Above the side door is a majestic sign that reads (in part) “NONE OF.” Whether the hidden word was “YOU” or “THAT,” I never learned, but equally tantalizing was the front-entrance signage, which promised all who entered “BRUNCH + LUNCH = BLUNCH.”
(I like the first two definitions here, but we’re talking about something different.)
There was a discussion later in the weekend about what, exactly, brunch is in this day and age. Brunch circa 1980, of course, consisted of a pastel color scheme and several long tables upon which one might find such attractions as Fruit Mountain, Dry Eclair Plate of Doom, and Ham, Hand-Carved to Suit Your Needs! You could have, if you so desired, a slice of pink roast meat and a cantaloupe wedge completely devoid of flavor and a crystalline parfait cup of chocolate mousse. All before noon!
These days, we think it means boozy breakfast, but I digress. We are here to discuss icon,
The restaurant, icon—with its maddening lowercase i—was not far from where capital-i I, Aunty Christ, hotelled for my birthday weekend celebration of turning Old. Having never had blunch, even at my advanced age, it became a destination.
Never mind that the restaurant seats 168, according to the sign on the wall; Rich and I were the only ones in there. (Aside from the 15 or so staff, who sounded like they were having a wonderful time sorting silverware.)
So, the silverware was impeccably sorted (I guess), and the walls were a pinky-mauve, festooned with oh so much crap: glass baubles huge as pumpkins at a county fair hanging heavily in wrought-iron chandeliers the size of tractors; dusty, supposedly whimsical tchotchkes littering every surface.
Completely different than either 1980s or modern-day brunch, blunch is its own animal, consisting of a menu with lots of breakfasty-sounding items on it, and a separate, larger lunch menu. This restaurant we were at, which is called icon (see the lengths I must go to to avoid using your insipidly styled name at the front of a sentence, icon? Now change your name!), is one of those restaurants that specifically does not want its patrons ever to be able to decide what they want to eat, seeing as how its menu is so very vast and all-inclusive. Frito pie or sashimi? Korean ribs or Yankee pot roast? Veal schnitzel or moo goo gai pan? Eggs benedict or seafood gumbo?
Our waiter (who by all appearances was at least partially blind, but nonetheless also at least partially an asshole) started listing all the wonders of the blunch drinks menu, including seven (7) flavors of mimosa! Strangely, we were uninterested. Bring us coffee, Rich told the man.
Rich, upon getting coffee: Also, can we have some water?
“We’re a green restaurant,” the waiter says. “We don’t bring water unless you ask for it. Why, I’d let you die of thirst before I’d bring a table water. Ha ha!” Growing serious: “You know, every glass of water you take out of the earth is one less glass of water that’s in the earth.”
I do know that, actually, having slogged part of the way through this very interesting book. But now I can’t stop saying things like, “Every ramekin of butter you take out of the earth is one less ramekin of butter that’s in the earth.” And “Every order of pad thai you take out of the earth is one less pad thai that’s in the earth.” It really makes you think! Do we really need all these extras? These frills and whistles and doodads and geegaws? Can’t we just live simply and not always need and acquire and waste?
Well, maybe you can. It’s still my birthday season, and I want more.