Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best Brunch: 2011

When any year comes to an end, we are bombarded with lists that recap everything from music and news to most annoying celebrities and phrases. I thought about what my top lists would be and food was among the first things that came to mind.

I love a good Sunday brunch. What makes brunch special is the food of course, but even more important is the company. The best brunches for me are more often than not, the ones on my lanai with friends and neighbors; sometimes still in PJ's late into the afternoon. They are just too numerous to list.

One of my top stay at home brunches was at a friends home in Ft. Lauderdale, looking out over the New River. My European host placed a polished silver carafe of coffee outside of my bedroom door; fuel for getting ready. A mimosa was put in my hand as soon as I stepped into the kitchen; I could get used to this. We grazed on smoked salmon, fluffy eggs, fresh bread, jams, fruit, puff pastries drizzled in gravy and more. Eventually pushing the food aside, we opened maps, looked at photos, shared stories of our world travels and dreams of more to come.

Mexican brunches may be less conventional but so yummy. How can you not like anything with beans, rice, cheese and eggs? This Sunday brunch at Maudie Milagro was a reunion with dear friends and a celebration of my brother's birthday in Austin, TX.

I have blogged about the BBQ in Austin, but what I want most in this city is Mexican food. There is great debate about where to find the best, and while Maudie's was not at the top of our list, it was on it for sure. The restaurant has been serving Tex-Mex in Austin since the 50's and now has six locations. We picked the one often refered to by Austinites as "Snotty Maudie's".

I couldn't wait to get a plate of Miga's (scrambled eggs with onions, serrano peppers, cheese and tortilla strips) and it was everything I had hoped for. Fried eggs came on top of burrito's and just about everything else. We ate pounds of  crisp tortilla chips, fresh guacamole and salsa with a good kick. Our table was not only full of glasses with sweet Sangria, Mimosa's and Tito's Margaritas ($3.50); but also lots of laughter.We sat back enjoying the breeze over the rolling hills of the West Lake area, rubbing our satisfied bellies.

But the "Best Brunch" was my first brunch of 2011, New Years Day at Gulf Drive Cafe on Bradenton Beach. Dining in beach communities along the west coast of Florida is always an adventure. We skipped the line for indoor seating, grabbed the last table beach-side, then proceeded to fill every inch with food and drink.

The Omlette's were generous ($7) and came with biscuits and potatoes. We ordered sides of tomatoes, fresh avocado, fruit and other delights. Thankfully there was a railing to put our coffee cups and spicy Bloody Mary's on. We offered to give up our table after what seemed like hours, but our server was entertained by us and asked us to stay. We obliged and ordered Gulf Drive's signature cheese blintze; filled with cottage, ricotta and cream cheeses then flavored with a touch of orange cream for $6.99. The clear sky and sparkling water inspired musing of goals and expectations for 2011. Looking back, most were met, some even exceeded.

Looking forward to 2012 and the opportunities that await us all. Thanks for reading my blog!

***COMMENTS: Thanks to all my Facebook friends for posting so many great comments. I would LOVE it if you could also post your comments here on this blog site. I've had dozens of people tell me they posted and it never showed up. Disappointing for us both. So click comment, type your comment, check the box that says "comment as" then hit post. If a word verification box does not appear next (a scrambled word to retype), your comment did not post. Thanks!


  1. man that brunch at Maudies was pretty amazing -mostly because you were there with us. very, very jealous of your new year's brunch on the beach! maybe E and I come to Ft. Myers and celebrate NYE with you next year. We'll loan the kiddo out to someone.

  2. YES YES YES!!! Don't threaten me with a good time Francine!