Working out with Cori Sue is a depressing state of affairs. For me, not for her. The girl is running the Boston Marathon this weekend—her second marathon. She runs 22 miles on a Saturday morning and then shows up, a little pink in the face, but her hair and makeup perfect. You know, a normal Saturday morning. No big deal.
On top of this, she stalks fitness classes like a masochist. Fusion Barre Bikram Pilates? “Not hard enough.” A ridiculous amount of cross fit? “My arms hurt a bit, I guess.”
Meanwhile, I’m a tall woman, which means I’m blessed to be slender; but I am certainly not fit. It takes me a solid three months of training to work up to a 10k. If I make it to the gym in the morning, I consider it a small victory.
So when Mint told us they wanted to work with us, we were both really happy. Cori Sue, because she now has access to some of the best fitness and boxing classes in the city; and me, because working out in their beautiful gyms allows me to trick myself into thinking I’m at the spa. (It’s the locker rooms, people. They’re really nice.)
Then Chris Carnecchia, one of the directors at Mint, invited us to work out with him. Cori Sue yelped with happiness; I cringed.
The Friday night before the dreaded Sunday torture we get this ominous email: “Ok ladies. Don’t be drinking late Saturday night. No excuses when I kick your asses. Looking forward to it.”
Eep! I hydrate. I rest. I go to bed ridiculously early on a Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Cori Sue runs another 22 miles that Saturday and then goes out with friends that night. She shows up at Mint slightly hung-over and with wobbly knees from hitting the pavement for three hours before a night of dancing until 2 a.m. Chris scolds her mercilessly.
Regardless, both she and Chris kick my ass. First, some cardio uphill on the treadmill. Then, a series of rotations on some scary machines with metal cords. At one point, Chris makes me bounce a near-flat ball as high as it will go, which makes me feel slightly ridiculous. At another, I am jumping in the air as high as I can reach. We are twisted, contorted, and pushed to our limits. Then, we roll it out on foam rollers.
Afterwards, I stumble to those blissful locker rooms for the sauna, a hot shower, and some relief. Cori Sue keeps at it on the machines, crazy Bitch.
When I’ve given myself a minute to recover, we walk through Adams Morgan, up 18th Street, to brunch at Southern Hospitality (or, SoHo, as AdMo locals call it). I nearly collapsed in happiness at the sight of $14 bottomless mimosas and a chair to sit in.
Chris had joined us for brunch, too, along with Kristin, Mint’s Director of Marketing. Kristin quickly noted that the interior of the location has improved immensely since it was the former Adams Mill Bar. Most of us had never seen it in daylight until that Sunday. It’s on a busy corner, and there’s a huge front patio for great people-watching. Inside, the restaurant is all dark wood and iron chandeliers.
The music could have done the name of the restaurant more justice. We were expecting a little Credence Clearwater Revival, classic rock, country spin. Instead, we received the likes of Rhianna, Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga. We bopped away anyway.
I finally had my mimosa, which was served in a tall glass with ice. Cori Sue opted for the Blood Orange Mimosa, which had orange juice and Sicilian blood orange liqueur and was served in a martini glass. Typically, this beverage is made with fresh blood oranges, but, in this instance, it merely tasted like a mimosa with sugary liquor at the bottom. Next time, it’ll be a Bellini or a traditional mimosa for Cori Sue.
Kristen had the Bellini, which she says was a little tart, and she was bummed it didn’t arrive in a fun flute. However, “it is HUGE for a Bellini!” Chris jumped on the Bacon Bloody Mary with infused bacon vodka. When he ordered it, he thought out loud: “Well, of course, bacon and tomatoes go together, like a BLT.” But he was slightly disappointed. The bacon, olives, Bloody Mary mix and various spices just didn’t mesh will together.
After that workout, I ordered the most ridiculous fried thing I could find on the menu. The thing that combined two of my favorite brunch dishes into one glorious dish: The Fried Chicken Benedict. Yes, you read that right. A fried chicken Benedict. And yes, it was as good as it sounds. Poached eggs on top of boneless fried chicken that was tender and juicy. The hollandaise was excellent and the entire dish was a dream.
My boyfriend ordered the chicken and waffles, which was another truly impressive dish. Larger than any of the other dishes on the table, it made a statement. Big fluffy waffles sprinkled with powdered sugar, fried chicken piled up high, a side dish of fresh fruit, and a big scoop of breakfast potatoes. It was the best plate of the entire brunch.
For her entrée, Cori Sue selected the shrimp n’ grits … and then devoured the entire plate before anyone could get a bite (no lie). In addition to shrimp, the dish contained asparagus and corn topped with a rich, spicy Cajun cream sauce. It was heavenly.
Kristen ordered the portobello Benny. She approved. The eggs were very tasty and the portobello thinly sliced, which was key. It had flavor and wasn’t too chewy. The hollandaise sauce that came with both of the Benedicts was perfect—not too thick and it didn’t overpower the dish.
Chris had the Southern Omelet, and spilled the secret that he had worked at an omelet station in a Mexican restaurant while in high school. So, his expectations were high, as omelets are simple dishes to make. This one was slightly overcooked, but nonetheless enticing, and met the minor requirements for an omelet.
As for the potatoes that came on the side of every dish, they were a great mix but the regular ones stole the sweet from the sweet potatoes. It would be nice to have an option of just the sweet potatoes.
Cori Sue mandated that we order dessert and mac n’ cheese to compensate for our healthy morning of exercise. The mac n’ cheese was good, creamy, and made with traditional macaroni noodles. They used cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack and Parmesan cheese for a blend that was creamy, comforting and not overpowering.
Chris managed to sneak in a bite, as he missed out on Cori Sue’s grits. He admitted he’s not a huge fan of ordering mac n’ cheese (your basic Kraft works fine for this guy), but, having tasted the Southern Hospitality creation with perfectly al dente noodles and cheeses, it gave him a new perspective on the traditional comfort food dish.
We concluded with dessert: chocolate cake and bread pudding, which happens to be a favorite of both the Bitches. The bread pudding was drizzled in chocolate and topped with whipped cream and strawberries.
The dessert plates were really beautifully presented—like pieces of art. It was tough to take a bite of them, not only because they were so pretty, but also because we were positively stuffed at this point.
So, we nixed the effects of our workout at Mint by brunching at Southern Hospitality. But you can get your own workout (so you can have a Southern brunch) at either of Mint’s locations. If you tell them the Bitches sent you, they’ll give you an amazing deal: zero enrollment fee and $79 a month. And we would never recommend something to you that we didn’t truly love.
The Bitches say: A-. Brunch at Southern Hospitality is truly comforting and good. The drinks and music could use a little work, but the cuisine, beverage prices and ambiance make it worth a visit nonetheless.
1815 Adams Mill Road N.W.
Serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays