The brunch scene at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel
A less-than-flattering history of brunch that ran today in Restaurant-ing Through History portrays the meal as having been invented by lazy students, popularized by drunks, and surviving today as a dumping ground for, as Anthony Bourdain puts it, restaurants’ “old, nasty odds and ends.”
But in spite of its less-than-savory past, we love brunch, and we don’t know anybody who doesn’t. And RTH’s treatment of the meal does not neglect its brighter points:
Beginning in the 1970s champagne, screwdrivers, and mimosas often formed a large part of the advertised brunch attractions. Many restaurants included a drink with the price of the brunch, while others charged extra but poured free refills…
Especially popular on Sundays and holidays, brunch often features food that is — or once was — regarded as “special,” such as Canadian bacon, Hollandaise sauce, and Belgian waffles.
We’re in an era where rich, “special” foods such as duck fat, foie gras, and deep-fried bacon are all the rage, as are fancy cocktails prepared by, um, mixologists. What better meal to showcase this decadence than brunch?
And yet, most of your highest-echelon chefs don’t really seem to bother with the midday meal. Perhaps it is considered a bit gauche to swill bloody Marys and hollandaise early in the day. But hey, that’s fine. Some of the best things going on the brunch buffet need little change. How are you going to improve on a carving station? And, perhaps more importantly, no hungover diner wants a culinary surprise first thing in the “morning.”
[Image: Via jay.tong/flickr]