I’ve set three long-term goals for myself since the coronavirus pandemic. I have been trying to make an effort to rekindle friendships, foster stronger relationships, and … make a dent in my brunch bucket list. Last week, after I attended my sixth brunch appointment in a row, a friend commented that I “might need Brunchaholics Anonymous.”
What I love most about brunch is obvious by its name: the hybrid of breakfast and lunch. As a late riser, waking up early for breakfast definitely isn’t my strong suit, but breakfast foods around lunchtime? That’s exactly my calling. I know I will be able to find whatever it is I’m craving on any particular day, from lunchtime sandwiches or burgers to breakfast sweets such as waffles or French toast.
After visiting a handful of Washington, D.C. brunch places, I rated each location accordingly. The brunch spots for my first installment of brunch ratings (more to come) are listed below.
Expansive menu with delectable items!
The Founding Farmers locations do an excellent job with brunch. Outside of the early morning “First Bakes,” the super affordable breakfast menu that runs on weekday mornings, the weekend brunch is phenomenal. Rather than an a la carte ordering system, the brunch is an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring a selection of the Farmers’ most mouthwatering dishes: seven-cheese macaroni and cheese, glazed bacon lollies, slow-cooked brisket and hot crab and artichoke dip. The menu options vary slightly between locations, though several signatures, including their warm, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls, can be found across the board at all franchises. Although the cost is a little pricey at $29.99 per person, the fare is worth it, and the meal will leave you stuffed for most of the day.
2) Ted’s Bulletin: 4/5
Traditional breakfast items with heavenly homemade Pop-Tart-equivalent “Ted’s Tarts”!
Ted’s is one place I had been dying to try for the past year. One thing I appreciate about Ted’s is their commitment to serving all-day breakfast. As someone who is in a breakfast mood for at least 60% of the day, I really vibed with this. Living on Capitol Hill this year, the trek to their Capitol Hill location was less than a mile, much simpler than it would have been had I been on campus. I ordered the Big Mark Breakfast, which came with three eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausage patties, hash browns, toast and a signature Ted’s homemade Pop-Tart, strawberry flavor.
Overall, the breakfast was standard; the Pop-Tart, however, was out of this world. The crust was flaky and melted in my mouth, and the pastry struck a perfect balance between the sweeter icing and filling and the less sweet crust. I had enough of the original Pop-Tart left over plus an extra Pop-Tart (apple pie flavored!) to take home. Biting into the Pop-Tart for dessert that night was the second highlight of my day, the first being my breakfast Pop-Tart earlier that day. I cannot recommend the Pop-Tarts enough.
3) Via Umbria: 4/5
Lunch-styled options for those who love light, savory brunch fare!
Via Umbria is a less traditional place for brunch but still deserved a shot, I felt, when I decided to make a visit. Styled in a modern fashion while retaining its Italian heritage, the “Officina” is a quaint, neat space that sells traditional Italian provisions inside its restaurant space. The outside dining atmosphere maintains its aesthetic appeal with flower boxes, pink roses and white wicker chairs. The menu is what made brunch here somewhat unconventional. Rather than the typical brunch classics like eggs Benedict, French toast or even a burger, the menu items consisted more of Italian panini options and, of course, pizza.
I went with the caprese panini. The bread was fresh and soft, and there was a tasty ratio between the fresh tomatoes, arugula and soft mozzarella. Unfortunately, I was unable to consume the pesto Genovese, which contains pine nuts, due to my nut allergy, but the substitute of balsamic vinegar still proved delicious. The arancini, or rice balls, were also superb and combined the veal and the rice perfectly. I definitely recommend this place if you are in the mood for a more cold-lunch-style brunch.
Isabella Xu is a junior in the McDonough School of Business. Homemade Gourmet appears online every other week.