Ladies Who Brunch


Head to Head Review: Southern Inspired Brunch Spots by Kyle and Benjamin
February 25, 2009, 7:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s the battle of the cheese grits this week as we review two soulful breakfast spots, Wishbone in the West Loop and Big Jones in Andersonville.

Atmosphere

Wishbone’s bright and inviting decor is based on big primary colors and lots and lots of roosters.  It’s fun and kitschy, but the restaurant is showing some signs of age and there is a slightly dingy quality to it.  Big Jones has a very clean, New American decor, limited art and neat, linear table arrangements.  Huge picture windows brighten the whole dining room, and, for many bonus points, the back dining rooms are decorated entirely with classic soul album covers. 

Advantage: Big Jones

Service

Service was very good at both restaurants.  Wishbone seemed to have tons of staff on the floor for a Saturday morning brunch, and while I worried about the server’s pocketbooks and saw a lot of people standing around even during a busy morning, we certainly got taken care of promptly.  When a clock fell on one of our companion’s heads a manager came over right away to check on the situation and make a joke about (“did somebody get clocked?!”).  Big Jones’ staff was equally friendly, but very stressed out.  Their was no host and one server’s attention was fully taken up with a large baby shower, so two servers and the bartender were going full speed to take care of the restaurant.  While the strain was evident on their faces by the time we arrived, late in the brunch hours, they really did a great job. 

Advantage: We would like to say tie, but one of the servers at Wishbone had a haircut that made him look like Andy Dick in Old School and it upset us very much, so we’re giving it to Big Jones

Sweets

At Wishbone we sampled the corn-flake crusted french toast sticks, which were frankly amazing.  Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, they made me want to be a little kid so that I could brattily demand them for breakfast everyday.  Big Jones is quick to impress here–as soon as new customers walk in the door the kitchen drops in some complimentary beignets which the server brings right over when he greets you.  I love beignets and have never met one I didn’t like, although BJ would be hard pressed to best the ones I’ve eaten at Cafe du Monde and in my mother’s kitchen.  We also got an order of s’mores french toast to share.   Split decision here; I am not much of a chocoholic and dislike graham crackers, but Kyle absolutely adored the dish.

S'mores French Toast... to die for

S'mores French Toast... to die for

Advantage: tie, Wishbone’s crispy sticks won my heart, but Kyle loved Big Jones’ decadent breakfast sweets.

Savories

Cornmeal Pancakes at Wishbone

Cornmeal Pancakes at Wishbone

I was craving pancakes when we arrived at Wishbone, but I am a hardcore devotee of savory breakfast items.  Wishbone resolved my dilemma pretty easily with their sweet/savory Johnny Cakes, cornmeal pancakes (my favorite variety) with peppers and maybe some onion mixed right into the batter.  They hit the spot, although the pepper honey served on the side was a bit of a miss and I ended up using plain ‘ol maple syrup to flavor up the plate.  Another dining companion ordered the black bean cakes, which she enjoyed thoroughly, although I found them rather dry.  Maybe I just didn’t get enough hollandaise in my bite.  At Big Jones, we ordered the crab cheesecake as an appetizer and it was AMAZING.

Crab Cheesecake at Big Jones... delicious!

Crab Cheesecake at Big Jones... delicious!

I have been a fan of savory cheesecakes ever since I first tried a goat cheesecake on Padre Island, and this is one of the best I’ve ever had.  A little but of truly Southern pepper jelly completed the offbeat dish.  For a main course, I had one of the specials, a croque monsieur sandwich with egg and ham on a brioche bun.  I was hoping for little fried rolls of ham on the sandwich, but it was just a regular ham steak and the brioche was too thick and overtoasted.

Advantage: Big Jones.  Even if the breakfast sandwich was forgettable, the crab cheesecake was over-the-top good.

Benedicts

True to form, Kyle ordered the Crab Cakes Benedict at both restaurants…  Yes, yes I did.  How is it that some places manage to get their poached eggs to cover more surface area of the Benedict than other places?  Presumably everyone’s only using one egg, right?  Weird.  Anyway, I liked both of the crab cakes, in fact I have since ordered the crab cakes at Wishbone for lunch since our brunch visit.  Also, I have yet to meet a crab cake a didn’t like…  I’m not exactly picky.  While I did enjoy the crab cakes at Wishbone, I found the hollandaise sauce slightly bland… definitely not terrible, but not lemony enough for my taste.  Finally, what the capital F is up with using cantaloupe as a garnish? Does anyone actually eat it?  I seriously disapprove.

