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Ode to brunch

wong-jessica-52.jpg
by Jessica Wong, CBCNews.ca

I recently attended one of those raucous, close-down-the-hall wedding receptions for which I was lucky enough to have been seated at the "fun" table that was packed with friends and located in the primo spot right next to the freely flowing bar.

Though it would eventually take me two days to recover from the festivities, the one thing I did look forward to the following day was enjoying a solid brunch from a local diner. In this case, it ended up being an East End joint's Filipino breakfast of tapsilog: thin strips of fried garlic-marinated beef served alongside steamed rice, over-easy fried eggs, a small salad and a vinegar-based dipping sauce.

My love of a late-morning meal (I've never been an early riser) was probably born out of dim sum, the kind of treat my parents agreed to on weekend mornings and still a favourite. The leisurely pace of the meal and the relatively simple, familiar foods usually offered at brunch are elements I've grown to cherish.

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Stuffed French toast can be fussy at home, but it's easy when your local diner makes it for you for brunch. (Canadian Press).

It's often the meal where my friend Julie, who now lives in Manhattan, and I truly get to catch up — either when she returns to Toronto or I travel to New York. Sometimes, we're even sitting next to celebrities like Ricky Martin!

I sometimes worry I spend way too much time planning brunch while planning my overall vacations. While most people focus their plans on sights to see, looking for places to eat great meals, including fantastic brunches, tops my list.

My colleague Andree's recent post about a Halifax gem has inspired me, for instance, to figure out how soon I can squeeze in a trip to Atlantic Canada (Her image of eggs Benny with homemade hollandaise on a sweet potato biscuit will haunt me for days).

A highlight of a trip to Hawaii was a luxurious beachside brunch I had in Honolulu and if I ever get to visit Los Angeles, I already know one brunch I'd like to have: fried chicken and waffles.

Brunch is also where I celebrate birthdays: eschewing a late-night bacchanal last year, I trotted off to the backyard patio of a beloved resto-pub on the Danforth with a large table of friends. I returned with my partner and a close pal this year too.

Do you brunch? Do you consider it a habit or more of an indulgence? What's your favourite brunch spot?

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Mark

I'm a brunch lover, but a late bloomer, not having discovered the joys of sleeping later on the weekend and then rolling out the door to have a nice hearty (and occassionally greasy) meal until I hit my early 20s.

If you're ever in the east end of King St in Toronto, stop by Le Petit Dejeuner - crowds are thin before 930 or 10, but line up starts forming out the door by then. Once you've tried it, you'll now why.

Delicious and hearty breakfast crepe that will sooth the soul (and belly) of last night's hangover....best french toast ever...copious amounts of fair trade coffee....and last but not least it is worth noting that I fell in love with eggs benny here. Bon appetit!

Posted August 26, 2008 10:01 AM

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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.

About the writers

Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

Tara Kimura Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.

Andree Lau Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).

Jessica Wong Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.

Kevin Yarr Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.

Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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