Penn Commons – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

One of the best things about Penn Commons is how spacious the inside is. I have been to many restaurants where I feel cramped and like I am sitting way too close to the party next to me, but that is not an issue here. They have a variety of seating options such as the bar, high top tables, regular tables and circular booths, which is another plus. Although they play sports games and serve drinks, it does not feel at all like a sports bar. The design is very clean and simple, something which makes it comfortable and cute.

 

 

MENU OPTIONS (1)

Penn Common’s menu/brunch options is what sets it above other brunches in my eyes. They offer a two course brunch with bottomless mimosas all for $33. I truly don’t think it gets better than that! You are able to get an appetizer and entree or entree and dessert. They offer BBQ chicken spring rolls, calamari, french toast bites and smoothies as some of the options for your first course.

The entrees include all of your favorite brunch options, with special spin of “chicken & cakes” as opposed to chicken and waffles. Their dessert options include various sundaes, a root beer float and cake. With a two course brunch and all of the menu options you can visit Penn Commons over and over and switch up your brunch order to enjoy a new combination each time.

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FOOD (1)

When it comes to appetizers, the BBQ chicken egg rolls are my favorite. They come with a blue cheese dipping sauce on the side, that it is not quite blue cheese dressing but similar and very tasty. I think I have mentioned before that shrimp and grits is my go-to brunch food, so I’ve tasted them at many places and Penn Commons’ is by far my favorite. The grits are creamy and well cooked, they don’t skimp on the shrimp, it is well seasoned, and the bits of ham add a nice finishing touch. But, if you aren’t a shrimp and grits person, the brunch quesadillas are delicious as well. Overall, not matter what you order not only will you be full (and possibly have leftovers) but satisfied by the quality as well.

 

 

Service (1)

I have been to Penn Commons on many occasions, and I usually receive pretty consistent service. There is one particular waitress that I have encountered a few times who can be somewhat scatterbrained and a little slower on the mimosas, but with a little reminder about fill ups she is fine. Even with the slowest server, I can still make the most of my two hours and leave having downed just enough mimosas.

Overall Rating (1)

3 Star Rating

Three Cheers! I can’t think of anything negative to say about Penn Commons. Even on a bad day I am always satisfied. From last minute brunch decisions or a planned ahead reservation, Penn Commons is the place to go. I never have to wait for a table and I leave satisfied and a little bit saucy!

P.S. They also have a great happy hour, with good food and drinks,  from 4pm-close Monday – Saturday and ALL DAY Sunday.

Penn Commons offers brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 3pm. 

Market Provisions – LA

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Market provisions is pretty casual. You will find some people dining after a morning workout while others are there to celebrate. They have a nice sized patio for dining in the sunshine and smaller tables inside. It can be tough for them to accommodate big parties here, I’ve experienced a table with too many people getting split up.

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MENU OPTIONS (1)

Market Provisions has $5 bottomless mimosas. You read correctly, five dollars as long as you order an entree! You also get the choice between orange and grapefruit juice. This is a deal that is hard to beat in any major city, especially LA where bottomless is usually upwards of $14. They also have a bloody mary if that’s your brunch drink of choice.

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FOOD (1)

There is definitely something for everyone at Market Provisions! They have classic healthy LA style options like avocado toast, acai bowls and a variety of salads. Savory selections consist of breakfast sandwiches, steak and eggs, dungeness crab croque madame, and a brunch quesadilla they call the “Hangover Special”. Their sweet tooth options include strawberry buttermilk pancakes and banana split french toast. My go to order is the fried chicken &  biscuit! I opt for my eggs scrambled instead of sunny-side up with the prosciutto gravy on the side. I also add avocado for good measure.

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AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Market provisions is pretty casual. You will find some people dining after a morning workout while others are there to celebrate. They have a nice sized patio for dining in the sunshine and smaller tables inside. It can be tough for them to accommodate big parties here, I’ve experienced a table with too many people getting split up.  

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Service (1)

The service here is a bit inconsistent. I’ve had very friendly service at times, there was a point where some of the waiters knew me by name because I brunched here so frequently. Other times they were less than friendly. I’ve had them leave a pitcher of mimosas at the table while other times I’ve had to hunt down my server to refill my glass. This place tends to get crowded so if you go earlier, you will avoid a wait and may luck up on better service.  

