To Brunch Or Not To Brunch

June 17, 2015

The answer to this question is obvious – brunch!

This year has brought many foodie adventures, but I have lately been most excited about those in the earlier hours of the day. My husband and I have made it a mission to become educated on the many amazing opportunities to enjoy endless amounts of delicious morning eats and treats. Sunday mornings have become an adventurous hunt for a new brunch find — or Saturday evenings, if I feel like planning ahead.

While there are many more on my list to try (don’t even get me started on doughnuts or bakeries), and I’m sure dozens more that should be, I’d like to share my most recent favorites, along with a menu and dining tip for each:

About to enjoy my treats from The Buttered Tin -- Huevos Rancheros

About to enjoy my treats from The Buttered Tin — Huevos rancheros

Found in the heart of downtown Saint Paul, The Buttered Tin was a fun find this past fall, as we spent a weekend on the other side of the river for our wedding anniversary. Sunday morning was spent walking the quiet streets of my home city, checking out new buildings that have popped up over the past few years and looking for a new place to dine.

Enter The Buttered Tin. Despite the very quiet street and very little activity going on at 8:30 a.m., we were surprised to find the inside of this little place jam-packed. After I drooled over the pastry case and looked at their menu (that I probably wouldn’t enjoy for another two hours), we decided to order a breakfast to go from their pastry counter and head to the next door for a picnic breakfast in the park. #forthewin

Brunch Find – Huevos rancheros and their caramel roll
Insider Tip – Unless you’re willing to wake at the crack of dawn (and it’s not a Minnesota winter), grab your brunch to go and enjoy it in one of the many nearby parks.

This family-owned gem in Northeast Minneapolis was passed on from a brunch buddy of ours and has become one of our favorite places to take friends when they are in town for a visit. Often with a line out the door and impatient (but friendly) fans crammed like sardines into their petite entryway, Hazel’s is worth a wait.

Brunch Find – Homemade quiche or the drunken banana french toast
Insider Tip – Snag a cup of joe while you wait, and don’t even think of coming if you’re not excited for an amazing caramel roll. If you’re not convinced to get one after waiting by a full counter of them for an hour, or smelling their deliciousness while they’re made, you’ll be sure to be stealing a bite from your neighbor.

Can you resist this buffet?

Can you resist this buffet?

After a few weeks in Italy, American brunch was just not the same for a bit. Luckily, there is a small place in the Nokomis that has an enormous European-style buffet to satisfy my post-trip depression. Al Vento has a beautiful spread of charcuterie, breakfast breads, salads, eggs, roasted potatoes, salmon and more. Make sure to go with an empty stomach – you’ll want to have room!

Brunch Find – The brunch buffet, especially the fresh fruit & chocolate fondue fountain
Insider Tip – Upgrade to the ‘Boozy Brunch” and enjoy bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys and more as you enjoy a taste of Italy.

While I could go on about the many others I’ve recently tried (Pittsburgh Blue, Hen House, French Meadow Bakery and Cooper’s, to name a few), I think I’ll save those for Vol. 2 — but not without sharing one last insider tip – about yours truly.

A platter of French Toast from yours truly

A platter of French Toast from yours truly

I can’t wait for each Sunday to roll around and to sniff out our next brunch find, but my all-time, forever favorite place for brunch is right at home. With a huge love for cooking and a hungry curiosity for trying new recipes, I sometimes take the opportunity to roll up my sleeves (while staying in my PJs) and make some brunch magic in my own kitchen.

Brunch Find at the Hodgdons’ – French toast
Insider Tip – Always serve with some fresh berries and make with day-old challah. If you’re lucky, it’s served with a fresh-squeezed mimosa or greyhound.

I would love to hear your favorite brunch spot below and add to my list.

Bon appetit!