I have a notebook (my blog book) that I carry with me wherever I go so I can jot down blog inspiration whenever it comes to me.As part of this notebook is a list of places I want to try, organized by city, and cuisine.
I have decided to challenge myself, friends and family to start chipping away at this list and report back to you! As miss Julie Andrews once sung, ♪“Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start” ♪. And how does anyone who’s anyone start off their weekend? By brunchin’ of course!
Brunch has gone from a chance to meetup with family members for a convenient weekend gathering to a next level way of life. From mass snapchat stories to DJ focused events featuring Vegas level performances, brunch is not for the faint of heart.
Weekend warriors unite as I spend my upcoming summer testing out some of the local brunch hot spots in the twin cities. My first Brunch spot wasn’t so nice…so I tried it twice: Copper Hen. This first review is of my first visit-the negative one. That being said, they did redeem themselves and I will be discussing this in next week’s post.
I have always heard wonderful things about this shabby chic setting with an Eggs Benedict that could blow your mind. A month or two ago when some friends of mine asked for suggestions for an outing for the girls I cracked open by Blog Book and scoured my list for the perfect spot. The Copper Hen was at the top of my list and the group was excited at the idea of gathering at this hip eat street joint.
I made sure to make a reservation well in advance. There’s nothing worse than getting a bunch of hungry girls together and then making them wait. Unfortunately, when we arrived 5 minutes before our reservation we were told it would still be a wait. Now, I do realize the space at Copper Hen is limited and its popularity can make getting a table on time difficult but I couldn’t help myself as I got frustrated. There is one tiny couch and a couple of small chairs shoved up against the dining tables in the middle of the walkway which makes the wait uncomfortable and invasive for the people who are sitting at the unlucky tables towards the front of the room. There was enough space for maybe 5 people to sit at any time while waiting and we were freezing as the door was consistently opening and closing.
After about a 20-30 min wait we were granted the very first table, the worst one available. Practically in the waiting area that was constantly bumped by those impatiently waiting while being blasted with the freezing cold air coming in every time the door was opened. I knew that my mood was a result of several unfortunate events. It wasn’t the staffs fault that it took time to free up a table or that the table we were provided really sucked. However, I felt that by making a reservation a week and a half in advance should have afforded us a slightly better seating situation.
Once we squeezed into our table we started to relax and enjoy ourselves. Side note: the tables at Copper Hen are crammed together, go to the bathroom early because it can be difficult getting in and out-plus there are only two toilets so the wait can get a little tough. However if you are in the right bubbly and social mood, the seating arrangement can be fun, you have the opportunity to engage with everyone around you which can make for a whole lot of laughs.
I was impressed how quickly we were served seeing as the place was packed. Our server showed up at our table within minutes. We all placed our drink orders and were already putting the crappy waiting experience behind us, even though the constant rush of frigid air over our table was a constant reminder.
My friend Cassie (of CassieAtHome.com) informed us that their Eggs Benedict might be the best she’s ever had. I had already made my mind up that I wanted the Eggs Benedict the week before while browsing their menu . Cassie’s info really sealed the deal for me and the majority of our group.
Our happiness over our quick drink order was soon crushed when five, ten fifteen, twenty minutes passed before we saw some of our drinks. After a few reminders, we were able to get all the drinks at our table. We made sure to let our waitress know that we were ready to order before she was called away again to another one of her many tables.
Out of our group of six girls plus our Dashing baby, three of us were ordering the Eggs Benedict, but all our hopes and dreams for the creamy egg delight were destroyed when our server told us with a sheepish grin that they were “All out”. I was again frustrated, all out of what? Eggs? Bacon? English muffins? Could we get a substitute for whatever had run out? Our server was overwhelmed and just kept telling us they were all out.
As we scrambled to pick out replacements not wanting to lose our opportunity to order, I pouted. I’m not proud of this but I had really talked this place up. I had been telling my girls all about the perfect brunch spot I had heard of, only to have it turn out in disaster thus far. By the time my turn came to order I glanced at the menu and ordered the first thing I saw, the Brussels Ceasar, realizing just as our waitress walked away that I wanted to add chicken
After a few attempts we were able to flag our server down and add chicken to my salad-much to her distress. She was then bombarded with additional questions from one of the girls in our group who struggles with several food allergies. I poor waitress was overwhelmed and had no answers for her. (Lainie, if your reading this, this is the moment when I knew you were preggo, you were asking way more questions than usual and being extra careful).
We gabbed and gossiped as we waited for our food. I had calmed down enough to really appreciate the aesthetics of the restaurant. It really is a trend followers dream. The hum and buzz of conversation reverberating of the peeling plaster walls wafting throughout the open space. Filled with farm style tables and sheltered by exposed eams strung with twinkle lights. I couldn’t help but obsess over the GIANT chalkboard and garland framed windows that completed the look of an old country inn somewhere in France.
It was still a while until our food came out to us but we had finally let loose and were getting more and more carefree with every sip of our mimosas. We were a little stunned when a server brought someone else’s food to our table. When she realized her mistake she walked away calling over her shoulder for us to move our phones off the table. We were a little shocked. Sure its probably rude to have our phones on the table, but I’ve never had a server scold me for it.
Our food was brought out just as we were starting to wonder where it was. As much as I wanted to pout over my food, I couldn’t after taking my first bite of my new favorite salad! The shredded brussel sprouts and shredded roast chicken came to life with whatever crumble concoction topped it, and that champagne vinaigrette? Forget about needing another dressing ever again! I have tried recreating this salad on my own after that day but nothing I do can even come close. I don’t think I could shovel my food into my mouth fast enough.
Everyone seemed to really enjoy their food and we ended up forcing one another to try bites of our meals in our excitement. We had been completely won over by the food and all earlier doubts about The Copper Hen were soon forgotten.
It didn’t take us long to clear our plates and turn our gazes onto the scrumptious sweets and pastries in the front display case. I am impressed with my friend’s ability to turn down temptation. I however, have no self-control and immediately ordered the “Muffin with the thingy in it” the first chance I got. I still say it was one of the better decisions I made that day and I enjoyed every single decadent bite.
We managed to end what had started as an unpromising adventure out on a jubilant note. That was until the bill came. It is a personal goal of mine to pay attention to what I’m signing when handed the bill. I never give it a second glance, I pay and move on. I am always shocked and envious of my girlfriends who pay attention to their finances, since it always seems to pay off for them. My friend Lainie called her bill to our server’s attention. She had ordered the gluten free toast and was shocked when the price seemed to be double what was shown on the menu. Our waitress explained that gluten free bread was an extra charge and was priced per slice unlike the other breads, but graciously adjusted the bill agreeing that it wasn’t really fair.
I was overall disappointed with my first experience at The Copper Hen. I knew it must have been a rare occurrence since everyone I’ve spoken with have always had wonderful things to say. I knew I needed to give the place a second chance, I couldn’t resist another opportunity for that salad. Check out Hunkiedorië next week to read about my satisfying second visit to The Copper Hen.