There are two things I never liked about brunch: the often-long waits to get a table at popular brunch spots and the feeling that I’d already blown my whole day’s calorie budget before 2 p.m. But I see things differently now.
All it took was joining a Sunday brunch bunch at the Family Dog in Morningside.
“I live for brunch,” shares Cecilia Strong of Green Olive Media, the public relations company that represents the Family Dog. She says, “When I was working in restaurants, I always longed to be the people who ate brunch. ”
Between the hung-over Saturday night revelers and after-church devotees, Sunday brunch is popular with a diverse mix of diners.
“It’s big especially here in Atlanta,” says Ron Eyester, who as chef/owner of the Family Dog and Rosebud Restaurant across the street cracks 90 dozen eggs a week to fuel his brunch menus.
Eyester admits that brunch isn’t the easiest meal to manage because it stretches the wait staff and the kitchen, so he believes it’s important for the chef in charge to be there for the morning lineup and often way into the afternoon. He says, “I’m the Cal Ripken of brunch. I don’t miss one.”
Eggs not so easy
Isn’t brunch just a fancy breakfast? Eyester reminds me that “Eggs are harder to execute than most people think, and with brunch’s high volume, you have to get a rhythm to get it right.”
The menu at the Family Dog features two omelets, but Eyester calls brunch here “his playground,” so get ready for riffs on recipes including an Oyster Brunch Po’Boy with scrambled eggs and a Hashbrown Casserole with jalapenos, smoked bacon and cheese topped with a perfectly poached egg. A bowl of Riverview Farms stone ground grits with crispy buttermilk battered fried shrimp gets a poached egg on top, too.
Just don’t ask for a customized omelet, “If you want to build your own omelet, go to Kroger, buy a dozen eggs and cook at home,” insists Eyester, whose Twitter handle is @theangrychef.
He’s serious about offering a unique brunch experience here from the kitchen and the bar. The bloody mary arrives garnished with a garden of vegetables, and there’s fresh squeezed orange juice for mimosas. For the veggie-inclined, there are Brussels sprouts with soy-citrus scallion vinaigrette and a salad available on the side.
But, if Sunday brunch allows you to linger longer over a meal with friends (this counts as breakfast and lunch, right?), I say share an order of Belgium waffle sliders stuffed with Berkshire ham and melted Brie dipped into maple syrup. Then plan to stroll around the park later. Did I just become a brunch believer?
Bloody mary: Sip a salad. This potent potable is a great source of beta carotene, lutein and other antioxidants good for skin and eye health. High in sodium, so try to limit yourself to one.
Mimosa: Fresh squeezed orange juice offers a healthy dose of vitamin C and potassium. Champagne is among the lowest in calories of alcoholic beverages.
Eggs: One large egg has 75 calories and 6 grams of high-quality protein. Don’t skip the yolk, which is a rich source of choline. That’s important for eye and brain health.
Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.