I’m not going to give you a weird, recycled backlash piece about newly hip brunch places. I’m not here to slander eggs, bacon and booze in the morning, or to otherwise deprive you of an opportunity to enjoy those with friends.
But I’m going to suggest there’s a better way.
Let’s consider the ideal brunch. Let’s assume you go to a good place that isn’t too crowded or trendy or expensive. It’s a good one, one that serves cheap drinks and good food done well, and includes at least one real highlight. Maybe it’s bottomless mimosas. Maybe it’s a heaping huevos rancheros plate that costs $7 and comes with chips and salsa. Whatever it is, it’s perfect and it’s yours.
That’s good. Really. Go whenever. But as far as “brunch” goes — that institution of friends, plans, and mandatory fun time — it’s worth considering that this expenditure of money, calories and effort would be better spent elsewhere.
Problem One: Schematics.
The first problem with brunch is how difficult it can be to put together. If you plan it in advance, you’re going to have to believe, firmly, that you and all your friends are capable of forethought for Sunday as practiced on a Saturday night. That’s a flimsy hope, and it only gets worse if you make the plan as you’re drinking. Everyone is going to say yes — of course, it’s brunch — but in the morning, between texts, double-texts and hangovers, your plan is going to unravel faster than this sentence can trail off without a good metaphor.
In short, the inherent problem with brunch is that it requires planning, forethought and organization and the idea of a free and open weekend fights equally against those concepts. What if you go home with somebody? What if you got late-night pizza and your stomach isn’t ready for stuffed french toast the next morning? A brunch plan punishes freedom, even as it promises to celebrate it.
Problem Two: Timing
Let’s say you’re aiming to have brunch at 12:30 for four people. Seems easy, right?
Here’s the central problem with timing brunches. Everyone has a different schedule for hangovers, weekend mornings, or even lack of hangovers. To have brunch at 12:30, you need to wake up at 11:30, minimum, to get showered, dressed, and there. Don’t forget that hungover you moves slower, after all- you need that full hour.
11:30 doesn’t sound that hard as a wake up. And it isn’t. But would you guarantee it? Maybe you move the brunch half an hour back. You can wake up at noon, right? Of course you can.
But what happens if you wake up early?
When I’m hungover, I sometimes get up around 10:00, parched throat, and I can’t quite flop back to sleep. So if that’s you, what do you do when you have a scheduled 1:00 appointment? Three hours is a long time to flop around, waiting for food. But your friends are sleeping! That’s the Sunday quandary: everyone wakes up at different times, with different needs, but a plan needs to balance them all.
But let’s say that all works out. You wake up at 11:30, not too hungover, not over-stuffed from late night food, and your stomach is friendly. Same with all your friends. You have a great brunch. Drinks, food, sharing plates, instagram highlights. It’s awesome. And then, at 2:30, you head home.
And what do you do?
Okay, maybe you don’t nap. Maybe you’re a stronger person than me. But, at least in my world, if you have delicious, filling food and a drink or two in the hazy afternoon, you’re going to be tired and unproductive. Even if you don’t nap, you’re going to have some post-brunch fatigue. And in my experience, that fugue settles on you like a gauze until at close to four in the afternoon.
Proposed Solution: Replace Brunch With Dinner.
Think about it. With an evening plan replacing a morning one, your Saturday night becomes that much freer. You can do what you want and recover as you need. You can stay over at a new place, or eat at 10:07 when you wake up too hungover, or you can just oversleep hard, whatever! Without a brunch to shackle you, you’re free.
Of course, brunch is still great. It’s awesome food, awesome people, and a great way to wrap up the week. So push it back to where you can’t miss it, where it’s slightly more appropriate on your stomach, post drinking, to ball out as hard as you’d like. Dinner can wait until 7:00 and it’s hard — not impossible, but hard — to screw that timing up. This means you can take time in the morning and recover from the night before as you see fit. You can have eggs immediately, knowing you’re not spoiling your appetite, or you can fall back asleep, not worrying about missing a brunch appointment. Unshackle yourself from early plans! Take back your Sunday mornings. And, when you get too bloated and tipsy from Sunday dinner, you can get ready for bed. Sunday night is the toughest to fall asleep, because you’re still affected from the weekend schedule. Why not conk out early from friends, friend food, and cocktails? Because now instead of taking a blurry nap that eats up your day, you can get to sleep early.
How nice does that sound?
So the next time you’re out with friends, and someone proposes brunch the next day, take charge. Push it back — way back — to dinner.