I am running. I don’t know where I am. All I see in front of me are trees, trees, trees. I can hear someone behind me with labored breathing coming through the woods.
The branches whip my arms. The rain patters down on my forehead.
My breathing is heavy. I am exhausted. I leap over a branch here, scramble down a rocky hill there.
I feel ill, nauseous. I am blacking out, seeing stars. I might die today, I think to myself.
I’m in survival mode, channeling Katniss in The Hunger Games, and running as fast as I can. I struggle just to follow the feet in front of me.
This is my own punishment. I did this to myself.
No, really, I did. Because I agreed to an 8 a.m. two-hour trail run with Schramie, my sporty friend, on a Saturday morning and then decided to go out dancing until four in the morning on Friday. And, because I am decidedly committed (some may stay stubborn), I stick to my word. And, because she is always prompt, Schramie, with Wygo in tow, is in my driveway at 8 a.m.
I stumble into her car, still inebriated and clad in neon-pink Lululemon from head-to-toe, plus a pair of plastic neon sunglasses to hide my eyes, a mere four hours prior I was dancing to Enrique Iglesias at a Georgetown bar with a set of girlfriends who are most certainly still asleep, and will be for many more hours.
After two hours and double-digit miles on some far-flung trails in Potomac, I collapse on a log. Wygo, equally out of breath, plops down beside me and utters the words I cannot say but so desperately need to hear: “It’s time for brunch.”
I muster my remaining strength to drag my weary body off the trail and toss myself into the backseat, where I slouch down, sunglasses on, head against the window.
As we are in a state: wet, sweaty, and, one of us smelling like cheap beer, we must sneak in to brunch somewhere where respectable folk won’t scoff at us.
Head to U Street, I say, we’ll go to the patio at Ulah Bistro—it’s nice inside, but hopefully they won’t mind us on the patio. The friendly folks at Ulah, while glancing curiously (more than likely at so much neon so early in the morning), escort us outside.
The rain had stopped. So, although it was cloudy, the weather was comfortable, with temperatures in the high 60s with no wind, making the patio perfectly pleasant. At 11 a.m. on a Saturday, U Street is far less busy and far more pleasant than at most other times of day.
Although we weren’t drinking, Ulah offers up affordable brunch cocktails: $6 Bloody Marys and mimosas and $5 Mojitos.
As for me, I had about 10 glasses of water and 4 iced coffees. The over-burdened waitress kept the hydration coming, bless her.
Wygo ordered the margherita pizza, and boy, was it good. We’re all very particular about pizza (who isn’t nowadays?) but Ulah’s wood-fired pizza is surprisingly delicious. It is a bistro dedicated to affordable, reliable, comfort food, so I do suppose pizza falls under that umbrella.
My omelet was both unique and enormous. The omelet was rich, filled with fresh jumbo-lump crabmeat and brie cheese and wrapped in enormous, fluffy layers of eggs. It was served with fresh orange slices (as is everything at Ulah’s brunch) and yummy, enormous, crispy, seasoned home fries. Ulah makes some mean home fries.
Schramie opted for a traditional breakfast, an increasing rarity at brunch establishments around these parts. Dubbed the typical “two eggs any style,” the plate arrived loaded with scrambled eggs, bacon, crispy home fries, whole-wheat toast, orange slices, butter and jelly. After the long run, Schramie said the breakfast hit the spot.
We closed out brunch with French toast for the table, which was the other highlight of the meal coming in behind the pizza. The French toast is made with Challah bread, raspberry coulis and a creamy honey marscapone cream that really made the dish. The toast itself was thoroughly battered and had plenty of flavor. Most importantly, it arrived hot, and, as French toast cools at lightning speeds, this is important.
The Bitches say: A-. Nothing gourmet, but a reliable, comfy brunch establishment with a great patio, plenty of space, solid menu and a relaxed vibe.
1214 U Street N.W.
Ulah Bistro serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.