Springtime is here, y’all. Just when I thought I was an Autumnal Auntie, spring came through with a new attitude, and suddenly, I started to fan-girl for the abundant season.
Spring brings forth many things – blooming flowers, pesky pollen on perfect sunny days, sundresses and rompers from the back of the closet, outdoor drinking, and brunch with a side of outside.
So, to celebrate my first spring brunch, I journeyed on down to the bustling part of Magazine Street to dine at Red Dog Diner. This spot is next door to the ever-popular Rum House, and even kinda looks like it with tables lining the sidewalk outside.
As we walked in, I kept wondering why this place felt familiar, like…it reminded me of a place I’d been to before and liked. It wasn’t until we sat down in the back of the restaurant, nestled beside the courtyard bar, that I blurted out, “Yo! This is like a fancy Cracker Barrel!” The rustic decor and cute dog art everywhere gave off serious Cracker Barrel vibes, which for me is a big deal.
What We Drank
The first thing I read on the menu at Red Dog Diner, which also includes its lunch and dinner offerings (I’m coming back for the pasta, fam), was the sentence “a meal without wine is called breakfast.” We’re starting off with straight facts, y’all.
In keeping with tradition, I ordered the Moose’s Magnificent Mimosa, a froze mimosa with strawberry puree and… wait for it… ORANGE JULIUS. Tell me, when was the last time YOU had an Orange Julius? I honestly think my last one was in 1999 in some airport. I was excited to try it, and it was, for a lack of better words, magnificent. The Orange Julius and strawberry mixed with the sparkling wine was refreshing and frothy and was totally worth breaking my Lenten promise.
What We Ate
Usually, I know what kind of brunch mood I’m in before I even put my name down for a table. But this time around, I was in a mood…for everything. Traditional breakfast, a salad, a burger, all the things – I wanted them all. But alas, we landed on the pimiento cheese dip, sweet potato pancakes, a granola bowl, and the brisket hash omelet with grits.
I wish I hadn’t waited until adulthood to invite pimiento cheese into my life. The cheese came with toast and spread perfectly with creole mustard, onions and pickles. A perfect starter before the real deal brunch.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I will eat anything with sweet potatoes in or around it. These pancakes (WITH REAL SWEET POTATOES PIECES TUCKED INSIDE!) didn’t disappoint and made me wonder if I love these pancakes more than the lemon ricotta pancakes from Paladar 511. Then I wondered, “Why can’t I love them both? Why can’t someone make lemon ricotta sweet potato pancakes?” The dish also came with several slices of crispy bacon and a sweet potato compote on top, rounding out a perfect serving size. The pancakes were warm and comforting and sweet – basically what I imagine a hug from Winston Duke would be like.
Up next was the brisket hash omelet, with fresh brisket tucked into a cheesy omelet. Topped with mushrooms, my brunch buddy truly enjoyed the freshness of the eggs (“these are some fluffy eggs!”) and the nice portion size of the omelet.
The omelet also came with a side of house-made focaccia toast that was soft to the touch and upon taking a bite, made me start speaking in Italian. Momma Mia!
The grits that were ordered a la carte could singlehandedly end the Twitter battle between Team Sugar and Team Salt/Pepper/Butter. The grits already came perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of salty and buttery to match the sweetness I prefer. Team Sugar in Grits forever and I am not sorry about it.
And one last a la carte item – the NOLAGranola! I usually never order granola during brunch because granola is cute but not filling. But this one? This beautiful granola bowl was more than cute. It was delicious and bundled with more fruit that I’ve ever imagined – bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries. I love a good granola bowl.
If you’re looking for a new springtime spot for brunch, complete with a variety of brunch dishes and refreshing drinks, Red Dog Diner is the place to be.