Feature

Rise & Dine

Ahh, breakfast. The smell of sizzling bacon alone brings back the Saturday mornings of childhood. And while the meal was ignored for too long by serious restaurants, that’s no longer true. Here, our favorite 64 spots for morning eats.

March 2011

ESSAY

Why I Hate Brunch

The case against a hackneyed waste of time and money.

Weekend breakfasts are brilliant. There’s time to relax, unfurl, and dig into a plate of eggs, bacon, pancakes—whatever. Thirty minutes, in and out: A bit of food, a jolt of caffeine, and you’re off. Ready for a bike ride, to watch the game, to build a fort with your kids. Doesn’t matter. Breakfast launches your day.

Brunch, on the other hand, becomes your day. It’s an overindulgent, fawning, yuppie tradition that we ought to have left in the last decade with the dying gasps of Sex and the City and the Bush administration. Consider: You arrive at your superhip restaurant at 11 a.m., put in your name, and find a 45-minute wait. You hang out on the patio, sipping your $9 Bloody Mary made with sustainable tomato juice and served in a Himalayan-pink-salt-rimmed glass, eavesdropping on your neighbor’s success on Match.com. Your pocket buzzes: It’s a text from your lazy-friend-who-has-to-cancel, so you tell the hostess you’re down to a table of four, but oh-wait-that-couple-you-met-last-night-is-coming, so you’ll need a six-top. She gives you the evil eye while pouring the vodka for your second round of Bloodys. Gulp.

Finally you’re seated, squished between a table of hungover college kids and another full of toddlers, one of whom wipes his syrupy hands on your coat while the others let out battle shrieks. The menu arrives and you notice it adheres to the law of Magical Brunch Egg Inflation, by which 10-cent eggs are converted into $14 eggs. So, you order your cream cheese–stuffed French toast oozing with syrup, or your decadent eggs Benedict, because, of course, you can’t order something light—like, say, oatmeal with fruit—because you’re going to split the check, and only a sucker pays $23 for oatmeal. You gorge yourself, talk about kids or the bar last night, and order another round of drinks. While you’re fishing around for the last pickle in the Bloody Mary bar, the bill arrives, and, holy shit, that’s a lot of money! Why didn’t you just go to a nice restaurant for dinner and get a bottle of wine?

That’s brunch: It’s 2 p.m., you’re buzzed, and your day is shot. Hope you had fun.

So: Please don’t invite me to brunch, ever. I will not go. Breakfast, on the other hand? I’m there. —PD

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