Brunch

What’s For Brunch?

We look forward to this day all week. It’s Sunday Funday better known as Brunch day! When Sunday comes my only thoughts are, “what time am I going to church” and “where am I going to brunch afterwards?” If you’ve ever asked yourself this, I’ve compiled a list or two to answer your question. The first list is “10 Soul Food/Caribbean Hidden Gems” which has all of my favorite hidden gems that are perfect for after church brunch. This list below is for those who like foods from different areas of the world and different parts of New York City. So now when you ask yourself the question, “what’s for brunch?” you’ll immediately have an answer!

  1. Clinton St. Baking Co. (American comfort cuisine)

Let me start by saying that I’m not even a big pancake fan, my sister is the pancake connoisseur but the pancakes at Clinton St. Baking Co. are fantastic! Top their pancakes with blueberry compote and you will be amazed. I love Clinton St. Baking Co. on a cold winter day because the restaurant is cozy and relaxing. They also have delicious hot chocolate. Just be warned there is always a long wait, but it’s absolutely worth it.

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2. Soco (Southern Cuisine)

I know, I’ve probably spoken about Soco more than enough times but hey I like it. Their red velvet chicken and waffles are a staple in the soul food community and should be recognized as such. Soco is the perfect place for an intimate brunch or a Sunday after church brunch with your parents and siblings. I brought my sister and mom here and they loved it.

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3. Novita (Italian food)

Have you heard of a country frittata? Maybe not. Well it’s a pancake sized egg blend of bacon, fontina, peppers and onions with a side of potatoes. It’s delicious!! Novita‘s brunch also comes with unlimited Mimosa’s for $22.95. What’s brunch without Mimosa’s?

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4. Don Coqui (Puerto Rican Cuisine)

I love a combined brunch experience of food, dancers and music. Don Coqui has live dancers at their brunch parties. I enjoyed their Chef’s special with Pernil.

5. Sanford’s restaurant

My favorite dish at Sanfords restaurant is their Blueberry Cinnamon French Toast. The best thing about Sanfords is that they offer brunch ALL WEEK! Now that’s one you’ve never heard of before. That’s what makes Sanfords the perfect option for brunch.

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Lounging At Pillow Cafe

This season I’m on a quest to find the coziest restaurants, coffee shops and cafe’s for dining during the Fall. What says a cozy lounge more than booths and pillows? While on a brunch quest in Brooklyn, not looking to go anywhere extravagant and overpriced, I came across Pillow Café-Lounge. I peeped the pillows in the window, read their Pillow brunch specials and was instantly sold. To my surprise not only was their indoor dining area cozy, so was their herb garden dining area. So I opted for the backyard because it was sunny and warm that day.

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The brunch sign at the entrance said “shrimp and grits” and that’s really what lured me in so I asked my waitress about it and she said it was amazing. That worked for me. So of course I ordered that and also was able to taste the bacon and cheddar waffle as well. Both dishes were exactly what I wanted. The jumbo shrimp were juicy and the slightly spicy sauce on the creamy grits were fantastic. This specialty is on their “Fall Specials” menu so I suggest you try them before it’s no longer available.

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Pillow was a great start to my Fall food excursions. I’m looking for more cozy brunch and dinner places for the Fall season. If you have any suggestions, comment below, let me know where I should go!Pillows1

Location: Pillow Café-Lounge 505 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn NY 11205

Type of Food: American

Ambiance: Cozy, Chill and Relaxed

Stars (Out of 5): ****

Celebrate Pancake Month At Clinton St. Baking Company!

Did you know that February is Pancake Month? Yup, it’s the month that we celebrate those delicious flapjacks that always make for the perfect breakfast. However you like your pancakes, whether it be topped with blueberry or strawberry compote or whipped up with sweet chocolate chips, Clinton St. Baking Company has the perfect stack of cakes for you!

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I visited Clinton St. Baking Company on a cold Saturday morning in January. I arrived at about 10:30am with my sister who was taking me on a brunch date. I had seen previous pancake pictures that she had taken and I was extremely excited to indulge in a sweet syrupy experience. She warned me that the wait would be two hours. which is normal for a Saturday morning at this pancake house. (I suggest that if you go, you arrive as early as 8:30 am if you don’t want to wait because on weekends there is always a wait. If you go during the week, there isn’t much of a wait time and pancakes are served all day.) Once we sat down, my experience was absolutely exquisite.

