We’re all just hanging in there for New York’s bitter winter. Before you catch the seasonal blues, I’ve got a boozy brunch that’ll warm those numb fingers and transport you to the Caribbean. Yea, I figured you’d like that idea. Miss Lily’s sits adjacent to its brother café Melvin’s Juice Box on West Houston and Sullivan Street in SoHo and offers a $15 brunch prefix of an entrée plus unlimited cocktails for an hour. It’s totally worth it.

Courtesy of Miss Lily's
Courtesy of Miss Lily’s

The dining room is set up like a neighborhood chill spot where all the locals go for a good time. The décor is welcoming and fitting for casual dining. Multi-colored streamers hang from the ceiling making Miss Lily’s look like it’s always ready for a party. Once the cocktails start flowing that’s exactly what it becomes. Some of the hottest reggae music fills the restaurant with warm vibes from Radio Lily. (Yes, they have their own radio station, how awesome?)

Courtesy of Miss Lily's
Courtesy of Miss Lily’s

I ordered the French toast: a tower of soft brioche bricks topped off with banana foster, strawberries, and blueberries. Orgasm in your mouth! (Excuse the rated R term.) You can taste the dark rum giving this dish the island feel that we crave this time of year. I didn’t even need any syrup and secretly had an urge to lick my plate. (Don’t judge me.) If you’re more of the savory brunch type then go for the traditional Jamaican breakfast: ackee and salt fish with callaloo and festival– it would be a sin not to have this on the menu. Then indulge in your bottomless Bellini for the next hour.

New Yorkers baited by booze crowd Miss Lily’s by 1pm (brunch rush hour). Brunch is served only on weekends until 5pm so it would be wise to plan ahead, you don’t want to find yourself wishing you had made that reservation. But, you can always try your luck— wait time averages about 30 minutes and the bar is available for full dining service as well. Cheers! Yah mon!

Courtesy of Miss Lily's
Courtesy of Miss Lily’s

 

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Austin ale house Mimosa & Fruit

Queens is the most underrated borough when it comes to food.  When I talk to people about NYC, they instantly think about Brooklyn or Manhattan but I am here to drop some Queens gems on your palette. Austin’s Ale House is one of them.

Austin's Front View

My first adventure to Austin’s Ale House was extremely laid back. They had a casual dress code, was serving brunch, and they are in a location where I could find any parking near. The restaurant is big, so when you walk in you can either go towards the left to the bar and lunch area or to the right for dinner. There was also an outside patio area that I didn’t learn about until after I got home and went on the website. There were televisions with the World Cup on and a family rooting for Ecuador in the middle of the room. My father and I decided to sit in the main lunch area surrounded by dartboards, paintings, and a random lotto machine.

Austin's Interior Decor

Once we were seated, we received our menus. I chose the steak & eggs Father’s Day Brunch Special which included mini muffins, bagels, a fruit cup, and a MIMOSA. My dad ordered a cheeseburger and onion rings (a pretty simple meal, if I were him I would have ordered the most extravagant item, knowing my daughter is paying the bill).  Our waiter, Andrew, was really invested in us. He shook my dad’s hand, told him Happy Father’s Day, expressed how he wishes he could be home with his but he is working until 11pm, and told us if we need anything, “Just yell, scream, shout.” Service is important to me; my ideal waiter is timely, checking in at the right moments, and FULL OF PERSONALITY! Andrew was exactly that!

Austin's Burger & Fries

Austin's Bagels & Muffins

So we’ve talked about decor and service but what about the food? My starters of a fruit cup and bread were good enough to hold me during the wait. The steak & eggs were delicious! I had very specific orders that my steak was medium well and my eggs were scrambled well because I HATE runny eggs. Instead of using AI sauce, I used the restaurant’s own steak sauce, it was the precise balance of bold and spicy. The meat was tender and flavorful so I didn’t have to chew forever. My father said his burger was good, I’m not a burger person so I didn’t take a bite, but I did try the onion rings and loved that they actually had real onions inside instead of that fake mushy stuff.

Austin's Mimosa & Fruit

Austin's Steak & Eggs

Austin's Homemade Steak Sauce

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French toast lexington brass

How do you enjoy burnt french toast or anything really? YOU EAT AROUND IT! At least that’s what I had to do at Lexington Brass because this French toast was too good, to be bad…

I wound up at this quaint location ready for mimosas, pretty good service and a some pretty great dishes. The downside here was that they don’t have Mimosas. Wait, what? I’m sure they could have made one but they only talk cocktails.

So I opted for this drink with a name I can’t recall which was later replaced by the strawberry sour. Like the total baby sitter I am, I dreamt of guzzling champagne and orange juice as I sipped slowly from these sweet sweet drinks.IMG_3092IMG_3101

Our waiter was a complete doll, very accommodating but not overbearing unlike the eyes next to us who just couldn’t wait for us to look away so they could keep staring. Creeps. I decided on the French toast that was covered in oranges and grapefruit. Should have known something was up because I’ve never had grapefruit over my brioche. Just kidding, that’s not reason to second guess this so I bit right into this amaz- WAIT IS THIS “somewhat” BURNT?

