Going to brunch is a great idea... until you arrive at the restaurant or cafe and realize that everybody had the exact same plan. It seems like no matter where you go, you end up waiting forever for a table. If you and your friends are tired of braving the brunch rush, here's an alternative idea: host a brunch party in your home.
The trick rests with simplicity. It can be easy to overdo your decor and place settings in order to achieve your desired feel or look, but don't overcrowd the table with unnecessary clutter.
Instead of a big, elaborate centerpiece, get a small glass container or mason jar and put a few stems of flowers in it. It will brighten up your table without being over-the-top and in the way. Think of how you want your food to be displayed -- from colorful bowls and platters to more unique ideas such as tiered cake or pastry trays. It's better to be cute and casual for your brunch party rather than trying to make it extravagant. But simple isn't synonymous with "boring." Get creative with your serveware. Substitute mason jars for glasses of water. For a cute, Insta-worthy look, don't leave anything in its original container -- transfer syrup, sugar, milk and any other condiments or beverages to little bowls or carafes for serving.
It's also recommended to pick your color palette carefully to give everything a cohesive look. You can go simple and elegant by making everything one color, such as a neutral white. Or you can make it fun and casual by mixing and matching bowls, plates, cups, etc. with different splashes of color. You can also make cute name place cards for your guests to find their spot.
Don't forget to look beyond the table. If you feel the need for the room to be tied together, consider incorporating elements of the place setting into the room's decor. This can be done by hanging streamers of the same color scheme as your table, or by adding a few vases with the same flowers from your centerpiece in other locations throughout the room.
No brunch is complete without cocktails, so be sure to have plenty of drinks prepared for your guests to sip on. Here are some boozey, brunch-friendly concoctions to serve:
Mimosas are a staple of brunches. The half-and-half blend of OJ and champagne is sweet, refreshing and will leave you with a pleasant buzz as you munch on bacon slices. You can stick with the classic mixture, or go a more unique route with fruity flavors such as pear mimosas, grapefruit and rosemary mimosas or mango mimosas.
For those who like a spicy kick to their morning, Bloody Marys have you covered. Though there are many different recipes, common ingredients include a tomato juice base, onion, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper.
Irish coffee is easy to make: simply pour whiskey (preferably Irish whiskey) into your coffee and stir. If it's too bitter, it's easy to sweeten up the recipe with sugar or even whipped cream. This is one of the stronger drink options, so drink in moderation.
But it can't all be booze. Make sure every person has a glass of water, and be sure to provide a ton of coffee for all the caffeine addicts. To avoid cluttering the table with too many drink glasses, jugs or coffee pots, set up a self-serve coffee bar on a vacant countertop. That way your guests can refill their mugs as they wish without a mess.
Brunch revolves around the food.
Have a wide variety of foods -- eggs, fresh fruits, meats, pancakes, roasted potatoes, waffles, French toast. Because a brunch demands so much food and variety, a good strategy to follow is to make one more complex "main" dish and keep the rest of your food relatively simple. That way, you can focus on your main recipe to wow your guests while still providing the simple breakfast foods everyone loves without getting overwhelmed with your cooking.
Some main courses you can serve with your fruits and bacon include:
The options for omelettes are limitless. You can pack them with meats, fill them with veggies or keep them simple with cheese. Unless you have any vegetarians attending, a safe approach to an omelette is adding ham, onions, peppers and cheese to your egg. It's an easy, classic recipe that will please any omelette lover. Depending on how much time you want to put in, you can have your guests submit requests and make their omelettes made to order.
A Dutch baby is an impossibly sweet, fluffy, large pancake that has been baked in a skillet. The recipe is a favorite of brunch lovers with a sweet tooth. If you're serving Dutch babies, make sure to manage your time well -- each dish takes about 25 to 30 minutes to bake before it is ready to serve.
As with omelettes, quiches can be made to contain a wide variety of ingredients, from bacon and cheese to spinach and broccoli. A quiche is an easy way to feed guests because it's easy to share -- just cut it like a pie and pass it around. If you choose to make a quiche, again make sure to allot yourself enough time for the 45-minute baking process.
Because brunches are, obviously, in the a.m. hours, it's recommended that you get as much done the night before as you can so you don't have to wake up before the sun rises. This includes setting the table and hanging any decorations.
When your guests arrive, make sure to keep the food warm until it's time to dig in. This can be easily done by keeping some foods in your oven. Your guests might want to wait and have a few mimosas before beginning the meal.