Friday, April 18, 2008

The $300+ brunch. Really.

I don't know about you, but restaurant brunch has never been same for me since reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, where he explains that point of Sunday brunch is to clear the fridges for the Monday food deliveries and dispose of leftovers while turning a tidy profit from unsuspecting diners. He points out, moreover, that cooks hate working brunch. At best you'll get the B Team, at worst you'll get the dishwashers learning their chops.

So you can imagine the big snort that emanated from my nose when I received this invitation by email this morning (I took Sophie and the MIL there for Christmas tea a few years ago, suffering some of the worst service I have ever experienced, and have been on their email list ever since).

$94 a person?? Does anyone else think that's a little extreme? Let's do the math. For Husband, the MIL, Sophie, and me the total would be $336, before the gratuity and that second glass of champagne. What the hell is in that spa bag anyway?? Jeez. Probably soap and bath gel.

But I'm having fun already planning the brunch I can serve at home half that. Chilled lobster salad? All the asparagus—both green and white— I want. Fancy cheeses? Heck, why tax my imagination? Let's just take a look at their Sunday brunch menu.
Assorted Fresh Fruits with Whipped Cream
Mini Bagels with Cream Cheese
Grilled Asparagus with Red Pepper Aïoli
Grilled Asparagus Salad
Pasta Primavera Salad
Mixed Greens Salad with Assorted Vinaigrettes
Smoked Fish Platter Including Smoked Salmon, Gravlax,
Peppered Mackerel and Applewood Smoked Salmon
Variety of Sliced Deli Meats and Assorted Patés
Caviar Station with Fresh Blinis and Traditional Garnishes
Seafood Display with Cracked Dungeness Crab, Blue Point Oysters and Shrimp

San Francisco Seafood Chowder

Slow Roasted Prime Rib Au Jus
Honey Glazed Ham with Wild Berry Madeira Sauce
Fruits de Mer Ragout with Sea Bass, Day Boat Scallops,
Prawns, Green Lip Mussels and Lobster
Veal Scallopini with Ratatouille and Marsala Sauce
Chicken Pepperoncini with Penne Pasta
Yan Chow Prawn Fried Rice
Stir Fried Seasonal Vegetables

Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce
Scrambled Eggs with Shaved Parmesan and Chives
Poppyseed Pancakes with Warm Maple Syrup
Smoked Bacon, Link Sausage and Canadian Bacon
Cajun Spiced Potato Wedges
Assorted Dim Sum with Three Sauces

Various Pastries and Desserts
Bourdain's right. Half of those dishes smack of recycling. And do any of them look like something I couldn't make at home? Nope. But I'm going back to my own menu planning. Anyone want to join me? If you're celebrating at home, what are you planning on serving? It's never to early get a start on things like this.


MsMVNJ said...

We usually do a dinner and after paying exorbitant amounts for mediocre food, we started eating at home. Most likely, we'll serve my Mom's favorite menu, which is potato leek soup, small salad with cheese apples and nuts, then surf and turf of lobster tail and a petite filet mignon followed by an apple tart with vanilla ice cream for dessert. While she's still with us, it's her menu choice.

Kate said...

What a rip-off!!

We usually do Mother's Day @ home. It's crowded everywhere you go & you end up getting rushed in & out instead of being able to relax. THis year we will actually be at my parents' house since we will be in town for a wedding the night before. Not sure what we will do meal-wise, but I will keep checking back here for ideas!

MixinMike said...

Have a great time at the restaurant, sounds like a good time!

Anonymous said...

Thought i'd stop by and say hello! I've never commented before, but love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Good gracious - and I thought brunch at the Ahwahnee was expensive! I was lucky enough to get two mother's day brunches there before we moved. Enjoy your brunch at home - given your superior cooking skills it is bound to be spectacular. Better yet, maybe Sophie will treat you again as she did that night she made you dinner. (Believe me - I showed E that post and made a big deal of how great it was that Sophie did that for you - hopefully that'll pan out for me in 4-5 years...) Given all that's going on - my mother's day brunch will most likely involve a drive thru. :-( So post lots of pictures and I'll live vicariously through you!

The Mrs. said...

I remember hearing that from him. Yuck. When I waited tables we used old USED (not bitten into but touched in the basket) bread for french toast! This was a nice restaurant in NYC!

Monica said...

We paid $65pp once for brunch and I thought that was bad! I don't know...I usually don't end up eating much because I'm afraid I'll overdo it.

We do Mother's Day with family and all the women spend the day in the kitchen while the men sit around and drink beer. Father's Day is a repeat of the same thing. I keep voting for change, but no one seems to listen. Pfffffft!

KatieGirlBlue said...

Don't get jealous, but I'll be serving lukewarm and slightly overcooked pesto orzo with still-frozen-in-the-middle trader joes chicken sausages, all cooked on the stove in the van. We'll probably open a bottle of 2005 Charles Shaw Merlot, although I can't promise it won't be 2006, as I don't think 2 buck chuck even puts years on their labels.

The food won't be breathtaking, but the scenery (Yosemite? Canyonlands? Bishop?) will be.

Speaking of food, though, we went to the Emery Bay Public Market last night; that place never fails to delight me.