When I moved to the mile high city a little over a year ago, I was the farthest thing from a brunch person. Coming from Seattle I was accustomed to grabbing a quick Starbucks coffee and a bagel (or a pumpkin loaf, if I was feeling wild) to go each and every day of the week. Maybe it was the great sense of urgency I felt living there, the constant state of rush, the hurry up and get it done mentality - but rarely did I ever find myself sitting down to eat my first meal of the day, weekend or not.
Denver though, is different. There must be something in the air here that causes people to slow their roll, embrace their hangover and show their faces in public for multiple hours over an eggs benedict and a bloody mary any given day of the week. And as hard as it was to get used to in the beginning- the mid-morning socializing, the fact that my body now rejects coffee as a hangover cure and only permits vodka, as well as coming to terms with looking heinous whilst being out in public in morning- I, after a year here have become quite the brunch connoisseur.
I knew I had made it as in the big leagues not too long ago when I realized that I was able to break brunch down into four categories, all of which I or someone that I am close to has had first hand experience with.
The First: "Rally The Troops" Brunch
It's Saturday morning. 9:30 am. There's three people asleep in your living room and your best friend is passed out next to you fully clothed wearing her boots and cross body purse. You hear people moving around in the kitchen and you know it's time. You call the neighbors with your eyes still closed and beg them to bring you coffee. They refuse. Vodka is coming out of your eyeballs and you begin to get the feeling of impending doom. "If i don't get to brunch right now, I just may not make it" you think to yourself. An hour and nine haggard friends later - you find yourself at an oversized circular table ordering rounds of water, diet cokes and a make it or break it bloody mary. Your waitress hates you all because she's equally as hungover but has it much worse than you do because she's working on a Saturday morning. You hate her because she won't split up the bill. You find yourself inhaling your meal and the meal of the person next to you, only to feel worse than ever before. But the gossip from the previous night keeps your spirits high and you order another bloody. "what the hell else? it's Saturday and we're at brunch" you think. Three hours and six rounds later you're back where you started- in your house, wanting nothing more then to be horizontal, for the rest of your life. It was a successful morning, now you must sleep and regain your strength to hit the town for the second night in a row.
The Second: "This is how we do it in Denver" Brunch
Recently my cousins came to visit me from guess where? Seattle. And in planning out our weekend together and their first time to D-Town, I made sure to put two brunches on the weekend itinerary. When family or friends come and you're trying to impress them - you must take matters seriously and make a reservation somewhere. In this case, I reserved a table for five at a local favorite. We would never dare hit up this place on any old Sunday, as the line is always out the door and when you're hungover the last thing you want to do is sit and stare at people chowing down on french toast, likewise i'm pretty sure the last thing that they want to do, is watch you try to keep your shit together while waiting in line. Anyways, this is the type of brunch where you show off the local cuisine and you say things like "Oh my gosh, the crab cake benedict is to die for!" or "you must try their french press coffee, it's outstanding". Regardless of whether you're feeling hungover or not, you keep it together for the sake of you visitors. You limit yourself to one mimosa - you've got the Coors brewery tour next anyways, and you order mini scones as a pre-brunch snack. "Everyone in Denver goes to brunch" you tell them, and Monday morning you get a text from one of them that reads "my bagel just didn't cut it this morning." Right?! because that's how we DO it in Denver.
The Third: "Why Am I Sitting Across From You Right Now" Brunch
Not too long ago at a "Rally the Troops" brunch, I was enjoying my third trip to the bloody mary bar when a guy walked in followed by a girl that was clearly in her clothes from the night before. "Sucks to be her" we all said as we watched them awkwardly converse and try to stuff down food as quick as possible. "Why do you think she agreed to go to brunch?" we pondered, then we spent the next hour playing the guessing game on what they were talking about and feeling really bad for the poor girl who was in stiletto's and sparkly top. I guess the only thing to say next here is Karma is a bitch, because recently I found myself in a similar situation. Our paths crossed during a day of drinking and football, too much of both actually. Had I actually brunched before we went to a bar to drink and watch the football game, maybe I wouldn't have found myself spending far too much time with a guy who was wearing a camo hat that said "gut deer?" on it. Why "gut deer?" you ask? He went to school in Montana, he can't help it. Not to mention there's something about camouflage that unfortunately, gets me every gdamn time. So there I was, ten am at a bar drinking a bloody mary and breaking bread with this guy. He was wearing the "gut deer?" hat. I was wearing a scarlet letter and my clothes from the night before, wondering how many people in the bar were placing bets on what our conversation was about. It was a nice gesture, to buy my brunch I mean. He really did not have to do that, and in retrospect I most definitely did not have to accept his invitation. But somehow, the experience shed a whole new light on this aspect of brunching. Thus - I am forever indebted to "gut deer?" and though he actually refused to give me his hat at the end of our 24 hour date, I doubt I will ever forget him and if anything, at least now I know what people talk about during these type of brunches.
The Last and Very Well Respected: Date Brunch
Contrary to the third type of brunch, people here in Denver do actually date over brunch. Take for example, my friend Jenny who went on a brunch date not too long ago herself. A reservation is definitely needed in these instances, as is looking presentable and not smelling like day old booze. She met him at a conference, and being the doctor that he is, mornings worked best with his schedule. Thus, the brunch and the first and last of it's kind for those two. Though I was initially really perplexed by his early morning date offer, I now have come to the realization that morning dates may be the best kind. I mean, it's bright outside, there's natural light and you see things and people for what they really are, nothing is hidden by dimly lit corners, sexy candlelight or red wine. Also, your brain is freshest in the morning, making conversation easier and giving you the potential to seem smarter then you actually are. I've seen them before, these so called brunch dates. Two people, dressed cute yet casual, laughing and sharing a frittata and a seared egg sandwich, discussing their jobs, their dreams, their lives. They always look happy and for the most part genuinely interested in each other, and though I have yet to go on a brunch date of this kind - I get the appeal. And though it did not work out for Jenny and the shorty doctor that she met mid-conference in Kansas, I appreciate the change up and her attempt at early morning, completely sober conversation.
In conclusion, perhaps the best part about brunching is the fact that you're surrounded by people that all fall into one of these four categories. Someone is being rowdy in a corner, someone is showing off, another person is trying desperately to hide their face and that couple in the corner is falling in love over cappuccino's. And as a connoisseur now, I would have to say that being in one of these categories sure beats the hell out of getting a luke warm coffee, a half-toasted bagel, and a simple "good morning" on your daily Starbucks run. And that's how it's done in Denver.