Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Postcards from Bunny: What makes the Perfect Brunch?

With the official brunching season upon us, Bunny and Brandy's expertise on the subject of brunching has been in high demand.  Recently, Our Ladies were tapped by their friends at to explain exactly what they think makes for the perfect brunch, so they've come up with a short, but precise little list, explaining for any chefs (be they amature or professional) what they should take into consideration when planning the perfect spring or summer brunch feast.

#1 The Cocktails
Coffee and tea are always options at brunch, but why waste the only meal that makes it acceptable to drink in the morning?  Tradition dictates that there are two types of brunchers: Bloody Mary Divas and Mimosa Debutaunts.  Brandy has always had a preference for the simplicity of the mimosa, especially when its done right with freshly squeezed orange juice, perfectly balanced by a splash of light, crisp champagne.  Bunny, on the other hand, always liked the adventure inherent in a bloody mary, where one is never certain of the exact amount of spice until the first sip is taken, not to mention the over the top garnishes.  But if there is one lesson Bunny and Brandy have learned over the last four years of brunch exploration, it is that there are actually so many more cocktails out there to be had for brunch with an infinite amount of ingredients and creativity to ignite the meal.  For springtime, Brandy recommends something refreshing and floral, like a St. Germaine cocktail, or something with fresh strawberry puree.

#2 The Appetizers
The best brunches are as decadent as they are intricate, so don't skimp on the amuse bouches and horderves just because its not dinner time.  After all, you're supposed to be eating two meals at once here, so why only go for an entree?  Bunny loves a good deviled egg as a brunch appetizer, or even a cool and crunchy salad.  If it's a cooler day, Brandy adores a nice little bowl of creamy soup and a hunk of hearty, buttered bread.

#3 The Entrees
Always have two entrees for brunch.  ALWAYS.  That isn't to say you have to finish both entrees yourself, but make sure there are always two options to share at the very least: a sweet and a savory.  Longtime readers of this blog will note that Bunny and Brandy often pair their favorite savory dishes (like Eggs Benedict or a sizzling steak skillet) with a sweet dish (like French toast or Pancakes).  This practice enhances the experience of both dishes, providing a way to cleanse the palate of something that is either deliciously saccharin or sinfully rich so that every bite can remain exciting and fulfilling.

#4 The Sides
When dining out, never discount the "Sides" portion of the menu.  Though a good pan fried potato or stack of truffled French fries can be delightful, often you will find more exciting and varied options than the standard spuds, which can be substituted for zero or very little extra charge.  Brandy has become a big fan of cheesy grits over the years and will often order a bowl to accompany her meals, while Bunny simply can't resit a freshly made biscuit with honey butter.  When serving brunch at home, try something a little different by sauteing up some brussel sprouts with bacon or creating a fruit cup from whatever looked best at your local farmer's market.

#5 The Dessert
You might be surprised to learn that both Bunny and Brandy consider dessert to be optional for brunch, if only because of the "Two Entree" rule.  Brunchers who have been following the guidelines correctly should already have had their sweet teeth satiated, but on the off chance there were no sweet entree options to be had, go ahead and order the most indulgent dessert on offer to make up for the loss.

#6 The Atmosphere
Sunlight and comfort are the only two essentials.  Though dining outside can have its charm, Bunny and Brandy have always found that just sitting near a sunny window and people watching during their meal can be the most relaxing way to spend a weekend morning.  As for table dressings, nothing elaborate is needed for such a casual meal, but a few flowers always help to brighten up even the cloudiest day.  A simple daisy in a bud vase can do wonders for a tiny table in a corner, so just imagine what kind of warm feelings a room full of flowers can invoke.

And there you have it, friends!  Tell us in the comments below what you think makes for the perfect brunch!

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