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Brunch in the City


The breakfast of champions at XYZ.

A couple of months ago, some good friends told me that they no longer are willing to wait in line for brunch of the weekends. In a city like San Francisco, that’s tantamount to going cold turkey and resigning yourself to cold cereal at home. At first I thought they were just being a little on the high-maintenance side, but now I’m starting to get it. What broke me down? An hour and a half outside Dottie’s, followed by 45 minutes at Universal Café. My weekend mornings were being spent on line, and I was ready to throw in the towel, too.

But this weekend I had the pleasure of brunch at XYZ at the W Hotel. While they’ve always served breakfast, now chef Paul Piscopo is pulling out all the stops for the morning meal, a proper brunch. My friend and I breezed right in (they take reservations), but even if you had to wait, you could sit at the huge bar or in the comfortable lounge area and sip your bloody mary until your table was ready. You would not be shivering in the morning fog, face pressed against the glass, watching plates of eggs go by.

Anyway, the food is quite nice—we started with the aforementioned bloody mary, followed by delicate sugar-dusted donut holes with meyer lemon curd and honey for dipping. Their breakfast pizza, a round of dough topped with fontina cheese, asparagus, prosciutto and an egg, is the perfect brunch choice—it straddles the line between breakfast and lunch. For those firmly in the lunch camp, a cheeseburger and chicken salad sandwich are on offer, and nobody seems to mind if you finish up your meal with some dessert, like the whimsical strawberry push-up pop, a modern interpretation of the ice-cream cart standard.