The Bitches’ 2012 Best Brunch Bites

We named the Best and Worst brunches of 2012 (click here to see the full list). Here, we give you the year’s Best Bites, along with a look back at previous years’ winners. Looking for the best Bloody Mary? The best Benny? Look no further, Washington.

Drinks

Best mimosa: Cori Sue and Baby Bitch Amanda Jean sat on the Juniper at the Fairmont’s charming patio and sipped on the white peach and strawberry puree mimosas, which were light, frothy, sweet perfection.

In 2011, we were bored with the traditional mimosa so we picked Ris and Oyamel for their unique flavors of mimosas served at brunch. Meanwhile, in 2010, Acadiana was a no-contest winner with Blood Orange mimosas priced at a mere $2 a pop-fizz-clink.

Best Bloody Mary: As the judges of Washingtonian’s Brunch & Bloody’s Bloody Mary Contest, we tested 15 of Washington’s top Marys. The unanimous decision was a tall, spicy, fresh Bloody Mary topped with a crab shooter from The Source.

Despite our gripes about the food and the service, Logan Tavern, with its expansive make-your-own Bloody Mary Bar, was the 2011 winner. In 2010, Cori Sue’s Bloody Mary drinking parents voted for Ulah Bistro, with now-closed Commonwealth in a close second.

Best coffee: From the baristas behind Tryst and Open City, The Coupe serves up a delicious mug of joe with a pair of adorable animal crackers on the side. Too bad the rest of the brunch can’t keep the pace.

In 2011 we got supremely caffeinated at Open City and Big Bear, and in 2010 we were apparently too focused on the mimosas to even drink coffee.

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Best creative cocktails: We can’t deny the brilliance behind The Passenger‘s bar. The brunch menu’s cocktails has everything from the standard to the bizarre, like a Danish Mary, a Red-Eye (beer and spicy tomato juice), and even a Corpse Reviver (which, let’s face it, sometimes you need during brunch).

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Entrees

Best benny: Becca’s Benedict at Boxcar Tavern takes this year’s gold. Instead of two split halves of an English Muffin, it was on toasted brioche. And, instead of thick slices of ham, there was thinly sliced prosciutto and sautéed baby spinach. The poached eggs were done perfectly and the entire creation was glorious. Runner up: The fried green tomato Benedict at Bayou.

In 2011, Becca selected the traditional, reliable Benny at U Street cafe Creme as the best in the city. In 2010, she selected a more innovative Benny with Brasserie Beck’s colorful Serrano ham Benny.

Best pancakes: Lavagna’s Nutella ricotta pancakes are one of the best things Cori Sue’s ever eaten. Ever. Runner up: The Lafayette at the Hay-Adams blueberry pancakes topped with fancy pants Hay-Adams syrup.

In 2011, Bourbon’s banana walnut pancakes took the prize, and in 2010 Bar Pilar’s three-berry pancakes that were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside won the prize.

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Best French toast: Cedar served up a gorgeous banana nut crunch French toast. Banana bread, toasted with butter and oils, and a corn flake trimming around the crust. It was served with Chantilly cream and maple syrup.

In 2011, Medium Rare’s French toast, made with super fancy French bread soaked overnight in a delicious batter and topped with whipped cream and strawberries, won us over. In 2010, Granville Moore’s was the deserving French toast champion.

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Best omelet: Ulah Bistro’s omelet was so full it was bursting at the seams. Rich, filled with fresh jumbo-lump crabmeat and brie cheese and wrapped in enormous, fluffy layers of eggs.

We didn’t explore this question in 2011, but Cafe St. Ex’s egg white omelet was the best of 2010.

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Best chicken and waffles: If you want true Southern decadence, get your chicken and waffles at SoHo. Big fluffy waffles sprinkled with powdered sugar, with fried chicken piled up high. It was the centerpiece to our entire brunch that day.

Back in 2010, Marvin Gaye’s namesake made the best chicken and waffles around.

Best frittata: Al Dente’s mushroom, Parmesan, onion frittata was enormous and presented in a cast iron dish. It was perfectly cooked, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and filled with enormous wild mushrooms.

In 2011, Lincoln‘s asparagus and shrimp frittata was the best in town. In 2010, we didn’t pay attention to frittatas, apparently.

