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Cafe des Amis: Braving a Carb-Filled Brunch 

Wednesday, Nov 21 2012

The weekend brunch at Café des Amis serves up a wide array of savory bites — $1 oysters, various salads, soups, and charcuterie — and more substantial entrees, including three types of mussel dishes, omelets, and sandwiches like a croque monsieur and burger. But depending on the strength or amount of booze you consumed the night prior, your inner dialogue likely goes something like this: "Self," you say, "a savory brunch is great, but I'm a grown adult wearing leggings for pants/sunglasses indoors. I wanna have some fun! And I'm near the Marina, so I'm all about making bad decisions. Sweet, sweet, bad decisions."

Well, step right up, because Café des Amis has you covered. For a crisp $5 you can order a pair of Nutella-filled beignets. Yes, they are real, and they're spectacular. Even if you wanted a savory brunch, you should still order these. In fact, if you are walking by Café des Amis on your way to brunch someplace else, stop in and get these beignets first. They are little pillows of dough, dusted in powdered sugar, oozing with Nutella. They are served with salt-sprinkled milk jam that brings a bright sugariness to the bittersweet Nutella and brown fried dough balls when dipped in it. If you wanted to commit the sin of gluttony, two orders of this would get you there.

Break out your glucose strips and insulin pens, because dessert for breakfast isn't done yet. The block-cut French toast ($14), served with apples and maple syrup, is your next stop. Buttery and airy, the brioche is luscious, and the delicate tartness from the apples keeps the sweet syrup in check. Not sweet enough for you? Then perhaps you would prefer to kick-start your personal brunch evolution by ordering the Caramelized Pain Perdu ($9). Accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the sizeable hunk of brioche toast is your 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith, making you re-evaluate the traditional salty and savory brunches you have relished in the past. The crisp, candy-sweet brûléed exterior contrasts the custard-like and eggy center in both texture and flavor. Eating one of these will make you hate your parents for not serving it to you as a child.

Café des Amis is worth the travel no matter what your brunch cravings are on any given weekend. As for the neighborhood denizens, if you are interested in a good breakfast, stumble on over. And, bonus: The bar has a TV, so you can watch professional athletes hard at work while you stuff yourself with carbs and alcohol.

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