Tag Archives: Brunch

Crios loves celiacs

This weekend I had brunch at the recently-opened Crios Modern Mexican in Dupont. Crios is the sister restaurant to one of my other favorite places for hangover brunch: Scion. It’s also conveniently located right next door in case you wanted to do some kind of brunch-crawl.

Our waiter was adorable, and also very knowledgable about what menu items were safe. How much of a relief would it be if you saw this on every menu you opened?

Nearly the entire menu is gluten free, but I went with the huevos rancheros and yucca fries. The waiter said that the chorizo and yucca hash was his favorite, so I think I’ll try that next time, only made with the soyrizo (which he confirmed is also gluten free and made in-house).

Yucca fries are so amazing. Soft, slightly sweet, salty and spicy. We ordered a second round for the table so we could continue to fuel ourselves through the flowing $13 bottomless mimosas. The huevos rancheros were spicy, cheesy, with a perfectly crispy tortilla bed.

If you’re into flan, they have coffee and coconut versions for dessert.

Crios Modern Mexican
2120 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20037

Pulpo: all you can eat and drink brunch

Last weekend I had an utterly delightful brunch at Pulpo in Cleveland Park. It was delightful for three major reasons:

  1. They have gluten free eggs benedict.
  2. Our waitress knew what was up.
  3. All you can eat. All you can drink.

After getting a mimosa in hand (you can choose unlimited bloody mary’s, mimosas, champagne, and I think mixed drinks or beer as well), I informed the waitress that I can’t have gluten. She didn’t even blink an eye – just assuredly said, “No problem,” and helped me choose a few dishes. It was so extraordinary to have a waitress who was confident in her ability to navigate the menu and answer any questions I had.

Pulpo is a Spanish tapas restaurant, so all of the plates are shareable. I started with patatas bravas with garlic aioli. Perfectly spiced, greasy in a good way, and there was a surprise red sauce in the bottom. Couldn’t stop eating this.

Then I ordered smoked salmon benedict. Really unique in that it’s served on a pile of soft rice, which was almost at a thick risotto-like consistency. Then the egg yolk and hollandaise mix with it and makes it really rich.

To round out the meal we ordered some grilled podran peppers. These were also served at Churchkey when I was there last, so I’m declaring them the new “it” pepper.

I left with a full belly and it was worth way more than the $25 for this brunch. The laid back atmosphere, stellar service, and gluten free-friendly food will definitely bring me back here often!

Pulpo
3407 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC

Best grits in DC

Going out to breakfast or brunch can be a challenge for celiacs. French toast, pancakes, English muffins – gluten seems to be the star of the show in most dishes. Nine times out of 10 I end up eating an omelette or some kind of eggs, which is mostly okay with me. Except for the fact that they usually come with hash browns or home fries, and I’m always skeptical of how they are made (they could be fried, put on a griddle next to the toast, come from a mix that has them coated in flour, etc.)

So when a restaurant has grits on the menu, they are always my go-to substitute. They’re creamy, cheesy, buttery, and good ole’ Southern cookin’.

These are my top three restaurants for grits that I’ve found in DC yet.

1. Ted’s Bulletin

Seriously amazing cheese grits. They’re like a finer, condensed macaroni and cheese.This isn’t the most colorful plate in the world, but so delicious.

2. Vinoteca

Nice and cheesy, just how I like ‘em. These come with big pieces of cheddar on top. Try them with the smoked salmon omelette.

3. Art and Soul

I only had a taste of my friend’s grits here as a part of their shrimp and grits dish at dinner, but they serve them as a side dish at brunch as well. If Art Smith can’t make a good pot of grits, then I don’t know who can.

Any places I’m missing for good grits? Or anything else you substitute for toast while eating breakfast out? 

Ardeo Bardeo brunch

Brunch in DC is a sacred event. Without fail, every Saturday and Sunday between 11 and 4, everyone and their mom is at brunch. Restaurants cater to the brunch crowd with unlimited mimosas, multiple course and all-you-can-eat deals.

I’ve had some great brunches in DC. But I’m declaring right here and now that Ardeo Bardeo in Cleveland Park is the best brunch in the city. It just is. Don’t even try to argue.

Why?

  1. Two courses and unlimited mimosas for $25 - most places in DC are $15 entrees without unlimited mimosas, or they’re $25-$30 for unlimited mimosas, but they only give you one (usually kind of crummy) entree. Ardeo Bardeo gives you two delicious courses, plus they keep the champagne flowing!
  2. They are knowledgeable and friendly about making their dishes gluten free – I have had the nicest servers at Ardeo Bardeo, and they are always really accommodating. They check with the kitchen if they have questions, and know exactly what to do if you tell them you need your meal to be gluten free.
  3. I don’t have to eat eggs – About 90% of the time when I got to brunch I end up getting an omelette. While that’s all well and good, Ardeo Bardeo has a ton of other gluten free options. From salads and soups to salmon and risotto.

For my first course I always get this salad because it’s freakin’ amazing. Spinach salad with braised fennel and mushrooms with truffle vinaigrette.

Second course:

I’ve gotten the Scottish salmon a few times because it’s also just perfect. Crispy skin, perfectly cooked, with brussel sprouts, fennel puree, golden raisins, and lemon yogurt.

And last time I switched it up and got the rock shrimp and grits with arugula, lemon, and lobster emulsion. Yeah, lobster emulsion…that just happened.

