It’s been a while since I did a brunch and Book Club review, partially because it’s been hosted at people’s homes, but mostly because I’ve only read a couple of the selections so far this year. May was my month to host, so I picked a book that’s been on my To Read shelf for quite some time.
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.
This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
I picked up a copy of this book about a year and a half ago and certainly intended to read it before now. I first became aware of the book through all of the press the play adaptation was getting in England. So when I saw a copy for 2 bucks at the used book store, I snatched it up.
While I didn’t hate the book, I wasn’t fond of it either. I did enjoy reading someting written from the first person perspective of a character who has a disorder and does not see the world in the same way that I see it. I also really enjoyed some of the asides Christopher goes on throughout the book as I, too, go on seemingly random tangents from time to time. But I expected somewhat of a mystery novel, only to have the mystery solved about two-thirds of the way through the book. There is also a lot of random math problems and solutions, complete with diagrams. As a person who really only enjoys using math to find out how much cheaper something is going to be at Bloomies during the Friends and Family Sale, I disliked this aspect of the book. I found it to be incredibly distracting. Overall, I felt the novel was lacking a strong plot throughout, and it really annoyed me because I wanted to like the book. 2.5 stars.
48 hours later, and I am still undecided if I liked Béarnaise or not. The food was phenomenal, the service was pretty awful. It’s really a shame, because I love Spike Mendelsohn’s other restaurants and was hoping I would be able to add his more upscale sit down restaurant to places I frequent.
I had reservations for 4 at 12:30p for brunch. My party was not large, nor did we have any special requests. I arrived 10 minutes early for my reservation, so I obviously didn’t mind waiting, but was eventually sat 15 minutes after my party should have been. It took another 10 minutes for the waiter to come over and take our beverage orders. After delivering our drink orders, the waiter took our brunch orders at 1pm. Our food was finally delivered at 1:50pm, after other diners who sat after us had finished eating their meals. My party ordered 3 omelets and steak and eggs among us. The only explaination I could come up with for the delay was our farm fresh eggs were straight out of the chicken. After we were finished eating, it then took another 30 minutes to get the check. My brunch was almost 3 hours long, and not on purpose. DC is a brunch town, and while I definitely enjoy a 3 hour brunch from time to time, it’s by choice, and it usually comes with bottomless mimosas (which are an option at Béarnaise, but not one I chose on Sunday).
Despite the service being poor, the food was definitely worth the wait. Not that I want to wait that long for eggs and fries. Anyway, I ordered the Croissant Sandwich. The menu says that it was supposed to come with a Petite Salad, but my plate came with Frites. I can’t say I’m overly upset about this, because while salad is better for me, frites taste significantly better. I wish I had a picture of the actual food for you, but I was hangry by the time the plate was set in front of me that I began inhaling it. Soz. The sandwich was tasty, the croissant buttery and crispy, the eggs light and fluffy, and it had bacon. Bacon can cover up a multitude of sins. But the frites. Oh. My. God. The. Frites. I can’t even describe how amazing they were, and if you don’t mind potentially waiting an hour between when your food is ordered and when it’s delivered, the frites are worth visiting the restaurant for.