Seriously?  Cantaloupe?  Big who cares.

Seriously? Cantaloupe? Big who cares.

I’m pretty sure the only thing I liked better at Wishbone were the potatoes.  They were largely chopped and big on onion flavor.  The potatoes O’Brien at Big Jones, while good, and nicely plated, were not seasoned well enough with the green peppers and onions, leaving them with tiny pieces of crunchy peppers and onions mixed in.  The tastes kept pretty separate from one another.

Full surface area with the poached eggs!  Bonus points!

Full surface area with the poached eggs! Bonus points!

I feel like it’s not entirely fair to Wishbone to compare their Benedict to Big Jones’.  Big Jones called this dish “Eggs New Orleans,” and technically it was served with bearnaise sauce as opposed to hollandaise (p.s. they are practically the same thing).  I am a whore for either of these sauces, and have been known to ask for additional sides of them to dip my potatoes in…  Big Jones definitely did not put enough on the dish, but I understand that, while upping the deliciousness, a lot of sauce also ups the tackiness.  What really put this dish above and beyond was the fact that it was served on homemade popovers instead of English muffins.

Advantage: Wishbone gave me more sauce, but the sauce was not as good.  But above all else, the popovers make Big Jones the winner.

Hot Sauce

As they were both Southern inspired joints, both restaurants had bottles of Lousiana style hot sauce.  At Wishbone, the bottle was huge and sat out on every table.  You had to ask for it at Big Jones, but I understand, it’s a classier spot…  I don’t even think they had salt and pepper on the table.

Advantage: Same hot sauce, essentially.  It’s a tie.

Verdict

Big Jones emerged as the obvious victor in this contest.  With a gorgeous dining room, consistently creative takes on Southern fare, and the awesomeness of free hot beignets, it definitely earned a place of distinction on our palates.  Wishbone was a nice casual spot, but ultimately it seemed like a watered down attempt at Southern cuisine.  Can’t have soul food without the soul.  Congratulations Big Jones!



Review: Deleece Pub Grille by Kyle and Benjamin
February 19, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Ladies Who Brunch visited the original Deleece location at Irving and Southport a few months ago and had a great time, so we decided to check out the newish Deleece Pub Grill in Lakeview on Sunday. It’s a small, intimate space, definitely has the feel of a neighborhood bar/bistro, and if we were the type to ‘watch the game,’ we could see ourselves watching the game here. If you’ve ever asked yourself “what if Deleece was a gastropub?,” which I’m sure you haven’t, this space is pretty much the answer.

The restaurant is small but two waiters were definitely overwhelmed by the Sunday brunch rush. We had a lot of trouble getting our coffees refilled and getting our check when we were all finished–my guess is that somebody called in sick (read: hungover), not uncommon in the brunch game.

The menu featured a high percentage of creative breakfast items. Lobster benedict, breakfast pasta, breakfast mac n’ cheese, and breakfast baked potato all sounded like fun takes on classic dishes. The reality, however, is that adding a couple of eggs to any old comfort food plate does not a craveable breakfast make.

We started with beignets. After Grand Luxe’s giant basket of donut perfection last week, the plate of three chewy beignets was kind of a bummer. Bonus points for accompanying them with chocolate sauce–but minus points for chocolate sauce that tasted like lukewarm hershey’s syrup.

We tried two benedicts, our friend Sarah ordered the spinach and artichoke with sundried tomato hollandaise, and Kyle of course ordered the lobster benedict with truffle hollandaise. Our waitress returned shortly after we ordered to inform us that the kitchen was out of artichoke, so we substituted canadian bacon–not expecting to be charged for a substitution that was forced upon us! This was the most visually appealing of the dishes, the tomato hollandaise was a vibrant salmon pink and alongside the sunny egg yolk and green spinach the plate looked like a scrumptious playdo creation. Probably my favorite out of everything we ordered, the hollandaise in particular was exceptional.

The sauce was delicious, but Sarah had to pay for the Canadian bacon!  Bogus!

The sauce was delicious, but Sarah had to pay for the Canadian bacon! Bogus!

