Brunch around the world

Our writer begs you to branch out with your brunch


Brunch ain’t all about hollandaise and flapjacks.

The phrase “Let’s do brunch!” certainly has a specific connotation, involving eggy dishes, mimosas and sunny service. Reading local brunch menus can be a boring exercise in repetition. But we can eat all sorts of awesome, nontraditional stuff at 10 a.m. on a Sunday that deserves similar accolades—and we can find plenty of intriguing options in Sacramento.

Think dim sum. What’s better than filling up a massive, round table with dumplings and sharing with friends? Not much.

Battling a hangover? Doesn’t a piping hot bowl of soup sound way more helpful than fried chicken and waffles? In Vietnam, pho is the preferred breakfast, and we’re lucky to have so many awesome pho spots in south Sacramento. Drive down Stockton Boulevard and take your pick.

Mexican brunch seems to be perennially popular in Sacramento restaurants. Tank House stuffs tacos with scrambled eggs. Shady Lady Saloon serves huevos rancheros. Even the ever-classy Grange offers chili verde. But in Mexico, “Mexican brunch” is less of a thing than it is here. Breakfast burrito? As American as General Tso’s chicken.

One reason you will see Mexico City locals lining up on weekends is chilaquiles, corn tortillas lightly fried and simmered in salsa, usually served with runny eggs. Lots of local restaurants serve them, but few—including Mexican spots—actually prepare them in the traditional way. For that glory, go to El Bramido Restaurant & Bar (2394 Northgate Boulevard). For general Mexican-American brunch fare, Tres Hermanas (2416 K Street) is always a good bet.

Have you considered Hawaiian brunch? Though eaten at any time of the day on the islands, loco moco makes for a prime, gut-busting option. Rice gets topped with hamburger patties, which gets topped with fried eggs, which get topped with a deep-brown gravy. At Harry’s Cafe (2026 16th Street), a no-frills brunch gem for both the traditional and nontraditional, the loco moco can be ordered with fried rice—and feed two.

Maybe seafood sounds like appropriate morning sustenance to you. Look to Bubbie’s Love Deli & Catering (7800 Sunrise Boulevard in Citrus Heights) for the best Jewish brunch around, with delicious whitefish salad along with housemade lox and pickled herring. Get ’em all on a platter, or try the delightfully light, sweet cheese blintzes. Or potato latkes. Or, if you’re a diehard Jewish food fan, matzo brei.

Yet, there’s room for much more. As far as I know, no one in Sacramento is serving shakshuka, the Israeli preparation of eggs poached in spiced tomato sauce. It’s hugely trendy nationwide right now—a brunch item to rival only avocado toast. Along the same lines, when will Sacramento get Scandinavian brunch, with boards of smoked fish and pickled delights? How about a fun take on congee in a not-Chinese restaurant? Will çılbır, the Turkish dish of poached eggs with garlicky yogurt, ever make a local appearance?

On second thought, çılbır sounds like a great vehicle for hollandaise.