Nothing Middling About The Meridian Room Brunch

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Saturday night ended with a glass of "buttershops," the beverage I make when things look really, really dire on the home bar front. It's brandy and butterscotch liquer, and generally by the time I get around to making it, "buttershops" is about all I can verbally muster. But we'd been out celebrating the return of Club Dada to Deep Ellum, and the party couldn't, wouldn't, didn't stop. So, buttershops it was -- a sweet way to end the evening, and Sunday morning came with snowfall.

The buttershops hangover necessitated big, greasy brunch, but the snowfall necessitated not plowing into wet, slippery sidewalks in the car. Exposition Park was just about as far out of Deep Ellum as I was willing to drive, so the Man O' The Hour and I crept over to toasty neighborhood staple The Meridian Room. At 1 p.m. there was no wait for a table, and we had two garden-fresh Bloody Marys in front of us in no time.

The fact that the Meridian Room is a fantastic place to eat and drink should surprise no one. It's been a magnet for hungry, thirsty hipsters for a decade, though the quality of the fare has come to attract even the squarest of Dallasites, especially on half-price food Wednesdays. Though if you ask me -- and by reading this, you are asking me, and now's the time to come to grips with that -- Sunday is the day to beat at the Meridian Room.

The Man O' The Hour and I had fresh, inventive Bloody Marys and plates piled high with rich, flavorful hangover cures. If we hadn't had very important things to do, like playing several hours of Wii Tennis, we could have sat and sipped show-stopping Bloodys all afternoon long. Though significantly different than the present best Bloody Mary in town, available at Oak Cliff barbecue joint Smoke, the Meridian Room Bloody Mary is easily a contender for the crown.

Bloody Marys tend to have a significant pickle element -- okra, green beans, jalapeño, what-have-you -- which is fantastic and delicious, but sour garnishes aren't the only way to dress a drink. The Meridian Room includes both a standard healthy celery stalk with their beverages and a green onion. A tall, tangy green onion. A green onion that makes the drink look like, in the words of the MOTH, an "overgrown prehistoric forest in a glass." The onion added unique bite to an otherwise standard, but delicious, drink.

Off the small but mighty brunch menu, I ordered Cajun Eggs Benedict and the MOTH went for a tall stack of gingerbread pancakes. I should have asked exactly what made my dish Cajun, because while the eggs were perfectly poached atop hearty, hot breakfast sausage, they were topped with crawfish, which I am afraid of. I don't want to talk about why, I just want you to take me at my word. I'm scared of them. Even when they are chopped up and seasoned and sauteed. I want no part of them. But they were easily enough pushed aside, and really nothing could ruin the Hollandaise sauce, which tasted as if it had been lovingly crafted out of first kisses, hilarious Internet cat videos and freedom. By far the best Hollandaise I've ever had. No contest.

MOTH loved his gingerbread pancakes, "huge but not too heavy," which came with sliced banana and several gallons of maple syrup and butter. I snuck a few bites, even though I dislike sweets, and found them irresistible. They were supple and spicy, leagues better than typical bready, bland pancakes.

I was practically bubbling with cheer by the time we finished because I'd enjoyed the meal so thoroughly. As we signed our (cheap!) checks, the Looking Glass classic "Brandy" played over the restaurant speakers, which was a fine finishing touch on a unique, thoughtfully prepared brunch.

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