Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stronghill Brunch for Three

I had a great couple date for brunch today, so much so that I'm beginning to think that my social life will eventually be reduced to either going out alone or going on couple dates, as all my formerly-single friends get themselves paired up.

And then there's me. But I'm not complaining, just making an observation.

I'd chosen Stronghill for our meal today because despite having lunched and dined there, I'd never had brunch, nor had my friends. It was fun, too, because today's brunch music was all 80s and 90s stuff, so we ate to Big Country, Flock of Seagulls, Crowded House and Simple Minds. Ah, the Reagan years.

My friend showed up in a beanie with a propeller because he was having a bad hair day. Given the number of costumed brunchers (Dolly Parton, Superman), he didn't look as odd as he should have.

It was his girlfriend's first visit to Stronghill, and she loved the Art Nouveau feeling that the interior has almost as much as she loved the vintage photographs of Richmond. We'd both love to know where that 1905 Emancipation Day photo was taken (Marshall Street, maybe?).

The manly one judges a brunch spot by its eggs Benedict, so he opted for the Southern breakfast, meaning it had cornbread for English muffins and Smithfield ham for Canadian bacon. She got a tomato, bacon and white cheddar omelet. Both were impressed with their food.

As soon as I looked at the menu, I knew I had to try a side of the house made sausage and to go with it, I got the shrimp and grits (made with Patrick Henry stone-ground grits and Tasso ham gravy). I could have kissed these grits for their superb texture and flavor (I have a friend who claims to love grits as long as they're soupy and bland and she would have hated these).

Factor in the gravy with bits of ham, and I just tore through the dish. Let's just say that I totally get why gravy is part of a good breakfast.

The sausage patties were divine and I shared a bite each with the happy couple who affirmed my assessment. Tasting of pig and fresh herbs (especially sage), they were the biggest hit of the afternoon. "The sausage alone is worth coming back for," he proclaimed. I seconded that.

After such a filling brunch, I did the illogical thing and ordered dessert, specifically chocolate mousse. More than anything, after so much savory, I just had to have sweet, albeit not a terribly sweet sweet since the chocolate was fairly dark. Still, I finished feeling stuffed to the gills.

The happy couple had been to her high school reunion last night, so I got to hear about the big event. Like so many others who've revisited high school, she said that types hadn't changed much in the interim.

She said that the big flirt from back in the day wore the shortest, tightest dress to the reunion and reeked of perfume. The popular clique still sat together while the nerds were relegated to another table. The band geeks were still involved in music. Life marches on.

My couple date even admitted that they'd chosen brunch with me over the reunion brunch they could have attended today. Sure, they may have just been sick of the reunion crowd, although they denied it.

I prefer to think that I'm just the perfect date for a happy couple. Life does indeed march on.

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