Tag Archives: brunch


Kick start your weekend plans with a great brunch spot, plus where to shop and where to spa!

Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg Dines at Colt & Gray

When Top Chef’s Season 5 winner- and Boulder resident- Hosea Rosenberg goes to Denver for a night out, he heads to new restaurant Colt & Gray.  Hosea told citybuzz, “They are cooking the food that chefs, like myself, like to eat,” which is always a very, very good sign.

For Hosea, the self-admitted key to his culinary heart is “all things pork,” and Colt & GrayPicture 8 holds that key with delicious dishes like the Long Family Crispy Pig Trotters Appetizer (a.k.a. pig’s feet!) and Grilled Long Farm Pork Chop Entree. But other dishes, non pork-related, have been receiving the same sort of praise in Denver write-ups, like the Potted Peeky Toe Crab Appetizer (a crab spread) and the House Made Ricotta Ravioli Entree.

But we all know there is so much more that makes a restaurant great, and Colt & Gray has that, too. The resident mixologist mixes up a mean spin on the classic Manhattan, the New 1920’s Cocktail, with absinthe as the special ingredient. And even the decor received attention for itself with a write-up in Elle Decor Magazine.

For such a young restaurant, the amount of amazing reviews is enviable, and the dessert of its meal of great press is making the top 10 of Denver Magazine’s 25 Best Restaurant Lists. Sure, Top Chef ‘s Hosea Rosenberg and all the magazines in the world can tell you it’s great, but just one meal at Colt & Gray will make you understand what everyone’s talking about.

*** Hosea Rosenberg was the Season 5 winner of Bravo’s top rated competition show Top Chef. Hosea is a resident of Boulder, Colorado and the Chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder. Besides his Top Chef title, Hosea has won many awards including Best Chef three years in a row at the Denver International Wine Festival, Guest Chef at the James Beard House, and his restaurant, Jax, has received the Best Seafood Restaurant in the Denver/Boulder area since opening in 1994.

A play on brunch at Tongue & Cheek

The restaurant’s name is certainly a play on words but the owners of Tongue & Cheek aren’t messing around when it comes to brunch. They’re taking it as seriously as any other meal of the day.

Chef Jamie DeRosa got the reigns in the kitchen where he’s concocted an all-inclusive menu for foodies with a sweet or savory tooth and those who want traditional as well as something with a bit of a twist.

T&CThe King Crab benedict with Tabasco hollandaise and baby arugula’s got some kick or the Cuban sandwich with pork cheeks and pickled cucumbers will wake up anyone hungover from a night of clubbing on South Beach. Or perhaps indulge in lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry jam, sticky buns with brown butter pecans or a basket of housemade donut holes in three varieties.

Wash it all down with what else…a bloody mary but not just the usual, here there’s a Barbecued Bloody Mary with Woodford Reserve and Belvedere Vodka and the True Blood, the traditional with Belvedere Vodka, horseradish and pickled vegetables. And if necessary, finish up with coffee which is free throughout brunch.

Brunch is on Sundays at Tongue & Cheek at 431 Washington Ave., Miami Beach is from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Click here to visit their website or call them at 305-704-2900.

Enjoy Tex-Mex favorites at the Blue Goose

The Blue Goose Cantina offers up Tex-Mex favorites at five locations across the metroplex. The menu boasts all the favorites: enchiladas, fajitas, tamales, and of course a big ‘ol bowl of chile con queso. They also have rotating weekly specials, including specials during hatch chile season. The Blue Goose additionally offers a weekend brunch menu, complete with a Bloody Mary bar and is one of the few places in town that offers Machacado con heuvos, a shredded dry beef in a scramble. It’s also not Tex-Mex without a darn good margarita, and their ritas are award winning. Try their classic house margarita or for something a little sweeter the mango and prickly pear margaritas do not disappoint.

Fine dining + diner cuisine = R+D Kitchen

R+D Kitchen has done the seemingly impossible by turning “diner” inspired cuisine into, well, fine cuisine. The restaurant offers a posh little atmosphere with quaint patio seating and a circular bar located in the center of the restaurant. The menu is short but sweet, offering home-style favorites that are taken up a notch with quality ingredients and gourmet touches. For starters, they have a handful of sushi rolls, a cold dip duo of guacamole and pimento queso, or a plate of deviled eggs to whet your palette. The mains include creative entree salads, a few fish options, a center-cut filet and a wild mushroom meatloaf that actually comes medium rare on purpose. All mains come with home-style sides such as warm potato salad or wilted spinach. They also don a special brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Wake up to an early breakfast from the Dream Cafe

The Dream Cafe is Dallas’ quirky little breakfast spot with an inventive menu, a dog-and-kid-friendly atmosphere and excellent food. Their two locations (Uptown and Addison) serve those who live in Uptown, and those who used to live in Uptown but have now moved further from the city due to job location/kids. The Dream Cafe is also one of the few places in town to get good breakfast and brunch fare before 10 am (their doors open at 7 am daily, brunch menu is available daily). The Uptown location stays open later with a pseudo-international inspired dinner menu. A few favorites include the Santa Fe omelet, cloud cakes, the global dinner and the Mystic Pasta (think pasta tossed with brie and smoked bacon).

