Wednesday, March 21, 2012

[HOT LIST] Saturday brunch

The King's French Toast at One-Eyed Betty's. Covert cell phone photography by Nicole Rupersburg.

"Brunch is not a meal. It is an art." - Nicole Rupersburg

(Yeah, I just quoted myself.)

Sunday brunching is indeed sacred ... but why should it only be on Sundays? Do not most working adults also have Saturdays off from work? Would not most working adults enjoy a Bloody Mary or four on Saturdays, when they still have another day of weekend left to look forward to? Too often I find myself in search of SATURDAY brunch only to be disappointed by the lack of options. This week's Hot List is as much for me as it is for you.

#1 One-Eyed Betty's (Ferndale)
Sure sure, it's new and right now I'm all "Ohmygod go there right now" every five minutes because the novelty hasn't worn off yet and I totally own that. BUT. The best thing to happen to Ferndale since the year 2011, OEB is a beer drinker's bar and the kind of comfortable yet stylish neighborhood joint that really works best in Ferndale. They serve food that fits the beer drinker's demographic, asking themselves with every menu item "WWHSE?" (What Would Homer Simpson Eat?) They also serve Ferndale's most famous brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - specifically, the Cinnamon Roll French Toast made famous at Club Bart and reborn at Betty's. Also check out the King's French Toast (a bacon, banana and peanut butter French toast sandwich with maple syrup) and the German Breakfast, a meat and cheese platter served with baguette and whole grain mustard (a traditional breakfast in - you guessed it - Germany, but totally uncommon 'round here). In addition to around 150 beer selections, they also serve proper brunch beverages: bottomless mimosas ($12) and $5 Bloody Mary bars served tableside.

The Count Of... Crepe at What Crepe? Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

#2 What Crepe? (Royal Oak, Birmingham)
Because it's freakin' good, that's why, and now there's two of them. (A third in Grosse Pointe will be coming soon). Every day is brunch at What Crepe? (also the lesser-known brinner) with some of the best crepes this side of the Atlantic. Delicate crepe shells are stuffed full of exceptionally high-quality ingredients and exquisite flavor combinations, and they've got a great little wine and cocktail list to go with it. The place has a chic, somewhat dramatic European vibe (and you know that totally means it's sophisticated) and the food is top-notch. One crepe might cost you up to $14 but it is more than enough for a meal and worth every penny.

Hillbilly Benedict.
#3 Foran's Grand Trunk Pub (Detroit)
As is this case with most awesome places, people finally figured out this place was awesome (my bad) and now it is ruined. Except on Saturday mornings. Brunch is served on Saturdays AND Sundays, but while Sundays are usually a shitshow of Detroit's crusty-eyed hungover finest, on Saturdays Foran's is a secret retreat, open for brunch and slinging drinks at 9 a.m. and utterly unknown to the outside world. Enjoy it while it lasts. Order the Hillbilly Benedict (sausage, poached egg and cheese on English muffin and smothered in sausage gravy) and fill up on your choice of Bloody Marys or mimosas - $7 for the first, $1 for each additional. (As long as you drink 6 or fewer this is a better deal than most bottomless prices. And if you drink more than 6 you're a fucking champ.)

#4 Vivio's (Detroit)
Actually the breakfast food kind of sucks. Actually all of the food kind of sucks (except the mussels, which totally do NOT suck). And they like to claim an infamous Bloody Mary mix, rather generously referring to it as the "World's Best" ... it is not. BUT. There are few Saturday morning experiences in Detroit more necessary than a Bloody Mary breakfast at Vivio's. Whether observing the pre-game tailgating rituals of Lions fans or just starting out a leisurely Saturday at Eastern Market, putting in a solid Saturday morning session at Vivio's should be on every Detroiter's bucket list. They open at 8 a.m. and serve their Bloody Marys the proper way - with a shot of beer.

#5 Cafe Muse (Royal Oak)
Admittedly their food is probably the best of all, but it gets stupid-busy and it's hard to justify waiting two hours in line for a damn omelette. (But they do open at 7:30 a.m. 7 days a week, so you could always get there stupid-early and beat the crowds. This is a great plan both for early risers and for those of you STILL awake.) Also the mimosas are not bottomless, but they are made with fresh-squeezed orange juice. However, please see once again how their food is the best of all. (Including their pancakes, but also everything else: Cafe Muse is the house that brunch built, after all.)

Bubbling under Beverly Hills Grill (Beverly Hills), the Emory (Ferndale), PJ's Lager House (Detroit), the Bronx Bar (Detroit), Inyo (Ferndale), Honest John's (Detroit), Toast (Birmingham), Atlas Global Bistro (Detroit), Cafe Habana (Royal Oak), Dino's Lounge (Ferndale)

One Eyed Betty's on Urbanspoon