Do you remember your first brunch?
I was in college I had my first "real brunch" upon a friend's invitation. Beginning sometime after normal lunch was supposed to happen, we enjoyed 2+ hours of mimosas, muffins and omelets at Mimi's Cafe. The friend's treat soon became a weekend ritual, as it was a great time to catch up with each other while we devoured all the cinnamon muffins we could handle - sometimes in our slacks and many times in last-night's blue jeans and a pony tail. Either way, our Mimi's moments became my benchmark for what brunching was meant to be - friends, fabulous food and fun.
Fast forward ten years: things, of course, have changed. While weekend to-dos have transitioned from brunches to babies, I still remember the fun, comfort and joy I had at Mimi's. While I hadn't been to Mimi's in a long time, I was excited a few weeks ago when I received an invitation to re-experience Mimi's. I could only hope it would take me back to what I remembered before life was as complex as a decade of being an "adult" could be.
Just like my life had changed, I learned Mimi's had also changed over the last decade. As with any great restaurant, it had transitioned with the times and with it, so had the experience (and not necessarily for the better). So when its new owner, Le Duff America, Inc. purchased the french casual concept this year, they felt it was time to get back to the basics of what Mimi's Cafe had been for me and many other fans years ago - an inviting, classic French bistro.
And after months of work, dedication and tracking down many of the recipes to hard copies in the back of the file cabinet, the whole team including the very charming executive chef Executive Chef Katie Sutton (a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and previous Executive Chef at Hess Collection Winery in Napa), was ready to dust them off.
Like a good champagne, I was anxious to uncork this baby. Let the trip down memory lane commence!
First of all, the roasted tomato basil is exactly what you want on a cold day - or any day where you feel like you need a pick-me-up, this rich bisque will do the trick (and the bacon doesn't hurt either.) I enjoyed other classic French dishes like Mimi’s Signature Bouillabaisse, Grilled Salmon Salade Niçoise, Coq au Vin and Spinach Crepe. But the Le Burger de Madame, crowned with a fried egg, was magnifique.
I'll be honest, I don't remember the menu tasting as good in the past as it did that night - especially this baked brie with tart apples and apricot chutney (gush).
Perhaps it was the company I was keeping (as they were all friends).
Perhaps it was the staff that seemed like they had been my friends my whole life with their pure passion and generosity.
Or perhaps it was surpassing my month's quota of heavy cream in one sitting that made it just seem so buttery rich and perfect.
Either way, I was not only taken back to those fun days of college, but actually advanced to a new experience that still could include mimosas. However, it also reminded me that life can take you many places but at Mimi's, you'll always have a little bit of Paris you can revisit again and again. And even if for no other reason than for those chocolate croissants.
Just in time for the holidays:
No time for a Mimi's moment of your own? Then bring it home with you. Or better yet, let Mimi's create a memorable holiday experience at home with their Holiday Feast To-Go that can feed all your holiday guests - for both brunch and dinner!
Or are you looking for a personalized gift to give, but think gift cards don't show your thoughtfulness? Mimi's Cafe has gotten really creative with gift cards you can personalize for the holidays with voice messages and photos to really give it that personal touch!
For the nearest Mimi's Cafe to you, visit their online locator.