Overall Rating (1)

2 Star Rating

Two Cheers! You never know what you are going to get service-wise so it can be a bit off a toss up. When I have had a bad experience I quickly forgive because well, $5 for bottomless. The food is good but not the best meal you’ll have in your life. If you’re looking for an amazing dining experience this isn’t the place but it is great spot for a casual Saturday or Sunday brunch.

Market Provisions has brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 10 am to 3 pm

Baldoria – LA

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Baldoria is definitely a hidden gem of LA! This is a place you can take anyone from your parents that are in town, a group of friends, or even a date. It’s nice if you ever want to brunch on a whim because you never really need a reservation. The restaurant is very casual with a modern feel. It’s also perfect for a large party which is one of the reasons I decided to have my 23rd birthday brunch here. They have long tables that they put together for a party of 30. The place is very minimalistic so I chose to have a florist come and spruce up the tables with a few bouquets. The wait staff let me play my own playlist via spotify which was a great touch!

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MENU OPTIONS (1)

Baldoria offers a prix-fixe brunch that is an amazing deal. You get to choose one entree or pizza, a side, and bottomless mimosas or rose for $30. Or you can order food a la carte and do bottomless prosecco or rose for $15.  They usually let you mix and match so I often start with a glass of rose and then switch to mimosas. They serve brunch until 4pm which is also a huge perk.

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FOOD (1)

I have truly enjoyed everything I have tried at Baldoria! Their brunch menu consists of a wide selection of artisanal pizzas as well as other options like brunch sliders and a three cheese spinach omelette. If you want to go for pizza it can be hard to decide between all of the amazing options. If someone else in your party also wants pizza, I recommend each getting two different kinds and sharing! My personal favorites are the Yukon Gratin and Wild Funghi Conserva. If you want something sweet the ciabatta french toast is an excellent option. The chicken and waffle tacos are a fun take on a classic!

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Service (1)

The wait staff is always very friendly. It is a small business that is very family-like. The restaurant is quaint and rarely crowded so they have plenty of time to focus on refilling your mimosas.

Overall Rating (1)

Three Cheers

3 Star Rating

Baldoria is definitely one of my favorite places to brunch! I have had great experiences here and I will continue to come back! Every time I’ve taken friends here they’re always shocked this place isn’t more crowded. I’ll say it again, most underrated brunch in LA! You can’t beat the prix-fixe menu deal and quality of food!

 

 

 

Baldoria has brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm  

Tart – LA

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Tart has a unique Family Style brunch option for parties of 7 or more. You get biscuits for the table, a fruit platter, a choice of two entrees, two side dishes, eggs your way and a choice of bacon or sausage for $30 per person. You can also order from their normal brunch menu. On to the drinks! Tart has a mimosa kit for $25 that includes a bottle of champagne, orange juice, peach puree and mixed berries. It’s super cute because you get to make your own mimosa. You can also order a single mimosa, bellini, bloody mary or michelada. They have a bottomless bloody mary option for $20 or a smoky chipotle mary for $25.

A fun drink option for large parties are the “Honeybuckets” which are curated cocktails in a punchbowl. They have different levels ranging from $50 – $80 depending on the flavor you choose. The alcohol options for the honeybuckets include vodka, whiskey, rum, gin, prosecco and my personal favorite: tequila. You can also get red or white peach sangria! The bowls are big enough to share with 3 – 5 people. 

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FOOD (1)

My go-to order at Tart, and anywhere if we’re being honest, is the fried chicken and waffles. Tart does there’s with candied pecans, tabasco butter and bourbon maple syrup! So good! Other options include breakfast lasagna, shrimp & grits, breakfast burrito, eggs benedict, and so much more.

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AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

If you’ve ever been to The Grove you’ve probably seen the ‘Tart’ sign glowing in bright red directly across the street.  Tart is located inside The Farmer’s Daughter Boutique Hotel. You walk through the eclectic lobby to get to the super chic restaurant. The restaurant itself has limited indoor seating but a ton of outdoor seating on their patio. They also have cabanas you can sit at if your party have a party 7-12 guests. Tart is very instagram friendly with a ton of opportunities for a photo op. Tart is a fun and trendy environment.