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My meal began with their House Blend Hot Chocolate  which instantly warmed my heart and soul. Now on to the main course of divine deliciousness. We ordered everything you could think of, Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter, Spanish Scramble, Maple Cured Ham, Neil’s Biscuit and a Southern Breakfast. I mean look, we were there for a true dining experience, don’t judge! Quite frankly, I’ve never had a breakfast experience quite like it. Everything tasted as amazingly perfect as it looked. While eating it began to snow, it added to a beautiful movie-like experience.

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Anyway, all month Clinton St. Baking Company will be offering different combinations of their pancakes. Visit clintonstreetbaking.com for a full list of their pancake creations. I will be returning to celebrate pancake month with them, I may also even dine with them for lunch and dinner because they do offer a thorough dinner and dessert menu. Until we meet again, Happy Pancake Month to Clinton Street Baking Company!

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Location: Clinton Street Baking Company 4 Clinton Street

(btw. East Houston & Stanton) New York, NY 10002

Type of Food: American Comfort Food

Price: CASH ONLY

Ambiance: Cozy, Relaxed, Comfortable like a diner

Stars (Out of 5):*****

Think Pink Tea Cup For Southern Comfort Food

Whether you’re looking for a cozy intimate dinner on a Friday night or a family brunch on a early Sunday afternoon, think Pink Tea Cup. It is your perfect dining destination. They provide a warm intimate setting and a delicious southern style dining experience. Lawrence Page is the proud owner of this restaurant and also adds to the welcoming feel of the Pink Tea Cup .

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More so, food at the Pink Tea Cup is amazing. I visited Lafayette, Brooklyn on a Friday looking for somewhere to eat that was both tasty and comfortable. It was freezing outside and upon entering the restaurant I immediately felt I was in the perfect spot. I ordered the Big Country Catfish, Sauteed Rice and Collard Greens and I also tried their infamous Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles. (They also have a variety of waffle flavors including pecan waffles, sweet potato and chocolate chip.) Let’s just say that I was so happy with my meal that I returned two days later on Sunday and brought my mother and sister.

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On Sunday we had two rounds of their strawberry mimosas. I highly recommend the mimosas, they are amazing. This time I had their Holy Trinity Shrimp and Grits. I honestly haven’t had better shrimp and grits anywhere else. Let me please remind you that I did attend school in North Carolina for four years and I have been to many restaurants in the south and in New York but I haven’t experienced better shrimp and grits. For that reason, I will be returning to try more of their dishes.

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Location: The Pink Tea Cup 120 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Type of Food: Southern Comfort

Price: CASH ONLY

Ambiance: Cozy, Relaxed, Comfortable

Stars (Out of 5):*****

Spread Love The Brooklyn Way At Sweet Chick!

“Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way..” That is not only Notorious BIG’s coined phrase but it’s also the phrase and intent of Sweet Chick. Sweet Chick is located on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. They spread love through their restaurant by creating a homey environment while providing comfort food. I mean that is what Brooklyn is about right? Spreading love, the Brooklyn way.

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Sweet Chick is famous for their chicken and waffles. The crispy chicken combination with sweet waffles is delicious. They also offer an array of butters and syrups. Normally I just cover my waffle with regular syrup and skip the butter altogether but not at Sweet Chick! I tried their blueberry butter which was amazing! It gave the waffle an extra sweet kick and combined with sweetness of the waffle, I definitely began to feel the love. I also enjoyed the BBQ Pork Sliders which were meaty and filling but not heavy.

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I also enjoyed the very comfortable feel of Sweet Chick. It’s a great location to visit for brunch on the weekend or lunch during the day. It’s very relaxed and perfect for a small group of friends. What I also found interesting is the chalkboard that they have on one walls. They change the menu and the message on the wall for each meal. It’s a cute twist and to me it gives the restaurant personality.

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Location: Sweet Chick  164 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn NY, 11249

Type of Food: Southern twist on American Cuisine

Ambiance: Chill, Relaxed, Comfortable

Stars (Out of 5):****

Find Out Why Founding Farmers Is #InstaFood Worthy!

