in the evenings, added brunch to its menu about a year ago. It offers a range of Cali-style Mexican food, which we’ll discuss, but the real draw is specialty drinks such as the two-in-one Murderfist , tequila and Tecate over Bloody Mary Mix, and $0.25 Mimosas (no that wasn’t a typo—25 cent Mimosas!!) weekends from 12-4pm. We didn’t expect much for that price, however these mimosas are served in a highball glass and had the perfect champagne-to-OJ ratio, so they really are a great value.

Bloody Maria + Tecate

Murderfist drink at Creek and the Cave

We went on a warm summer day and enjoyed a lazy afternoon out in the spacious back patio. We started with the Homemade Salsa Sampler, a bowl of homemade tortilla chips filled with a flavorful house salsa, fresh chunky pico de gallo, and cool guacamole. They were all delicious, but the smooth, tasty guacamole was the unanimous favorite.

Backyard at Creek and the Cave

A few mimosas later, our entrees arrived. Our waitress had recommended the Huevos Rancheros and after the first bite we understood why—the mix of eggs, cheese, beans, guac, salsa, and sour cream on crunchy tortillas had an authentic taste that we still crave. But I may have actually liked the Chilaquiles even more though, and I’m typically not a huge fan. They were so perfectly soaked in the spicy salsa verde that they almost melted into the accompanying eggs and skirt steak.

Huevos Rancheros at Creek and the Cave

Deliciously messy Huevos Rancheros

Chilaquiles with steak at Creek and the Cave

Chilaquiles Verde with Skirt Steak…YUM!

If you’re not in the mood for breakfast, you’re in luck—The Creek & The Cave offers a wide range of traditional lunch/dinner entrees. We tried the Yoga Burrito, and felt healthier with every bite. The whole wheat tortilla and range of veggies might sound like something you could get anywhere until you add in the goat cheese for an overall different burrito experience. This was just one of the many vegetarian-friendly options—there is even a vegan enchilada.

Yoga burrito at Creek and the Cave

Yoga burrito, one of the veggie friendly options

All of the food was great and entrees hover around ten bucks, but the best reason to try The Creek & The Cave is because it’s one of the best boozy brunch deals we’ve discovered. Oh, and if you want some entertainment in between those $0.25 Mimosas, The Creek & The Cave has eight pinball machines and comedy shows all night long.

Overall rating: 4 / 5 hearts

The Creek & The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave. (at 11th St)
Long Island City, NY 11101
Brunch menu

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