Crumb on Parchment, Bernstein’s latest Design District venture

Design District darling and James-Beard award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein has launched  a new venture in the area and brought her Mom along for the ride. It’s called Crumb on Parchment and is a winner.

Just steps away from her well-known Sra. Martinez, she can shuffle back and forth from one place to the other and not miss a beat. As strange as that may sound it’s true, she is right there in the open area where the sandwiches, soups, sides, everything’s being prepared, alongside her staff working.

Definite must haves are the roasted veggie sandwich with creamy cheese and tasty aioli and the roasted chicken with goat cheese and peaches, each a winner. Tasty couscous or one of their homemade soups like red gazpacho, lentil and chilled cauliflower make great sides. And for dessert, Mom makes a mile-high coconut cake that’s a stunner, moist classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting as well as assorted scones and muffins which are perfect for breakfast.

Crumb on Parchment is located at 3930 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 305-572-9444, www.facebook.com/crumbmiami

Gigi Restaurant: Small bites, big flavor

The latest incarnation in the ever-growing restaurant scene in the Design District is Gigi Bistro. Intimate and hip, it’s obvious they’re going for their own vibe here. Stool seating here outnumbers actual tables and that’s fine. Reaching for shared bites while sitting next to each other is easier than an outstretched arm across a table.

And that’s what they want here, lots of sharing. The small portions, I hate to call them tapas the term’s so overused these days, make for a great experience of sampling different dishes. It’s obvious Chef Jeff McInnis is always thinking up new menu items judging by the small two-sided menu that’s handed out upon arrival (and one side’s all drinks). He makes delicious Asian-inspired buns filled with either beef brisket or with shiitake mushrooms topped with sticky, icky sauce (yes, that’s what it’s called) and sesame. And the super refreshing homestead avocado and tomato salad with citrus, hearts of palm and crunchy rice is a true original.

Gigi is located at 3470 North Miami Ave., Miami, FL

The White Way to Dine: Villa Blanca Restaurant

Whether you are looking to run into the Real Housewife of Beverly Hills herself or her precious Pomeranian Giggy, Lisa Vanderpump’s Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills combines Mediterranean and Italian cuisine with Asian touches and influences. This beautiful eatery located on Brighton Way is close to major Beverly Hills boutiques and shops and is the perfect place to grab lunch on the patio for some serious people watching.

villa blanca pic

The interior is described as “sexy and comfortable” by the designer herself and brings an element of comfort and coziness to the color white. With grandiose mirrors hanging on the walls as well as exotic and elegant flower arrangements everywhere, Villa Blanca offers brunch, lunch, dinner and a fancy bar area for all your drinking and dining needs.

The dinner menu consists of Crispy Rice & Spicy Tuna appetizers with entrees such as Sweet & Spicy Butterflied Shrimp, Chicken Milanese and Japanese Mushroom Chicken. Brunch at Villa Blanca means $10 specials including Villa Blanca’s Breakfast Pizza, Vegetarian Frittata and Prosciutto and Melon.

villa blanca pic 2

Whether it’s for the food, people watching or a quick glimpse of Lisa herself, a visit to the Villa will have everyone saying, Bravo.

Second City’s Lauren Ash Brunches at Bongo Room

After a long week of wise cracks and improvised jokes, Second City star Lauren Ash hits up the sinfully delicious brunch at Bongo Room. Lauren’s must-have is the Nestle Crunch Pancakes, with bananas and crumbled Nestle Crunch bars baked into the pancake. If that sounds decadent, take a look at the rest of the menu. The Chocolate Tower French Toast is a favorite, with chocolate French Toasts piled high and topped with bananas and both chocolate and white chocolate shavings. For those who want to stay away from the carbs- although this is the place to divulge- Bongo Room has a phenomenal Lump Crab Egg Benedict that’s cooked to perfection, and a lunch menu filled with American favorites like BLT’s and classic salads, but all served in over-the-top portions. Bongo Room proves that not everything is bigger in Texas, because brunch is massive at Bongo Room.

