The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. – Julia Child
At the end of the day, there are probably few things more pleasurable than feeling the crunch of the herbs on the outside of a prime rib cooked medium rare or the taste and feel of an ice-cold oyster dipped in spicy cocktail sauce and doused with a squirt of lemon sliding down your throat. And yesterday, I experienced both sensations. And much more.
For more years than I remember, some iteration of folks – but always including Bill, Jen, her son BJ, and I — have visited the Greenbriar Inn just a few miles north of Boulder, Colorado, on Mother’s Day for brunch. Because it’s Mother’s Day, we knock elbows with many, many other folks treating their mothers to the Greenbriar’s amazing brunch.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. At least one year Bill and I were unable to make it because of one of Colorado’s infamous early-May snowstorms. That year, diehards Jen and BJ sat at their little table for two eating their mussels and eggs benedict and shrimp. A little snow wasn’t going to stop them from their appointed round of Mother’s Day brunch. They are gamers.
But this year, we simply couldn’t make the Mother’s Day brunch happen. There were many reasons, not the least of which was Bill and I arrived back to Denver from AZ a couple of weeks later than normal because we stayed to watch our niece graduate from ASU. And this year even Jen and BJ couldn’t get things to fall into place. With much chagrin, we decided we had to bag our annual Mother’s Day pig-out, er, brunch at the Greenbriar.
And then a few weeks ago, Jen (remember, she’s a gamer?) called with great excitement. The Greenbriar doesn’t just offer brunch on Mother’s Day. Why don’t we go out to brunch when Bec is visiting Colorado? She’s never been, and I think we are all available.
Voila! And so we did just that. Yesterday we enjoyed Sunday brunch at the Greenbriar Inn, and it was better than ever, largely because Bec was with us. It helped that, not being Mother’s Day, there were fewer patrons to fight over the oysters and mussels.
There is something so elegant about a brunch. It simply feels different than an all-you-can-eat buffet, even though for all intents and purposes, it is all you can eat. The offerings are fewer and more special. The atmosphere – at least at the Greenbriar – is elegant yet comfortable. And they promptly remove your plates each time you head up to the various food stations, thereby creating the illusion that all you are eating are those three shrimp and the tiny slice of bleu cheese on your plate. There’s no way to prove that’s actually your third helping of shrimp. And then, of course, there’s the champagne.
When we first sat down, BJ noted that he intended to be quite strategic about his approach. I’ve given this some thought, he said with a twinkle in his eye. My goal is 36 trips this year.
We all nodded thoughtfully. Well, we all told him, then you’d better have champagne instead of Bloody Marys because they will fill you up too quickly. He didn’t quite make it to 35, but he did darn well. As did we all.
So well, in fact, that at the end of the meal, when he saw that we had filled up a big plate of desserts instead of the little tiny plates they offered on the dessert table, our server nodded satisfactorily, and said, Nicely done, folks, nicely done. It made us recall one time when Court joined us for brunch and ate so many of the little crème brules that he was nearly sick; nevertheless, he grabbed another on his way out the door!
At the end of the meal, when we all were literally unable to eat another bite, our champagne glasses were messy with our fingerprints, and even the thought of one more oyster made us cringe, it occurred to us that we probably ate more at a single meal than some families eat in a week.
That notion makes me both proud and discomfited about being an American. But we sure had ourselves some fun. And God bless America……