Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brunch Punch

You never know what chef and sous chefs you'll run into at brunch.

Especially on the first day a restaurant opens for brunch.

Despite a recent dinner visit, I was sucked in by the Roosevelt's brand-new brunch debuting today, so that's where I landed after my morning walk.

The dining room was half full, the music was local (Homemade Knives) and the vibe was "just woke up and need good food" casual.

All of that worked for me.

I'd brought the new Washington Post Fall Dining Guide in case I didn't find good conversation but I immediately ran into restaurant types enjoying a day off.

A four-top of them told me that they'd covered the menu and loved it all, so I had their seal of approval to try anything.

In a related note, I noticed that you could add foie gras to any menu item.

Starting with a glass of Virginia Fizz, I ordered the three breakfast sausage corn dogs with maple syrup that promised (and delivered) the tantalizing combo of sweet and salty.

Each taste of the fat Sausagecraft sage breakfast links covered in corn batter and dunked in syrup provided breakfast in a  bite.

I watched as bourbon tea punches were dispatched from the bar with little umbrellas in them. For some reason, I found that charming.

While I ate, a customer came up to the bartender and inquired about the music.

Since the barkeep was the wife of the singer being asked about, the customer left with not only the band and song name but an e-mail address to get the CD.

It's all about the details.

When the same bartender mistakenly made a mimosa instead of a Bloody Mary, I was the recipient of the mistake and lapped up the pulp-filled beverage that is sure to annoy the dishwasher with its bits of fruit clinging to the glass long after the beverage is gone.

Undecided between coffee cake and a biscuit with maple butter, I went with the latter, sure that Chef Lee would deliver a biscuit worthy of my Richmond grandmother, who made fresh biscuits three times a week for us growing up.

Bessie would have been proud.

Amazingly, there was even a little butter left after I inhaled the biscuit, a highly unusual state of affairs for this butter lover.

I ran into an artist whose work hangs in my living room, a musician I've heard many times (and continue to enjoy) and a good friend with whom I shared my recent horoscope ("I got chills when I read it," she said. Don't I know it?).

A local chef arrived and took up residence next to me, providing stellar conversation and company for the rest of my stay.

With my peach Bellini delivering its intoxicating aroma with every sip, we discussed the newest restaurants (including his own), the problems associated with burning bridges and who's becoming the new Cabo's (an insult if ever there was one).

I left with lunch plans on Tuesday, dinner plans on Wednesday and bar plans a week from Thursday.

Oh, yes, and plans to return to the Roosevelt for brunch and the fried chicken biscuit as soon as possible.

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