*** Lauren Ash is a Canadian-born comedian and actor at Chicago’s iconic Second City comedy club. Lauren has received rave reviews for her starring role in Second City’s Taming of the Flu.

No pretense at The Bar

Established in 1946 and a staple of the Coral Gables community, hangin’ out at The Bar (once known as the Hofbrau Haus) is almost a rite of passage for folks who like to party in “The City Beautiful.” But don’t be fooled by the fancy surroundings because this place is no pretense and all good times. The brews are cold, the grub is great and there’s a jukebox that won’t quit, it’s legendary.

There’s something going on nightly here and they know how to start the week off right with 2 for 1 specials on Mondays. Karaoke’s on Tuesday, DJ’s Boe and Icue take over Wednesday through Friday and Saturday there’s live music.

And if all that’s not enough, they keep patrons happy by offering a “Hangover Brunch” on Saturdays and Sundays, after all they want to keep everyone coming back for more so what better way than to feed ’em.

Newsroom Cafe: The Other Robertson Hotspot

The Ivy may get all the paparazzi on Robertson, but Newsroom Cafe is where you’ll see the real LA locals and low-key celebs. Although it’s based around healthy, vegetarian-friendly dishes, Newsroom Cafe serves up burgers and wine and alcohol like the best of them. With a perfect location- complete with a people-watching patio, it is packed for lunch and dinner and at night, it turns into a hot bar scene. Newsroom is known for its freshly made juices, Veggie Burger, and, of course, a large magazine rack and wifi. This is the perfect place to stop for a break from all the trendy boutique shopping.

Revolution Brewery: We all Want to Change the World

Micro-breweries are so hot right now. Chicagoans said they want a revolution (from dull beer) and they got one with  Revolution Brewery.

Managing Partner, Josh Deth is just the man to bring on the revolution as his long history with beer (working with, not only drinking) began with iconic Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery.

All draft beers at the bar appear as arms and fists, a slew of revolution hungry revelers. And the brews that pour from them? Salivate over the sounds of the Iron Fist Pale Ale: dry-hopped American ale featuring centennial, cascade, chinook and amarillo hop or the summer special, Rosie: tart summer ale infused with 12lbs of hibiscus flowers and  orange peel with a sexy pink hue.

And though beer technically is a food source (right?), they do serve chewable food as well – and darn good grub at that. A hearty brunch, tasty pizzas and the classic Iron Fist Fish & Chips.

Calamari Restaurant: Where Italian Mediterranean’s alive

aMoMqUZNir3Pd6aby-v9yy-calamari-soho-restaurant-640x480Arrive at Calamari Restaurant in Coconut Grove and prepare to be tantalized by Italian dishes bursting with rich yet delicate flavors by Chef Alex Lopez, a technique he has spent years perfecting and continues evolving. With his training mostly in Italian kitchens around Miami, with some Asian and Cuban, his menu is a fusion of this trio.

The spacious restaurant is located on the quieter side of Coconut Grove, further down Main Highway. Lopez’ menu is a combination of original creations alongside classic Italian dishes. The molded tuna tartare topped with layers of fresh avocado and homemade crème fraiche, dollops of red and black caviar over chive and truffle oil and soy sauce is a must try. Grouper aqua pazza on a delicate tomato sauce surrounded by clams and mussels and chicken paillard are also great entree choices and coconut flan or panacotta with mixed berry sauce are awesome desserts.

Calamari Restaurant is located at 3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove

Bistro One LR does American to Perfection

Swanky Bistro One LR at the Ritz Carlton on South Beach is doing contemporary American fare right and the food’s as beautiful as the oceanfront setting. Chef Bernardo Espinel brings his flair and passion to the creative dishes on the menu making for a delectable dining experiencePicture 57.

Chef Espinel’s been perfecting his culinary skills, working at several restaurants around Miami and New York, whose reputation and success earned him the present chef de cuisine status. It’s obvious he’s someone who loves to keep evolving in the kitchen as the menu is chock full of unique dishes, like Lamb Chop and Merguez Meatballs with Pear, Cardamom and Pearl Onions; Pan Seared King Crab with Green Papaya, Chilies and Lime; and Wild Scottish Salmon with Tomato Chutney, Basmati Rice and Brown Mustard. They even go the extra mile at Bistro One, suggesting wine pairings with each dish.

Insider’s Tip: On Sundays, make sure to wash away that wild Miami weekend of partying with Bistro One’s brunch, that includes a flowing champagne and Bloody Mary Bar.

