When Valentine’s Day comes around every year, I know it’s everyone’s tendency to think flowers and chocolates and romantic candlelit dinners. That’s all well and good, but over recent years it seems to me that couples are looking for new and fun ways to celebrate their love. I’ve seen interesting ideas like cooking classes, distillery tours and tastings, hikes through new parks, or concerts, and drinks afterward. But what about brunch?
Hear me out: brunch can be just as romantic as any old white tablecloth dinner. It can be upscale or down-home, depending on your style. You can still sip champagne and finish with a rich dessert. There’s more flexibility time-wise, as you decide whether to wake up early or sleep in a bit. And with Valentine’s Day falling on a Tuesday this year, you’re afforded two perfect opportunities to make reservations – the weekend before or after the actual holiday!
In our city of Columbus, we’ve found many brunches for celebrating special occasions. There’s the quiet splendor of The Guild House in Short North, attached to the beautiful Joseph hotel, or the chef-driven creations at The Rossi (that custard-filled French toast!). You can savor the Italian flares of brunch at Trattoria Roma or try the best chicken and waffles ever at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro in the Hilton Downtown.
The great thing about brunch these days is that EVERYONE is doing it. This means that you can find any style of brunch: tacos, pizza, SoCal, German. For instance, if you’re a beer-lover, you can grab a quiet corner at the Rockmill Tavern in the Brewery District. Chef Andrew Smith pairs brunch creations like French toast, a hearty breakfast sandwich, and rich chilaquiles with Rockmill Brewery’s Belgian-style ales. The setting is perfect for a romantic brunch: the wood accents on the walls, the quiet and secluded booths, the hushed lighting and beautiful greenery.
The point is to search out the unexpected as you make your Valentine’s Day plans. One of my current favorite brunches is located in… a grocery store. Well, it’s an upscale grocery store/bistro/bar/coffee shop/deli: The Market Italian Village. The atmosphere is casual, there’s the warm and welcoming smell of a wood-fired oven, and they have a full espresso bar, cocktails, and interesting beers on tap. And the chefs create really spectacular brunches like the rich Mediterranean dish shakshuka, or braised lamb over polenta, or the brunch salad topped with a crispy egg. Wherever you live, you can easily find creative brunches near you. I think fondly back to brunch at the Flying Fig in Cleveland, or a lavish buffet at the Orchids at Palm Court in Cincinnati. Or even a hearty Mexican-themed brunch at Casa Nueva in Athens (followed by beers at Jackie O’s or ciders at the West End Cider House).
Just don’t forget the coffee.