Category Archives: Brunch

The Original Pancake House

Written by Anna Tomczyk

Most great nights out leave me surprisingly hungry, despite any late night burger runs. When Susie asked me to visit the newest location of The Original Pancake House in Irving for a Saturday brunch, I was a bit confused. (I mean, one would assume that a booze-less brunching normally wouldn’t be Susie approved. As it turns out, OPH truly sets themselves apart with high quality ingredients and top-notch hangover mitigating breakfast favorites.) Their menu offers a large selection of breakfast and lunch dishes and there’s something on the menu for everyone.

The staff at the Original Pancake House in Irving was eager to please and greeted me quickly. After being seated, I was given a full breakfast and lunch menu along with their specialty coffee menu. This particular location has a full service espresso and brew bar to serve up your favorite coffee beverages all day. PRO TIP: order a pick-me-up drink at the bar while you wait. Their brews are locally sourced and their espresso (a blend of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Brazilian coffee) is brewed in-state. I ordered a vanilla latte and it was perfectly balanced with a surprisingly savory finish.

Every great brunch place has to get the basics right, so I started out with the sugar-cured, thick-cut bacon and buttermilk pancakes with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. I can tend to be pretty picky about my bacon and it didn’t disappoint–it was perfectly crispy. Some places have a hard time freshly squeezing juices and managing to chill them the same day before serving, but not OPH. It came out chilled and very refreshing. And the best part of this plate, of course, is the pancakes! The owner of this location let me know it takes five days to make their famous pancakes and guaranteed they would not disappoint. I buttered my pancakes with their soft, whipped butter and smothered them next with in-house pancake syrup … and they were indeed delectable and just as fluffy and flavorful as I was promised.

Since I have a strong European ancestry and my hubby is 100% Polish, it’s comforting to see dishes such as the OPH potato pancakes and the Dutch Baby on the menu. For those who are unfamiliar with potato pancakes, they’re shredded potato, egg, onion, and flour all pan fried to golden brown resembling the more popular (but less delicious) hash brown. My mother-in-law makes traditional Polish-style potato pancakes and they are a homemade favorite for everyone in our family. Amazingly enough, OPH serves really fantastic potato pancakes with your choice of savory sour cream or sweet apple sauce–I’m convinced they would be mother-in-law approved. The Dutch Baby was just as amazing (if a bit more oddly named), and I was eager to try this signature sweet offering. This traditional German pancake has a slight lemon flavor without being overpowering. The flaky, golden baked treat is topped with whipped butter, lemon, and powdered sugar.

Dutch Baby (Picture courtesy of OPH)
Dutch Baby (Picture courtesy of OPH)

OPH offers quite a few other breakfast dishes–omelets, crepes, dutch pancakes, other egg specialties, and some really fantastic sandwiches and random other lunch items. The restaurant truly made me feel like a friend of the family and I was able to see the fun culture and pride that everyone from the servers to the owner to the head chef have for the food they make and the guests they serve.

This is the place to keep in mind to frequent with friends and family alike when you want to give your kitchen a rest but still enjoy made-from-scratch, hearty goodness.


The Original Pancake House

ophdfw.com
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***OPH invited me in for brunch.*** 

Midnight Madness at Ida Claire’s

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and like a good appreciator of all-things food, I don’t relegate my breakfast enjoyment to the morning hours.  After a good night out, I can’t think of anything more enticing than ending it with some breakfast favorites: pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon and whatever else you can throw at me. Gone are the days of waiting in the drive-through lane for what seems to be an eternity for a  dismal chicken biscuit and hello to “Midnight Brunch”.

Ida Claire’s is the new southern-inspired entry to Addison’s already buzzing restaurant scene. This eatery is the newest venture from the team that has graced us with Mexican Sugar, Whiskey Cake and other local DFW favorites. This place really helps to fill a void in Addison for non-chain, creative restaurants. Plus, their assortment of cocktails are a step up from most of their competitors.

