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LES HOT SPOT
GETTING THERE (11–11:55am):
Leave my apartment in central Park Slope. Reduced weekend service on the D line extends the journey to an excruciating 55 minutes.
Arrive at Clinton Street Baking Company, survey the horrifying mass of hungry, whiny people and check in with the hostess. She estimates a one-hour wait for a table for two. I give her my name and buy a muffin to nibble on.
STILL WAITING (1–1:20pm):
The hostess comes out bearing a plate of plain pancakes cut into bite-size pieces. We dip into the maple-butter syrup and she tells us it should be "any minute."
Starving, we overorder: coffee ($3), fresh-squeezed orange juice ($3.50), a plate of blueberry pancakes ($13), a country breakfast ($13) and a side of bacon ($4). The eggs are light and fluffy. We pile them on the soft, warm biscuit with a few bites of ham and experience savory nirvana. The experience is topped by the pancakes, which we soak in the creamy and rich maple-butter sauce. Only the bacon—passable but ordinary—disappoints.
GETTING BACK TO THE COUCH (2:10–3pm):
After another 50 minutes on the train, I'm in my apartment, ready for some late-afternoon digestion in front of the TV.
Drew heads to Just Like Mother's
110-60 Queens Blvd between Ascan Ave and 73rd Rd, Forest Hills, Queens (718-544-3294)
GETTING THERE (11am–noon):
Tangle with the disjointed weekend L service or hike over to the Broadway G stop? Neither option looks promising, but ultimately we give it up to Big Baby G-sus and then the F.
We emerge in Queens at Just Like Mother's, a welcoming destination with about a dozen tables and a reputation for delicious brunch staples and Polish cheese-blintzy treats ($5.75). No lines, no people offering to trade their firstborn for a four-top, no hungover NYU students talking about how wasted they got last night, bro. The place is half full, and we wait exactly zero minutes for a seat.
Once we have coffee, we order a country omelette filled with tomato, green onion and pepper ($6.95), blueberry pancakes ($6.50), cheese blintzes ($6.75) and the silver-dollar potato pancakes ($7.50). I dig into the blueberry pancakes first, and am in no way disappointed. But my girlfriend and I agree that the potato pancakes, with just a hint of onion and topped with sour cream, are perfection in both form and function and the highlights of an excellent meal.
GETTING BACK TO THE COUCH (12:40–1:30pm):
Knowing I've already won this competition, I could draw out my triumph and head to the Meadow Lake Promenade (which is only a few minutes' walk from the restaurant). But we're full and tired, so we trek back to Brooklyn and decide not to eat again for a while.
2 hours, 30 minutes
The Brooklyn Tree
This casual American eatery in Bushwick churns out burgers, sandwiches and plates that will please both veg heads and carnivores alike. The grass-fed burger with white cheddar and smoked tomato aioli or confit tuna melt on parmesan-crusted bread (both $13) might hit the spot for meat lovers. Vegetarians can also swap in garbanzo bean loaf for the meatloaf ($13 for a sandwich, $15 for a plate) and tofu for the chicken schnitzel ($12 for a sandwich, $15 for a plate). Don’t forget the sides: You’ll want to taste the cheese puffs ($6), red pepper hummus ($6), quinoa-kale salad ($5) and mac and cheese with caramelized onions, shitake mushrooms and pretzel crust ($8). Come for brunch to try the avocado toast with sunny side up eggs and roasted peppers ($11), or just to take advantage of the two-for-one deal on Bloody Marys and mimosas.
Venue says: “The best Happy Hour in Williamsburg! Mon-Fri 3p-7p $2-$4 beers, $3 shots & $5 margaritas. Sat & Sun 11a-4p bloody's and mimosas buy 1, get 1”