I’m sitting in a chair bathed in sunlight from the tall atrium windows in the stunning Fairmont Hotel waiting for the only person who can push the envelope on fashionably late more than me: Cori Sue. Suddenly I see her come around a marble pillar in a whirl of turquoise, and it her face looks like someone has kicked Daisy Mae, her lovable little pooch.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” I ask. She responds, “Oh, me? Yes, of course. I’m just incredibly hungover and it’s making it hard to function.” Silly me, I should have known better, to think something amiss. After smoothing my raised hackles, we proceeded to make our way to the hostess stand where they greeted us with smiles and showed us around the dining room and buffet area before escorting us to our seats in the courtyard.
Let me just tell you, the courtyard and garden at Juniper at the Fairmont are exquisite. I mean jaw-droopingly gorgeous. Even through a little of bit of rain we could enjoy the garden from our two-person table and umbrella. The garden even comes equipped with French bees that are kept on the roof to make honey in house. Once Cori Sue heard this, she quipped, “Oh, these bees so fancy.” Yes, indeed, the garden was suited with fancy bees.
Our overly attentive waitress greeted us, “Good morning Miss”, “Good morning Miss”, and so I was dubbed “Miss” for the entire meal. She walked us through the menu and how things worked at Juniper. For about 50 buckaroos you can enjoy unlimited mimosas, heaping helpings of the buffet, and one entrée selected from the menu.
Cori Sue beat me to the punch and ordered the white peach mimosa, and naturally we couldn’t order the same thing, so I opted for the strawberry puree mimosa. They were tasty, but could have used a little more champagne.
While our waiter was off preparing our mimosas, Cori Sue and I took the opportunity to chat about anything and everything, trying to cram months of our lives into one sitting. Our poor waitress returned time and time again to see what we would like to order for our entrées—only to be promised that we’d stop chatting and decide by the next time she returned.
We finally zipped our lips and perused the menu. I opted for their famous crab cakes, and Cori Sue decided on the shrimp n’ grits.
We decided to tour the buffet and see what Juniper had to offer. I don’t know how many of you have seen The Little Princess (only one of the biggest tear jerkers ever) but the spread was incredibly similar to their dream feast.
Everything you could ever think of was laid out tastefully along the marble bar, including fresh fruit (even honey dew for your masochists out there), pastries, cheese, bread, shrimp, seafood, smoked salmon and various breakfast meats.
You name it, The Juniper buffet had it. Except breakfast potatoes, which I was a little bummed about considering I have a strong relationship with carbs, but after loading my plate with the other offerings, it was easily forgotten.
We settled back into our table for two and dug in. I started with a miniature croissant and made my way through my plate savoring each bite. Cori Sue’s plate was filled with fresh fruit and other healthy items, whereas mine had tons of carbs and a lot of cheese. The fruit was fresh, the pastries fresh-baked and warm, and the other options delicious.
Our entrees arrived in an incredibly timely manner and were presented in a lovely way. My crab cakes were delicious, mostly pure crab meat with some breading, and moist without falling apart.
We were both a little perplexed at Cori Sue’s entrée of shrimp and grits considering there were plenty of grits and only two shrimp. Don’t get me wrong, the dish was still delightful, but we were both expecting a little more shrimp. Additionally, the flavor was a bit bland, as in, it was non-existence.
The management was nice enough to bring out the granola crusted French toast with a green Tarragon maple syrup for us to try. It was different, but not in a bad way, and neither of us could quite put our finger on exactly how we felt about it. I believe sans the green maple syrup, the dish would be delectable, but the coloring and the spin on the taste threw us off a tad.
After a number of mimosas, iced coffees, the buffet, and our entrees, we were filled to the brim, but due to our unwavering dedication to you loyal readers, we forced ourselves to visit the dessert table at the buffet and sample the little morsels of deliciousness awaiting us.
I sampled one of the cookies and a little layered chocolate torte and Cori Sue went for a fruit tart and raspberry almond layered parfait dish. The cookies were soft and delicious, and the chocolate torte was rich and delightful. Cori Sue nibbled at the fruit tart and took a few bites of the raspberry almond layered parfait, finally surrendering to the hangover and calling it quits. Disclaimer: The Juniper invited us for brunch, so this was complimentary.
We lingered in the garden just a little longer finishing up our conversations on love, life, and work, taking in the beautiful surroundings and listening to the hum of the fancy bees.
We left the stunning hotel and hopped in my car and drove off the wrong way down a one way street, into the approaching storm. Did I mention what a fantastic driver I am? Second disclaimer: I was not intoxicated; D.C. streets are merely treacherous.
The Bitches Say: B+ for incredible ambiance, great presentation, and a wide variety to choose from. The mimosas could have used a little more champagne, we could have used a little less attention from the waiter, and the shrimp and grits could have stood a little more shrimp, but overall it was a delightful brunch and perfect for special occasions.
Juniper at the Fairmont Hotel
2401 M Street N.W.
The Juniper serves brunch on Sundays.