Travel to The City of Lights at Cafe Bonaparte

For those unable to make it abroad, but looking for a delectable European dining experience, travel no further than Georgetown’s quaint, Café Bonaparte.  Take a trip to The City of Lights at this small French bistro packed with big flavor and an authentic Parisian atmosphere.bonaparte

Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, Café Bonaparte is equally delicious with a wide variety of traditional French favorites mixed with a few creative twists on classics.  Try a sinful savory or sweet crepe, or opt for a creative omelet to satisfy your morning cravings.

For an evening out, start off with the crispy Crepe Chips topped with apples and brie before losing yourself in rich, French specialties: Beef Bourguignon, Steak Frites and Duck Confit with Orange Demi Glace. With limited seating in a cozy, upscale bistro atmosphere, Bonaparte is the perfect spot for an intimate, yet relaxed meal – and a tiny piece of Paris hidden in our very own Capital.

Insider Tip: In true Parisian style, Café Bonaparte offers equally alluring cocktails.  Take advantage of the Café’s half price cocktails every Monday.  The Café Couture (Grey Goose pear, cardamom, fresh lemon juice and honey) is an exotic concoction that will have you speaking the romance language by the end of the evening.

Restaurateur Nick Varano Hangs at The Bristol Lounge

Nick Varano is the owner of some of Boston’s best restaurants (Strega’s was voted Boston’s Most Coveted Table- especially considering the likes of Sopranos cast members are regulars), but when it comes to relaxing, he always comes to the Four Season’s Bristol Lounge.

Known as “Boston’s living room,” the Bristol Lounge is most certainly the living room to some of Boston’s most sociable and influential people, like Nick Varano. “It’s a great place for not just Picture 115relaxation, but conversation as well,” Nick told citybuzz.  Offering floor-to-ceiling views of the beautiful Boston Public Garden or sitting next to the fireplace during Boston’s cold winters, the Bristol Lounge makes the average lounge look stressful compared to this relaxing oasis.

On top of the incredible atmosphere is an even better menu, most notably made famous by the Bristol Burger. Using seasonal ingredients for the New American cuisine, the Bristol Lounge has a special for almost every moment of the day. Power breakfasts are followed by power lunches, then there’s the Boston tradition of a ritzy Afternoon Tea that turns into live jazz music and proper New England seafood that goes well into the evening.

“It’s the perfect atmosphere for both business and pleasure,” Nick says. “I can always count on going to the Bristol Lounge and running into a friend, colleague or even a family member… but with me, everyone is family.” Spoken like a true king of hospitality.

Click here for more information.

*** Nick Varano is the owner of Boston’s Strega, Nico and Nick Varano’s Famous Deli Restaurants. Recently, he opened the new Bostonian nightlife hotspot: The Ocean Club nightclub.

Bottle Service Then Brunch At Libation

New York City is full of hot nightclubs, but not many can brag about a great brunch as well.  Libation, however, is one that can.  It’s a stylish restaurant and lounge in the evening, an out of control three floor playground set to hip-hop and DJ mash-ups at night, and the next see-and-be-seen brunch spot on Sunday afternoons.

But to do it all and to do it well is the impressive part.Picture 48 With three bars and two DJ booths on three floors, Libation is a veritable nightclub.  The dancing gets pumping at around eleven and bottle service is available all night on the balcony.  DJs fly in from Las Vegas and California to spin the latest tracks and bartenders mix specialty drinks such as the Libation Lemonade: fresh blueberries and blackberries muddled with fresh squeezed lemon juice, sugar and Stoli Bluberi Vodka.

After a long night of dancing and drinking, come back to nurse your hangover away with the Texas French Toast.  It comes with bananas, walnuts, and your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham, and-most importantly-unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Marys.  Brunch reservations are a must for Sunday, but planning ahead for a Libation double-header is worth it, because haven’t you always wondered what a nightclub would be like in the day?

Rosa Mexicano Gives Mexican a Stylish Makeover

A New York institution since 1984, Rosa Mexicano turns wimpy tacos into bold, flavorful Flautas de Pollo, making South of the Border food upscale and gourmet cuisine. Starting the tableside guacamole service trend that has exploded across America, Rosa Mexicano is the end all, be all to authentic, modern Mexican cuisine that only New York can make seriously trendy and stylish.

Rosa Mexicano is best known for its signature pomegranate margaritas, but seasoned diners (and drinkers!) know to go for a fresh cocktail made from Picture 33any of the 100 tequilas stocked behind the bar. One such favorite is the Paloma: a tequila and grapefruit soda cocktail.