I was excited to attend the appropriately scheduled preview (started at 11 pm) of “Midnight Brunch”, back in the end of September. (I know, I know … time for me to get back on the #SDDContributor wagon.)

Ida Claire’s has a charm all of its own: Think eccentric Southern great aunt meets 60s flower child.  Whoever put the décor together for this place deserve a pat on the back–the place overflows with southern, vintage character and has just the right amount of quirkiness. Wood tables, birdcages hanging from the ceiling, and bright patterns form a welcoming and eclectic environment. And just because, there is a  a kick-ass Airstream trailer on the patio decked out in various psychedelic prints. (In fact, the trailer can be reserved for private parties.)

Airstream Trailer

The menu offers a wide variety of Southern-influenced dishes that tend to be on the heavier, lesssss healthy side, but that’s what I am looking for late at night.  As the night went on, the plates kept coming and we kept eating …

Food highlights:

  • Sweet Potato Chip Duck Confit. Freshly fried sweet potato chips smothered in duck fat gravy, goat cheese fondue and topped with a sunny side-up duck egg. Trust me, this one was as good as it sounds.
  • Crawfish Corn Fritters served with a smoked mustard remoulade. These were crispy on the outside and buttery on the inside, just the way a proper fritter should be.
  • Brisket Egg Burger. Ida Claire’s spin on a classic burger topped with B&B pickles, pimento cheese, black pepper aioli. This burger was huge and is definitely big enough to share, if you’re feeling generous.
  • And of course, the quintessential Southern breakfast food – Chicken and Waffles. Ida Claire’s version was jazzed up with chicory maple syrup and hot sauce butter. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Crawfish Corn Fritters
Crawfish Corn Fritters

The drink menu is no less thought out than the food menu. Naturally, a good Southern restaurant wouldn’t be caught dead without Juleps and I opted first for the Tobacco Peach Julep. Here, Tennessee whiskey, mint, tobacco syrup and peach bitters mixed for a true taste of all things Southern. Maybe a tad bit heavy on the ice, but good overall. From there, I went for the Vieux Carre (rye, brandy, Benedictine, sweet Vermouth, angostura and Peychaud’s bitters); it wasn’t a drink for the weak of heart.  Throwing caution to the wind (no not Gone With the Wind), my wife opted to go with the Airmail, a refreshing and potent drink crafted from gold rum, lime, honey and sparkling rosé, which apparently now rivals the classic Moscow Mule as her current favorite cocktail.  Her nightcap, a Scarlet Letter  (Bonnie’s  bathtub gin, hibiscus tea, honey, grapefruit, lemon and seltzer), was as you would expect from the ingredients: sweet, sugary and fruity, but all in a good way.

I have been fortunate to attend a number of events (thanks to Susie) and this one is certainly one of the more memorable ones.  From the delicious food and drinks to the overall ambiance of the place, Ida Claire has a lot to offer.  I will definitely be heading back sometime soon.  While our food and drinks were on the house this time, the prices looked reasonable considering the quantity you get and the quality of the items.

Hats off to Ida Claire for providing Uber credit for transportation to and fro! Southern hospitality at its finest.

Midnight Brunch: 11 pm – 2 am Friday – Sunday


IDA CLAIRE

www.ida-claire.com
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5001 Belt Line Road, Dallas, TX 75254
(214) 377-8227

 

Public School 214 Brunch

I consider myself an adult … which means I have to carefully plan my Sunday Fundays–ensure plenty of heartburn medication is on-hand as bloody marys will happen, make sure your Uber app is properly functioning, and start early to ensure you aren’t out past 8pm.  This past Sunday, I rallied the troops and we began our day at Public School 214 to try out their brunch.  I’d heard about their “just about bottomless” options, so I had to test it out myself.