 

 

Service (1)

I’ve dined at Tart several times and have always had great service! The hosts and wait staff have always been very friendly and accommodating. They also have given great recommendations since there are so many options to choose from on the menu.

Overall Rating (1)

2 Star Rating

Two Cheers! Tart offers a great brunch all around! There are truly options for everyone from the drinks to the food. I recommend going on a beautiful day where you can enjoy the super cute outdoor area. After you can do some shopping at The Grove or check out the farmers market across the street. Did I mention they have brunch everyday! Mid-week mimosas anyone?

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Tart has brunch Monday – Thursday from 7 am – 3pm and Friday – Sunday from 7 am – 4 pm

Maya – NYC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Maya is a Mexican tapas restaurant located on the Upper East Side. You can feel the Latin vibes through the decor, menu and even the warm hospitality from the staff. This a a great spot if you’re looking to venture out from the normal brunch menu of chicken and waffles and steak and eggs. Maya’s boozy brunch was a fresh take on a Saturday tradition.

 

 

MENU OPTIONS (1)

The best thing about Maya is that it is both bottomless brunch drinks AND bottomless food for a flat rate of $49. Sounds amazing right? The mimosas come in four flavors- strawberry, mango, passionfruit and guava. All flavors were great but passion fruit was my favorite by far. If you’re looking to have another drink after brunch, the Maya margarita is to die for!

 

FOOD (1)

Only thing I love more than endless mimosas, is endless Mexican food. I love Mexican food; so naturally this place was a dream. I loved that Maya had such a variety of food. We had everything from empanadas, to Mexican donuts, to salmon. The dish that stood out to me the most was the “Maya dog,” a bacon wrapped hot dog with chipotle rouille- it was absolutely delicious. As you can image, after a few cocktails, it really hit the spot.

 

Service (1)

I’m always nervous of going out to eat with large groups. To be frank, I fear that I’ll see the bottom of my mimosas because the waiter is (understandably) overwhelmed managing the large group. Maya completely took away that fear, our server was prompt and ready with the pours. The plates continue to come for the whole two hours too. Overall, the waiter was extremely attentive to the needs of the table.

Overall Rating (1)

 

3 Star Rating

Three Cheers! Maya is easily a three cheers in my book. After going, I raved about this spot to anyone who would listen. Maya has mastered great drinks, great food, and great service. I can’t wait to return for more Maya dogs and margaritas!

Maya has brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am- 4 pm. 

 

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City Tap House – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

City Tap House is a gastropub that is in the old STK building. The outside looks like a nice, classic restaurant but the inside gives you regular pub feels. I went on St. Patrick’s day, and the staffed was dressed in green, so the vibe perfectly matched the holiday. Outside of that, the restaurant definitely is on the more casual and chill side of brunch because its basically a bar that also serves brunch.

 

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I had originally chosen another spot for St. Patty’s Day brunch, but someone in my party wanted a place that served shrimp and grits, so last minute we ended up here. They had had a bunch of regular brunch options, salads, and brick oven pizzas. In hindsight I should’ve chosen a pizza because that’s a lot harder to mess up. Although one of my friends ordered the burger and she party hated her food too.

FOOD (1)

Shrimp and grits is my go-to brunch food, so I’ve had them enough to rank them from best to worst, and I’d have to say that is by far the worst I’ve ever had. They served the shrimp and grits with a side of collard greens and eggs, which I thought would help things, but it didn’t. I hate greens so I did not eat those, the half cup grits they gave were unseasoned and the egg just didn’t do anything for me. My plate left me unsatisfied and still hungry.

Additionally, we ordered hush puppies as an appetizer, which I was initially against but let my friend convince me to do it. Hushpuppies are something I only have at my grandma’s house when she fries them up for you, and I think it will stay that way. Our hushpuppies came out extremely burnt, and tasted like they had been cooked in old and overused oil.

 

 

Service (1)

The service left a lot to be desired. We had to remind our waiter twice about the appetizer we ordered, and it still came out almost an hour later with our food. He also fumbled on the most important part: the mimosas. He started off by only filling up our glasses about a fourth of the way full, and even once I convinced him to pour us up more he was extremely slow with the refills.

Overall Rating (1)

1 Star Rating

One Cheer. Other than the fact that City Tap House is located in Dupont, which is close to day parties, there is not much else positive I can say. The food was not good and the service was subpar, so this is not a place I would recommend anyone else try.

