Sunday, January 20, 2008

brunchgang x: out in the cold again - sabrina's cafe and spencer's too, 11 a.m., sun., jan. 20

Sabrina's Café and Spencer's Too, 1804 Callowhill St.
In a chilling reprise of brunchgang ii, we found ourselves out in the cold waiting to be seated (somewhat) together.
Ready go!

Jon Solomon
DJ Pancake
Julia Factorial
M.J. Fine
Upma Singh
Ed Hogarty
Betsy (bh1) Herbert
Carolyn Huckabay
Brian (bh2) Howard


brian g howard said...

Over at table dos, Carolyn and I split — let me see if i can get this right — the whole grain cornmeal whole wheat pecan pancakes topped with cake topping and berries. Carolyn and I each got a (rather sizable) side of turkey bacon. I also got a side of home fries.

After warming up (following an interminable wait outside), the coffee was good and strong even if the waitress was initially brusque (she also eventually warmed up).

The pancakes, which Betsy understandably feared might be too grainy, were quite good (and disappeared more quickly than I expected). The berries made the 'cakes a bit tart — adding syrup leftover from Betsy's and Upma's pancakes was a nice touch, though we didn't think of doing this till the last few bites.

Each side of turkey bacon was four large slabs. The potatoes were served in a very deep bowl, and ultimately too much, even for a guy who was splitting an entree. I'm a tad disappointed that, after eyeing the hot sauce throughout the ordering process, I forgot to actually use it on my potatoes.

I'm also a little dismayed at the inability of Sabrina's north to deal with large parties. This is the second time I've been there as part of a group larger than 8 and it's the second time the experience has been a clusterfuck that ended with the group being split. I suppose them's the breaks when you try to brunch en masse at tiny nooks, but, y'know, it seems like there's got to be a better way.

Anyway, perhaps for ensuing brunchgangs, we need to start looking to less conventional destinations. Cuz, y'know, we'd like to actually get to talk to Jon and Nicole and Julia and M.J. next time. There was discussion on the ride home of doing the Bensalem Indian place for brunchgang xi. I'd also like to reintroduce the possibility of a tangential dïmsümgäng.

Okay, I didn't realize I had so much to say about my brunch today.

brian g howard said...

I should also add that the host should be commended for suggesting that we split up into two back-to-back tables, thus rescuing Ed and I from the cold and certain death.

Jon Solomon said...

First things first:

Somehow we forgot to honor the anniversary of the very first brunchgang during today's gathering. Happy birthday to us! We are great.


Tired of tofu scrambles, I initially leaned in the direction of the veggie burger, but when I found out Sabrina's did not make it themselves, I became less interested.

Opted for the fakey meat "cheesesteak" that came with some fresh-cut over-peppered slaw and an ample side of sweet potato fries. The fries were sprinkled with powdered sugar, and despite my best efforts to drown the white dusting out with ketchup and hot sauce, it was still there.

The sandwich was small but very nice, especially when I bit into melted cheese and a crispy slice of hot pepper simultaneously, but my favorite item on our table was Nicole's roasted potatoes.

My iced coffee had a slice of lemon in it. Julia was convinced it would be iced tea, but it was not.

Did anyone try the polenta fries?


Shout out to Keith and Diva, my two favorite members of the greater Philadelphia area's wait staff.


Sorry I missed the conversations at table dos about recent dreams. We spent our time at table don'ts talking about Julia's party and married couples who met on the Internet.


I have the facts and I am voting brunch.

Jon Solomon said...

Two! More! Things!

When Diva brought us our food, she pronounced challah without the silent c. The "which table does this entree belong to?" game is one I did not tire of.

Brunchgang headshots from outside Sabrina's are up now on Flickr.

brian g howard said...

happy birthday brunchgang!

Betsy said...

What was strange and definitely as surreal as the dreams we would discuss later, was that Ed and I arrived early. Early. So, after putting our name in for a party of 10 -- with people packed 4 deep around the hostess stand and the foyer and the hostess rolling her eyes at me -- we found out that Nicole had already done the Sabrina's call ahead. When I went back in to tell the hostess that, she became my friend. When I went back in to tell her that we were almost all there, she told me that she would begin to "start the process in motion" and asked me if I didn't feel good because "the wheels were turning". I said yes, but I didn't feel anything, because we were all waiting outside in the 25 degrees. (I think because we had too many big coats to go inside). After promises of a big ten-top, broken promises, vows to break up the table and bursts of ten-top hope, we were finally seated close together...but separate. Ugh. Not the same, not the same. I don't know how the lovely DON'Ters are DOing, except for that they feel cold when standing outside in the very cold. Only Upma and Ed had on shoes fit for the weather. She seemed so wise on the shoe tip, that I followed Upma's lead and ordered buttermilk pancakes with bananas and a side of bacon. Excellent choice. I will watch her closely and see what she does next.

Ed said...

Brunchgang tip: Dress for Success. I had a parka on, which was certainly helpful, but some long johns and wool socks sure would have been nice. When the hostess says she's going to start getting your table together, and 45 minutes later you're still waiting in the vestibule, it's annoying but understandable. All part of the game. But if you spend those 45 minutes standing outside in 16 degree F weather, that's life or death. Good thing the food was tasty.

DJ Pancake said...

Though our party was split, I did get to experience my favorite sort of brunch community building... the sweet-savory alliance. Thanks to Julia Factorial, the deal took all of two seconds to hammer out, and we were shortly rewarded with a combo capable of ending strife the world over... primarily because all parties involved would be so full. This diplomatic meal consisted of the Stuffed French Toast and the Barking Chihuahua Breakfast Burrito. Both were totally good, but I concur that the potatoes were the stand-out. When I'm promised bananas with my breakfast item, I want to see them, not have to excavate pulverized remnants.

All in all, I was thrilled to be back with the gang and look forward to another year!

Jon Solomon said...

Have we already forgotten the Skim Milk Emergency?

grrrlcheez said...

Since I was not dressed appropriately for the weather, all I could think about once we were seated was soup. But there wasn't a soup of the day, and certainly not a vegetarian soup.

So I got an avocado and mandarin orange salad, with tofu. It wasn't bad, but at $14 for more food than I could have possibly eaten, it was too much in every way. Half the salad at half the price would have been twice as good.

Also strange was that the radically vertical pile of greens contained just one forkful of avocado, which got top billing in the name. Skimping on avocado is not cool.

All that food meant I didn't have to pick up dinner, but the leftovers weren't so great. The tofu -- fried in cinnamon? -- was particularly soggy.

I was, however, most amused by the procession of bacon:

"No bacon here."

"All the bacon's for the other table."

"Turkey bacon?"

It reminded me of Grover and Mr. Johnson.