Deleece was very generous with the portions of lobster on the other benedict, but the chewy texture of the seafood led me to believe it was leftover friday/saturday night fare that had been unceremoniously reheated. Kyle loved the truffle hollandaise, which was pleasantly lemony, but I’m of the opinion that truffle oil is a crime against taste buds (the restaurant I work at pours the stuff like its evoo–it only takes a few splashes of this overpowering hemical rotgut to ruin all the other flavors in a slaved over dish).

I don't care what Ben says, I LOVE TRUFFLES.

I don't care what Ben says, I LOVE TRUFFLES.

Our companion, Carl, a voracious pig eater and intrepid curer of meats, expressed deep satisfaction with the totally vegetarian breakfast mac n’ cheese. Unlike just about everyone I know, I’m not a huge fan of the gussied up mac n’ cheeses that adorn every other menu in town, but I really liked Deleece’s version, a relatively like creamy cheese sauce that obviously featured a few quality cheeses–sharp cheddar, some relative of parmesan, and a little gouda or maybe smoked mozz, if I had to guess. I would come back and try this out at dinnertime, too. Macaroni and Cheese bonus tip: using generous amounts of smoky gouda will make your mac taste like bacon–make it for your veg-head friends, deep in their souls they all miss bacon more than anything.

Mac and cheese for breakfast?  Totally genius.

Mac and cheese for breakfast? Totally genius.

The final dish we tried was the breakfast baked potato. It was probably the largest potato I’d ever seen, easily a 1 1/2 lb. spud, stuffed to the gills with 3 or 4 eggs, 2 or 3 thick slices of bacon, two handfuls of mozzarella and at least a cup of sour cream. Probably clocking in at around 1800 calories, I was basically in love. Baked potatoes are a passion of mine, and fully dressed is the way to go. Really I’m surprised I haven’t thought of this by myself. Deleece’s potato could use a little tweaking to really reach the stratosphere, though: something green on the plate, maybe the baked potato’s old friend broccoli, or at least some chives, would have been welcome. And really, the size of potato was impressive, but total overkill. Regular sized potatoes would be just fine.

Potato as big as your head.

Potato as big as your head.

This place has a long way to go before it lives up to the high marks set by its big sister, but it was a fun casual brunch spot, not overpriced, and the hollandaise and mac n’ cheese make it worth a second visit. The pub atmosphere lends itself perfectly to brunching during a sporting event–maybe we’ll return when there’s a good soccer match on. Otherwise, I expect to hit this place up once football season rolls around again.



Review: Grand Lux Cafe by Kyle and Benjamin
February 13, 2009, 8:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ben’s mom was in town over the weekend and dining out was the order of the day.  We thought about checking out some quintessentially Chicago place for Sunday brunch, but ultimately decided to hit up one of our favorite dinner spots, Grand Lux.  Cheesy, sure, touristy, most definitely, but we were HUNGRY and the huge plates of food there have yet to disappoint.  And even if its just the overly perky waitstaff, there’s always some great people watching to be had. We arrived early, expecting something like the long lines we’ve often found during the supper rush, but our party of four was seated right away in one of the banquet rooms.

I certainly hope our waiter, Leo, is an actor when he’s not slinging hash browns, because he was very much on stage throughout the meal.  He reminded me of Alanna Ubach’s character in Waiting–you could see his bubbly service persona peeling away as he approached the bus station.  Service was efficient and friendly, which is about all you can ever ask for.  We ordered coffees and a basket of beignets on his first visit to our table, knowing that we would need a snack while we perused the tome-like menu.

We wrote last week about the beignets at Big Jones, noting that they were delicious but fell flat compared to NOLA’s real deal.  Not so this time around.  We were brought a giant platter with about ten piping hot donuts and ramikins of maple syrup, cinnamon-sugar, rasberry sauce, and vanilla cream.  The beignets were huge, golden crispy on the outside and nice and airy in the center.  They seemed much eggier than other beignets I remember, and they were cooked just right so that the insides were a little battery, which might sound gross to some (undercooked eggs?) but actually made for a perfect contrast of textures, with they doughy balls tasting slightly runny in the mouth.  Even though the mountainous portion was intimidating, they disappeared in seconds.

Four sauces with the beignets?!  You can't beat that!

Four sauces with the beignets?! You can't beat that!

