Don’t tell my boyfriend, but I think I’m becoming a football fan.
It’s been a slow courtship with the game. In college, I only went to games because it was the post-tailgating activity. After college, I boycotted in favor of sleeping in and enjoying other 20-something activities. In recent years, I’ve been too busy brunching.
But lately, I’ve taken a liking not just to the all-American pastime, but to the relaxation that comes with perching yourself in front of the television for four hours. I guess I need it.
So now my Sunday mission is to find a brilliant brunch spot that has the Ravens game projected on a nearby wall to accommodate both a brunching Bitch and her Baltimore boyfriend.
A quick Yelp hunt sent me to Columbia Heights, to Lou’s City Bar. And obviously it sent everyone else in the area, too.
We arrived to the sports bar—the kind of sports bar where every inch of wall space is covered with an LED television—and couldn’t find a seat or stool in view of our game of choice. It was packed to the brim.
Worse yet, they stopped serving brunch at noon, they told us as we sat down. I tried not drop my jaw on the floor. Who does that!? On a Sunday?!
So we left, and went right next door to Acre 121, which was cozy and mostly empty. The game was being projected on both walls, and we had our pick of tables. Perfection.
Acre 121 is a Southern restaurant, but its walls are lined with lots of historical photos of Washington. At night, the restaurant is filled with people dancing like crazy to live bands. It’s still relatively new, but it quickly became a neighborhood joint after it opened last year.
The restaurant serves up bottomless mimosas in all different flavors, like grapefruit, cranberry, or pineapple. They brought them out in carafes, thank the Lord. And, of course, there’s lots of beer on tap for the football lover.
We ordered a couple of custom omelets, one of which was brought out super early—nearly a full 20 minutes before the rest of the food. We wondered if it was a reject or was just sitting in the back, but it couldn’t have been; it was custom.
The timing was concerning, as my boyfriend finished his brunch well before the rest of us, and we all stared at the food longingly. Finally, after many more mimosas, and a lot more football, the rest of the dishes started to arrive, served up on beautiful blue porcelain plates.
The Low Country benedict was first up. The English muffins were topped with green tomatoes, pork belly and poached eggs. Definitely a Southern benny. The hollandaise sauce was spicy. The dish was satisfying.
The side for the brunch dishes were spicy potatoes with rice. But our benedict eater wanted to be a tad more healthy and ordered collard greens. In the end, the kitchen didn’t have them, but sauteed up some kale and mushrooms instead.
That spontaneous kale salad ended up being the best dish on the table the entire brunch.
I ordered from the sandwich menu, which indicated you needed to order a side, but didn’t indicate that the sandwich itself would be miniscule. My chicken biscuit wasn’t actually a biscuit at all, but a tiny piece of fried chicken on a hamburger bun with a fried egg and a bit of bacon.
First of all, I wanted it in a biscuit. Second, it was tiny, absolutely tiny. It was a slider.
On the side, I ordered the cheddar grits, which were a big plate of slop, and weren’t even that cheesy. Turning my nose up, and desperately hungry, I ordered another entrée—the chicken and waffles. I saw it being served to another table and I had to have it.
A full hour later, it arrived (thank God we had a long football game to entertain us, or I would have extremely impatient with the food timing). The fried chicken was huge. But when I broke into it, it was nearly all breading, hardly any actual meat. My cohorts said this was a sign of good fried chicken. However, I wanted juicy chicken breast.
Later in the afternoon, they ran out of cheap champagne. So, they started pouring Perrier Jouet until they ran out of that. (Or so they said, it totally could have totally been a ploy to get us out of there by 3 p.m.)
We left in the fourth quarter of the game, not really all that satisfied with the food, but definitely rather tipsy. On my way home, I got a text from my friend with the worst news—his car had been broken into while we were brunching!
In plain daylight, right there on Irving, his car window was smashed in and his backpack stolen right off the seat. Yikes, Columbia Heights.
The Bitches say: C+. Acre 121 needs to get the timing and the portion sizes right. Once those are fixed, this would be a pretty solid bottomless brunch.
1400 Irving St. N.W.
Acre 121 serves brunch (and football!) on Saturdays and Sundays.