What are your feelings on brunch? Does it make you sad to have missed breakfast? Do you love its inherent implication of sleeping in? Do you resent the combination of two words, because it reminds you too much of Brangelina, and you wish those two crazy kids would just get married, already? For me, brunch is an excuse to cut out an entire meal’s calories and double stack them into one meal – I like the mental math of getting twice the caloric allowance in one sitting, and crave the idea of savory breakfast items somehow augmented and made more decadent because I won’t be eating lunch that day.
As it turns out, though, brunch is not a prevalent thing in Upstate New York. Here in Binghamton, you have Tranquil and Traditions at the Glen to choose from for Sunday brunch options, and neither really sets my hair on fire. I know people ‘round these parts love Tranquil, but Melinda and I stopped in there for brunch last summer, and I downright disliked my food. Moreover, the neighborhood is dangerous, the place is loud, and the menu is very limited. Traditions is a mixed bag – I’ve been there when it was great, and when the food quality and quantity were low. The brunch there is a buffet, so if the staff isn’t filling up the steam trays with fresh food, the whole affair goes downhill rather quickly.
Back in November, my little pageant family and I were in Syracuse for the Miss America Homecoming festivities, and needed a good brunch spot to hit up before the final Sunday show. As it turns out, Salt City is another town hungry for brunch spots. The blues brunch at Empire Brewing Company was suggested to me, but my parents and I like to be able to chat over a meal, and indoor live music never seems to be conducive to that, for me. So we hit up Nestico’s Too, on Genesee St. Nestico’s isn’t serving brunch, per se, but the breakfast crowd here was fabulous. We had to wait 20 minutes for a table – for breakfast! You can get breakfast all day here, too, which is nice. Brunch can really be when you like it, not when The Man tells you to eat it.
I’m not going to go on and on endlessly about the food, because everything we had was really good, but not, like, redefining what it means to be bacon and eggs or anything. There are some inventive dishes on the menu, like create-your-own waffles, a pepperoni-laced frittata, and my choice, the Country Eggs Benedict, featuring de rigeur poached eggs teetering atop a nest of corned beef hash and English muffins, blanketed in sausage gravy and freshened up with diced tomato. I loved that they added that sprinkle of diced tomato, because this dish could have been a total gut bomb, but that little hint of acidity and brightness cut through the thick, creamy gravy, salty hash, and rich egg yolk in the perfect way to bring balance. It was decadent, not overly heavy. Well done!
As we continue to have pageant events in Syracuse, I think we’ll be back to Nestico’s. The service was chipper and cheerful, despite the teeming crowds of people clamoring to be fed. It was cute and casual in there, and though a little out of the way from the places we’re usually frequenting in The Cuse, I would consider it worth the drive. If you have a favorite breakfast or brunch spot in Syracuse, please do educate us in the comment section, below. I’m eager for more options, though I’d happily pay a return trip here for a veggie-packed frittata or one of the cinnamon rolls, which looked fantastic.
I’m off for a very exciting mini-break this weekend, to Mount Pleasant and Charleston, SC for the Lowcountry Oyster Festival and to see my two best girlfriends from college, Katie and Robin! We’re eating at my Charleston fave, Husk, plus some good Southern seafood shacks in Isle of Palms, plus Katie and Robin will be guest-blogging the festival here in the coming weeks. So get ready for a delicious dispatch from the Southland. I’m just excited to escape this frozen tundra for a little sun, a lot of shellfish, and some zany fun with my girls. My personality is big; my hunger is bigger!