On Saturday and Sunday mornings Grand Lux offers their full dinner menu in addition to lunch specials and a page they call “late breakfast,” as if the usual “brunch” isn’t a descriptive enough term.  We ended up ordering a mix of breakfast and lunch items:  the “best” eggs benedict, crab and asparagus omelette, lemon chicken piccata, and tuna salad nicoise sandwiches.  We also split a chopped salad as a second appetizer.

“Best” eggs benedict was a strong claim which we felt compelled to examine further.  Of course, like everything at this over the top restaurant, the portion was quite substantial.  It’s a pretty classic benedict–English muffin, ham, poached egg, and Hollandaise.  We prefer canadian bacon to ham on our benedicts, so that’s one strike against this version, and the thinly sliced ham was much too generously piled onto the dish.  We ended up removing about two-thirds of the ham to restore the benedict’s natural order.  The Hollandaise was another miss–perfect consistency, which is admittedly rare, but almost completely lacking in flavor with only a hint of lemon and probably no cayenne.

Whoever would have thought you could have too much ham?

Whoever would have thought you could have too much ham?

The omelette was much more impressive.  It was perfectly cooked, a real classic French style omelette with plenty of fluff, plenty of butter, and a delicate, picture perfect fold.  As anyone who’s cracked an egg knows, this effect is surprisingly difficult to achieve, and one got the impression that somewhere in the huge kitchen lurked a pro whose sole responsibility was technically perfect egg cookery.  The stuffing was really a treat–I had worried that the crab meat would be only an afterthought, a few lumps of fishy tasting canned goop, but it turned out to be a healthy scoop of yummy and fresh tasting crustacean.  The asparagus was just lightly blanched, which nowadays is how I prefer them; the pleasant crunchiness and natural flavor of just cooked veg elevated the dish, where soggy overly buttered spears would have seemed dispensable.  The final component was some nicely oven-dried tomatoes, often an overpowering flavor, but they were used sparingly enough to add a hint of sweetness that really worked with the slight sweetness of good crab.  The only let down on the plate was the slathering of Hollandaise–I was stoked that my omelette would be covered in one of my favorite sauces, but as with the benedict, it was basically flavorless and I might not have known it was there if it hadn’t been on the menu.

Not too fluffy, full of crab... just the way an omelette should be.

Not too fluffy, full of crab... just the way an omelette should be.

Our roommate Emi had the chicken piccata, which she orders often when we dine here, with good reason.  Grand Luxe’s lemon cream sauce, which also adorns the jumbo shrimp pasta and possibly a few other dishes, is utterly craveable–I wish they would sell pints of it to go.  She got the lunch sized portion, but the tray of pasta and chicken breast that arrived could probably have been lunch for a small office.  Not much else to say here–it’s a simple, comforting plate of linguini and chicken, and it’s the tangy sauce that makes it.  It’s cream based but done just right so that each noodle carries just a flavorful sheen of sauce as it is forked or slurped off the plate–even reheated days later it somehow avoids becoming a gooey and congealed mess like so many ill-fated alfredos.

Emi is obsessed with this lemon cream sauce... and it is awesome.

Emi is obsessed with this lemon cream sauce... and it is awesome.

Our out of town guest, Donna, had the tuna nicoise melt, a trio of open faced sandwiches which, like many dishes this weekend, she declared “right up her alley.”  The contemporary American nicoise salad is usually prepared with slices of seared tuna steak or filet, but these melts were made with regular canned white tuna.  In some ways that’s closer to the spirit of the traditional French dish, which is usually made with canned Italian tuna in oil–it’s really not meant to be a fussy dish, just a simple peasant lunch.  Grand Luxe mixes the tuna with finally diced green beans and potatoes and tops each sandwich with melty cheese and marinated olives, reimagining nicoise as a kind of all-American casserole.  It’s actually quite a tasty little mixture–I might just have to add some potato and olive next time I make tuna salad at home.

Donna made a good choice.

Donna made a good choice.

Not one of us finished even half of our meal, which is par for the course at Grand Luxe.  At dinner the inevitable leftovers usually justify the fairly high prices for what is ultimately pretty standard fare, but at brunch it’s a little disheartening.  We weren’t interested in wrapping up any eggs and only ended up taking home the piccata, so our doggie bag didn’t really offset the hefty bill.  Still, we were quite pleased and the meal was a great start to a day on the mag mile.  A few thousand calories at breakfast was more than enough to carry us through a matinee at River East and an afternoon of shopping.  Even if it doesn’t exactly scream “Chicago!”, Grand Luxe is a downtown institution that’s worth showing off to visitors–at least you’re assured that they’ll find something to love on that giant menu!



