Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunday Brunch

I love brunch -- a delightful combination of breakfast and lunch that speaks of leisure and good food. On weekdays, one must break the fast quickly to get to work or on to the chores of the day. Weekends are times to sleep in, sometimes so late that breakfast mixes with lunch. Nowhere in that idyllic picture is there room for the stuff yourself, all-you-can-eat buffet that some now consider the hallmark of brunch.
Okay, once in a while, it is amusing to go to one of the big hotel brunches with their embarrassment of riches. But, aside from the made to order omelets, brunch buffets suffer from huge quantities of food made to stand in chafing dishes or on steam tables. The quality suffers to the abundance. I am reminded of the buffet only establishment called The Royal Fork, which my in-laws renamed "Royal Gourge."
My favorite brunch places do food on a smaller scale with intriguing flavor twists that may not be appropriate for more mass appeal. Chatting with Joel Diner during my brunch at Pesce Fresco, I learned that most of his phone calls about brunch are questions about the price of the brunch buffet, something he does not offer. The calls about the buffet were so common, Joel has taken to calling his brunch "breakfast."
Perhaps it is the reformed English teacher in me, but I find it very sad that the buffets of plenty that large scale eating establishments, often hotels, call brunch have ruined the more gentle use of the term to describe a tradition of combining two meals into one leisurely and delightful concept and term, br from breakfast and unch from lunch, brunch.

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