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Can’t Hardly Wait: Brunch @ Penelope

8 Nov


How much longer?!

Most people who really know their NYC brunch spots have probably heard of Penelope – it’s got the rep for being an excellent resto.  So why, you ask, has someone like me never been?  My only answer: the wait!  C’mon – if you’re anything like me, the fear of arriving hungry to brunch only to find a 2 hour wait for a table is just too much to bear.  But this weekend, my team of researchers and I set out on a mission to try the mythical brunch goddess that is Penelope.

My dedicated troops, Rachel and Amanda, swore they would wait with me to the death through the notorious 2 hour wait time.  We decided that with the Marathon and gorgeous weather, the odds of a shorter wait would be in our favor.  When we arrived at 12:45pm, I was told we would have a 1 hour and 15 minute wait – ok, not as bad as it could be – but imagine our surprise when at 1:05pm (after just 20 minutes!) my name was called.  It was GLORIOUS!

The place is the kind of cute you associate with Martha Stewart sets (did you see what a little gingham did for that prison cell!?) and with the reasonable $14.50 prix-fixe, there’s no white collar crime happening here.  The prix-fixe brunch items come with a complimentary Apple Cider Mimosa!!!  Tasting neither too apple-y nor heavy on the champagne (shucks), it was actually the perfect fall brunch cocktail (I thought about re-creating it later in the day, but it just wouldn’t be the same).


Being a vegetarian, I heard the FBLT (Fakin’ Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich) was great and it did not disappoint – this was a ridiculously delicious sammy.  It came with a side of fries, which were ok – a little salt went a long way.  Rach had the Nutella French Toast which was pretty small but packed a big punch of YUM.  Amanda had the Sam I Am Omelet with asparagus and feta (which was sprinkled on the top, so you really got the taste – rather than having it melted in, which can mask some of the flavor).

All in all, I’m really glad I had my first date with Penelope, and even more glad that we only had to wait 20 minutes.  BUT, I’ll go ahead and tell it straight:  Penelope, any woman that makes you hang around for 2 hours probably isn’t worth the wait at all.  So, make sure you go on a holiday weekend to avoid the hungry masses – that’s when you’ll find me back for seconds!

Brunch Deal with the “Devil” (Diablo Royale Este)

1 Nov

As an avid brunching fan, I must admit I have enjoyed many a weekend afternoon seeking out the perfect All You Can Drink (AYCD) brunch specials.  This brunch phenomenon became popular with pioneer spots such as Sunburnt Cow and its sister resto Bondi Road but is currently being perfected by restauranteurs across this great city.  Now, I’m not about to start hating here because paying $18 for AYCD and a brunch entrée at the Sunburnt Cow franchises is pretty darn great, but their food does leave something to desire.  So while the Cow is a favorite old go to, I’m def one to “make new friends but keep the old” – now on my “Gold” list is Diablo Royale (Este).

Staying true to our East Villager roots, my dear friend Aimee and I decided to give the AYCD special at Diablo (Ave A btwn 10/11th Sts) a try.  The layout of the restaurant is great with a bar at the front (perfect to start with a cocktail while waiting for your dining mates) and a big open kitchen that you pass through on your way to the spacious gothic-inspired dining area.  They start you off with Churro-inspired cinnamon+sugar pita chips.  YUM.  The menu has Mexican-inspired brunch fare (the huevos rancheros with cheesy grits on the side –WOW, must try) as well as some lunch classics (Aimee had tacos – 1 fried fish and 1 shrimp), all which can be served a la carte for around $11…. Or AYCD for only $22!  The unlimited drinks include red or white sangria as well as mimosas.  Our glasses were NEVER empty and the portions kept our bellies full!  Our waiter was so great and he even filled up our glasses for an extra 2 rounds while we chatted, even though the bill was on the table!  My only “wah-wah” would be that we were 1 of only 3 parties dining there all afternoon, although Aimee said the W. Village location is bumping….  BUT this leads me to my point – GO THERE PEOPLE!  Although, maybe I want to keep this one a secret!

Diablo Royale, serving brunch Sat/Sunday 11am-4pm (AYCD for $22) –

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