Eating Out, On the Road

Brunch at the Pond House

Over the past few years I’ve acquired friends in various parts of the country (actually, the world) as tends to happen when you do things like go to college or go abroad.  The Internet makes it pretty easy to keep up with them, especially with videochatting and Facebook.  But it’s not quite the same as seeing them face-to-face.

Last week I met up with a friend/former roommate who lives several hours away for brunch.  We did a “meet in the middle” thing so neither of us had to drive all the way to see the other, which was perfect for brunch.  Halfway for us was approximately Hartford, Connecticut, so after some serious reviewing of Yelp’s brunch reviews, we decided to meet at the Pond House Cafe in West Hartford.

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The Pond House is in Elizabeth Park, which means there is no search for parking (as the park has ample parking spots), no street traffic, and a lovely green setting.  If you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls, the neighborhood the park is in is reminiscent of Emily & Richard’s place.  The cafe’s prices, though, are quite reasonable.   And the menu is available online (a major bonus, in my book).

After happy greetings, my friend and I headed inside.  We didn’t have reservations (which the hostess sort of implied we should have made for Sunday morning brunch) but took us in to be seated right away anyway.  The restaurant was full but not packed.  Service was quick, and the food was hot and tasty.  The Yelpers were right!

The Pond House looks a little odd from the outside – I don’t think the building was initially supposed to be a restaurant.  Inside there are three seating areas (plus a mostly empty room that looked like an event space): a large, high-ceilinged room with mildly funky decor, a smaller room with classier decor, and a few outdoor tables.  We were in the first room.  Once we were seated, menus were delivered promptly (menus on tablets!) and once we ordered we didn’t have to wait too long for the food.

Now, the food.  I know, this is probably why you’re really here, Reader, and I’ve saved it til the end.  Both my friend and I decided to get that day’s brunch special, which was Italian Eggs Benedict.  Two poached eggs served over a scoop of white bean, tomato, and escarole stew which was on top of corn bread.  I am a huge eggs-for-breakfast fan (though I don’t do it often) and while I usually just go for an omelet, I was rather pleased that I was more adventurous at the Pond House.  The special came with your choice of a mimosa or Bloody Mary – I had the former – and was under $14.  The eggs were poached perfectly, the cornbread was just as I like it, and I could’ve had a bowl of the stew by itself.  Had I decided not to get the brunch special, there were plenty of other options that sounded enticing, from the Apple & Brie Omelet to the Breakfast Quesadilla.

All in all, I was very pleased with the cafe – the location, the food, and the service were all up to par.  Should I ever be in West Hartford again, I will be heading back!

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