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Monday, May 28, 2012

A Break from the Kitchen: Brunch at the Ritz Carlton

by Mango

Panda had read about the brunch served at the Ritz Carlton Cafe, and we figured it would be neat to put on our fancy pants and eat at a fancy pants place. So we gathered together a few good friends, and worked out an eating strategy in advance. The buffet hours were 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM. Needless to say, we were there from start to finish. The Cafe itself was of course, pretty fancy. Perfect plate settings. Perfectly aligned silver chafers. Perfect presentation.

The actual brunch items - eggs benedict, waffles, made-to-order omelettes, bacon, sausage etc - were rather underwhelming. The lunch items on the other hand, were outstanding. Especially the lobster mac and cheese. Chunks of sweet lobster meat and peas amongst cheesy macaroni. We didn't get a good picture of it because we were too distracted by its deliciousness. I think there's a little bit visible in the upper right corner of the plate.

Other items worth mentioning: mushroom gnocci, fried oysters, and strawberry tomato gazpacho. There was also a traditional carving station that offered lamb and pork. And a seafood station that had succulent crab legs and raw oysters - this was my favorite part of the buffet. Clearly, there was a lot to choose from. So our strategy was essentially, Eat. Rest. Repeat. And I'd say it worked, because we even had room for dessert. The presentation was of course, fantastic.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite measure up in taste. The banana pudding (isn't that little jar just precious?!) was good, and possibly my favorite out of whatever I sampled. Panda concurs.

I'm not sure how it's possible, but after dessert, we sampled a plate of cookies (Panda said the cookies were decent. I had no more room in my belly). We ended the meal with a nice cup of tea.

Overall, the experience was good. Most of the food items were just okay, but the service and atmosphere are excellent. It's all very perfect and fancy (I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to leave a booger somewhere) but fancy can be good once in a while. And if you're with the right company, it can be a blast. Maybe it's something we'll do once a year.

Panda: That was all pretty good.
Mango: What was your favorite?
Panda: Definitely the lobster mac and cheese.
Mango: What are you getting for the second round?
Panda: I was thinking about getting an entire plate of mac and cheese, actually.

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