Hundred Acres

 

What you get: say yes to ricotta beignets with honey + unique egg dishes + brunch salad + five variations on the Bloody Mary

Hundred Acres knows its way around a brunch menu. This trendy Soho hotspot on Macdougal Street is liveliest on weekends when young and old gather outside its open French windows to wait for a table. The long dining room accommodates a hungry brunch crowd while the bar operates on a first-come-first-serve basis, prepping pretty coffee drinks and a generous offering of brunch cocktails including Creole and Mexican Bloody Mary variations, as well as the typical mimosa and bellini.

Brunch starts with shared plates like deviled eggs with bacon relish or the pastry board with muffins, cakes, scones, and peach jam. My date and I enjoyed a dish of perfectly fried ricotta beignets with honey and powdered sugar. After that plate of pure sugar we shared a healthy brunch salad with farro grains, fresh kale, roast pecans, queso fresco, and soft-boiled egg in a sweet vinaigrette. Another great (and filling) choice is the traditional chilaquiles with radishes and lime crema.

The Bloodys are creative, although the whole grain mustard and pickle variation was on the salty side. Fans of the mollusk will be eager to taste the briny Hampton Shore Bloody Mary with clam juice and shucked oyster.

If you like rubbing shoulders with trendy Soho socialites or if the name of the restaurant reminds you of Winnie the Pooh, this is the Sunday brunch spot for you.

Hundred Acres
38 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012
212-475-7500
Brunch on weekends from 10:30am to 3pm. 

  

Buvette

  

What you get: French-inspired daily egg dishes + waffles + croissants with sweet butter and jam + amazing coffee

Buvette is one of those unmissable New York brunch spots. A charming bistro in West Village, it’s always been a favorite of mine. I had amazing salmon scrambled eggs here last summer before boarding a plane to Paris. This weekend, I made a trip back and was instantly nostalgic for Europe.

Jody Williams’ French-inspired bistro is unashamedly European. The marble bar counter, tin ceiling, and polished pewter coffee pots introduce luxurious little touches to the typical West Village dining experience. Cutlery is tiny and so are the tables. Maneuvering coffee cups, small plates, silverware, and dishes of omelettes and pastries is like solving a jigsaw puzzle, a true French experience if there ever was one.

After our two foamy cappuccinos, my boyfriend ordered a mouthwatering ham and gruyere omelette with roasted tomatoes and sage. I tried the poached egg with cooked kale, green lentils, and pecorino cheese. For “dessert” we split an order of croissants with strawberry jam and sweet butter. The pastries were buttery and warm, but the real winners were the egg dishes.

Buvette may be a great brunch spot, but it’s open all day, serving a light lunch and small plates with wine pairings in the evening. The right-hand wall of the dining room features a large blackboard with a chalk-drawn map of France and its wine regions. I’m looking forward to sampling their wine selection one night very soon.

Buvette
42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014
212-255-3590
Breakfast/brunch is served weekdays from 8am-4pm, weekends starting at 10am. 

I’d be silly not to mention Buvette’s Paris location in Pigalle. Although I never made it over here during my time in Paris, it’s on the top of my list for the next visit 😉

Clinton St. Baking Company

What you get: New York diner-style bottomless coffee + blueberry buttermilk pancakes + biscuits + baked goods + long lines

Clinton St. Baking Company may have opened only 14 years ago, but it seems like an old-timey fixture from Manhattan’s Automat era. For years, this Lower East Side local diner and bakery has served up stacks of pancakes and steaming mugs of coffee. Word gets out, and this breakfast spot is as popular as ever.

At 9am on a rainy Wednesday, there’s already a 30 minute wait for a table inside the packed diner. French tourists, businessmen, and local Lower East Siders rub shoulders in the tiny bakery entrance and on the tree-lined sidewalk. Once inside, you’re met with smells of syrupy pancakes and frying bacon.

I met up with my friend Sara, a New Yorker turned Parisienne and a fellow brunch-lover. Over piping-hot bottomless coffee we chatted about expensive Manhattan apartments, difficult French idioms, and the differences between New York and Paris.

The restaurant is simple and busy with a brisk turnaround. Breakfast favorites like omelettes, scrambles, buttermilk biscuits, hash browns, and French toast are featured. A crowd favorite is certainly the thick stack of blueberry pancakes with a rich maple butter syrup. Prices are reasonable and portions are American-sized (big).

After a good-sized brunch, a walk around the eclectic neighborhood will help to walk off all the bacon and biscuits you’ve consumed. The nearby Frankie Shop has great coats and dresses.

Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant
4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
646-602-6263
Breakfast/lunch served Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm, Saturday 9am-4pm, and Sunday 9am-6pm. No reservations for breakfast or lunch. 

  

Hacienda Chichen, Mexico

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about the amazing huevos rancheros I had at a Mexican restaurant in Paris. Now I’ve eaten the real deal in the heart of the Yucatan. Hacienda Chichen is a traditional Mexican hacienda, converted into a luxury resort with houses for travellers visiting the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.