HalfSmoke – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

The decor and set-up of the restaurant reminds you of some the favorite things about your childhood. The restaurant harps on the idea of, “don’t grow up it’s a trap,” and maintaining that fun element of being a kid.They give the menus in Lisa Frank binders, serve some of the meals in vintage lunch boxes, and bring your check in VHS boxes.

Also, there is a free photo booth near the bathroom where you can take photos and GIFs of yourself, as well as games scattered all over the restaurant. The place has multiple flat screen televisions playing all the hits from TLC and New Edition to Ja Rule and Ashanti, so by the time your mimosas hit you’re singing along to all the throwback jams.

Half Smoke truly commits to their 90’s aesthetic. Though the decor clearly caters to millenials, it also gives a very family friendly feel. During my Saturday afternoon brunch, I saw ages ranging from 8 years old to 80 years old. So if you’re looking for an adult, grown and sexy vibe, this is not the place.

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MENU OPTIONS (1)

Half Smoke’s brunch menu is so attractive due to the fact that it is available ALL DAY, and bottomless mimosas come FREE. The purchase of a brunch entree gets you free bottomless mimosas for an hour. The menu featured some of the brunch standards like a burger, eggs benedict, and french toast. They had put a creative twist on some classics like fried chicken and a red velvet funnel cake, as opposed to chicken and waffles.

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FOOD (1)

As a Black person, one of my cardinal going out to eat rules is, “Never order mac and cheese!” We know that the chefs cannot make macaroni and cheese like our grandmas, moms, and aunts can, so it usually ends up a waste of time. Most of the time, I look at a picture on Yelp,  break my rule and order mac and cheese anyway. This is one of the times I was not disappointed. Obviously they can’t touch my grandma, but it was still good and very filling. It was baked well and topped with (real) bacon bits.

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Service (1)

The time constraints on the bottomless mimosas were something new for me, normally two hours is standard, but I was open to it. Get drunk in one hour instead of two? No problem. Unfortunately, our waiter was extremely slow on the refills making this difficult to achieve. He basically left us two pitchers and left us alone. Then proceeded to bring us our check once the hour was over, never inquiring if we wanted more to drink (which we did). I still left brunch a little tipsy, solely based on the fact that my waiter was rarely to be found.

Overall Rating (1)

2 Star Rating

Two Cheers! I was not too pleased with Half Smoke as a brunch place. I enjoyed my food but an hours worth of mimosas that were rarely filled up was a major disappointment. For $18, I cannot complain too much because I guess I got what I paid for.  I have been to Half Smoke for happy hour, had their food and other cocktails, and enjoyed my experience, but I probably will not return again for brunch. I’d rather pay $15-20 and go to a brunch that will not let me see the bottom of my glass.

P.S. Their frose (frozen rose) is a must!

HalfSmoke offers free bottomless mimosas with the purchase of a brunch entree all day, Friday-Sunday. 

Essex – NYC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

The interior feels like the inside of an old factory or warehouse with white exposed brick, a line of windows and extremely high ceiling. Essex offers multilevel seating, but no matter if you’re upstairs or down stairs you’re in a great spot. Expect to hear a mix or techno and pop hits blaring through the speakers.

MENU OPTIONS (1)

Essex has a pretty extensive menu with 20+ brunch options. Pricing varies depending on the number of guest in your party: under eight- $34.95 and over eight guests- $42.95. In addition to an entree, brunch includes your choice of bottomless mimosas, screwdrivers, bloody Mary’s, or all three (brunch drinks are interchangeable).

 

FOOD (1)

Anytime I see lobster added to a classic dish, I’m sold. I’ve had both the lobster eggs Benedict and the lobster mac and cheese. Essex does not skimp with the lobster either; both plates came with a healthy serving. The lobster mac was particularly delicious. I’m always skeptical of any mac that isn’t home cooked, but this one did not disappoint.

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Service (1)

I can’t sing enough praises about the service at Essex. They are extremely accommodating. Essex also is great for large groups. After waiting almost three hours for a table at another restaurant, I called Essex for a last minute table for 12. Not only did they have a table ready for us, but they also greeted us with mimosas at the door— I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

Overall Rating (1)

3 Star Rating

Three Cheers! Essex is my go-to brunch spot. Not only are the staff super kind, accommodating, and attentive, but the food is great too. If you’re looking for a great vibe, but don’t necessarily want to do a full blown party brunch, head down to LES and get a taste of Essex.

