Monday, April 25, 2011

the perils of eating out

(I wish I could claim that I made all of this)

(But it's the Georgia Brown's leftovers)

Knowing that mom and dad's visit coincided with the end of Lent, I scheduled a full weekend of eating out, capped off with a visit to Georgia Brown's for Easter Brunch today.  Sophie and I have been attempting to go to brunch there for over a year, I kid you not.  

Her manager first told her about the genius concept: you get all you can eat for brunch, and you get an entrée to take home.  After a birthday brunch scheduling debacle last May (we learned the hard way that this brunch thing only goes down on Sunday), I realized a month ago that I should hurry up and make reservations for Easter Sunday.  

Luckily our dinner at Acqua al 2 was early-ish Saturday, because we were due at Georgia Brown's at 10 am yesterday. Even though I mis-advised Dad on a parking spot, we still arrived before the restaurant technically opened.  I knew our reservation was early, but I didn't realize they'd still be mixing up the peach tea and firing up the chocolate fountain.  

I maneuvered around a huge group of tourists to secure one of the outdoor tables under a big umbrella, and the gluttony began.  After a quick planning session, Sophie and I decided to attack the buffet in three rounds: breakfast foods, lunch foods, and desserts.  

The food was incredible.  The "best breakfast food" award goes to the pecan syrup covered french toast, although the breakfast potatoes (my first in 40 days) get honorable mention.  I loved the jambalaya and the green beans in the lunch round.  Somewhere between breakfast and lunch, I had to order coffee to refuel.  But by the time our third round came along, I didn't have hardly any room for dessert.  I still made a good faith attempt, and put a little spoonful of peach cobbler on my plate, and added a mini carrot cake to keep the cobbler company.  Then Sophie and I played at the chocolate fountain.  I watched a guy expertly cover a speared marshmallow with a thin coat of chocolate, and tried to copy his skilled application.  We wanted to keep coating things in chocolate, but were too stuffed to justify it.  

We realized quickly that chocolate coated marshmallows were difficult to eat gracefully (and this was the kind of place where you really do want to be as well-mannered as possible, after all, jazz is floating through the windows on to the patio). I made Sophie try first, and was just getting ready to try mine when a huge commotion came from the end of the patio.  

A waiter and one of the valet guys were trying to move a patio light away from an umbrella, and one of the globes fell off of the light pole.  Unfortunately before it crashed into the sidewalk, it hit a woman in the head. Without even checking on his wife, the woman's husband pretty much lost his marbles.  

So here's the thing.  I bet it hurt.  Probably a lot.  I'm sure it was embarrassing (I mean everyone on the patio was staring).  But this guy really did go out of his way to articulate his anger.  It quickly became very awkward for all of us on the patio.  

Our table and the table next to us seemed to be in unspoken agreement that the man overreacted.  It was an accident, and fortunately the globe of the lamp was more aluminum than cast iron in nature.  The valet clearly looked completely bereft and in need of a pat on the back or a hug.  

It makes you wonder how you or your fellow brunchers would react.  I'd like to think we would have shaken it off and handled it a bit more eloquently than this couple did, but it's hard to say.  Lord knows I've had my moments with, say, Comcast. {To be discussed in the future, but I feel like the past 6 months or so of my life have been full of revealing moments like this one}

Anyways, we (and everyone else on the patio) managed to shake off the incident (and I managed to subtly eat my chocolate covered marshmallow during the commotion--score).  We took everyone's advice and took our entrée "to go."  In a moment of groupthink, we all ordered the fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  

After an afternoon of wandering Old Town Alexandria and "last call" mass in Capitol Hill, we came home to our leftovers.  I heated everything up in/on the stove, and we had a huge and delicious dinner.  Although brunch was a bit expensive, we decided that it was entirely worth it, and that next time, we'll be more deliberate and strategic to get even more out of the buffet.  

Look out Georgia Brown's, we'll be back.  Just don't seat us near those patio lights, please. 

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