The impressive interiors of New York’s two newest Rosa Mexicano outposts (Lincoln Center and Union Square) were designed by David Rockwell and feature electric-blue tiled water walls. But for that old-school Mexicana, all three of its NYC restaurants feature the award-winning tableside prepared guacamole that is not to be missed. In fact, it should be ordered before even cracking open the menu. It is made in the traditional lava-rock mortar and is well worth the $14 price tag. The rest of the menu is a journey into new territory of elevated, elegant Mexican dining from the Filete con Hongos (Filet Mignon with Wild Mushrooms) to the Jaiba Enchiladas (Jumbo Lump Crab Enchiladas).

Insider’s Tip: Make reservations early for a prime-time table. All three Manhattan locations get crowded and waiting for a table at the bar is not really an option due to the popular reputation of those pomegranate margaritas.

Lacroix’s Haute Cuisine in Beautiful Rittenhouse Square

Every now and then you have one of those moments where you think “I don’tPicture 13 know what on Earth I just ate, but it was delicious and I want more!” And even when they tell you what it is (kampachi who?) just smile, nod and be thankful that the glorious morsel is in your mouth! Lacroix provides exotic flavor blends that will wow even the most adventurous of palates in one of the most luxurious and beautiful settings in Philadelphia.

Overlooking the haute Rittenhouse Square, Lacroix provides a serene loft above the bustle of the streets. The staff is exceptional, as is the sommelier (handsome and French, just the way he should be).

It seems futile to suggest entrees because everything will leave you speechless and thrilled. If you’re not in town for dinner, the brunch is legendary. From the towering raw bar with exceptional caviar selections to the crisped corn beef and potato hash with, ahem, poached egg on top (awesome!) all bellies will leave full and delighted.

Rock It Out at House of Blues

You’ve probably been to one before – Vegas, Boston, New Orleans – or another great city for live shows.  House of Blues has been established in Dallas for just a few short years, but the experience is just as amazing in your hometown.  Filled with eclectic décor and music memorabilia that will make your head spin, HOB has more to offer than you might realize at first glance.

Picture 19Concerts like Vampire Weekend and Aqua Teen Hunger Force draw the hipster crowd, and events like the famed Gospel Brunch entice groups of all ages to groove to soulful hymns and indulge in one of the most comprehensive buffets in the city.  Private parties can be arranged for groups of any size, and the ultra cool Foundation Room gives a VIP vibe to any special occasion.

If you’re just in the mood for a hot meal and laid-back atmosphere, the HOB restaurant serves up mouth-watering entrees like Blues Burgers and Salmon Jambalaya.  The next time you’re itching for hot music, traditional food and a happening spot to get your party on, forget about cutting loose at the House of Blues in any other city until you’ve given the Dallas location a try.

Cretia is Nightlife’s Sweet Spot

You might not immediately think of Cretia’s as a hopping nightlife spot if you’ve never been. Oh, you’ve heard they have an incredible (affordable!) brunch and killer desserts? But at night, it has live music, an expansive patio anPicture 21d bars packed with more action than a Bruce Willis movie. Open until 2:00 a.m. with free valet, Cretia’s has several different rooms inside the bar/restaurant, each decorated with a slightly gothic style. The atmosphere ranges from hipster romantic to raging party, depending on the night and the music.

The stocked Ruby Bar is reason enough to spend your evening here, but if you come early enough, treat yourself to the sinful desserts at the bakery. You’ll never go wrong with the White Sour Cream Cake and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. So the next time you feel like getting your groove on (and perhaps giving in to your sweet tooth), head down McKinney to find all your favorites in one spot.

LoHi SteakBar Raises the Stakes—and the Bar

Picture 7When locals heard chef-about-town Sean Kelly had turned up at this smart, sexy Lower Highlands spot, they swarmed in pronto—and they haven’t left since. Hopping nightly with the city’s hipper foodies, LoHi SteakBar features a highly likeable menu that centers on an array of steak frites and burgers, rounded out by funky snacks, sandwiches, and sides—from blue cheese fondue to rock shrimp po’boys to creamed spinach, plus retro desserts like banana splits.

The bar mixes a mean cocktail or two as well, including a fresh update of the banana daiquiri, and 3-for-1 bloodies come with weekend brunch.

Brunching Paradise at Sabrina’s Cafe

When you wake up on the weekend and know that the only cure to your wretched margarita-beer-kamikaze-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink hangover is a belly-bursting brunch, Sabrina’s Café will be calling your name. Sabrina’s is located just outside of the Italian Market and offers all the classic comfort food of an all-star brunch menu. The weekly specials are always themed (recently it featured Jersey Shore selections like the “Self Tanner” Mexi Special and the “Situation” burger), which makes it even harder to choose from the already stellar menu.

