I’ve been living in New York for a couple of months now, and slowly adjusting, despite the brutal cold and relentless snow. Last weekend I went back to D.C. for a visit, as there was a fresh baby to admire (all my friends are having them!).
It was weird being back in D.C, even for the weekend. There was a moment when I was at the Starbucks on P Street, early for an appointment, just marveling at the sheer empty space on the sidewalk.
You don’t get that in New York. There are humans. Millions of them. Everywhere. You can’t even stretch your arms out without hitting someone. P Street? A luxurious amount of space!
The other wonderful thing about D.C., I realized, is that my locals are still there for me. Aura Spa opened up early and took my poor, broken city body in for a complete spa morning. And Lavagna, my favorite restaurant in the city, reserved its private back room just for yours truly.
So, a brunch was in order. A big one at that. I gathered 10 of my nearest and dearest Washingtonians for a Saturday afternoon of bottomless-mimosa-fueled gossiping and catching up.
Lavagna was packed when we arrived. Every table was full with brunch revelers, and a line was starting to form for tables. The energy was infectious, even though our table was separated from the main dining room.
We dove straight in. First, coffees and Bloody Marys. The Bloody Marys came served in a pint glass with three big olives and a slice of lime. They were ice cold and spicy. But the cocktail menu is quite big, with a Bloody Diablo and Bloody Eddy available, too.
Then, onto the bottomless mimosas, which were served in huge wine glasses, with the perfect ratio of champagne to orange juice. Very important. The best part about the mimosas is that they were constantly full; I barely even noticed the refills.
Then the food came. The chicken and waffles were the most popular dish at the table, we had no fewer than three orders. The fried chicken was all white meat and cooked perfectly. The Belgian waffles were fluffy and delicious. A big dollop of butter was melting on top of everything. On the side, sliced fresh fruit.
The omelets were huge, stuffed to the brim, like massive egg burritos. There are three types, and we tried two of the three: goat cheese omelet with red pepper preserve, arugula omelet with smoked gouda, or smoked salmon omelet. On the side, herb breakfast potatoes.
The eggs Florentine is gorgeously deconstructed, with two sous vide eggs poached on focaccia with spinach on the side. It all comes with a lovely mornay sauce and those glorious potatoes on the side.
If you can’t leave a great Italian spot without trying the pasta, Lavagna satisfies even on its brunch menu. The spaghetti carbonara is a big dish of traditional pasta, but made with house bacon, black pepper, and a free range egg yolk mixed in, then covered with a thin layer of parmesan.
The bacon risotto was the tastiest thing and by far my favorite dish at brunch, even beyond the fried chicken. Big hunks of housemade bacon, slices of mushrooms, arugula, butternut squash. All with mascarpone grated on top. So delicious.
Lavagna’s brunch, just like its dinner menu, is sourced from local farms. Even the eggs are local free-range eggs and the fried chicken is from natural hormone-free chickens. And everything is made in house, even down to the ketchup.
After brunch, we wanted to stay chatting longer, and since the mimosas kept coming (without us prompting, even), we ordered dessert. Which one? Why, we’ll take one of everything on the menu.
The tiramisu is as perfect as you can imagine. Light and fluffy but full of flavor. The creme brulee was small but rich–just enough. And the chocolate mousse was the sweetest way to end a perfect brunch.
The Bitches say: A+. My very favorite in Washington.
539 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20023
Lavagna serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.