I don’t know why more people don’t know about this brunch spot. People line up for an hour outside of Open City, but there are always tables open here.

Go! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ardeo Bardeo
Cleveland Park
3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
http://ardeobardeo.com

Gluten Free Hangover Cure

Yesterday I woke up feeling, let’s just say, not bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I had a blast going out in DC on Friday night, but in the morning I needed to recover, and fast!

So, I did what anyone would do in my state. Fry an egg, put it on top of leftover pizza, and eat it in bed in your underwear pajamas!

The pizza was leftover from Open City – Roasted corn, ricotta, mozzarella & jalapeno cream.  Cooked extra crispy.  And just what I needed.

Here it is sitting pretty the night before. Their gf pizza crust is just so good:

It didn’t exactly “cure” my hangover, but it sure made my belly happy.

So did my lunch from Firefly in Dupont.

I’ve been excited to try their gluten free menu for awhile.  And although I don’t necessarily agree with their claim to be “the quintessential urban neighborhood restaurant in Washington DC,” it still was a really cute place.

A mushroom and cheddar omelette for me! Substitute home fries for normal fries, because the more grease the better!

The mushrooms in the omelette were great, and the fries were my favorite kind: skinny, crispy, and handcut.

And some fruit on the side to put some nutrition in my diet of carbs and cheese.

Add a strong cup of coffee, a couple of ibuprofen, and I managed to make it through :)

I’m going to have to go back to Firefly to try their gluten free dinner menu: shrimp and grits, collard greens, truffle fries.

Oh, and a peanut butter ice cream “sandwich” for dessert: flourless chocolate cake, bananas foster sauce, peanut brittle, sea salt.

I need one right now!

Firefly

1310 New Hampshire Ave NW

Washington DC, 20036

Best thing I ever ate: Pachanga Patterson

Last night Pachanga Patterson was packed!  It’s rare to have to wait for a table on a Thursday night in Astoria, but that is what spectacular Mexican food will do for a neighborhood!  I wouldn’t even call it Mexican food, really, it’s more like “new-Mexican”, or just don’t put a label on it  and stuff it in your mouth instead.

The first time I went to Pachanga I got the mushroom tacos, which don’t sound like they would make you jump for joy, but they were the best non-fish, non-meat tacos I’ve ever had.  They must have a miracle marinade for the mushrooms, because they were super flavorful.

But this time, I ordered the Veggie Jenga.  At first I thought that Jenga was a word in Spanish that I didn’t learn in high school, but then the waitress explained to me that it’s called that because it’s layered and stacked up just like the block game.

Can you see a resemblance?

Image c/o We Heart Astoria

This creation is out of this world.  It’s one of those anytime meals that makes you eat way more than you anticipated.  When they first put it down in front of me I thought, “There’s no way I can eat all of this.”  Then 20 minutes later I was virtually licking my plate.  The picture above is from We Heart Astoria, since I forgot to bring my camera, but the plate that I got was piled a couple of inches higher with lettuce/cabbage.

I loved the sweet potato puree, which you don’t usually find in Mexican food.  I loved the avocado sauce.  I loved the generous crack of black pepper on top.  I loved the crispy corn tortilla from Tortilleria Nixtamal.  I loved the mild hot sauce that they put in a honey bear container.  Love, love, loved.

I also loved the $6 glass of Torrontes wine that I washed it down with.

Soon they will have brunch at Pachanga, where I can have this as my new favorite hangover food.

Pachanga Patterson
33–17 31st Ave., Astoria, NY
718-554-0525

Restaurant Review – Paprika

Breakfast and brunch are often difficult eat-out meals.  If I don’t plan ahead or do some research, I usually end up with eggs and potatoes.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a simplicity and comfort to eggs for breakfast, but I’m a breakfast person of the pancake-loving, pastry-craving sort.  So whenever I have an occasion to go out for breakfast or brunch, I always do so anticipating a let-down.

One compromise I’ve made is for the East Village spot, Paprika.

The quick-and-dirty:

  • $12 for a brunch entree, mimosa or Belini, and tea or coffee
  • The only egg dish you should be allowed to order here is the scrambled green eggs (they also have a frittata and an omelette, but I wouldn’t recommend either)
  • If you have an ounce of love in your heart, you will bring your friends or significant other here and allow them to indulge in the Eggs Benedict

The green eggs are scrambled eggs with pesto and herbs, and they’re piled in heap atop a cake of polenta.  The edges of the polenta get a bit crisp, and it makes the dish filling enough to not make you miss toast.  On top of the eggs is about 3 tomatoes worth of diced tomatoes in a light dressing which brings a great outdoorsy-summer basil feeling.

While your brunch partner savagely devours the Eggs Benny, you can leave Paprika feeling satisfied, and not fall victim to the fried eggs/potatoes curse.

*For gluten-eaters* – Get the Eggs Benedict with Pancetta and Baby Lettuce.  My gluten-eating boyfriend says that it does something so powerful to you that you have random thoughts about enjoying it.  It’s two pieces of a Ciabatta/French looking crusty bread, with pieces of shredded pancetta, two perfectly poached eggs, and a drizzly Hollandaise sauce.  While I’ll never experience this meal, seeing him enjoy it so much is almost as good.

Halfway through the massacre

Beware :

  • They open at noon on weekends
  • The place is pretty small, so if you have a large party you may need to wait

When you get a hankerin’ – head to 110 Saint Marks Place (between 1st Ave and Avenue A)http://paprikarestaurant.com/