$1 Bellinis and Stoner Waiters

Sunday was fun. So much so, that this blog is a two-fer seeing as how I had brunch with my dancing friend Kristi followed much later by dinner with the incomparable Robin. Two different restaurants – yet hilarity ensued at each.

The hallmarks of good brunch places are:

1. Serving breakfast foods until about 3pm
2. Crispy bacon, well cooked eggs and tasty French toast
3. Cheap breakfast cocktails

Fortunately – Taverna checks all of my boxes.

Kristi and I arrived around 10:40am at my insistence, seeing as how arriving after 11am would have put us in the position of waiting waaaay too long for patio seating. I was ready to get my food and drink on. We were seated at a lovely corner table at the front of the patio and promptly ordered a mimosa (for Kristi) and a bellini (for me.).

The conversation meandered, drawing the attention of the couple at the table next to us. We’re pretty sure they followed our entire chat…and even texted each other at the table to discuss it. It’s nice to feel like we’re entertaining I guess.

Anyway – time to order. Kristi ordered poached eggs with bacon and breakfast potatoes. I went for the eggs al forno alla ‘olio tartufato’. The fancy name equals pan-fried eggs with breakfast sausage over garlic bread with truffle oil and breakfast potatoes. They had me at truffle oil. One day I’ll do a post about wanting to marinate myself in truffle oil. Or at least use it as a perfume. Maybe people would nibble on me.

Kristi's slightly augmented breakfast

By the time the entrees arrived, we were on drink #3. Kristi saw the light after the first round and switched to bellinis. They’re just so delicious. And even tastier since they’re cheap. Upon taking a look at Kristi’s poached eggs, we simply couldn’t resist taking the photo at left. Our discourse roughly went like this:

K: Those eggs just look a little wrong don’t they?
S: You bet.
K: We should take a picture, right?
S: (moving sausage to plate) Way ahead of you?
K and S: (simultaneously taking cell phone pictures and giggling like 12-year-old boys

Did I mention that only classy ladies like us do Sunday brunch?

In all seriousness, I love Taverna brunch. Even though this time I opted for a savory dish, I’m an eternal fan of their vanilla French toast. It is served with fresh fruit and creamy mascarpone cheese. The slightly tangy mascarpone is a perfect complement to the sweet vanilla in the toast itself. And, the fruit helps balance it out and make you feel like you have some nutritionally redeeming component to your meal. I’m suddenly having diner’s remorse for not ordering it on Sunday. *sigh*

My eggs were very well cooked – firm whites with a slightly runny center, perfect for sopping up with the zesty garlic bread. Having learned how to make a proper garlic bread the previous day in my cooking class (that post will be next), I had a great appreciation for the richness and flavor of Taverna’s version. Add the tender sausage and savory potatoes and I was in breakfast heaven. My only regret is that my stomach couldn’t accommodate the whole meal of food.

After getting home to – um – sober up a bit (thanks to Aunt Sandy for the two-hour phone conversation; it did the trick), I went to my office to do a little spring cleaning. Right around the one-hour mark, Robin texted me about having dinner. Hallelujah!

Robin suggested The Common Table – a restaurant in Uptown that has a great little patio. A perfect choice for a breezy spring evening in Dallas. I arrived first and, due to the lack of signage, self-parked along the street. The valet guy came by to let me know that he uses those spaces for valet but didn’t make a big deal or make me hand over my keys or *gasp* pay. Valet is a great concept – especially in busy zones like Knox-Henderson on a Saturday night – but given the relatively small group of people who had elected to patronize Common Table that evening, it seemed superfluous.

That's just a breadstick. Don't be like that.

We started with the pulled pork spring rolls, which came with a yuzu sesame sauce and a sweet chili garlic sauce. Having not bothered to commit the accoutrements to memory, we asked our waiter about the sauces when the dish arrived. Not a good sign when the descriptions rely on the phrase “it’s like a…” PS – he didn’t get either of them right. He said one was a Thai sauce and the other was a ginger soy sauce. Server fail. Did I mention his name was Jay? Not sure if that is his actual name or just his smokeable of choice.

Since I’d skipped the carb-tasticness of French toast at breakfast, I decided to opt for the papparedelle primavera – a pasta dish with sauteed vegetables, pecorino cheese and olive oil. And a suspicious-looking breadstick.

The pasta was perfectly cooked and the olive oil and pecorino were flavorful. The change I’d make would be to cut the vegetables a bit larger. Everything – except for the spinach – was so small, you couldn’t really tell what everything was and the taste of the vegetables was totally overwhelmed by the pasta and the oil. I was really hoping for the veggies to have more of a presence, I guess.

Poor photography. Great sammich.


Robin went for the grilled cheese, which isn’t what you’re probably imagining. This grilled cheese sandwich includes pork tenderloin (much pig was consumed at this meal) and four different kinds of cheeses along with a marinara sauce for dipping. And it comes on sourdough bread. What’s not to like about that?

Was the meal memorable? Not really – but it was a solid dinner and I’d totally go back to this place for a casual evening. One thing that wine lovers and beer fans alike will appreciate is that each dish on the menu is listed with a suggested wine or beer pairing. No one gets left out. Well, except for you boozehounds. The Groom Sauvignon Blanc was my libation of choice (after finding out the same varietal from Rodney Strong was no longer available). It was nice and acidic with great citrus notes. Everything a sauvignon blanc should be, so far as this wino is concerned.

I will say that, as a bar, Common Table delivers. The wine list is of good depth , with some interesting selections from California and Oregon, most notably. Beer selection is equally impressive and – for anyone who is a Dogfish Head fan – this Saturday you can find 12 Dogfish beers on tap, including Bitches Brew. If you’ve seen the show Brewmasters, you know that some of their beers are relatively limited in supply, so get these while you can, starting at 11am courtesy of Common Table.

All in all, a pretty nice little Sunday. It didn’t include trips to Home Depot or Bed Bath and Beyond, but who has time for that anyway? Buen provecho!


Filed under Drinking, Eating

2 responses to “$1 Bellinis and Stoner Waiters

  1. G

    I’m the nerd who was at Home Depot and Ikea.

  2. Barry

    I had NO idea that the Dallas brunch scene included xrated entrees?

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