There was a table set out in the back of a restaurant just south of the Circle, and Tammy the March Hare and Becca the Hatter were having brunch at it. A Dormouse, Christina, was sitting between them, fast asleep from hangover, and the other two were using her as a cushion, resting their elbows on her, and talking over her head.
‘Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,’ thought Alice, err, Alex; ‘only, as it’s asleep, I suppose it doesn’t mind.’
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: ‘No room! No room!’ they cried out when they saw Alex coming. ‘There’s PLENTY of room!’ said Alex indignantly, and he sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.
‘Have some mimosas,’ Tammy the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alex looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but coffee. ‘I don’t see any mimosas,’ he remarked.
‘There isn’t any,’ said the March Hare.
‘Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,’ said Alex angrily.
‘It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,’ said the March Hare.
‘I didn’t know it was YOUR table,’ said Alex; ‘we’re here to talk about Uber.’
‘Your hair wants cutting,’ said Becca the Hatter. She had been looking at Alex for some time with great curiosity, and this was her first speech.
‘You should learn not to make personal remarks,’ Alex said with some severity; ‘it’s very rude.’
The Hatter opened her eyes very wide on hearing this; but all she said was, `Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’
… Poor Alex Priest. He had fallen down the rabbit hole that is a bottomless brunch with the Bitches. And, after four hours of brunching, this Mad Tea Party was definitely more Lewis Carroll than Disney.
We were also joined by Emil, who we’ll call the King (Queen) of Hearts, and Scott, who was our quiet but wise Cheshire Cat that day. And when this very odd collection of six Twitter friends gathered, we all collectively thought, ‘Well, this is what this place looks like in daylight,’ and compared our Madhatter happy hour experiences.
There’s a room in the back that’s made especially for a large mad brunch, with a long table in the center and a table on the ceiling. All the pictures are upside down. Wait, wait. The table you’re sitting at is on the ceiling. This is Wonderland, after all.
We were all starved when we arrived, and so before we even started the waterfall of mimosas, we ordered the item on the menu that was haughtily calling the most attention. That is, The Best Donut Ever. We ordered it to share, though this dish is probably not meant for sharing, being listed as a “sandwich” and falling to pieces once you cut into it.
We were slightly disappointed when it was presented because we were under the impression that it was going to be infused with its promised ingredients: scrambled eggs, sausage and cheese. Instead, it was a donut (and no Krispy Kreme—c’mon, it’s right across the street), cut in half, with those things piled inside.
Ah, well. We continued on Alice’s journey through Wonderland.
As Becca the Hatter is calling the shots, we went for the bottomless mimosas. At the bar, servers were pouring cartons of orange juice and bottles of Andre champagne into enormous plastic tubs, which was then transferred into carafes, which were then distributed to tables.
Yes, we said Andre (strike one) and yes, we said whole cartons of orange juice (strike two). We absconded with a carafe of champagne to reduce the ratio of juice-to-champagne in the beverages. But, you can’t beat $10 for bottomless.
Awoken from her hangover, our Dormouse, Christina, went to the bloody Mary bar, which was quite amazing—a wall of hot sauces and accouterments. She came back with a thick concoction with an asparagus sticking out. It served her hangover well.
Right after our first carafes of mimosas arrived, a basket of piping hot pastry balls was dropped on the table. Steam rose up as soon as you broke them open, and we dropped in slices of orange-blossom butter that immediately melted inside. It was delicious, gooey pastry inside, and a glazed crust on the outside. Wonderful little balls, indeed.
Alice, or Alex, had the Eggs Benedict and practically licked his plate. The two big poached eggs were served on thin slices of ham, folded over, on English muffins, with home fries on the side. The home fries were nothing special. So the March Hare ordered a basket of French fries to share with the table. They were served with three sauces: honey mustard, barbecue, and ketchup. We had to ask for it five times, but it was worth it in the end.
Our waitress had clearly just stepped into her own special Wonderland. She was rather excited and strange, though attentive to our needs for the most part. We asked her to tell us about the omelets, and her eyes opened wide with, “Ohh it’s an interactive omelet EXPERIENCE!” Her eagerness prompted the March Hare and Cheshire Cat (Tammy and Scott) to make their way through Wonderland and see for themselves.
It was, indeed, a magical experience; beginning with the mystical Staples-brand raffle ticket you’re expected to deliver to the happy chef at the station. Normally, omelet station guys are generally pretty grumpy. Think about it—they have to stand there all day and take people’s orders. The only exciting part of the job is the wacky permutations of omelets that people prefer. This guy, said the pair, was super friendly, and seemed to multitask both the omelet griddle and the Belgian waffle maker with speed.
For the Hatter, the Hangover Helper, which turned out to be rather gross—for lack of a better term. It was a big plate with various breakfast bits all slopped into one. The mess included biscuits, scrambled eggs, home fries, shredded cheddar cheese and bacon, sausage, or ham. It was topped with sausage gravy and served with a side of toast. I have to concede, however, that along with a stiff bloody Mary, this dish would probably swallow up even the worst of hangovers.
The Dormouse decided upon the breakfast burrito, which was packed with lots of scrambled eggs, sausage, and peppers.
The King of Hearts—Emil—had the French toast, which was three thick slices of Pullman white or raisin bread, dipped in the house vanilla batter, grilled and served with a side of sausage or bacon. He said it was tasty, and it’s a good thing, or else it would be off with their heads! It seems the waitress would live to see another day of painting the roses red.
You could tell the toast had just been made, said our King of Hearts, as you could taste the egg flavor, whereas in some places they’re overdone and covered with maple syrup.
The Mad Hatter’s final note, after my mad ramblings about the food, is that the bathrooms were atrocious. For a restaurant that large, having just one workable stall in a tiny ladies restroom is simply unacceptable.
The Bitches say: B- A good bottomless deal, with average food, dirty ambiance, and a brunch fit for college students.
1319 Connecticut Ave. N.W.