Tried and true favorites, liPicture 15ke the caramelized Challah french toast, stuffed with cream cheese and bananas topped with vanilla bean maple syrup (say what?!), and the “Barking Chihuahua Breakfast Burrito” rolled up with scrambled eggs, black beans, red peppers, and pepper jack cheese (yo quiero!), will send you full and happy to your post-brunch coma…I mean nap. Shuffle on into Sabrina’s in your Sunday sweatpants and that sweater you swore you’d never step out of the house in, because it’s time to hit that sweet, salty, greasy breakfast goodness.

Insider’s Tip: The lines get long and the wait can be too, so be on the safe side and call ahead, they’ll add your name to the list before you get there!

Party the Night Away in B.E.D.

What a concept: go out to go to bed. At this Miami hotspot, people head out for a night of dancing and clubbing on South Beach to a place called B.E.D. where yes, there are plenty of them. Luxurious surroundings create a fabulous mood prime fPicture 4or plunging into a cocktail or two and some sexy people-watching. The acronym stands for beverage.entertainment.dining because the place has all three: premier food, killer cocktails and nightly entertainment.

There’s a theme here every night; and in true South Beach fashion, there’s no waiting until Thursday or Friday, things kick off on Monday with the exclusive Secret Society party. Celebs like music producers Timbaland and Scott Storch, Miami’s own singer Pitbull and athletes galore have been known to gather and party into the wee hours here. For something more subdued, but truly elegant, the Sunday House Brunch or Breakfast in B.E.D., as it’s called ,features DJs Sonny Daze and La Trice and yummy brunchtime eats.

Jersey Chasers Score at The Fifty/50

Wondering where the elite echelon of sports stars hang out while in the Windy City? Without a doubt it’s at the Fifty / 50, a bar which brings the sexy back to the Ukrainian Village ‘hood (if it were ever there in the first place). Now it definitely is, from Tony Romo to Pierre Thomas of the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints. Even the investors are sports stars; Curtis Granderson is an investor (of the New York Yankees), and owners Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner roll in the same circles as these big boys.

Alas, jersey chasers – the doors to the Fifty / 50 are basically your pearly gates. The food will give another inkling as to why the jocks flock here: the menu is based on fried foods, smoked foods and sandwiches (and beer of course). Read: dieters this is not your place, unless you’re happy dining in the eye candy. And worry not, feasting on the likes of athlete superstars is not restricted only to the evening hours, this place is a brunch hotspot as well.

Ladies, suggest this place to a guy and you score. Guys, suggest this place to the ladies and they’re happy (albeit because they’re wondering who they’ll see). Either way you flip it, 50% chance plus 50% chance equals 100% happiness.

Brenda’s Comfort Food Has French Soul

On the outskirts of the Civic Center district lies San Francisco’s favorite breakfast and brunch hole-in-the-wall, Brenda’s French Soul Food.  On any given day Brenda’s produces a line of adoring patrons around the block, waiting in anticipation among the smells of buttery Cajun shrimp and grits with salty warm biscuits.  ConsPicture 5idering this gem is among the Top 5 Bold Newcomers from the New York Times and one of Travel & Leisure’s Top 50 US Restaurants of 2009, the hour wait is no surprise.

Since 2007, Brenda Buenviaje has charmed the city with her closet-sized open kitchen, a total of seven tables, and an old-fashioned diner-style counter.  Her New Orleans fare never rises above $10 and the portions are served with a heavy hand and plenty of love. And that’s exactly what you’ll get here, along with the best beignets west of France (try the Godiva chocolate or paprika crawfish).  Wash it all down with Brenda’s special watermelon sweet tea and you’d swear you’re in the French Quarter.

A Life of Luxury at the Mark Hopkins Hotel

Opened during the height of the roaring twenties, the landmark Mark Hopkins Hotel in Nob Hill is every bit as stunning as it has always been.  The Intercontinental Hotel Group is known for having the most luxurious hotels in the worl, and the Mark Hopkins is no exception- it’s an impressive match to those of Paris, Rome and Rio de Janiero.

For your stay, this hotel offers a room for every occasion: standard rooms with estate furnishings and city vistas, business and executive rooms with office amenities, terrace suites with outdoor citMarky and bay views, or a two bedroom presidential suite complete with Jacuzzi and parlor.

For the truly decadent world traveler is the $7750 per night Penthouse Suite with three glass-walled views of the entire city, original 1926 carved wood walls and bookcases, a plush living room, Italian marble bathroom, and personal service fit for royalty.   Not to worry there are standard rooms and town cars are complementary for all guests.

Dining at the Mark Hopkins will start your day in style with a continental breakfast buffet that is reminiscent of a fine dining experience.  Of course, the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch at the hotel’s Top of the Mark is not to be missed.