This was our destination after a three-day trip down the Yucatan peninsula, starting in Cancun and passing through Akumal and Tulum. Brunch at the Hacienda Chichen restaurant was elegant, emphasizing local ingredients and traditional flavors. We ate on the terrace overlooking the towering palm trees and exotic flowers of the resort garden.

The brunch menu features regional cuisine, rounded out by a basket of freshly-baked bread and pastries, juice, and hot coffee. The huevos rancheros, traditionally a farmer’s breakfast, were flavorful with refried beans and guacamole. Even better were the huevos motoleños, a Mayan dish that combines sunny-side up eggs with ham, green peas, queso fresco, plantains, and spicy red salsa.

For a brunch in paradise, this is the destination. On evenings, a nice meal is served on the terrace to the sound of falling rain and the strumming from the mariachi band.

Hacienda Chichen
Carretera Mérida-Puerto Juárez Km. 120, Zona Hotelera de Chichen Itza
97751 Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico
+52 999 920 8407

  

Baylon Cafè, Rome

What you get: Italian pastry bar + frothy cappuccinos + yogurt and granola + PASTA CARBONARA (when in Rome!) + salads + all kinds of eggs

In Rome for a long weekend, we discovered Baylon Cafè completely by accident on our way to the Porta Portese flea market. Hoping for a quick coffee, we stepped into a busy modern café with a full Roman pastry bar, cornetti, pasta ciotti, and delicious cream and fruit-filled bomboloni donuts. A perfect bite accompanied by a creamy cappuccino.

We ogled the large main dishes brought out to the tables nearest us. Fresh salads, large bowls of yogurt and fruit, omelettes, and even a pasta carbonara (hardly a brunch dish, but typically Roman!).

The interior is a bit dark with exposed brick arches, wooden tables, modern metallic accents, and colorful modern designs. The sunny sidewalk terrace was adorable but we opted for the cool interior as temperatures in Rome reached 102 that week.

Situated off the tourist-track in charming Trastevere, Baylon is a local hangout and a fine place for a weekend brunch or a beer in the evening.

Baylon Cafè
Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 151, 00153 Roma, Italy
+39 06 581 4275
Brunch 9am-4pm

            

Café Chilango

What you get: Mexico meets Paris. Huevos rancheros + chilaquiles + tacos + fresh juice +  famous house-made granola sprinkled over fromage blanc

Chilango could be Paris’ chillest brunch and booze spot. This Mexican hangout is halfway between Republique and Parmentier in the young and food-centric Folie-Méricourt neighborhood. Exposed-brick walls, bright modern artwork, and hanging plants call to mind a Manhattan studio apartment. A cocktail bar in the evening, the space transforms into a light-filled Sunday brunch spot for those recovering from a night at the nearby clubs.

Brunch at Chilango is a great deal at 19 euros for a hot drink, freshly-pressed jus du jour, granola with fromage blanc, and a main dish. The huevos rancheros – corn tortillas topped with eggs, tomato and chili sauce, onions, and queso fresco – is a popular plate, as is the chilaquiles with refried beans and plenty of sour cream and cheese. Tacos include a traditional fish taco, chili-chicken, and black refried beans. And portions are generous.

The decor is abstract-Mexican-kitsch. Plastic superhero figures line a shelf above the coffee bar and the walls are covered with colorful skulls, mustached men, and crucified Jesus figures. For a peek see Julie’s photos on A Paris Food Affair.

Café Chilango
82 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris
01 47 00 78 95
Brunch from 11:30am to 4pm on weekends 

Coutume

 

What you get: Paris’ best cappuccino + thick pancakes with berries, ricotta, and pistachios + yogurt and granola + eggs Benedict with smoked trout + toasted banana bread with mascarpone and fruit + pretty cakes and cookies

Coutume served as my neighborhood coffee house and Wifi base for the past year in Paris, and it was only recently that I got around to ordering brunch here. I’m only sad I didn’t do it sooner.The portions are large and the flavors in my red berry and banana pancakes were typically Coutume — studied, sweet, and fruit-forward. Pistachios are tossed on everything, which is absolutely fine by me. Also good for a brunch-on-the-go are the tasty baked banana loaf and tasty cakes in the display case. Come to Coutume with an appetite because you will want to sample everything.

The café embraces a pretty, sparse, Scandinavian interior dotted with green plants and beakers serving as water pitchers. Some of Paris’ best coffee is brewed at this counter by the friendly bilingual baristas and delivered to community tables where busy freelancers (and me) tap away at their laptop keys. Word on the street is that they sometimes serve a terrific breakfast burrito on their monthly menu, so a trip back is definitely called for.

For more on Coutume, check out my featured review on Travel + Lust.

Coutume
47 rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris
01 45 51 50 47
Brunch from 11am to 4pm on weekends. Delicious breakfast with comparable plates served weekdays until 11am.