Mother's Day is less than a week away and what better way to celebrate than a midday meal that Mom neither has to cook nor clean up after? Sunday brunch, it is!
This was a very hard list to write because there are so many wonderful places in the Triangle to choose from. I wish brunch was served seven days a week and that the list was called Fave 15.
But, alas, no such luck. So, although I'd gladly gobble the deluxe benedict (with fried green tomatoes) at Acme in Carrboro, the bubbly, cheesy french onion soup at Vin Rouge in Durham and a chocolate buttermilk waffle from Mandolin in Raleigh, there can only be five!
Here's where you can treat your mom (or yourself) this Sunday:
French eatery Rue Cler is the perfect pick-me-up for a slow-starting Sunday. It's bright and cheerful, the beignets are made fresh to order and come out almost as quickly as your cup of coffee. The menu is varied – so whether you want steak frites to satisfy a carnivorous craving or something on the lighter side, Rue Cler has you covered. From time to time, I have dreams about the chicken paillard – a seared chicken breast nestled in a fresh green salad and then topped with gooey brie cheese and crispy fried onions – and though it sounds simple, don't try it at home. It simply won't compare.
Being a Northerner, it never occurred to me that waffles and fried chicken belonged on the same plate, but oh, how I've seen the error of my upbringing! Beasley's Chicken + Honey, a fried chicken restaurant from chef Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner fame, is the perfect place to indulge in the unlikely marriage of crispy golden waffles and, well, crispy golden chicken (so it may not be colorful, but it is delicious!). Beasley's brunch menu also offers a variety of southern comfort food classics, such as biscuits with pork shoulder gravy, egg casserole and fried chicken on a buttermilk biscuit. So, head downtown, drink tea from a mason jar and treat mom to some of Ashley's homecooking.
It's no wonder why Watt's Grocery and NOFO at The Pig (both with impressive brunch offerings in their own right) include Bill Neal's Shrimp and Grits on their menus. The Crook's Corner chef has perfected the dish with bacon, scallions and mushrooms. The shrimp and grits may have made the place famous, but there are plenty of special recipes to keep you coming back again and again. I'm especially partial to the Hoppin' Egg, a classic Hoppin' John of black-eyed peas, cheddar, tomatoes, scallions and rice, topped with two fried eggs. Try it – it will be hours before you feel like hoppin' (post-brunch nap, anyone?).
I love the brunch at Watt's Grocery and apparently I'm not the only one. This place gets C-R-O-W-D-E-D so call ahead and show up early. I tend to favor savory brunch items over sweet, but Watt's makes me change my tune. The southwestern churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce are to die for and the baked caramel banana french toast is worth the drive to Durham if you're a Raleigh or Chapel Hill person. In fact, I'd do just about anything for that french toast. I'd act like a monkey if they asked me. Watt's also cures and smokes their own selection of meats, so you can't go wrong with the weekly omelette either.
I have yet to try this traditional French brasserie in north Raleigh, but it comes to me so highly recommended by friends that I felt compelled to include it here. With a variety of egg dishes (including three quiches), salads and crepes, I have a feeling it won't be long before I can count this among my favorites. I hear they've got some of the best coffee around and, what's this I see? Grapefruit brulée for dessert? Yes please!
What did we miss? Where are you taking Mom for brunch this weekend?