Journalist Maureen Orth Seas BlackSalt is Best

Maureen Orth is an award-winning journalist that has covered beats for the likes of Newsweek and Vanity Fair, but when she goes out to eat she only likes the best, BlackSalt Fish Market Restaurant. As the capital’s premier seafood restaurant, quality fresh fish is their pride and joy. Picture 6

One part fish market, one part restaurant, BlackSalt is your one stop gourmet shop for everything seafood. Rated one of the best restaurants in D.C. by Washingtonian Magazine, Chef Jeff Black makes each seafood item shine- from mussels to shrimp to lobster and grouper. Pairing the perfectly seasoned and cooked dishes with a crisp Chardonnay brings the experience to a whole ‘nother level.

The Fish Market is based on Chef Jeff Black’s desire to provide chefs-in-the-making at home with the best seafood possible. So whatever you choose is guaranteed to be delicious, but if you’re unsure of what to take and how to prepare it, Fishmonger Keith Slepper’s always there to lead you in the right direction.

Dine in or take out, Maureen Orth can attest to the fact that this is the place for seafood in D.C.

*** Maureen Orth is an award-winning journalist who started her career at the prestigious Newsweek Magazine and is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair and the founder of the K12 Wired Foundation.

Pub and Kitchen: Where Food Dreams Begin!

Pub & Kitchen has figured out the formula for restaurant success and it’s absolutely taking Philadelphia by storm. From music- fantastic classic rock playing at just the right level for conversation, but conducive enough for sing-alongs-  to seating -you’re welcome to chit-chat with your neighboring table, or cozy up in a booth with friends- to the bar -gorgeous, and they’re making their own wine now, PuRestaurants--Americanb & Kitchen is doing gastro pub in style without even acknowledging food yet.

And the FOOD! Dreams will be had of the hand-cut skinny french fries with truffle dijonnaise sauce. Their entrees cover the spectrum of comfort food featuring a citywide known burger (if you’re smart, you’ll put the truffle dijonnaise on that too), fish & chips with mushy peas, and fantastic gnocchi. The menu changes often and continues to delight its patrons with fresh approaches to classic dishes, like the English version of French onion soup that sneaks some pulled pork and bacon into the dish.

You will not be disappointed with your visit to this hip, yet classic joint.

Eat Chic at Cafe des Architectes

Nestled in a perfect Gold Coast locale, the Sofitel Hotel is a hubbub of activity: business people staying, cool locals hanging, and enough gorgeous French people to star in a Sophia Coppola film. Within the hotel lies the delicious Cafe des Architectes with its partner bar, the aptly named Le Bar.

pic20No matter the day or time, people watching here is like eating candy: sweet and energizing. But of course, the people are here for the cuisine. After all, the chef, Martial Noguier was a semifinalist in the James Beard Best Chef of 2009 competition! He will also be starring in his television debut on the upcoming Glutton for Punishment on the Food Network.

His culinary skills have also lent a hand in making Cafe des Architectes a hotspot for Christmas and NYE dining. The five-course menu starts at $89 and goes up to $160 with wine pairings. From short rib tortellini to veal strips and center cut tuna – you will actually need and want to save room for executive pastry chef Suzanne Imaz’s delectable creations like the white chocolate coconut mousse!

Year round this cozy-chic eatery remains a hotspot for food, drinks and gorgeous patrons serving brunch, lunch, dinner and the worker-friendly executive 30-minute lunch. Merci Noguier!

Any Given Glamorous Sunday at Fred’s of Barneys

Oftentimes brunch is a euphemism for hangover cure and a time when people aren’t exactly looking their most chic. Au contraire at Fred’s at Barneys New York on a Sunday, the hottest place for brunch in Chicago. Prepare to loChicago2ok smashing if you want to dine on the delights at Fred’s, because everyone else will be.

Dressed in their Sunday best, but not because they went to church, Fred’s is a see-and-be-seen, plush 5,000 square feet of Gold Coast property heaven (fifth floor ensures amazing views of the lake and streets below). On any given Sunday you can expect to see some of Chi-town’s biggest socialites and business mavens and maybe even a celeb or two. That along with your average slew of really, really, ridiculously good-looking people- albeit collagen-enhanced.

People-watching aside, you’ll actually want to eat. For just $25.00 enjoy the Fred’s brunch special which includes:

  • Bread basket of scones and focaccias
  • Salad
  • Entree of your choice
  • Dessert
  • Mimosa
  • Never-ending coffee

The service is impeccable in a dance of sorts, where more people than you’ll remember will have visited your table at a timely perfection to check on you, refill your coffee and keep the dance flowing.

