“When you wake up in the morning Pooh,
what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast.. What do you say Piglet?”
“I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?”
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing.”
Pooh couldn’t have better summed up my sentiment for my favorite meal in the week. Sunday brunch. A late breakfast of sorts, where indulgence is forgiven and where sin and simplicity blend in vicarious pleasure. This time I opted for what fame and lines are all about; Norma’s at the legendary Le Parker Meridien Hotel, known for its outrageously glorious caviar which makes up 95% of the price of a $1,000 omelette. With high ceilings, perfectly classic wood paneling and a cozy corner space in the luscious hotel itself, the white tablecloths and silver tables made for a more formal setting than most casual brunches that had mushroomed in New York.
A complimentary blueberry and blackberry fruit shot was a tradition of Le Meridien Hotels, and arrived in their signature glasses. With a menu bursting with cutesy names and titles like “Benny Sent Me”, “Mom Can’t Make This” or “Donut Even Go There French Toast”, to name a few, it was evident that marketing took precedence here. I opted for not 1, nor 2, or 3, but 4 courses. Because who doesn’t eat oversized meals for brunch?
As a lover of flavors that enhance, I opted for the ‘artychoked’ eggs Benedict, which were topped with truffle porcini sauce. And this is where I learned that oversized was not just a made up term, as the plate sizes were gigantic! I smelled the aroma of truffle before it arrived, strengthening my belief in the power of scents. The heaviness with the artichokes was balanced with the fact that the dish arrived sitting on leafy greens, making for a hearty, complete plate.
I next received the potato pancakes, an apparent James Beard Award winning recipe. With a sweet spot for this carb heavy vegetable, potatoes are my legendary favorite. The crispy fried texture was decadent, too. The accompaniments however looked a tad childish with a buffet style scoop of cranberry apple sauce on the plate while it should have been in a bowl. I did enjoy the tart and sweet combination of flavor with the salty potatoes though, making for a fun brunch idea. The sweet red apple topped with sweet carrot payasam seemed out of place, both visually and taste-wise, as it was challenging to break open without creating an artsy mess, with a fibrous carrot aftertaste.
The light and lemony griddle cakes were a combination of the ever-trending lemon ricotta, served with Devonshire cream and maple syrup. I found the taste to be impressive, with a tangy and sweet quality, but found the rather rough texture of the pancakes to be challenging to nibble through. The clotted cream was also thicker, and didn’t help with the textural challenge. Though I enjoyed the maple syrup, which I could inhale from its petite vial directly. Who am I kidding, I totally drank it.
I saved the visually most enticing for last: a crunchy French toast with warm caramel sauce. And this French Toast redefined what chunky meant, aptly fit for a #FoodBiggerThanMyOwnHead hashtag for social media. Coated with rice crispies and a luscious taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and spices, it was definitely hearty to eat, if not slightly too saccharine, especially when topped with the warm caramel. Due to its size, bites became smaller, the toast became less crunchy, and my caramel cooled down too fast. But nonetheless I enjoyed the distinct and texturally savvy play on a brunch classic.
And thus ended an exciting saga of the week Sunday Brunch. As I continued to explore what this luxury hotel had to offer to my dreams and I.
And yes, it truly is part of many of my daydreams… But as they say, its not a daydream if you make it your life.