Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Trouble with Brunch- by P.

P and I went out to brunch this morning at North 3rd.  P is very exacting in his standards and at times, likes to hate and judge things. (he is on the phone now, hating and judging our meal to his family at this very moment) His rantings on the topic of brunch are pretty funny, so I thought I'd ask him to give a go at this review. 

The trouble with brunch- by P.

My wife has called upon me to temper the generally upbeat tenor of this blog with some of my patented blend of negativity, judgment and vitriol. In that spirit, let's talk about brunch.

There is nothing wrong with brunch as a concept. Getting up late on the weekend is our God-given right as Americans, and wanting to eat something more substantial than a bowl of Raisin Bran when we do wake up is completely understandable. Nor do I take issue with the dishes that usually are served at brunch - eggs Benedict, traitorous though their namesake may be, is a wonderful egg-on-egg composition that only misguided vegans and Pritikin acolytes could take issue with. Omelettes are great. Waffles, pancakes and the like are something I enjoy only occasionally, but again they have my full blessing.

The problem is with "brunch spots". Through a phenomenon I can only describe as some sort of yuppie mass hysteria, there seem to be a lot of people in this town who enjoy waiting for a table for 45 minutes so they can sit down and enjoy overpriced, overwrought versions of the aforementioned classics, when a far more honest and affordable version of the same thing is probably available at their (sometimes-)friendly neighborhood diner. Maybe these people's judgment is clouded from the after effects of too many PBR pounders the night before.

Morning Glory: "a finer diner". Don't think so. Long wait. Totally unremarkable food. Completely pointless and tasteless "homemade ketchup". Those abominations they call "biscuits" that taste like a Drake's coffee cake mated with a dumbbell.

Sabrina's (the one on Callowhill at least) was no better. My eggs Benedict was assembled completely incorrectly, making it impossible to cut. The "toast" we ordered appeared to be toasted with a hair dryer. Making breakfast is not that hard! And for God's sake, it's the most important meal of the day - don't screw it up!

Anyway, I thought it only fair to reveal my brunch prejudices before going on with talking about where we went this morning. So when I thought it would be nice to go out for breakfast, I was thinking of something like Little Pete's in the Philadelphian, where I had been once before. I found it solid. Lauren didn't want "diner food", though, so after I nixed the idea of going to Honey's (where I anticipated a similar scene of mass hysteria), we headed over to North 3rd.

Now, we had been there once before for brunch, and despite the fact that they screwed up my order and gave me the wrong omelette, I thought everything was decent. This time, though, the roasted tomato and mozzarella omelette arrived in a puddle of tomato liquid. There were exactly two pieces of tomato in the whole thing, and the mozzarella was distributed unevenly throughout. The potatoes on the side were a bit soggy. A side of bacon was delicious, and the bagel platter with cream cheese and smoked salmon was good, but how hard is it to toast something (well, if you're not at Sabrina's) and put it on a plate?

It was still nice to go out and everything, but deep down, all I want for breakfast or brunch is the same thing I want any time of day: honest, unpretentious food prepared correctly, and not to be caught up in some sort of BS herd mentality that thinks that if it's popular and expensive, it must be good. Do what you aspire to do, and if your aspirations exceed your abilities, get better, lower your aspirations, or go do something else. We now resume our sunshine and lollipops.

North 3rd
801 N. 3d St, Philadelphia PA 19123


Anonymous said...


I enjoyed your critique and I agree that you should not wait in line to have brunch (I have to say that I would rarely wait in line for anything and do not like places that cannot take reservations so you are forced to wait in line_

Mom V

yarnbeast said...

Yeah what is up with people willing to wait so long for brunch??? Esp when you can get a table in Melrose or Oregon in 10 minutes and pay less AND get a surly waitress!

That place in Cira Centre was reeeeeeeaally good though...

Dave said...

I could have written that post myself; P sums up exactly why I rarely go out for breakfast at all anymore.