Before entering my mid-twenties, I had always thought brunch to be an affair enjoyed by ladies primped in their weekend best, or as I imagine, peplum dresses, strappy summer sandals and just-put-together chignons. It was a threshold that you cross after you’ve entered the working world, the way to enjoy the end of a sunny California weekend. After all, who could say no to a hearty breakfast and a glass of mimosa or two? Or a bottomless jug for all the alcoholics out there. My friend and I visited La Note on a breezy Sunday afternoon, where the wait was, as is for most of Berkeley’s notorious best, about 45 minutes. Perhaps not the quickest, but being seated outside in the beautiful backyard patio made it worthwhile. The patio was jammed with people and its tables were too close for comfort for personal conversations, but I was too excited about the menu to care about the boisterous children on the wooden bench next to me as their parents tried to spoon feed them slices of syrup drenched pancakes.
While I sipped my mimosa, I tried my best not to order everything off the menu, finally settling for the brioche pain perdu (french toast) and les ouefs maison (poached) with homefries, chicken apple sausage, and sourdough. My friend chose the potato and caramelized onion omelette.
The home fries were scrumptious, crispy cubed potatoes encrusted with a light layer of salt and herbs, made all the more delicious when dipped in runny yolks of a perfectly poached egg. I also adored the chicken apple sausage, juicy and full of rich meaty flavor that carried just the right amount of sweetness.
While I appreciated the thick slices of deeply cinnamon perfumed brioche, it wasn’t eggy or spongy enough for me. I loved the idea of lavender honey as it added a slight hint of floral lightness to an otherwise heavy dish, but I find myself wishing for Zazie’s smoky caramelized toast.
My friend’s choice was the equivalent of someone’s vegetable garden served fresh on a plate. The omelette was fluffy and soft, each bite filled with sweet caramelized onions and thin slices of crispy potatoes. My favorite was the tomatoes though, its flavors intensified with a slight sear on each side.
By the time my friend and I had finished, I found myself wondering whether I should grab a slice of pizza from Sliver. To be fair, I’ve always had a big appetite; my friend was absolutely stuffed. La Note is an adorable place perfect for casual dates and lazy afternoons stretched out over long conversations, but while I don’t mind visiting again in the future, I would probably not suggest it for the brunch food connoisseur. That, and no one amongst the brunch-goers bothered dressing up in flirty frocks and stylish ankle chinos. Then again, people don’t bother to dress up for much of anything in the Bay Area anymore.
2377 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704