A Brussels-Inspired Brunch at Belga Cafe

Get a true taste of Brussels at Capitol Hill’s authentic Belgian eatery, Belga Cafe.  Nestled right along 8th Street, in the Barracks Row neighborhood, Belga brings more than just a European sensibility to the District.

Known for its mbelgaodern, Belgian cuisine and extensive beer list, Belga offers a delectable, Eurofusion-inspired menu with traditonal offerings such as light and fluffy Brussels style waffles, dusted with sugar and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, or mussels with white beer and delicate frites.  With an “everyone is family” attitude, Belga exudes a warm and cozy neighborhood feel with its quaint sidewalk cafe and bustling indoor bistro.

For a truly feel-good meal, visit Belga for brunch.  Sounds of laughter and the clinking of mimosas echo from the energetic, local clientele. The delicious aroma of fresh waffle batter exuding from the open kitchen will keep you glued to your seat for hours.  For an unexpected savory version of the popular Belgian street food, try the warm goat cheese waffle with roasted tomatoes, red pepper coulis and a fresh herb salad.

Insider Tip: Be sure to start your morning off right with Belga’s to-die-for Bloody Mary with celery foam that puts a gourmet twist on the classic!  For an unexpected kick, try the beer cocktail version, made with Belga Pils and Bloody Mary mix.

North Third is First in NoLibs

Northern Liberties is filled with quirky bars with attitude, and North Third is no different. The menu features bar food favorites that have a wonderful reputation around town. If you’re friendly with a football team (or, just a cute blonde with an empty stomach), order “Pound your Wings” with North Third’s Famous Sauce or Asian Style – 1 pound of wings for $7 and 2 pounds for $11 can accommodate any budget. N3 is still known for its burger after all these years, too – 8 ounces of Black Angus with your choice of cheese.

The beer list is long and will put any fermentation-lover swooning. The margaritas and sangria also come in pitchers or carafes, which is perfect for the outdoor seating with friends in the summer. And we are slowly learning that in Philly you’re nothing if you’re not serving up a stellar belly-bombing brunch. N3 can check that one off the list too – omelets for the masses and pseudo breakfasts of champions like eggs and chili over cornbread with sides of potatoes and pico de gallo.

Dovetail Restaurant

Dining out is delicious at this lovely little oasis nestled on the Upper West Side. Muslin-covered walls and exposed brick set an elegant ambiance for patrons with a passion for extraordinary eats. There’s a sherry cellar downstairs that dually serves as a private dining room, and the main dining area seats 75. Come for brunch, lunch, or dinner and prepare to be dazzled!

Rockit Bar And Grill

Executive Chef James Gottwald has taken the traditional bar and grill concept and given it a contemporary culinary twist. The Rockit Burger has won major acclaim, including Good Morning America calling it the top in the nation. The menu also features such other casual cuisine as signature pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. Plus, the stylish setting here was designed by Oprah fave Nate Berkus himself, so you’ll be sure to dine in style. Open for lunch, dinner, and Saturday & Sunday brunch. And now, they’ve just opened a second location in Wrigleyville!

Cool Place to BOND over Drinks

BOND just may be the hottest place to grab a cool drink in Boston’s Financial District. Located inside The Langham Hotel, this grand dame encompasses an impressive bar with dramatically high ceilings in a room filled with enormous, countless chandeliers. Boston’s most beautiful club is also filled with some of its most sophisticated people.Picture 11

Once part of the Federal Reserve Bank, the former Julien restaurant was transformed last year into a hip setting for cosmopolitan dining and drinking. Cocktails such as The Trust, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie & Clyde and Butch Cassidy reflect the storied history of the building.

BOND is a high-end lounge that acts like a nightclub: bottle service is almost mandatory to skip the massive line that curves its way through the hotel’s lobby. A stylish well-heeled 20-something crowd comes here late night to dance and party to the DJ spinning tunes on the balcony, while an after-work 30-plus group can be seen sipping bubbly in the Dom Perignon Lounge or relaxing with a glass of Riesling while noshing on a crock of lobster pot pie or ahi tuna tataki and tartar.

Grab a reservation or make sure to get in early as BOND is one of the most upscale and sought after nightlife destinations in Boston. Check out the website at bondboston.com.

The Russian Tea Room

For over eighty years, New York’s defining cultural moments have taken place at Russian Tea Room. Ever since members of the Russian Imperial Ballet founded the restaurant in 1927, it has been a second home for boldface names and the intellectual elite—an exclusive enclave where actors, writers, politicians, and businessmen planned their next deals and feted their friends’ latest Carnegie Hall performances. The lively tradition and legacy of the Russian Tea Room is alive and well!