IMG_0181

We opted for the patio since everything else was ridiculously crowded.  I mean … I like my friends, so I wanted to be able to actually hear them.  (Crazy concept.)  The patio was PERFECT–perfect weather, plenty of room, and, best of all, we had Freddy.

We settled in and ordered our various bottomless options.  (You can get “just about unlimited” mimosas/beermosas or bloody marys/micheladas for $10)  I was the only one that went for the bloody mary option and ended up being the envy of the table because mine came with a chicken wing.  #Win(g)ing.  The drinks were nicely spiked and gave us all the kick we needed to start the day.  I have been slightly under the weather so Freddy made a hot toddy happen for me.  This drink, I kid you not, brought me back from the dead.

Since we knew we were consuming mass quantities of booze, we needed to get moving on food.  I’m going to tell you one thing that I’ve told you before … good + good = really good.  So, that with that logic, their Bacon Cheddar Tots served with Sriracha ketchup are really good.  (I had to include some math here … I was at school, after all.)  Needless to say, they went fast.  We also got the first of two orders of their Chorizo Mac & Cheese which is topped with Salt & Vinegar chips … I mean.  To finish off the warm-up, we passed the Mezza Plate (baba ghanoush, hummus, tapenade marinated feta, and crispy chickpeas).

Lunch had to happen at some point even though we were quite happy with the porky deliciousness on the table, so we checked out the brunch menu.  Since I can’t say no to chicken and waffles, I  went for the Fried Jidori Chicken & Green Chili Cornbread Waffles … and I made a damn good choice.  The chicken was crispy and the waffles weren’t underdone, which is my least favorite thing about breakfast. (I mean … cook your waffles and pancakes to a nice golden brown, people.  Learn from PS214.)  The other brunch entree at the table was the Smothered Breakfast Burrito (smashed browns, egg, chimichurri, provolone, and bacon).

The portion size at PS214 is pretty damn ridiculous.  (I don’t think any of us finished our entrees.)  So try to find someone who wants the same things as you … you know … on the brunch menu.

Everyone loved their meals.  (I really don’t think that was only because we were a couple of carafes each in.  Brunch at Public School 214 is available Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm.


PUBLIC SCHOOL 214
www.psontap.com
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3700 McKinney Ave (in the new West Village area east of McKinney)
(214)599-6234

The Cedars Social

With the announcement that The Cedars Social is under new ownership, I wanted to duck in to see what changes were happening at the craft cocktail den in The Cedars.  I was a fan of TCS when I worked in The Cedars but hadn’t heard too much about them recently.  Turns out, new owners Jeffrey Yarbrough and Chad Boyle seem to be keeping the essence of TCS intact–the decor is still as eclectic as ever, the food classic with a bit of a twist, and the cocktails … well, strong.

We started with a couple of their options from the seasonal cocktail menu–they offer seasonal options along with classics from both the pre-Prohibition era and some from the Prohibition era.  Their cocktails are made with high quality, fresh ingredients and some of the best liquor options around by incredibly skilled bartenders.  (I was glad to hear that the new owners were still partnering with original partner and bar manager, Michael Martensen.  He does good things.)  Our seasonal choices were the Berry Gin-erous (Seagrams, Blueberry mint syrup, lemon juice and ginger beer) and the Juliet & Romeo (Plymouth Gin, Lime Juice, Muddled Cucumbers, & Cane syrup, with Angostura bitters, and a mint leaf topped with rose water).

After getting warmed up with some drinks (as one does at brunch), we ordered their fresh fruit, truffle fries (duh), and deviled eggs.  I was bummed that they don’t offer their truffle grilled cheese anymore, but I figured the fries were a good substitute.  The Truffle Fries had a nice truffle essence without it being overpowering and they were perfectly crispy.  The Deviled Eggs were a good start to the meal thanks to their light filling.  While fruit is good for you and all (and TCS’ was quite delicious) … save it for home.