As a food blogger, I follow a lot of different food pages on Instagram. One of my most influential go to foodstagram’s while in Washington, DC is @dcdining. I’ve been following them for a while and every time I saw a meal that made me drool it seemed to always be from a restaurant called Founding Farmers. So of course my recent trip to DC absolutely had to include visiting this “instafood” haven.

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Founding Farmers has a menu that includes everything that you can possibly crave from soft and sweet red velvet pancakes, chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, corn bread with kernels of corn and fresh burgers. I of course indulged in all of this and I have to say my favorite was the cornbread and the red velvet pancakes. What also makes American inspired food so amazing is that the restaurant is owned by family farmers. This means their food is fresh and healthy, the perfect two in one combination.

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Another great asset about Founding Farmers is they have a huge bar and also cozy private tables. Both options are intimate and comfortable for brunch with friends, lunch with family and dinner with your “boo.” Their upstairs dining area has a nice view of the DC streets and also provides a relaxed intimate dining experience. If you’re interested in an all in one packaged dining experience visit Founding Farmers.

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Please Note: Due to popularity there is normally a wait, especially for brunch on the weekends.

Location: Founding Farmers Various Locations

Type of Food: Fresh American food

Ambiance: Relaxed and Comfortable

Stars (Out of 5):****

Dine 24/7 at Cafeteria

New York City is always awake and always alive which means we always need somewhere to eat. I know at least one time,  after a night of partying or traveling at 4 am  you were desperately looking for somewhere to sit down and enjoy food. Luckily, Cafeteria in Chelsea is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your dining pleasures.

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Cafeteria was made popular by the show Sex and the City. I assumed if it was on that classic show then it has to be good! I’ve dined at Cafeteria a few times and I’m always very pleased. I absolutely suggest you try their Cafeteria Macaroni and Cheese. You should definitely order all three forms and pick your favorite. My favorite is the Smoked Gouda with Bacon. Bacon and Mac and Cheese together? How perfect!  I also suggest the  Grilled Steak and Eggs for Brunch and the french fries are delicious.

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What I also really love about this restaurant is their ability to transform from being warm and homey for the winter time and cool, chill and open for the summer time. It demonstrates how flexible and inviting they are as a restaurant. In New York City the weather changes drastically and I love a restaurant that can alter their space to accommodate the changes.

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Location: Cafeteria 119 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10011

Type of Food: American food with a Contemporary Twist

Ambiance: Chill, Relaxed, Airy light feel

Pricing: Moderate

Stars (Out of 5):****

Chocolat Restaurant Lounge

Chocolat Restaurant has secretly been on  my list of restaurants to go to. So when I read it was on the Harlem’s Restaurant  Week list, I thought “hey perfect time to try it.”  The good news is, it most certainly is on the list. The not so good news is, I went on a packed Saturday night and the Restaurant Week list wasn’t offered at the time. Bummer! Never the less, walking into the restaurant I really liked the set up. It was very intimate and quaint. They also had a private room where they were hosting a private celebration. So if you are looking to host a small gathering, they have a lounge for those purposes.  Also, they offer (free) Chocolat mint chocolates, so make sure you indulge on that sweet treat. I had the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Mac and Cheese and tried the Grilled Scottish Salmon which were great. I also tried the Beef Short Rib which was delicious. It was soft , pulled apart easily and melted in your mouth. I would definitely suggest the Beef Short Rib.

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Chocolat is also a great place for brunch. Their Sunday brunch has great options and great music. It’s perfect for a nice relaxing Sunday meal. I had the red velvet pancakes and fried chicken. The portion size was perfect, the pancakes were sweet and the fried chicken were crispy and delicious.

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Just a tip for this restaurant, make a reservation and arrive on time.

Location: Chocolat Restaurant Lounge 2217-13 Frederick Douglas Blvd at 120th Street, New York, NY 10026

Type of Food: American cuisine

Ambiance: Intimate

Pricing:  Reasonable

Stars (Out of 5): ***

Sanfords Restaurant

Sanfords isn’t your usual diner, they have successfully upgraded the normal diner experience to an experience that is more appealing to everyone. Walking into Sanfords I thought it was a regular restaurant because to me most diners are outdated as far as ambiance and the food is extremely simple. This wasn’t the case at Sanfords. I really enjoyed their free flowing ambiance and intriguing menus. They have won many Best Diner awards including “Top 100 Brunch Spots in the World” by Open Table in 2013 which they display when you enter the diner and I can definitely see why.

