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Bitch At Us: Drafting Table’s Chef Ciji Wagner

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Drafting Table, the new resto that’s opening in the former ACKC space on 14th and Q Street, just might be my new local. I’m pumped about the funky décor (actual reclaimed architectural drawing tables). Not to mention the brilliant beer and wine list, the nod to Euro soccer fans, and the fact that it’ll be serving brunch both days of the weekend. The entire rotating, organic menu is being crafted by a former pastry chef, Ciji Wagner. I got a chance to chat with the executive chef before her big debut (English Brekkie for brunch, people!).

Chef Ciji Wagner
Chef Ciji Wagner

What is your brunch philosophy?

Have fun! Brunch is the perfect combination of anything and everything. If a person can’t find what they want on a brunch menu, they’re never going to find it. There’s everything from light to satisfying to hearty on there. Even better, it’s the one meal that offers desserts thinly veiled as entrees. French toast, pancakes, and waffles, all topped with fruit, maple syrup, and chocolate? Sounds like a great time to have dessert considered socially acceptable as an entire meal.

What is your favorite brunch dish to eat?

I am particularly fond of eggs in general, but I’d have to say that huevos rancheros is the dish for me. The layers of flavors and textures make it super interesting without being overbearing. And really, a girl can’t go wrong with being a little saucy and spicy.

What’s your favorite brunch dish to prepare?

Definitely kaya toast. It’s playful and intriguing. I like making dishes that the customers decide exactly how they want to eat it. Besides, there’s no way to eat it without making at least a little bit of a mess, and it’s a great dish for sharing. Everyone seems to fall in love with the salty-sweet combo.

What do you think of the brunch scene in D.C.?

It’s great; there are all sorts of places to go. Whatever you’re looking for, it seems like DC’s got it. There’s never a shortage of restaurants that have a solid brunch offering.

So who does it right?

On the rare occasion that I can afford to treat myself to the Four Seasons brunch, that’s the way to go. It’s truly a pleasure to go when I have the chance.

Agreed. What do you drink with brunch?

I’m not big into drinking with my first meal of the day, so I usually go for hot tea. In the rare event that I’ve actually eaten before going to brunch, I might grab a glass of white wine, but most likely, I’m looking to get a cider.

What is Drafting Table going to serve up for brunch?

Like any good brunch menu, we have breakfast items, lunch items, and a smattering of desserts. We’re appealing to the soccer crowd, so, of course, we’re doing a traditional British all-day breakfast. In order to say away from the norm a little bit, we’re doing marinated soft boiled eggs with candied bacon and baked oatmeal. It’s a good mix of everything sweet and savory.

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4 thoughts on “Bitch At Us: Drafting Table’s Chef Ciji Wagner”

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  1. What happened to this being a casual diner?? Why does every “concept” start so humble, but then every owner and “chef” feel the need to foodie it up and make it unappealing and overpriced? The average person doesn’t want baked oatmeal or marinated soft boiled eggs. Just give us some pancakes and waffles for god’s sake and we’ll be happy!

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