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Food Porn Friday: The Brunch Question

The namesake benedict at Cafe Atchafalaya is good enough to quell deep-seeded rage and loathing.

When it comes to brunch, I am deeply conflicted.

On one hand, having worked in a busy New York restaurant for brunch service every weekend (three-day weekends, when there was a holiday) for the better part of four years, I f%$#king hate brunch. It is a visceral, full-bodied, deep-seeded hatred sauced with a piquant reduction of pure disgust. I hate the idea of brunch; its reason for existing is that miserable people who want to nurse their hangovers can't be trusted to decide whether they want a cheeseburger or a Denver omelet. Then there's the fast turnover, the crying children who upset all the sugar caddies and smear ketchup on the walls, the boors who revel in the idea that it's perfectly acceptable to be obnoxiously hammered on screwdrivers at noon on a Sunday, because, well ... BRUNCH.

I'm not an awful person, I promise. I just worked that shift for too long, and now I have brunch PTSD and the thousand-yard stare of a battle-fatigued grunt who spent one tour too many in the trenches.

On the other hand, I love brunch food. I love the cheeseburger and the Denver omelet.  Brunch is generally the only time I see hollandaise sauce, and I adore hollandaise sauce. I love buttermilk biscuits and grits and dipping thick-cut bacon into maple syrup.  And I love eggs. I love them poached, scrambled, sunny-side up, in tortillas with queso blanco and salsa verde, or topping a bowl of spicy, Texas-style chili. Give me a runny yolk and some good toast to sop it off the plate, and you've won my heart.  I'm easy like that.

So, when I begrudgingly went to Cafe Atchafalaya in the Irish Channel to see my brother and his jazz trio play for the hungry, hungover masses on a recent Sunday morning, I figured I'd have to suffer through yet another brunch. And then my meal came -- a Benedict variation featuring jumbo lump crabmeat over poached eggs and fried green tomatoes -- and all was suddenly right with the world. The bloody mary didn't hurt, either.

Like I said: I'm conflicted.

And you?  Where do you find yourself on the brunch divide?

Native New Orleans food writer Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore and a blog by the same name, has written for GourmetEdible BrooklynThe Faster Times, and other publications. His Food Porn Friday column for NolaVie offers a weekly mouth-watering photo designed to start culinary conversations in the Big Easy. Catch his weekly food column for The Advocate here.


Native New Orleans food writer Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, has written for Gourmet, The New Orleans Advocate, Gambit, ThrillistEdible Brooklyn, Tasting Table, The Faster Times, and other publications. His Food Porn Friday column for NolaVie offers a weekly mouth-watering photo essay designed to start culinary conversations in the Big Easy. Find him on Twitter @scottgold.