For some, the intersection of breakfast and lunch, eggs and alcohol and Southern or Texas cuisine with waffles is a foreign concept.
In fact, the origin of brunch dates back to lavish English hunt breakfasts and post-Mass as Catholics break Sunday fast, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
However, despite it being a tradition driven by frumpy English noblemen feasting after a fox hunt and religious families enjoying each other's company after church, the meal has caught on as a relaxing weekend experience for all to enjoy.
The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar in Victoria has developed a reputation for its Sunday brunch selection. The restaurant has taken staples of a typical brunch menu and given it southern and Texas twists that make the meal a unique experience.
“Some of the restaurants throughout the nation that are famous for brunch, New Orleans particularly, look at Brennan's. And if you go to the East Coast, the Greenbrier brunches are legendary,” said Dennis Patillo, co-owner of the PumpHouse.
“I'm born and raised in Texas. I love Texas, and so we kind of wanted to do some things that are a little different.”
Every Sunday, customers, young and old, come to enjoy the PumpHouse's spin on brunch with its unique contributions to the meal.
The crowd on hand is some of the most diverse the restaurant sees during the week. Lunch is often served to business professionals and dinners are known for those celebrating big occasions like birthdays and engagements, Patillo said.
“But brunch, you know, one of the good things about the PumpHouse brunch particularly, is that a lot of times you can't go through the front door or get out to your table if you're sitting outside, without stopping at two or three tables and saying hello to people you know,” he said.
One food customers enjoy is the Texas Benedict, a Southwestern cuisine twist on Eggs Benedict, a traditional staple of brunch, Patillo said.
The dish includes a cheesy polenta cake with pan-fried chorizo and a poached egg topped with seasoned jalapeño cheese sauce, tortilla chips and a pico de gallo garnish.
The combination makes for a meal that dances on the tongue like salsa dancers commanding the attention of the room on a dance floor as it goes from spicy to zesty to savory all in one bite. It makes the diner’s inner foodie go “wow.”
Among the creative additions to brunch selections are its Pumped Up Hash, which includes slow-roasted pulled pork sautéed with crispy shredded potatoes, caramelized onions and peppers, topped with eggs and grilled toast point.
With pulled pork that tastes as if it is fresh from the smoker, the eggs and potatoes perfectly compliment the meal.
If seafood is more your speed, try the New Orleans Style Shrimp and Grits.
Then there is the southern staple chicken and waffles, which at the PumpHouse once again gets a Texas twist. The chicken is pecan crusted and served with a Belgium waffle.
Together the two make for a sweet and savory dish that will have the diner begging for seconds if you have room for it.
The chicken and waffle meal is one of the most expensive dishes at the PumpHouse but it is also the most popular. Chef Cliff Denson developed the recipe.
“We wanted a signature dish and it just seemed like a perfect fit,” Denson said.
At the end of the day, brunch is its own unique experience with dishes totally unique to it, Patillo said.
“Brunch is kind of one of those things. It's neither fish nor fowl. It's not breakfast, although we have some great breakfast dishes, and it's not lunch, although we have some lunch dishes. We also have some dishes that are uniquely positioned for brunch,” he said.
It’s not business-oriented like lunch or formal like dinner, Patillo said.
“It's a time to just come and relax and enjoy company and good food,” he said.
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