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I visited Sanfords twice for brunch. Both experiences were very good. Their brunch menu is not your normal breakfast. They have dishes such as Blueberry Cinammon French Toast, Waffle Medley of mixed fresh fruit, Western Brunch Quesadilla and a Steak Skillet. All of which I tried and all were delicious, especially the French Toast. But wait, the even better news is they offer their brunch menu ALL WEEK. What does that mean? It means that if you are craving brunch on Wednesday, you can go to Sanfords and get a complete brunch menu. No more waiting until the weekend for Steak and Eggs. Great right?

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I have not dined at Sanfords for lunch and dinner as of yet. I will definitely be returning to experience their other meals. Has anyone ever been to Sanfords? I would love to hear your experience.

Location: Sanfords Restaurant  30-13 Broadway Astoria, NY 11106

Type of Food: American cuisine

Ambiance: Relaxed Diner

Pricing:  Reasonable

Stars (Out of 5): ****

DiWine

The good thing about Sundays, is that it comes every week. So what does that mean for you? You always have another opportunity to try a new restaurant for brunch. Lucky for you, I have another place that I think you would love. DiWine is a restaurant and wine bar located in Queens that offers live music entertainment and a $15 Brunch Prix Fixe menu with a variety of dishes from pizza to Eggs Fritatta.

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But before I discuss the food, I have to tell you my favorite part of DiWine. They have  a intimate and relaxed seating area that is closed off by drapes. It gives you a more intimate feel, good for a date or just somewhere to sit and have a private conversation. Even if you aren’t looking to have a private conversation, it gives you a secluded feel if you don’t want to sit amongst everyone else in the restaurant.

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Now to the food. I ordered the Pecan Buttermilk Waffle, bacon and scrambled eggs. The waffle was delicious and the presentation was very pleasing to the eye. My friend had the Poached Eggs and Smoked Nova Salmon. The salmon is actually mixed with home fries or shredded potato. It’s a pretty interesting combination and tastes good. Overall, the service was good and I would suggest it to anyone looking for a new brunch experience. Please arrive as early as you can though because I arrived at the end of brunch and some dishes were not available.

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Location: DiWine 41-15 31st Ave, Astoria, NY 11103

Type of Food: American

Ambiance: Intimate

Pricing:  Reasonable

Stars (Out of 5): ****

Soco

I kept seeing pictures of this amazing looking Red Velvet Waffle and Fried Chicken on Instagram and I had to find out where it was and go try it for myself. I finally got the chance to and I was very pleased. The waffle tastes like a really moist cake and the chicken is juicy and tender. But don’t let me give it all away, go try it yourself. Also try the side of Mac and Cheese. Initially, I was like $10 for Mac and Cheese? That’s way too much for just a side. But you get a huge portion and it’s actually really good.

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My second experience at Soco was really nice. On a rainy day I went to Soco for Brunch. My friend and I sat in the back outside area (which was enclosed for the winter). It was kept really warm but we still had a nice “outdoor” experience. I had Farmer’s Omelet and my friend had the Short Rib Hash. Both were delicious! I mean so good. We also shared a order of Red Velvet Waffle and Fried Chicken. It was her first time at Soco and I couldn’t let her experience the restaurant without that dish.

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Lastly, if  you’ve been to Soco before please comment and share your experience with everyone!

Location:  Soco 509 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn NY 11205

Type of Food: Southern Cuisine

Pricing:  Reasonable

Stars (Out of 5): ****

Novita

Sundays are brunch days! However you choose to spend your Sundays, one of the best things about Sunday is going to brunch. I was referred to Novita by one of my friends who told me the food was great. I’ve gone to Novita twice because their French Toast is delicious but even more-so I absolutely love their Country Frittata. That name sounds crazy right? Like what is a Country Frittata? Well it’s a pancake sized egg blend of bacon, fontina, peppers and onions with a side of potatoes. It’s delicious!! The brunch comes with two Mimosa’s. What’s brunch without Mimosa’s? So yes, I suggest you visit Novita. Also, just to let you know they do serve lunch and dinner. I’ve never gone for their other meals but if you decide to, please let me know how it is.

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Location: Novita 860 franklin avenue, garden city ny 11530

Type of Food: Italian

Ambiance: Classic

Pricing: Moderate

Stars (Out of 5): ****

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