Review: Sola by Kyle and Benjamin
February 6, 2009, 9:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sola, if you can find it (hint: it’s not really on Lincoln, it’s behind the Chase on Byron) is an absolutely gorgeous restaurant.  One spacious dining room is deftly broken up with a platform, a freestanding fireplace, and a few well placed columns.  Beautiful flower arrangements, nice table settings and excellent lighting immediately set the mood for a pleasant brunch.

There was no wait for a party of three around noon on a Sunday, and while Yelpers rave about the brunch here, it certainly wasn’t packed.  The atmosphere was quite relaxed, a nice change of pace from our recent visit to the bustling Lula.  The place was far from empty, but the three (or maybe four) waiters in the space had plenty of time to lean back against the bar and watch the clock–no problem there, really, I’ve been there many times and know how painfully slowly a lunch shift can go by.  Our waitress was super cheerful and took great care of us, but I sincerely hope she wasn’t showing us her true personality–every visit to the table included at least two thank yous, and you’re welcome, and a little bit of oooing and ahhhing.  I would fault her from trying to hard, but I know I suffer from the same disease of overeagerness to please.

Square saucer, demitasse spoon, water served in a Collins glass...  three things I love so much.

Square saucer, demitasse spoon, water served in a Collins glass... three things I love so much.

Along with a round of wasabi bloody marys (I absolutely love shrimp in a bloody, but what’s the point of using wasabi in a drink that’s already packed with horseradish?), we started with an order of malazadas, a Portugese variation on the donut that I had never tried before.  Traditionally, malazadas are prepared during the lead up to Lent in order to use up all the butter, lard and sugar in the house before the season of fasting.  They are heavier than their cousins, the beignet and the zeppole, and Sola’s version was coated with large crystals of sugar, which added extra crunch and sweetness.  We devoured them, and I especially loved the mango cream dipping sauce that came with.

Ben loved the mango sauce... I preferred the raspberry coulis.

Ben loved the mango sauce... I preferred the raspberry coulis.

Sola’s lunch and dinner menus lean heavily on Hawaiian and Pacific rim cuisine, but the brunch menu went global with nods to France, Mexico and the afore mentioned Portugal.  We tried the black forest omelet stuffed with ham, Gruyere and leeks, which was well-crafted, fluffy, and balanced.  Crab cakes Benedict are, with us, compulsory, and these were wonderful.  Sola has offered my favorite Hollandaise of the year so far, a little thicker than most with herbal flavors nicely complimenting the lemon.  I was super pleased with my choice of “huevos benedictos,” poached eggs with spicy hollandaise, cornbread, chorizo, and pico de gallo.  The already tasty sauce was enhanced with a little cayenne and the savory juices of the pico.  The cornbread was OUTSTANDING, nicely sweet, and very airy–the portion looks intimidating, but like a perfect cake it melts in the mouth, belying its pleasantly low density.  My only gripe was the chorizo, and I can hardly blame Sola for that.  I usually find chorizo to be too salty and harsh on the palate.  At home, I like to use it to add texture and flavor to black beans, but I almost never eat it on its own.

One place where Sola really stood out was in their hash browned potatoes.  Grated breakfast potatoes can be done pretty badly–often just a flavorless patty scraped out of a hotel pan, too crispy on the outsides and baby food in the middle.  These were handled with care, liberally intermingled with onions and seasoning and cooked just right throughout.  We may have to hash out (sorry) what exactly makes for the perfect breakfast potato preparation in a future post.

I’m always perplexed when fine dining spots like Sola offer a Sunday brunch–is it a money maker for the restaurant?  Is it a way to pass off the weekends leftovers on a largely hungover clientele?  Does a bartender really have to show up for this?  But thank god they do–we love to find a great brunch in an unlikely locale, and brunch offers a great way to take in a restaurant that one might not otherwise be able to afford.  Our house is full of waiters, and when you factor in high winter heating bills, the slowest season on the restaurant calendar, and wallet-tightening, tip threatening economy, my guess is breakfast is the only chance we’ll get to eat at the city’s white tableclothes for a little while.



