Craft & Commerce
Feeling like it'll take wizardry to kick your ass into gear on a weekend morning? Head on down to Little Italy's most buzzing enclave, where magical cocktails like the London Chai await. A take on New Orleans' classic Ramos Gin Fizz, loose-leaf tea steeps in Plymouth Gin before it's shaken with sugar, lemon juice and egg white for a drink that's dangerously akin to a creamy, chilled latté. If tea's not your bag, opt for the Stumptown Swizzle: Organic, direct-trade coffee is cold brewed—an overnight process that results in a less-acidic beverage—combined with house-made coconut syrup and white rum and served over dense ice cubes. There's a bevy of fresh-fruit-juice and champagne-cocktail options, including several served in punch bowls for parties.
Executive chef Craig Jimenez reinvents dinner-time dishes to fit the breakfast bill. The duck makes its way to a cassoulet preparation, mingling with creamy white beans and a runny fried egg, richening a dish that's already "lacquered" with decadent slices of foie gras. The downright addictive jalapeño biscuit comes glazed with peach preserves, served open-faced with black forest ham, a tender lamb patty,poached egg and spicy cheese fondue.
Sit at the bar and take in cocktail-making performance art while eating food that's equally impressive. Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 675 W. Beech St. in Little Italy, craft-commerce.com
The Tractor Room
The covered "front porch," netted in from ravenous flies, is a dandy hangout to enjoy these. For the severely hung-over, the dark dining room beckons and a seat at the wrap-around bar grants easier access to much-needed weekend medicine. "Honest cocktails" translates to "stiff as hell," and executive chef Andy Beardslee's menu is crafted to soak it up with Paul Bunyan-sized portions like the Sage Fried Chicken Benedict. While a far cry from the classic, poached-egg dish, it's a best-seller, and enough for two to plow through. Biscuits are topped with spinach and tomatoes, followed by crispy chicken, thick-cut bacon and scrambled eggs. A pancake-sized layer of fried mozzarella cheese smothers the skillet of grub, with a chipotle cream saucing it all.
Depending on your state, skip or crawl to the front of the line by making a reservation, and prepare to have a blast with the fun wait staff that's made The Tractor Room a favorite among industry types. Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 3687 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest, thetractorroom.com
Everything is made from scratch with the same farm-fresh mentality as the specialty drinks, from the favorite lamb sausage that packs a skillet-baked omelet to the fresh-baked bread on the side. Shrimp corn Cakes consist of pillowy taters full of sweet kernels and chunks of succulent shrimp, each with a poached egg on top, all on a bed of earthy, cilantro cream sauce. The presentation and flavors are elegant; micro herbs or edible flowers finish off a dish that'll satiate your exotic cravings. Brunch hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and to 4 p.m. weekends. 750 Fifth Ave., Downtown, cafe-21.com