Essex brunch is every Saturday from 10 am- 4:30 and Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm.

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Woodland – NYC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

The decor is rustic with exposed brick, oak tables, and metal chairs. The basement is very clublike, with dim lighting and a dance floor while upstairs has floor to ceiling windows. In the summer there is a back patio that offers more seating.

Woodland is a staple for young, Black, millennials in the city because of its vibes. There’s a live DJ spinning hip hop, R&B, reggae and soca. Once everyone has a couple mimosas and the music is blaring, expect to see people getting out heir seats to twerk, whine, and two step. Once you’re finished eating, you can head downstairs and go into full party mode.

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MENU OPTIONS (1)

Woodland offers typical brunch plates like Steak and Eggs, Egg Frittata, and Chicken and Waffles. They also have Caribbean inspired plates like Jerk Shrimp and Grits and Ackee & Saltfish Spring Rolls. Bottomless mimosas will run you $20.

FOOD (1)

I went with fried calamari with jerk aioli to start and had chicken and waffles for my entree. The calamari was perfectly cooked and the jerk aioli took it to the next level. The fried chicken was nicely seasoned and the waffle has hints of cinnamon; a nice take on a classic. Overall the food wasn’t bad. Most party brunches’ food is lackluster, so the food being tasty was a pleasant surprise.

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Service (1)

If you’re going to Woodland, expect to stand outside for no less than 45 minutes waiting for a table, and if you get there after 1 o’clock, you probably won’t be seated. Woodland does not take reservations, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to make friends with the people in line with you. Once you make it to the door, you’ll be greeted by rude hostess with bad attitudes. If you actually get in, I will say that mimosas are truly boomless. Woodland has perfected the “boozy” part of boozy brunch.

PS: Expect to wait extremely long in line again for the bathroom. At least they’re consistent right?

Overall Rating (1)

Two Cheers

Woodlands is a great spot for brunch-beginners and those visiting New York. It’s a great spot to go for a one stop party and brunch. I recommend going during the summer, so you can fully experience Woodland!

Woodland has brunch every Saturday 12P- 5P, and Sunday 12PM – 6PM

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Pinstripes – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Decor wise, Pinstripes does not have anything too special to offer. They give very traditional restaurant feels, and have the space to accommodate a lot of larger groups. Also, there were lots of families there, probably due to the fact that there is bowling alley.

MENU OPTIONS (1)

For a person who enjoys breakfast food and does not mind buffets, Pinstripes has a lot to offer. The buffet features a waffle and omelette station, fruit and pastries, salads, flatbreads, pasta, a variety of meats and desserts. They have everything necessary to craft a filling and satisfying brunch.

FOOD (1)

I swear every single time I tell someone, “I don’t do buffets,” they respond “No this one is good, I promise.” I am not sure why people keep insisting that their buffet suggestion will be the exception, because it’s not. It was my friend’s birthday, she wanted to do a brunch buffet, so of course I went. Food quality was definitely better than most buffets, but I did not like all the random food I was forced to eat. Granted, I am a picky eater who does not enjoy breakfast food so this is probably a personal thing. My plate was filled with fruit, shrimp cocktail, Tuscan chicken pasta, and chocolate covered strawberries, which is not the best pairing with mimosas.

Service (1)

Because Pinstripes is a buffet, there is little to expect from the wait staff. The only worry our waiter had was to keep our glasses full, which he was perfect at. Sometimes, a party of six (that drinks a lot) can struggle with having a waiter that does not fill up glasses quickly enough, but that was not the case here.

Overall Rating (1)

2 Star Rating

Two cheers! Despite the fact that I did not personally love my brunch plate, I have no complaints about Pinstripes. Will I make the suggestion to go back? Probably not, I still hate buffets. Regardless, they have a variety of food, the service was great, and most importantly I left feeling good! Pinstripes makes sure that you get every penny’s worth of the $36 you pay for bottomless and the brunch buffet. To top things off, they have a bowling alley and bocce ball so you can play a game after you finish your food.

Pinstripes has Sunday buffet brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $36 with bottomless mimosas.