Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Brunch may be my favorite weekend activity

Especially when it means I can catch up with good friends! In the Boston area I have an endless list of brunch locations to try out so I attempt to try out new places before I go back for seconds at a place I've already been. It's hard to turn down a visit to The Friendly Toast (Cambridge) though. I went back two weekends ago and introduced it to a friend who hadn't been there before - I'm always happy to share my favorite restaurants with others! We discovered their sweet potato fries - and I highly recommend them if you take a trip there. This time around I chose the pumpkin pancakes, which came with raisinettes and homemade whip cream on top. Their pancakes are huge so I only order one. My friend got the "basic breakfast," which comes with 2 eggs any style, homemade toast and home fries, opting for their cinnamon raisin bread. No matter what you like for breakfast you can find something special to treat yourself here. I should also say that the table next to us ordered the waffle with the caramelized pecans and bananas and it looked delicious!

439 Tremont Street, South End
Straying away from here, another friend and I finally tried out Masa's Sunday brunch in the South End. Masa is right on Tremont St and after having a nice happy hour there a couple years ago I've been meaning to get there for their brunch. I should note that on Saturday's they have probably the best brunch deal in town - $7.95 for 2 courses and unlimited coffee. They used to have this deal earlier on Sunday but that deal is no more. Even still, the prices are reasonable for city brunch. This is the first brunch in a while that I've been to that they served a nice little breakfast breads basket at the table when we sat down, with three homemade jams and butters. After seeing a lot of people around us order the breakfast burrito I had to choose that - "the ultimate breakfast burrito served with black beans and rice: a soft flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, spring vegetables, monterey cheese, chorizo and southwest home fries." My friend, also interested in the breakfast burrito, ended up settling on the Eggs Benedict - "SantaFe style eggs benedict atop southwestern biscuits, avocado, green chile hollandaise and southwest home fries." She was also smart enough to start out with their Latin Bellini - champagne, mango puree and guava puree. Sounds perfect. I stuck with coffee - and they were happy to bring me milk instead of cream. They also have a selection of breakfast tapas that seemed unique and interesting -  granola with tropical fruit, breakfast tacos, caramelized plantain empanadas.

I think we both enjoyed our dishes - though I should note that if you don't like spicy foods you should be careful what you order. Their salsa definitely has a kick. I was also surprised to find that the burrito has the beans, rice and salsa on the outside rather than on the inside. The home fries were also surprisingly on the inside. Not exactly what I was expecting, but still tasty! I was glad to see that the portion was not over the top - but not small either - just right. I think we decided that the homemade jams they served with the breads were a mango jam, raspberry and then a sort of cinnamon creamy butter of some sort - all very flavorful. I think the raspberry was both of our favorites.
I have also always loved the decor in Masa. I think it might be the chandeliers hanging throughout the restaurant. The other big plus to this brunch locale is that they ... take reservations!!! Yes, you read that correctly. We made a 10:30am reservation and arrived to find that the place was still pretty empty, but it filled up pretty quickly. I think the service was also good - consistently refilling our waters and my coffee. All in all, I would return and I think I'd like to try the nut crusted french toast next time.

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