Best breakfast pizza: Mintwood Place’s smoked salmon flammekueche was covered with a creamy sauce, salmon, onions, capers, chopped red onion, and parsley. The bread itself was eggy, dense and thin.

The winner in 2011 was Comet Ping Pong. The funky restaurant has an impressive pizza menu, and the breakfast ones are fantastic. In 2010, Red Rocks Pizzeria won first place with thin, crispy crust and house-cured meats and cheeses and plenty of breakfast pizzas.

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Apps & Sides

Best doughnut: VOLT’s maple glazed bacon doughnuts. Fresh and warm, and topped with finely crumbled (perhaps shaved) bacon—completely mind-blowing. Runner up: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace’s homemade doughnuts, which arrive in three flavors: vanilla with sprinkles, cinnamon sugar, and raspberry filled.

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In 2011 the winner was Rustico for Mama Mannino’s doughnuts, small puffs that arrive warm, tasting of gorgeous ricotta, and doused in powdered sugar. In 2010, Washington brunch staples Tabbard Inn and Founding Farmers won the prize for best circular ball of dough.

Best bread basket: Blue Duck’s Harvest Brunch featured enormous bowls of fluffy, crusted French bread—cut into slices and still warm. In addition, croissants were in abundance. Rich, flaky, buttery and warm croissants with all sorts of accoutrements.

Our favorite 14th Street spot, Policy, with its chocolate bacon muffins and cinnamon chickpea confections took the prize for best bread basket last year.

Best fruit plate: It’s a tie between Lavagna and Blue Duck Tavern. You know how we’re picky Bitches with fruit—but Lavagna’s plate was perfection. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, and grapes with a cottage cheese dip in the center.

The prettiest platters of fruit were at Policy in 2011 and J&G Steakhouse in 2010.

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Best deviled eggs: Clyde’s unique take on deviled eggs were spicy and made with crab and prosciutto. The best in town.

Virtue Feed & Grain’s enormous deviled eggs, stacked so high with yolk-y deliciousness they nearly toppled over, won the prize in 2011.

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Best French fries: Station 4’s duck fat fries are scrumptious, and arrived with lots of delicious dipping sauces, which were amazing, too.

In 2010, Granville Moore’s famous twice-fried French fries, served in an enormous bowl with five unique dipping sauces (roasted garlic-horseradish sauce, chipotle mayo, curried ketchup, dijonnaise, and our fave, truffle aioli) still have us going back for more. So much so that we didn’t even award a prize for best fries in 2011.

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Dessert

Best dessert: The Nutella-stuffed churros at Boqueria are divine. Since Becca brunched there earlier this year, the restaurant made its brunch bottomless/endless – points!

In 2010, it was no surprise that the chocolate lounge and boutique CoCo Sala had the best desserts. The S’mores Creme Brulee combines two of our favorites seamlessly into a delicious concoction that further tempts the taste buds with each bite. The molten chocolate cake at J&G Steakhouse came in a close second.

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New Categories

Best shrimp n’ grits: How have we never named this category before? Especially with D.C.’s amazing Southern restaurants like Georgia Brown and Acadiana. This year, SoHo takes the cake after Cori Sue devoured SoHo’s shrimp n’ grits in two-minutes flat and didn’t share with anyone.

SoHo Shrimp Grits

Best breakfast tacos: Known as The Argonaut’s “Famous tacos,” the breakfast tacos came with pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, cabbage cilantro slaw, and remoulade served on your choice of corn or flour tortillas. The white fish was fried perfectly in a light batter. Runner up: The Getaway‘s breakfast burrito (we know, we know – not a taco).

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Best creative dish: The most memorable taste of the year was also the most unexpected: VOLT’s maitake steel-cut oats with sea greens and yeast. Sounds atrocious, right? It was a positively extraordinary, and savory. They cooked the oats into a risotto-type creamy mixture, and topped it off with meaty trumpet mushrooms.

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Best waffle: Town Hall’s Belgian waffle tasted of buttermilk and was moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. We topped it with the huge bowl of blueberries and the vat of house-made whipped cream. Runner up is VOLT’s stunning Belgian-style waffles. They were a little chewy but crispy on the outside. Topped with cubes of apples, almost like an apple pie filling, they tasted delicious. It was accompanied with amazing fresh whipped cream.

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