Our second round of drinks got a bit more adventurous.  I went for the I Do What I Want (that’s the real name of the cocktail) featuring Ketel One, aged balsamic, honey syrup, muddled strawberry, lemon juice, and egg white.  It was nicely mixed and the balsamic really gave it a punch and a bit of extra complexity.

As for the food, we ordered the Housemade Turkey Hash (herbs de Provence, scrambled eggs, and hollandaise sauce) and the Omelette Florentine (prosciutto, spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese).  Both were accompainied by potatoes, and both were pretty damn good.  (I’d suggest getting the hollandaise on the side of the hash … I’m a big fan of self sauce-regulation.)

While I usually choose to spend my brunch calories on drinks, we were encouraged to get into some dessert action.  Once we heard that their cheesecakes are from Val’s Cheesecakes, we couldn’t not. And ice cream goes in a different stomach.  So yeah.

Since we were delightfully boozed up and stuffed, we decided that Sunday just wasn’t going to be a thing … at least not a productive one.  (Their drinks are pretty hefty, so try not to plan too much after a brunch at TCS other than a nap or more drinking.)  So we packed up our leftovers (of which there were plenty) and did our best to roll ourselves to the car.

Needless to say, after the reminder of the good things TCS does, I’ll be back before too long to hit them up for some of their dinner options–hello, Akashi Short Ribs, Kobe Meatballs, and Truffle Mac & Cheese.


THE CEDARS SOCIAL

www.thecedarssocial.com
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1326 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215
(214) 928-7700

Open daily, 4-10pm
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday, 11am-3pm

Jam & Toast Brunch at The Rustic

Brunch is a serious thing in Dallas.  I thought for a long time that it was a millennial thing, but I’ve learned from transplants that Dallas does it like no other city.  The Rustic knows this, and knew they couldn’t come to the picnic table with a weak brunch game … so their Jam & Toast Brunch was born.  Family style (and only slightly family-friendly), you can get into this brunch action for $16.95/person.  Let the delicious pictures begin … (You’d better get a napkin because your mouth is about to water.)

Y’all know I have to talk about the drinks first because … ya know … I drink Dallas and all.  Their drinks, while they’re available like any other boring brunch place by the drink, or you can really make it a Sunday (or Saturday) fun day and order by the pitcher for $20 a throw.  They have the traditional brunch drinks–mimosas, bloody marys, screwdrivers (or at least their takes on them)–but then they take them all up a notch with fun twists like beef straws for the bloodies and jam mixers for the mimosas.  The less typical drinks you can get into trouble with are their Corpus Crisp Tea (Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, Deep Eddy Lemonade Vodka, and freshly brewed sweet tea) and the Ruby Redhound (Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice).

The pitchers are all generous portions and pack a decent punch.  (As decent as you could really ever want from brunch cocktails as to not f**k up your whole day weekend.)  And I don’t know what all this “family-style” judgement is; I mean … I’m my whole family unit right now … so it’s ok that I drink the whole pitcher, right?

Rereading the last paragraph, I feel it’s time to tell y’all about the food they offer to balance the boozy goodness.  This food … is legit.  I just about needed someone to roll me away from the table after eating everything they had to offer.  The deal is that they’ll bring everything I’m about to tell you about–enough for everyone to share.

Traditional brunches usually have pig of some sort and eggs and some random pastry, and The Rustic has those all with a delicious kick.  The pork is bacon and sausage from Rudolph’s Market (this business was ridiculous and I was pissed that I had to share this and not eat the whole dish of bacon–don’t judge me); the eggs were “country baked eggs” with sharp white cheddar and chives (not my favorite); and the pastries were fresh donuts from local bakeries (the day we visited they’d come from late night donut hotspot, Glazed).  To make this brunch unforgettable, they didn’t stop there.  They also offer bite-sized French Toast (hand-cut challah, soaked in vanilla custard and topped with house-made rosemary syrup),  Smoked Cheddar Grits (creamy polenta cakes with roasted poblanos and smokey cheddar on sausage gravy) that had a nice smokiness without being entirely overwhelming, and Hot Chicken (Nashville-style spicy fried chicken and dill pickles).  The chicken was a bit spicy (which I enjoyed), but others at the table were less impressed with the heat.  The pièce de résistance of this brunch to me was the Cheese & Fruit plate.  Featuring an assortment of local cheeses, honeycomb, fresh fruit, and assorted breads, it was a nice addition to the table and gave us the chance to remix some of the other dishes by pairing them with the fruits and cheese.s  (Uhhhh the goat cheese paired well with just about everything on the table.)

Overall, The Rustic’s Jam & Toast Brunch is a decent deal. (I love to have a lot of different options … so this is a great ways for people like me!)  While this brunch is offered both Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm, try to get there before noon to enjoy the live music that they have outside.  (And thanks to one of the venue’s owners, Pat Green, you know The Rustic has some serious live music game.)

If you’ve never visited the hybrid backyard-style restaurant/bar/concert venue, you’ve obviously been living under a rock.  From Free Range Concepts (the guys that brought Dallas Bowl & Barrel, Mutt’s Canine Cantina, and more), it’s an ideal spot for anyone from families to weekend warriors.  The Rustic offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus of “down-home comfort food” along with 40+ draft beers (many from Texas breweries), and even some Texas spirits on the full bar.


THE RUSTIC
therustic.com
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3656 Howell Street (West Village)
214-730-0596

 

 

Bread Winners Summer Cocktails

Bread Winners rolled out a new line of cocktails for the summer, and they’re pretty delish!

  • Brunch Punch (split of champagne, St. Germain, cranberry) – the St. Germain is a perfect touch to this poinsettia.  It’s light and perfect for those of us looking for a mimosa replacement.
  • Texas Bluebonnet Mojito (Texas rum, fresh mint, berries, lime) – all I have written in my notes here is “yum”.
  • Mango Fizz (split of prosecco, fresh mango puree) – this wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, but others were pretty into it.
  • Prickly Pear Lemonade (vodka, lemonade, prickly pear nectar) – vroom vroom party starter!!! I really liked this one. It’s really light, not too sweet, and had a unique flavor.
  • French Kiss (split of prosecco, X-Rated liqueur) – this simple drink was another that I wasn’t all about–mostly because I had a bad weekend in college with X-Rated liqueur.

These “hangover elixirs” will run you $10 each. And just because these are new and sexy does’t mean you can ignore the Bloody Diablo. Just sayin’.


***I was able to try these cocktails free of charge.***

Coal Vines Uptown

Walking into my favorite pizza place in Dallas last week, it felt different … and I liked it.  The new menu items sound incredible and the extra seating made me hopeful that I’d never have to face another 45 minute wait for a table!

The pizza at Coal Vines is TO DIE.  My best friend from Austin orders a white pizza (not the white special) to take back with her each time she visits.  Yes, it’s that delicious.

The mimosa was just ok; they didn’t jump on the bottomless bandwagon as so many brunch destinations have so I don’t know if I’d come here just for their drink specials.  Their wine selection is good and they also sell  retail if you want to take it home to enjoy.

The people who dine at this establishment are the Uptown see-and-be-seen type.  They stop here and gobble a pie and guzzle a bottle before hitting the town.  The only problem with that is that every time I eat here, I leave so full that I can’t rally for a fun night out!

Stop in and grab a glass of wine and a pizza; don’t forget to be extra nice to their New York implant, Uncle John at the front door!  Everyone in Dallas should try this place once to know what good pizza tastes like.

Coal Vines Pizza
2404 Cedar Springs Rd | Dallas, TX 75201
(214)855-4999‎
www.coalvines.com

Specials:
Sunday | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $4 mimosas, poinsettias, Pompelmos, and peach lemonade bellinis