Review: Lula Cafe by Kyle and Benjamin
February 5, 2009, 3:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The pressing question with any review of Logan Square’s Lula Cafe is, is it worth the long, long, long wait for a table, or is it too hyped for its own good.  Having been ultimately rewarded with an incredible meal after a few long stints in the cramped bar area on a couple of dinner outings, we were eager to see if Lula could deliver the same experience for Sunday Brunch.

If only they had passed around these delicious, berry covered sweet rolls while we waited.

If only they had passed around these delicious, berry covered sweet rolls while we waited.

Arriving around noon, probably the peak of the breakfast rush, we were quoted a 45 minute wait time for a party of three.  After checking out the only nearby store that seemed to be open, we pushed our way into a space against the wall and began to watch the names get ticked off the list ahead of us.  Twice during our half hour stay a host came by with a tray of wonderfully moist biscotti topped with a bit of blackberry jam.  Nice touch, and it did a bit to stave off our hunger.

Once you finally snag a table at Lula, it’s straight to the punch.  I barely had time to be reminded of how much I love their dining room (especially the abstract mosaic above the kitchen window) before we were greeted by a friendly, if hasty, waitress.  I have to say, one thing I love about Lula is that even though the food is haute, the service is just hot, dressed in their coolest relaxing Sunday duds.  As a waiter at a black on black, bistro aprons restaurant, I was jealous of the freedom granted to the service here–and more than aware that my own wardrobe would probably never pass the hipster test on this floor.

Lula can be forgiven for rushing you through the dining process a bit–there’s a line out the door, after all, and it’s not like we weren’t all starving after the wait anyway.  We ordered a rainbow trout benedict, chicken pozole,  and beet bruschetta as an appetizer to share.

"It's not beef bruschetta, just so you know."  Oh well, we'll have it anyway.

"It's not beef bruschetta, just so you know." Oh well, we'll have it anyway.

The bruschetta, a house favorite, was simple but lovely, well marinated, perfectly roasted thick slabs of beet with an equally generous slathering of goat cheese, some greens and light dressing.  It’s listed on the menu as an entree, and I imagine it would make a stellar lunch for someone with a smallish appetite.  It seems like it wouldn’t be all too hard to replicate at home, but my attempts at cooking beets have had mixed results, at best, so I suppose I’ll leave it to the pros.

Our main dishes followed very quickly after this first plate was cleared; I’m always impressed by a kitchen with great timing.  The trout benedict was one of nicest creative variations on the classic benedict we’ve encountered; a pine nut relish took the dish from just another blah protein switch up to a well composed, craveable plate.

Mostly I'm just a sucker for little square bowls.

Mostly I'm just a sucker for little square bowls.

My only complaint about the pozole was that there wasn’t enough of it.  I hardly ever run into this soothing stew of chile and hominy in Chicago, although it formed a staple of my (and everyone else’s) diet growing up in New Mexico.  Lula’s version features a lighter broth than the traditional pork heavy one, and substitutes a tangy tomatillo salsa base for the usual roasted or dried peppers.  I loved the way the dish was composed, with fluffy eggs, a vinegary cabbage slaw, and shredded dark meat chicken all neatly separated into their own quarters, allowing you to customize your stew.  I detected a bit of Lula’s Asian influence here–the separation of ingredients reminded me a lot of an authentic pho or ramen presentation.  And kudos to them for the great slaw–cabbage is a pretty common add in for pozole, and this vinegary preparation added just the right amount of acid and crunch to the dish.

lula3

Lula probably earned the biggest ups for their hot sauce.   I often resort to mixing hot sauce with ketchup to get the right sweet spicy flavor, but this syrupy bit of heaven had all the flavor I needed and we sprayed it on everything.  It came in a non descript squeeze bottle, leading us to believe that it was house made, but our server was happy to share that it is actually a variation of sriracha, which comes in a bottle with a shark on it rather than the commonplace rooster.  She told us it can be found at many Asian groceries, and I can’t wait to pick some up.

Overall, our tasty meal more than made up for the wait–for a special occassion kind of brunch.  But I was perplexed by a pair of young ladies at the table next to us.  Why would you wait an hour just to ordered scrambled eggs and bacon or plain french toast?  Lula’s brunch menu has the same beautiful balance of daring and comfort that makes its dinners so memorable, but if you just need some sausage links to recharge after a hangover, there are plenty of greasy spoons nearby.