Sometimes it is difficult to be a foodie and not lose some man points from time to time. I occasionally find myself choosing to attend a wine tasting instead of a bar crawl or missing out on a trip to the ball park due to a restaurant opening. Most of the time I try to blame Kat for these somewhat less than blue collar decisions in order to make sure that my man card is not revoked or suspended. With that said, there is one thing in the foodie culture that I feel gets a bad reputation for being pompous, pretentious, and damn near douche, and that is Brunch.
Shenanigans I say to every red blooded American male that scoffs at brunch as if it was high tea with a side of ballet. I have heard this argument far too many times from my blue collar brethren, and I can no longer sit in silence while the best meal of the week gets discriminated against by ill-informed scallywags that think a scone is that fancy thing on the wall that holds a light bulb.
Relax, The Blue Collar Foodie did not go soft, I am not going to have to change my website to www.thewhitecollarnancy.com. I am just trying to preach the Gospel of Brunch, as if I was Matthew, and Bacon was Jesus. That is right people, brunch equals bacon, and if you can’t get behind that type of algebra then we simply can no longer be friends. I am serious, I will wait, go to Facebook.com right now and unfriend me because if you hate swine, you can’t be a friend of mine!
If that simple equation does not change your mind about brunch, I would like to formally invite you to the advanced brunch symposium that The Twisted Elm, located at 435 River Drive in Elmwood Park, NJ, holds every Sunday from 11:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M where you will be schooled in Brunchology. Your first lesson is as follows; Twisted Brunch=Bacon + Booze! Solve for stop talking junk about brunch and get your arse to the Twisted Elm.
That is right the Twisted Elm, this food critics’ favorite Gastro Pub is serving brunch and just like everything else I have ever eaten there, they did not disappoint. First off, just for walking in the door and choosing to allow the Twisted Elm to blow your taste buds out of the back of your skull, they will give you a complimentary brunch cocktail of your choice; a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Bellini, or a Screwdriver. If a free drink is not enough to entice you to venture over to the Elm, they also will provide your table with a basket of assorted breakfast muffins complete with a berry butter that will make you want to slap your mother for serving you that bland salty stick of non-sense that you once thought was butter, but now will only refer to as “I damn well know it is not Berry Butter!”
Just in case you are not yet convinced that Brunch is as manly as eating a steak off the bone sans utensils while shooting a shotgun on a construction site from behind the wheel of a monster truck, let’s talk food! The Twisted Elm is not about to serve just any old fare to their Brunch clientele, much like the other food that is served at this establishment, they add their own twist. See what I did there? Twist… Twisted… Suffice it to say, this is not your grandma’s brunch menu. With dishes that inspire foodgasms like the Huevos Rancheros, Fried Chicken and Bacon Waffles, Irish Eggs Benedict, and Shrimp & Grits, The Twisted Elm is taking brunch to a whole new level, and I am all about it.
On my most recent visit to The Elm, Kat and I could not decide what we should get so we decided to order two items that piqued our interest, and we would share them. I decided that the Chicken and Bacon waffles needed to be in my belly, and Kat, being the pizza addict that she is, found the Sausage and Egg Brunch Pizza to be quite intriguing. While the rest of our group ordered, visions of Bacon Waffles danced in my head, and I was ecstatic. With our orders on their way, there was only one thing left to do, imbibe our brunch intoxicants and discuss our love for having an excuse to drink at 11:30 A.M. on a Sunday. Oh, and adjust our fantasy football rosters of course.
Soon our food was delivered to our table and as it arrived, I was happy that we had just got finished running the Elmwood Park Chamber of Commerce 2nd Annual 5K Run-Walk, because the first thing I noticed was that the portion sizes were amazing. I am not talking slightly larger than I was expecting, I am talking, so big that Roseanne Barr and Chris Christie would have a hard time finishing these wonderfully indulgent plates of yumminess. Within seconds, I was no longer intimated by the magnitude of my meal, but rather I was captivated by the notion that I would get to eat every last bite of the food that was being placed in front of me, because it was at that moment that the tantalizing aroma of this deviousness made its way to my olfactory senses.
I fiercely fought the urge to rip into my food with the tenacity of a caveman before everyone’s plate was in front of them, and I had taken all the necessary photos. After a well fought battle, I was able to cut a piece of chicken, stab a small section of waffles, and dip both of these magical morsels into the Blueberry agave maple syrup that is served with this dish. That forkful of food is what Willis was talking about, why Ferris Bueller really took a day off, and the only thing in this Universe that Ron Burgundy loves more than Scotch. The combination of the crispy savory skin, the tremendously moist meat, the soft baconey waffle, and the sweet syrupy goodness made my knees buckle worse than Robert Griffin III this season when any defensive player gets within 5 feet of him.
I was slightly depressed that I had made, what Kat declared as “a legally binding agreement that could potentially lead to divorce if broken” once she saw my meal. That is until I tasted her Brunch Pizza which apparently was made of anti-depressants and flavor grenades. I was worried that the eggs and sausage would not mix properly on top of a pizza crust, but my apprehension was pointless because this pie was a marriage made in foodie heaven. The fact that the sausage was breakfast style instead of Italian added the perfect amount of tanginess to subtleness of the eggs and cheese. It also helped that this astounding pizza was cooked to precision in a brick oven causing the crust to be crispy and light.
While Kat and I were demolishing our meals, our friends were busy inhaling theirs. They informed us that the Shrimp and Grits and The Irish Eggs Benedict were both worthy of a test next time around. Meanwhile, we all were very happy with our complementary cocktails that were expertly blended and, as always at the Elm, top notch.
Just to reiterate my point, brunch is not some mamby pamby meal that is only for old ladies and rich folk, at least not at the Twisted Elm that is. Their behemoth portions, fantastic cocktails, and foodie inspired dishes unite every Sunday to create the perfect pre-kickoff man date that you have been waiting for. Instead of losing a man point every time I go to Brunch, I postulate that every Sunday that you are not at the Twisted Elm for Brunch you lose 2 man points, starting now!