By Hairee Lee
When I think brunch, I think friends and family and gluttony. You wake up late, shuffle into the bathroom for a long, luxurious shower, then mosey over to a cafe or a diner, or if you're in Vegas, to Lynn Hotel, where people you love are there waiting for you while sipping mimosas. There, an efficient waitress serves you pouched eggs, which you can't seem to master in your own kitchen but the cook has, and a stack of pancakes that is promptly drowned in syrup, a plate of just bacon, and endless refills of said cocktail. All this at the crack of noon.
For more photos of this event, go to Flikr.
It's been a long time coming, but Dinner Series has been wanting to do a breakfast since, like, forever. So this past Sunday, we finally put together a brunch.
This past Sunday Brunch was not much like my other brunches, because: one, a spectacular table setting; two, set outdoors; and three, the introduction of the Pomosa to my friends and their family.
My sister and I concocted this breakfast cocktail during Christmas last year. We we ran out of orange juice in the middle of brunch. Christmas morning and not a single corner store or super market was open. What to do? There was some pomogranate juice in her fridge. I know the stuff is full of the supposedly health promoting anti-oxidants, but I find it cloyingly sweet. But we were stuck in a deserted world of Christmas retailers. So we forged on and experimented to delicious results. After a few tentative sips and then bolder quaffs, "Pomosa!" declared my sister. Brilliant.
And so Pomosa was born on Christmas Day.
And it didn't disappoint during this brunch: sweet and refreshing and ruby red fabulous, just as I remembered it.
There was also the company. I don't get to see Margaret and Rick very often, only during Thanksgiving and Easter dinners at their home in Marlboro, so this was the first time I'd had brunch with them. Laura was there as the cook, Paul, Laura's main squeeze, Rachel, the hostess, Russell, me, Nate, and Melissa .
Rick, Jonathan's dad and Laura's stepdad, has a wickedly dry sense of humor and a German directness that I find totally agreeable. Margaret, his wife, is a lot like Laura: she's also direct, but sweeter, like Laura, has a great sense of humor, and a bright but soothing personality that suggests deep equanimity. ((Take for instance Margaret's removable cast on her right foot, which she fractured within the first few days of her month long trip with Rick to Spain and Sweden two months ago. For the rest of the trip, she walked all over Spain on said foot dismissing the injury as a mere sprain, only to discover upon medical examined after her return to the States that her "discomfort" was due to it being broken. Can you say She-Ra, He-Man's counterpart? Can you say Wonderwoman?))
By the time I rolled up with Russell on our bikes, Laura, cook de jour, was in the middle of making the frittata, crumbling the feta cheese over the egg mixture. While we waited, we sat down to a cheer-laden table setting that brought the sun and the summer green of Jonathan's backyard to the dinnerware, flatware, and center piece, full of yellows and greens. For more information on the setting by Melissa, go to Hello, Yellow!: Al Fresco Brunch Table Setting.
Russell admired the Sabre Natura flatware piece in moss green with the pearlescent muted green handles that make you want to touch it. Margaret was particularly enchanted with the Jars Plume Fruit Bowl. The scallopped edges and the glaze work on the inside of the bowls give the Jars Ceramics Plume dinnerware a delicate look and offers, as Margaret put it, "visual interest." ((That's exactly how I describe the glaze work on the Didriks web site, actually.)) Rick liked the iittala Essence Champagne flutes used for the mimosas and the pomosas. My favorite touch was the yellow daisies: such a simple, humble flower, it makes you smile just looking at it.
I also really liked the Match Pewter Double Champagne Bucket used to keep the sparkling wine chilled. One, it kept the bubbly stuff cold, and two, it looked fantastic! I can't imagine brunch without mimosa and pomosa. I just don't think brunch is brunch without them. A late breakfast maybe, or eggs for lunch. But not the luxury of time and leisure and inebriation I associate with brunch without the bubbly cocktail.
