A few weeks ago, I went up to visit my grandparents, mom, cousin, aunt and uncle in the great city of Annapolis. On the drive up there, all we had planned was dinner that night, breakfast the next morning, dinner the next night and brunch on Sunday. Everything else was negotiable, but those meals were pre-planned, as any good family weekend was. Food was really all we cared about, and by gosh, food we got.
Our reservation for Sunday brunch was at Paul's Homewood Cafe, which was conveniently located .3 miles from my grandparents apartment. My first impression of Paul's was that it was a pretty small establishment with an odd parking situation. We were right on time for our reservation and got one of the two big tables in back. We were, after all, meeting a few of my grandparents' friends (how cute!).
The waiter was patient with us as we swapped seats to ensure everyone's maximum enjoyment and was friendly and joking with us all. He also used the phrase, "complimentary mimosas," which put a bit of extra sparkle in my eye for the entire meal.
The menu was a standard mix of breakfast options (benedicts and omelets) and lunch (sandwich options). As I usually do, I scoured the menu the night before and pre-selected the chicken and waffles as I hadn't had them since Bay Local, which felt like forever ago. My mom ordered the bagel and lox, to make Cazey proud, my aunt ordered a benedict, my grandma ordered a waffle and my grandma's friend ordered an omelet. The orders from the other half of the table followed suit, with various omelets and benedicts. However, they were too far away to really set my sights on.
As we were waiting for our food, most of our conversation revolved around how incredibly loud the place was. We were in the back room with only one other group of four, and yet it sounded like were were in a stadium. Not only didn't the walls absorb any amount of sound, they seemed to bounce it right back even louder across the entire restaurant. For a group of people who have a hard enough time hearing (including myself), it was not ideal.
Just as my Nana was starting to wonder where on Earth our food was, our waiter arrived with the plates. The initial judgements ensued before a single bite was taken:
- My mom, on her bagel and lox: There might not be enough cream cheese, and the long, slender plate is highly attractive, but it'll be difficult to assemble the meal without any room on the plate to do so.
- My Nana's friend: The omelet is huge; there is no need for this many eggs when eggs don't reheat well so there isn't a point in leftovers.
- Myself: I thought the presentation of my chicken and waffles was great, and I was ready to dig in. However, it looked like it could use more maple blueberry syrup.
The chicken and waffles description is (roughly): Pecan crusted chicken on a waffle served with maple blueberry syrup.
That's exactly what I got. The mix of the chicken and blueberry was a good accent of salty and sweet. However, when you ate just the chicken, the breast was a bit too dry and the pecan-crust gave it an overly salty taste. It definitely needed the blueberry syrup to give it a bit of moisture and sweetness, but as I thought upon arrival, I could use more blueberry syrup. The regular syrup on the table did it justice though.
It's also worth noting the pecan crust (again) because it almost gave the chicken a toasty flavor profile, which was unexpected.
I'd say I'd go back to Paul's, but since I am barely in Annapolis, I can't say that I will. But would I suggest it to those in Annapolis: yes. My caveat would be that it won't be life changing, but it's a comfortable setting and takes large crowds and reservations. And if you go with my Grandad, he pays, and who doesn't love a free brunch?