by Charissa Farley-Hay
(Wildest Restaurant, Coachella Yoga, and Pilates Power Gym)
There is nothing so relaxing as having a day without urgent deadlines, back-to-back meetings, a packed schedule, and endless emails requiring a timely response. The perfect day to do a leisurely walk, do yoga on the patio, lay in bed and read the growing stack of magazines….. or go to brunch. But what makes an exquisite brunch? Is it just great food? The company? Or is there more to it? Here's what I think it takes to make for a standout brunch experience.
The Brunch Ambience. Whether it’s a hole in the wall or a gorgeous sidewalk café surrounded by blooming flowers, it has to be a place where you can enjoy the joie de vie. The last thing you want to feel is rushed, crowded, or herded like cattle. Is it a beautiful setting? Is it comfortable? If you are enjoying with friends, can you talk comfortably without too much noise? Is there music or entertainment?
The Brunch Service. Are the servers rushed or impersonal? Do they make you feel special as an honored guest? Are they efficient but relaxed? Are they polite and friendly? Do they know the offerings and menu? Can the restaurant accommodate any special needs you may have?
The Brunch Beverages. Is the beverage list fun? Is the bubbly better than average? Is it delicious? Is it bottomless? No one wants to drink cheap sugary Prosecco just because it is cheap. Are the Bloody Marys great? Are the juices fresh? Are there mocktails?
The Brunch Menu. Is it interesting? You can scramble eggs at home. Is it something that you wouldn’t make at home? Does the menu have a diverse appeal to different people? Are there items that work for both breakfast, early lunch and late lunch? Do the menu items feel decadent? Healthy? I personally love a broad spectrum ranging from chicken and waffles, to plant based chili rellenos, to lobster salad, to beignets!
Friends (or not). Is this an environment you can leisurely read the paper and enjoy some solitude or bring ten of your friends? Is the menu diverse enough that there is something for everyone? Bacon, vegan, gluten free or allergen sensitive? Will everyone have love it?
Special events. Can you host a brunch, not have to worry about the preparation and clean up, and still trust you friends will enjoy it? Are there ever any special events like Blind Tasting Bubbles, Summer Wine Tasting, Mother’s Day Menu, cooking classes, or vendor events, that turns your day into an experience.