The meal began soon after, starting with fruit salad. Laura had scooped out the watermelon and the honeydew using the Rosle Melon/Potato Baller and then used the watermelon rind to serve the melon balls and blueberries family style. So clever and looked almost too perfect to be edible. So I checked. And yes it was definitely edible, all right. Spooned into the ocean blue glazed Jars Plume Fruit Bowl, the colors of the fruit salad popped against the "visually interesting" pale blue glaze, making the pieces of fruit look even more fresh and appetizing.
Next up was the frittata served family style on the large Pillivuyt Round Serving Tray. The simple design and pure white glaze set off the savory breakfast item and the sliced tomatoes to mouthwatering perfection. Melissa planned for the Jars Plume Dessert Plate in Ocean Blue to be used for the frittata. Once the slices of french toast, which were being passed around that the same time on the bright yellow Jars Tourron Presentation Plate/Charger in Lemon, got around the table, most of us wanted to enjoy the toast and the frittata at the same time. So the smaller dessert plates were whisked away and the larger and generously sized Pillivuyt Fusion Oval Chop Plate Dinner was used for an all-on-one-plate meal. Because, let's face it, part of bunch's appeal is eating just a touch too much. And part of ensuring that is to see all the food generously loaded onto a large plate. Sensible serving sizes over several courses is not the name of the game called brunch.
Everything was, as expected, delicious. Laura, we later found out, got up at 4 in the morning to start the slow cooking of the crock pot french toast. I think it tasted even better after I found that out. The highlight for me was the frittata. The egg was cooked flawlessly, not runny and not rubbery, and the seasoning calculated just right so that the saltiness from the feta finished off each the savory bite to perfection. The sliced tomoatoes were a nice touch, offering a bit of freshness to compliment the Mediterranean flavors of the frittata. For all the recipes Laura used for this brunch, go to Dinner 12: Sunday Brunch Recipes.
As a second round of mimosas were finished off, I made some pomosas.
The pomosa and the remembering my sister is probably what brought up the topic of engagement and proposal. My sister was recently engaged. Belly's full and a bit of sparkling wine frolicking in the blood, you start to talk off the cuff, at least I do. Whatever pops into my head first is what comes out. I tell Rick and Margaret that my sister got engaged about three weeks ago. Her long time boyfriend popped the question. Turns out, back when Margaret and Rick were dating, it was Margaret who asked Rick to marry him.
Margaret: "Well I needed to know where we were headed. So I said to him one day, 'Are we going to get married? Do you want to marry me?'" Rick: "That had been my intention all along."
Oh, I see, I said. Rick had assumed Margaret had known all along.
Oh, I said, I see. Rick had assumed Margaret could read his mind.
Laura laughed. Margaret [looking at me and Laura]:"Right?" Rick: "So, she essentially asked me to marry her."
I said that I didn't think I could ever do that.
Rick: "Why not?" ((Rick's got five sisters, all of whom are independent, speak their minds, and do not hesitate to go after what they want because of traditional female expectations. He grew up surrounded by strong women. It's probably why he's married to Margaret and probably why I get along with him so well.))
I didn't really have a good answer so I gave him the real one: I'm old fashioned when it comes to who does the proposing.
Margaret [matter-of-factly]: "Well, I needed to know."
It's no wonder he wanted to marry her. I was feeling a little old fashioned, in a bad way, and perhaps that was part of the reason why I added what I added next. The other part is that I think it's often true. The thing is, I added, men tend to take longer to realize they want to get married to the woman they're in love with. You gotta, I said a little too pleased with myself for proffering a less old fashioned seeming reason, give them time to catch up and pop the question.
And this is the part when during a dinner or lunch or brunch conversation when I realize--this isn't the first time when I've put my foot in my mouth at the table--that I've had just enough to drink. Oh and look, there's my boyfriend Russell sitting right there on the other side of the daisies.
Laura [slowly and deliberately]: "I think what Hairee means is that there's always someone, man or woman, in a relationship who is catching up. One person usually knows first and the other one catches up. Is that right, Hairee?" Hairee: Right. What Laura said. [Breath.] More pomosas?
I stopped at my second pomosa.
Photographs by Nathan Brescia.