By: Professor Jeff Brooks and Angelina Valuri
There is nothing better than finding the perfect brunch spot with friends on a Sunday afternoon and enjoying a great lunch at one of the many hidden gems located here in Baton Rouge. If you don’t have the time (and let’s face it, you’re in law school so you definitely don’t) to try out all of the places on your “lunch-and-brunch” bucket list, don’t worry…we’re going to do all of the legwork for you.
Every month, Professor Brooks and I, along with a rotating “mystery diner” guest, will order three separate lunch/brunch dishes from restaurants that are not only reasonably affordable, but that are a bit off the beaten path. All restaurants will receive an overall rating between 1-5 gavels, with a 1 gavel rating being “poor” and a 5 gavels rating being “excellent.”
This month, we decided to have brunch at one of the two City Pork locations. (2363 Hollydale Ave. 225-300-4550)
If you have a lunch or brunch location you would like to see reviewed, please feel free to e-mail your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Review from Professor Jeff Brooks
City Pork offers an impressive array of tasty brunch-y food choices, largely centered around their wonderful smoked and cured meats. My bacon waffle ($10) was light and fluffy, and the hint of smoke from the miniscule bacon bits scattered throughout the batter was pleasantly subtle. The side of bacon (yes, bacon waffle with bacon) was superb; City Pork’s bacon is probably the best in the city. The drinks were similarly extremely well-made. My Vietnamese iced coffee ($4) was creamy deliciousness, but they didn’t overdo it on the sweetened condensed milk, and my French 75 ($8) was a cool, crisp, and perfectly blended mix of gin, champagne, and lemon juice. My only gripe would be the lack of table service. If you’re looking for a chance to kick back, relax, and read the paper while you brunch, City Pork’s hopping service and small amount of table real estate might make that a challenge. Overall, it was an excellent way to kick off a lazy Sunday.
Verdict: 4.5 gavels!
Review from our monthly “Mystery Diner”
Brunch is by far my favorite meal of the week, and I was excited to give City Pork a try. From the minute I walked into the door, the smell of freshly cooked bacon began to call my name. The venue itself was a tad on the small side, with only ten four-tops available for diners. The line to order our food moved quickly, but it extended past the front door at 11:00am. Brunch hours on Sunday are 9am-3pm, so my suggestion is to get there as early as possible in order to secure a table. Reservations are not accepted, so tables fill up quickly. Although I found the menu to be a bit limited with only five main entrées, it certainly did not disappoint. I decided on the Eurobreakfast, ($14) which is one of the two Breakfast Boards City Pork offers. The Eurobreakfast Board consisted of Provolone, Cheddar, and Gruyere cheeses, a healthy dose of Prosciutto, fig preserves, fresh fruit, a smoked hard-boiled egg, and multigrain bread. It was more than enough to share and the butcher block presentation was very appetizing. All three of us tasted everything that was included, reaching the consensus that the smoked hard-boiled egg was our least favorite item, (Too much smoke flavor was present.)Like Professor Brooks, I chose a Vietnamese Iced Coffee to drink. I found it to be the perfect beverage to accompany my meal. It was not made too heavily with condensed milk and they allowed the dark roast coffee to take center stage. Angelina was gracious enough to share the generous portion of thick cut bacon that came with her entrée and I must admit, it was perfect. It was cooked crisp all the way through with just the right amount of chew. Overall, I would describe City Pork to be a “come as you are” type of brunch spot. The vibe was relaxed, the meal was satisfying, and the bacon was truly the shining star of the show. The slow table service left something to be desired, but I still can’t wait to come back!
Verdict: 4.5 gavels!
Review from Angelina Valuri
City Pork “brought home the bacon” this year and was selected as 225 magazine’s Best New Restaurant of 2015. It definitely lived up to its title because my brunch experience there was nothing short of amazing. City Pork is owned and operated by two LSU alumni, and all of their local meats are smoked, slow-roasted, or braised on a daily basis. I’m convinced the main goal of this restaurant is to have all of their patrons fall in love with (get addicted to) the delicious variety of pork that they offer.
We arrived for brunch at 11am and to our surprise, found a crowd of people already extending past the doorway. Our orders were taken quickly and the line moved with a steady rhythm. The Brunch Gods must have been smiling upon us because we were lucky enough to secure a table right by the front window, which was perfect for people watching. As we waited for our food to arrive, I observed a toddler in a highchair double fisting two strips of bacon. As she chowed down, she gleefully shouted, Yuuuuummmm! Clearly a good sign.
Being the classic girl I am, (cough, cough) I settled on the tried-and-true brunch beverage standard, a mimosa. ($5) Nothing too special to report, but how can you go wrong with orange juice and champagne? Little did I know that my entrée choice, the Lil’ Pig, ($7) would be just the opposite. It was, in fact, quite special. I’m talking six, yes SIX, pieces of thick-cut bacon type of special. The Lil’ Pig turned out to be an “amped up” version of the perfect classic breakfast sandwich. A freshly baked brioche bun housed a fried egg, a slice of honey ham, cheddar cheese, and a mountain of thick, salty, meaty bacon. Although I didn’t initially want to share my sandwich with anyone, I decided to allow our mystery diner to share in my winnings of the bacon lottery. In my opinion, every breakfast sandwich I have ever eaten pales in comparison to the Lil’ Pig. It was just THAT GOOD. Trust me on this one, folks.
The Lil’ Pig was accompanied by a small bowl of smoked corn grits on the side. After all three of us at the table tried to enjoy said grits, we unanimously decided that it was similar to the hardboiled egg that came with the Eurobreakfast Board. The smoke flavor was simply too overwhelming.
City Pork provides a non-typical brunch in a non-typical location. What it lacks in seating and service, it makes up for in taste and food quality. After paying my bill, I felt like I had just walked out of an establishment where one goes to worship and appreciate locally-raised meat that is locally prepared by local folks. AMEN.
Verdict: 5 gavels!