Dynamics of Brunch

Nothing ruins a group friendship quicker than a standing weekend brunch date. Everything starts out hunky dory, but fissures eventually begin to show. Someone never pays, someone else spends their time complaining about the choice of venue, and then there’s the person who combines those habits (“Can someone get my brunch this week? This place has the worst eggs. Buffets just suck in general. Do you have a smoke?” I’m pretty much transcribing myself from 1995). And eventually somebody sleeps with somebody else’s boyfriend/girlfriend/stuffie.

Sometimes the brunch group disbands altogether. Occasionally brunch factions pop up and begin to compete for members. I’ve had more friendships play themselves out weekend brunches than any other social forum. Enforced attendance, gentle but omnipresent social pressure, cruel power plays, lousy hash browns. Every brunch needs a big aluminum tray of hash browns.

So if you’re looking to drop a brunch bomb into your group dynamic, may I suggest Tangerine Food Bar? Because holy hell, their brunch is terrific. I went there last Saturday and had the lemon ricotta pancakes with chilli-pecan bacon rolls ($12), and it was phenomenal. The pancakes were like eating a lemony cloud covered in cream and berries, and the bacon rolls were the dark thunderheads at the edge of a storm of deliciousness. How does that food metaphor work? I don’t know. But those little rolls of wrapped up bacon covered all the Comfort Food Groups in one mouthful: salty, sweet, hot and bacony (maybe even umami! Look at me, I’m a food critic over here). My friends ate the more relaxed oats with berries and bananas and such ($8).

We arrived at the end of the brunch period, so we missed some of the other options, one of which involved asparagus (the Other Freshmaker). Brunch runs until 3 pm on Saturdays. Come over and say hello, because it’s 95% likely that I’ll be there.

Signage worries

I noticed that the Humpty’s on Albert sign, which is always worth a look, now reads “Come In Try Our New Menus.” This doesn’t beat their best marquee ever, which was “Rodeo Chicken without the Rodeo Smell,” but “Come In Try Our New Menus” rides that line between clarity and confusion so adroitly that it almost seems deliberate. Are they offering different food, or are they advertising a redesigned menu as a selling point? I think you’d have to be right out of options if looking at a Humpty’s menu constituted an evening’s entertainment.

The other side of the sign says “Aloha Chicken,” which may very well be a menu item.

Ah hell

So I ended up going and having lunch at Humpty’s for the first time in five years or so. I didn’t try the Aloha Chicken, but I confirmed that a) it’s a menu item, and b) it appears on one of their new menus.

Actually, it’s a laminated insert (see photo).

I do not understand what the phrase “New Original Classics” could possibly mean.

Instead of the chicken, I went for the Baja Chipotle burger ($11), which brought home to me how profoundly my tastes have changed over the last few years. I used to enjoy the rubbery and resistant texture of Humpty’s burgers, which tasted like warm and felt like spare tire, but my palate is sick of my ironic-hipster bullshit. The burger and bun felt like one indistinguishable mass, and the baja chipotle sauce tickled at the roof of my mouth with a distant echo of flavour, like hearing ocean surf from the comfort of your hotel room.

The garden salad came from a garden where only iceberg lettuce grows. I asked for my ranch dressing on the side, so they brought me a packet of Kraft Rancher’s Choice. I couldn’t firgure out the difference between Rancher’s Choice and standard ranch, but perhaps Kraft is seeking to avoid a lawsuit from Clorox, makers of Pine-Sol, Liquid Plum-r, Burt’s Bees Cosmetics and that dairy-gel matrix we like to dip our veggies into at parties.

BONUS QUIZ: Why are the images rotated sideways? Because WordPress sucks, that’s why. Or Internet Explorer sucks. Maybe they got together and had a sucky baby and they named the baby This Post. All fixed now. God almighty.