The morning-after binge is better than New Year's letdowns

The Morning After 

The morning-after binge is better than New Year's letdowns

I hate New Year's Eve. It's a holiday with too many unfulfilled expectations — "Are we having fun yet?" — and too many excuses for getting way too drunk, too stoned or eating too much. My loathing of New Year's Eve dates back to the start of my career as a waiter. Yes, it's a lucrative night, but it's also frequently stressful, humiliating and migraine-inducing. I have New Year's Eve horror stories galore, but why end 2005 on a grim note?

I prefer to celebrate the next morning. Once the confetti has been swept up and the noisemakers and empty champagne bottles pitched in the trash, one can appreciate the dawn of a new year in a clear-headed fashion. Perhaps by nibbling on some boiled chicken feet? The two Bo Ling's restaurants that serve dim sum — 4800 Main and 9055 Metcalf in Overland Park — will start rolling those metal carts heaped with dainty portions of barbecued pork, shrimp dumplings and funn rolls at 11 a.m. on January 1. A little oolong tea is a good hangover cure, but they serve Bloody Marys, too.

For a more traditional post-hangover breakfast, the 38-year-old Village Inn (5800 Broadmoor in Mission) has the griddle sizzling by 7 a.m. for the pancake-and-waffle crowd. This '60s-style diner serves a surprisingly delicious eggs Benedict, too. And it's cheap. A few blocks to the east, former fine dining chef Robert Palmgren will be serving up his incredibly good double-smoked bacon and oversized breakfast platters in his tiny R.J.'s Bob-Be-Que Shack (5835 Lamar), starting at 8 a.m.

The venerable Town Topic at 2021 Broadway seems never to close, but the staff takes New Year's Day off. Lidia's is closed, too. "We thought the Chiefs game would kill our brunch business," one staffer confesses. But all's not lost downtown, since The Brasserie in the Westin Crown Center Hotel (1 Pershing Road) serves breakfast from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. A fancier — and costlier — hotel breakfast can be found at the Fairmont's Oak Room (401 Ward Parkway) also starting at 6:30 a.m.

The popular Bell Street Mama's (1726 West 39th Street) will serve gargantuan cinnamon rolls and create-your-own omelets from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. And if your throbbing head can tolerate the clanging bells and whistles from hundreds of slot machines, the big ol' casino buffets will be open, too. The Horizon Buffet at the Ameristar (3200 North Ameristar Drive) starts brunch action at 9 a.m., and Calypso's at the Isle of Capri (1800 Front Street) opens at 7 a.m.

Eat up, then start the diet on January 2.

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