With the gentle easing into fall, New England is getting a little bit colder each day. The leaves are changing from dark green to amber, fewer people are kayaking along the Charles, and the thought of lingering in bed with a book and a cat is infinitely more appealing than frequenting one of Boston’s many brunches.
Or is it?
Sadly, I’ve become a Person Who Brunches. I never thought I’d be a PWB, especially one who goes for, ick, SWEET brunch. I’m actually ashamed.
I’ve read The Article. I know how this goes. I’m prepared to be judged.
To be fair, it started innocently enough with a simple visit to Zaftig’s, a Jewish-style deli in Brookline.* My roommates brought me there during my first week in Boston as a sort of welcome-to-the-neighborhood, join-the-brunch-cult shindig.
You can get eggs benedict…on a LATKE! You can get matzah brei, a sort of kosher-for-Passover French toast, something I’ve never seen outside the confines of my mother’s kitchen! Bagels, smoked fish, cured meats…my little Jewish heart could barely handle the bounty after so many months pining after a proper shmear.
This is what I got the first time. The second time, I got smoked salmon eggs Benedict on latkes. Sadly, it did not survive long enough to be photographed.
So I decided to open my mind and stomach a little bit to People Who Brunch.
The next step of being entrenched in brunchmania was a trip to Johnny D’s, a jazz restaurant/bar/venue in Somerville (near Cambridge).*
Jesus take the wheel.
I have some words for you. They begin with “blueberry” and end with “blintzes.” I ate said blintzes-which were maybe some of the best I have ever had, this is coming from an experienced blintzer-while listening to a middle-aged guy play an instrumental, jazzy version of “Royals” on an electric guitar.
By trade, I am not a sweet breakfast person. There’s a time and a place for sweet things, and for me, that’s usually at the end of the day as a treat for a job well done having made it through another day in “Boston.” I’m not in the habit of getting, say, a Nutella waffle with vanilla bean whipped cream.
*Johnny D’s and Zaftig’s are actually not located in Boston. That’s because Boston doesn’t actually exist. It is, in reality, a confusing, hellish nightmare of villages with their own separate identities and separate brunch places. To choose a brunch is to make a choice that could potentially alienate half of the people in your life. Choose wisely.
Finally I went to an actual diner in actual Boston. Located on Newbury Street in the heart of ritzy Boston, Trident isn’t only a diner. It’s a bookstore.
You can get a book and you can also get pancakes. You can read a book about cooking eggs AS YOU EAT EGGS.
I went with my dear friend Noah who I met in college. He knew my two greatest vices: dastardly good literature and dastardly good food. When we went, he got a massive waffle with all kinds of fruit on it, and I chose the version that wasn’t even pretending to be healthy-a crepe with cheese, mushrooms, chicken, peppers, spinach, and two eggs with Hollandaise. Since Noah and I always talk for ages, I didn’t have a chance to peruse the book selection before we got into a long talk about everything in our universes. But I’m definitely going back there.
I guess I’m just an a**hole who brunches now.