The Austin Chronicle

Discovering the American Brunch in Austin

By Bere Belmares, August 2, 2012, 1:33pm, Events Blog

I grew up in Monterrey, and on my first trips to Austin I never really spent a Sunday eating out. To my knowledge, nothing was “happening” on a Sunday in Austin. It wasn’t until I read about Austin's brunch scene in a magazine that I became curious about what I was missing.

So on my next trip, a good friend of mine took me out for brunch in the remains of a Sunday morning, followed by “Sunday Fun Day," a concept about which I remained skeptical, given my history of boring Sundays afternoons. I enjoyed those charming, huge breakfast tacos and seemingly never-ending two dollar mimosas, and I couldn’t help but think about how many Sundays I had squandered, eating whatever was on hand and doing last minute errands. Since I had my first taste of Austin's Fun Day, I take Sundays in Austin very seriously and (I admit) midnight buses back home.

Back in my hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, Sundays are meant to be spent with la familia, and we don’t really do brunch. To trace our Sunday patterns, I got my friends to tell me about their own little Sunday routines. Young adults’ Sundays start after 12 pm, so if families want to have full attendance at Sunday midday meals, they have to be around 1-2 PM. These are regularly hosted by the same relative, be it at your own house, your aunt’s or (most of the time) at your grandparents' house. Usually it's the relative who is brave enough to host such a noisy endeavor and has the biggest house to shelter the extended family. Cousins, brothers, nephews, and grandchildren all gather up to enjoy a typical northern Mexican BBQ cooked by the men of the family; depending on their pride and skills you’ll have a great meal. Sunday Catholic mass with the family is an important activity too, which might take place before lunch, around 12pm or after lunch around 6 or 7 pm. After 7 pm we most likely stay in, gather with close friends or with girlfriends and boyfriends. For those who don't have their family in the same city, Sundays consist of grabbing tacos from the nearest small and dodgy taco trailer, doing household chores, and watching whatever soccer game is on, TV show reruns or movies.

It was a delicious surprise to discover the American brunch in Austin. I had never seen such a ritual made around a meal in America like brunch. The delicious, heaping portions, endless coffee, mimosas, bloody marys, seeing restaurants and venues flooded by a sea of people rushing to get a good seat and enjoy a meal with all fascinated me.

Last Sunday I was determined to experience a full typical brunch, and I took a Texan with me. For such a mission, I chose Austin’s beloved BBQ venue Stubb’s, since they host a Gospel brunch with live Gospel music every Sunday. They host it from 11AM-1 PM, so I managed to be awake, fresh, and ready to go at 11:30 AM. I had high expectations, and they sure were met. There was a feast of food out on the terrace with a buffet of southern style grits, migas, fried catfish, BBQ brisket, sausage, chicken, enchiladas, bacon, biscuits, home fried potatoes, cowboy beans, nopalitos and muffins. I was beyond ecstatic when I saw the many choices of food and was still amazed to see Mexican breakfast foods included, like migas. To accompany my two rounds of buffet fare, I had coffee and decided to leave the mimosas for later. The air was filled with a delicious aroma of Texan food, heart-filled Gospel melodies and the chatter of families, friends and couples. I felt totally at home, surrounded by the warmth of families and friends, a full stomach of delicious food, and the rowdiness of this packed premier venue. This upcoming Sunday will be beyond exciting for me, as I will be the one sheltering my visiting familia for the weekend and taking them out for a classic American brunch in Austin.

Experience Stubb's "Revival for Body & Soul" brunch buffet every Sunday morning. Visit their website for reservations and details.

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