Some brunches are for turning up, driving the boat with bottomless mimosas, and others, are for chilling out, maxing, relaxing and refueling yourself with goodness. I don’t know about you, but there are some weekends that call for the latter kind of brunch.
Then and now
I remember the first time I brunched at Refuel Café, placed perfectly on Hampson Street off South Carrollton Avenue, my girls and I stopped at the daiquiri shop not too far and rolled up in there with a gallon of bellini, because fresh out of college. It was truly a fun time, filled with too many jokes and just enough amazing food to help us finish the gallon.
Things have changed since 2012, I’m older and wiser and don’t drink daiquiris anymore (The calories! The headaches!) and Refuel has added so many new things to their menu. They, just like my girls and I, seem to get better with age.
Now, when I step into Refuel, it’s with every intention to have a “relax, relate, release” kind of brunch, filled with bottomless coffee instead of mimosas. It’s a personal favorite for quick iced coffee and a pastry, with a side of sweet greetings from the owner who always seems to remember me. It’s also a personal favorite for a chill brunch on a Sunday, usually after yoga but before a manicure and pedicure.
On my latest journey to Refuel, I was greeted with such a warm “Hello!” from a woman who looked at me like we were old friends. In any other city, that would be weird, but not in New Orleans, as we all know. And as much as I wanted to walk across the street to Pepperoni’s Cafe (another secret delicious brunch spot) to get a mango mimosa to go, I decided to just get the cup of coffee I had been thinking about all during mass only an hour before.
Refuel had just enough patrons in there to create a buzz of so many different conversations, and I was able to score a table after placing my order at the counter. It’s the perfect spot to bring family that’s in town (as was the case with the group sitting next to me) or a first date (as was probably the case with the adorable couple sitting by the window) mainly because it’s so darn comfortable. There’s nothing more than $15 on the menu. There’s no one rushing you out of there when you want to just sit and indulge in your bottomless coffee and except for the occasional kid noises, it’s a pretty quiet spot with great music playing in the background. Basically, Refuel is the perfect restaurant location for a romantic comedy.
What We Ate
BLT with goat cheese on croissant ($9 with a side)
I often crave things I’ve never really had. Like, the night before, I said to my roommate, “I want a BLT. I’ve never had one but I think I want one.” She shrugged it off and said that every time she’s had a BLT, she always just wished it was a burger. Well, what luck I have that Refuel not only has a BLT on their pretty expansive menu, but that dang thing comes with goat cheese – my favorite cheese of adulthood ($9 with a side). It usually comes on multigrain toast but for some reason, I wanted to be bougie and get it on a croissant. And as usual, being my best bougie self yielded positive results. From the first bite, I already knew that this would be a regular thing I would order during my Friday morning stops at Refuel. The bacon was perfectly crispy and I had a little bit of BLT in every bite. The goat cheese set off the entire sandwich and made me do a little dance while the flakes from the croissant dripped down my shirt.
Kitchen Sink Grit Plate ($11.50, with a side)
Remember how I said that I’ve changed since that first brunch here, and Refuel changed as well? Well, one big change they made was adding a set of grit plates to their menu. Grits are the southern brunch staple, and Refuel has the juice when it comes to making the grits creamy, savory, and downright perfect. The grit plates have a little bit of everything for everyone – one with a traditional flair of scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese; and another with a nice touch of citrus jalapeno pork. But the one that stands out to me is the Kitchen Sink plate ($11.50, with a side). Piled high with all things delicious, this plate starts with a heap of their signature grits, then eggs any way you like, andouille sausage, bacon, cheese, spinach, and housemade pico. I… never knew a grit plate was something I needed in my life until I had the Kitchen Sink, and now, just eating plain grits feels lame. I often take it up a notch with sliced avocado and some hot sauce, and it sends me to brunch heaven.
French Toast ($6.00)
Because I like a little variety with just about anything in my life, I ordered one slice of French toast ($6.00) to set the rest of brunch off. Definitely one of my better decisions of September. This slice of french toast was a thick piece of brioche with crispy edges and a soft and fluffy inside, and to my delight, the woman behind the counter asked if I wanted toppings and, of course, I wanted toppings. The whipped cream was fresh and went great with the sliced strawberries.
Every time I go to Refuel, I usually get something different, depending on my mood. One time, I really just wanted a waffle topped with bananas and whipped cream, and another time, I was feeling exceptionally ravenous and got the California burrito stuffed with black beans, eggs, avocado, pico, and andouille sausage. But with every dish, I’m comforted and leave feeling… refueled, if I can be so corny and say that.
So, if you’re looking for a brunch spot where you don’t have to worry about a designated driver or are just looking for delicious and filling breakfast, brunch, and lunch options, skip on over to Refuel soon. I’ll probably be there, getting another bottomless coffee refill.