Article: Menu Insights -- June 2008
Brunch O'ClockEating brunch is an American tradition that many families love. In recent years, brunch has expanded from an eggs, meat and potato meal to something much grander. The meal’s dishes can range from multi-ethnic cuisines to dishes that incorporate ingredients outside the realm of normal breakfast menus. This amalgamation of ingredients and dining types presents an authentic and unique experience for diners at the brunch table. Going to brunch gives diners an opportunity to get out of the house and share a meal with friends and family. In addition, it lets people take a chunk of the day to relax and enjoy food with friendly company.
Not only does the brunch opportunity free up a time that may otherwise be occupied, it is typically offered at a later time of day. Without needing to rise at the crack of dawn, diners can still catch breakfast later in the morning or mid-day. Those with a more demanding schedule can have lunch and move on with their plans, while those planning a lazy Sunday can do just that.
Egg dishes on brunch menus can range from sweet to savory to traditional American to multi-ethnic. Eggs Benedict, a classic brunch or breakfast menu item, can be creatively altered from its original serving preparation. It can have elements added to it, or be used as a base for many different brunch innovations. From smoked salmon Benedict to chorizo Benedict to crab cakes Benedict, Mintel Menu Insights has seen a great sampling of what can really be done with this classic dish.
Aside from the basic ingredients--egg, Canadian bacon and an English muffin--being altered or elaborated upon for Eggs Benedict, the hollandaise sauce can be switched around, too. Typically, hollandaise is an emulsion of butter, lemon juice and egg yolk, but other flavors can be added to provide spice or sweetness, depending on the desired effect.
Upstream, of Charlotte, N.C., serves Upstream Eggs Benedict with jumbo crab cakes, pancetta and watercress. Another diversion from traditional Eggs Benedict comes from First Watch, of Sarasota, Fla. Its coastal-inspired version (Eggs Benedict--Our Way!) combines poached eggs atop an English muffin served with a choice of ham, tomatoes, smoked turkey, avocado or fresh spinach.
Life's a PeachGeorgia peaches, white peaches, Saturn peaches--the peach is a sweet and juicy, fuzzy yet tender fruit that epitomizes refreshment--morning, noon or night. Peaches appear on all menus from breakfast to brunch, lunch, dinner and beverages. Whether a peach Bellini, a peach cobbler or peach pancakes, the fruit adds an undeniable sweetness to the meal. The flavorful and refreshing pairing of sweet or dry Champagne with pureed peaches serves as a compliment to many menu offerings for midday gatherings or brunches.
Maggiano’s, of Chicago, serves a frozen peach bellini that blends Bacardi Limon, DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps and sparkling wine. Chaya, of Los Angeles, serves a Bellini with Laurent-Perrier Champagne, orange peach puree and peach schnapps with fresh peach slices.
Peaches also appear on food menus. Hot Chocolate, of Chicago, serves Peach “Melba,” its twist on the classic, with tree-ripened peaches and its own brioche bread pudding, raspberry cream caramel and raspberry sorbet.