Lexington Brass French ToastAnd it was, so I sent it back. They brought me a new dish that was just as yummy and still burned. I’m talking charred all over the place, did they mean for it to be like this? I felt bad already that I had to send it back. So I did what any person would do when their friend is done eating and they’re feeling bad about the burnt French toast of their some kind of food blogger friend is pouting about, I ate it. Well I ate around it the best I could, it really did have some potential though. The citrus soaking into the bread was really tantalizing my taste buds but the roof was on fire char was too much to bear and it had to stop. Chicken and waffles here are a go though so maybe you can opt for that. If all else fails and you really want that toast, do it! But tell them first that you like it medium and not well done.

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Matilda tiramisu

Like I said last week, I need to pay the East Village more visits because the gems are tucked away here. Matilda being one of them, and was extremely intrigued by it. The decor alone is adorable, clean and fresh. The details in this space are just too warming to keep away from, with art by Matilda herself on the walls. What I really appreciated were the words on the walls that are made of tiles, someone clearly took their time to create this restaurant and they did it well.

Matilda

They also keep the dessert menu on the table, in a slot carved in to hold it. Very different and impressive.

Matilda setting

Matilda mimosa

Obviously, they also took their time with the Tuscan and Mexican influenced menu as well. I, as usual, was overwhelmed by the enticing menu and couldn’t decide for a while. Luckily, they graced my table with their authentic guacamole paired with nachos and croutons. Just by looking at it, I knew this was made freshly by hand and it was completely amazing. It had a strong basil flavor and the chips were the perfect addition. I had them leave this at my table well after dessert because it was just that delicious.

Matilda Guacamole

Unfortunately, we did have to part because it was time for the French toast, which I was extremely excited to try. My mimosa was already in hand, taste buds already singing and my appetite was waiting. And well, it was worth the wait. French toast served with mascarpone is always a treat for me and strawberries always make everything better so heaven was served on a platter, just for me! I also ordered some of the crispest, fluffiest bacon I have ever tried in my life. It was truly fried to perfection and by now, I want to eat here everyday. Was there even room for dessert?

Matilda French toast

Matilda French Toast

Matilda Bacon

There’s always room so I tried the tiramisu and the churros, which they really pride themselves on. I was sticking to the tiramisu for the most part and it was great. This was all done as I was sipping on their version of a Mimosa, the Matilda.

Matilda tiramisu

Matilda Churros

I actually also got a chance to meet Matilda and I thought that it was the sweetest touch that she’s on the voicemail at the restaurant as well! I really appreciated my brunch here and I can’t wait to go back and create something for Food Before Love.

Matilda Pizza

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almond french toast sotto cinque

Back in December, my good friend over at Justice Sweets was celebrating the anniversary of the company, so we went to brunch. I’ll make this quick and painless, we BOTH enjoyed the Almond Crusted French Toast with mascarpone and maple syrup at Sotto Cinque.

almond french toast sotto cinque

Sotto Cinque is on the Upper East Side and it’s barely noticeable considering it’s so close to 1st avenue but being from around the way, I’ve been meaning to go. And for the $3 Mimosas they have, I was glad I went for this celebration! Can you tell?

mimosaholic
I am a huge Mascarpone person, like seriously. Throw it on anything and I’m in, this stuff is better than Nutella. The almonds, in addition to this perfectly made toast, were all a girl could ask for but it just might leave you hungry. Either that, or it was just so good that we wanted more. Nonetheless, it’s the best French toast you’ll find uptown (until further notice).

Martine of justice sweets & Cass of foodbeforelove

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Lobster macaroni and cheese - Poco

A great brunch does not compromise. For me, a great brunch is good music, great service, amazingly delicious food and an abundance of drinks. It would only be a plus if the people in attendance were fun, wonderful beings but I’m not there for that. Don’t compromise my brunch Poco.

I went to the popular Poco a few weeks ago and I truly underestimated how popular they were because it was an hour wait. I really have to get back into the habit of making reservations. Nonetheless, once we were seated, I was handed one of those menus that just makes you want to have everything. I opted for the lobster mac and cheese considering that’s what they’re really known for and of course, the waitress started to bring out the Sangria.

 Sangria - Poco

They offer white and red sangria here which I wound up mixing. This place is known or being a boozy brunch, all the way, through and through. The music is really good and the place remained packed the entire time. Everyone was carrying wine, mimosas, or sangrias and singing along to the G-UNIT records that were blasting from the speakers.

 I just kept drinking….

Red and White Sangria - Poco

Once my food arrived, I was surprised to find these huge lobster chunks in my dish. If you’re going to offer something on a menu, don’t be stingy about it and they aren’t! However, and I’m no mac and cheese guru, the dish just wasn’t for me. I found it to be too cheesy, almost like soup and the consistency wasn’t peaking my interest. I would return to Poco though for something else on the menu because there were other options that looked great and their drinks were really good too. Make a reservation if you plan to check it out yourself.

Lobster macaroni and cheese - Poco

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