The best way to start brunch at the Boot, the cozy Italian restaurant in Westport created by Aaron Confessori and Rich Wiles, is with an order of frittelle di mele, the airy but yeast-free (who knew?) fried apple fritters, each glazed with a spoonful of a sugar-and-orange-juice icing. I could eat a plate of them by myself. In fact, I did last Sunday, dining after church with my friend Martha who refused to sample even one of the warm pastries.
"I'm on a diet," she said.
Well, I am, too, but it's a diet of my own creation that luckily includes apple fritters, lemon ricotta pancakes, brioche French toast and scrambled eggs - all of which are served at this restaurant's one-month-old brunch, served both Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A creative collaboration between Lidia's Kansas City and the Living Room theater troupe, Brunch Theatre, kicked off last Saturday and Sunday with a show that the director, Alex Espy, calls an "environmental experience." It's a comedy about a restaurant that's set in a restaurant featuring a waiter who isn't really a waiter. It's really a play that isn't really a play in any traditional sense, but a very raucous and very physical cartoon.
I liked the brunch a great deal, the show not so much. But I'm thinking that I'm not the right demographic for a folly like The Accidental Waiter. The Lidia's brunch on Saturdays and Sundays is designed for a relatively sophisticated and adult palate. The play, however, is for children.
Nicholas Grunauer says that his father, chef Peter Grunauer, was ready to start serving a Sunday brunch soon after the Viennese restaurant opened in the Crossroads last year.
"But we needed to get a Sunday liquor license first," Nicholas says. "Once we had that, we had the menu ready and just needed to finalize our plans."
The downside of the Valentine's Day holiday falling on a Monday evening is that after a night of dining and drinking champagne -- and whatever else follows that behavior -- you'll have to stumble into work the following day, maybe a little worse for wear.
Another potential negative is that Valentine's is, traditionally, the night that everyone goes out to eat, including folks who may not go to a restaurant the other 364 nights of the year. It can be a very busy night.
If Dr. Eric Christensen, the managing partner of the one-year-old Hamburger Mary's restaurant, was concerned about the report in last week's Kansas City Star about his restaurant possibly having to move out of the big purple building at 101 Southwest Boulevard, he didn't seem remotely flustered yesterday.
Christensen was on hand to handle musical duties for the restaurant's fifth weekly "Sunday Drag Brunch" hosted by local performer -- and real live girl -- Jessica "Dirty Dorothy" Dressler.
|Just wear pants and shoes, you'll get served...|
So, for all of you weekend breakfast fans in Fat City who simply won't do the brunch thing, here are our top five recommendations for a no-frills morning meal guaranteed to satisfy both the appetite and the budget.
Breakfast can be brunch, but brunch isn't always breakfast. Brunch comes with liquor and pancakes and buffets in a dazzling array that is never as simple as one dish. The Pitch's Charles Ferruzza reviews brunches around town in this week's column.
In an effort to define the meal, I have tried to compile a list of indicators that let you know when you are indeed sitting down to brunch and not a leisurely eaten breakfast masquerading as the best part of your weekend.
We'll be making a serious exploration of brunch in next week's Pitch, but just recently discovered a brand new player in this town's brunch game: Leawood's Cafe Roux (11554 Ash, in the Park Place development) began serving brunch last weekend.
It's serving an authentic Southern-style breakfast, according to executive chef Josh Reese. And he should know his southern fare, he says, because he's from southern Missouri.
|Joan Crawford, Kansas City's perennial "Mother of the Year"|
Here are a few tasteful suggestions.
The First Watch restaurants won't just be serving their modestly priced breakfast and lunch items (the check average is about $8.50 per person). On Mother's Day, First Watches will offer each mom a box of Kansas City's own Russell Stover chocolates.
|Mommy drinks beer, little Charlie looks constipated|
Mother's Day is one of the busiest in the restaurant business, right up there with Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve. The nice thing about working on Mother's Day is that restaurant customers are usually on their best behavior (unlike New Year's Eve), they don't stay out late (ditto) and because the holiday falls on a Sunday, an after-church brunch is more popular than dinner.
As a waiter, I liked working on Mother's Day because there was something about taking a parent out to dinner that encouraged patrons to tip more generously.
If my own mother, pictured right, were going to be in Kansas City on Sunday, May 9, I'm sure I'd spring for the fanciest brunch in town. But I'd make the reservations right now, because restaurants get booked early for this holiday.
Several options fit into that "fancy brunch" category, including the glamorous spread in the Oak Room at the InterContinental Hotel Kansas City. At $48 per person, it's also one of the costliest. But, hey, isn't Mom worth it?
Great Game, Great Season.
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