To the modern lover, no dining platform is more versatile than brunch. The champagne regularly corked for this late morning repast says party but the honeydew melon basket says I came from church. The beginning sunlight at its hour flashes across both faces, caressing every soft feature but not yet casting the harsh shadows of midday. Waffles are delicious.

Indeed, brunch is more than a portmanteau: it is a truce between competing forces, taking the middle road through formality and nonchalance. There is generally table service, but French toast is served alongside pasta, thick cuts of ham and Cheerios (the latter, at least, in the Atlantic Northeast; on the less formal Western seaboard one might find Rice Krispies instead). Lunch lacks any gravity and dinner wears coattails while brunch splits the difference like Mr. Peanut swirling a Tequila Sunrise to explore its bouquet.

The careful equilibrium of brunch is manifested once again in its flagship beverage. The Mimosa, three parts champagne and two parts orange juice, is really five parts awesome. So perfectly suited for brunch, philosophers have long debated which came first, the Mimosa or the infinite watermelon slice tray and omelet station.

Finally, brunch answers the trepidation inherent in later dates with its schedule. Instead of another evening possibly limping toward the familiar destination of an otherwise empty bed, a bad brunch (assuming the existence of such a thing) leaves open most of the day to regroup and redouble the modern romantic effort. This same rationale explains why one should not watch “The Hills” at its regularly scheduled hour: the low point in your daily ambition to nourish rather than destroy the soul should not deliver you to sleep.

EXCEPTION: Never order an omelet named after the place you’re eating, unless it’s Mexico City.


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