Last Sunday, the On The Menu team was invited to attend “Drag Yourself to Brunch — Spring Fling Edition,” hosted by Borgia Bloom at the Goodland hotel. We sat wide-eyed as we served ourselves endless carbohydrates while the queens served us endless looks. From hair that almost touched the ceiling to eyebrows snatched from the gods themselves, this was an event we surely will never forget. Still, despite the awesome energy of the queens and kitchiness of the venue, the experience was sullied by subpar food provided to us by the Goodland, though it did have its highlights.
First off, this event was aptly named. Collin had brunched and partied too hard the day before and was paying the price; Simone had watched seven straight hours of Netflix and accidentally watched the sunrise that morning. Eager to rejuvenate our tired spirits, we showed up to the event about 10 minutes early, which gave us an opportunity to tour the hotel. If you’ve never been, we recommend checking it out at least once — you’ll get some awesome retro-inspired Instagram pics. By the time we got enough photos to ’Gram through the next month, eleven o’clock had come, so we ventured into the event room. Our walk back was lined with pastries, eggs, tacos and more; our stomachs rumbled in excitement. We weren’t sure if we could dive into the food yet, so we walked into the main room to find that very few people were waiting for the show to start. Confused, we asked the bartender what was going on and found out that the show didn’t actually start until noon; the hour before was meant for eating and drinking. It still didn’t account for the lack of guests, but our whining stomachs called our attention back to the brunch table.
Among the spread lied a variety of sweet breads (banana bread, muffins, croissants and tarts), which were pretty standard as far as taste was concerned. The highlight of this area was the Bananas Foster empanadas — yes, you read that right. They were heftily dusted in cinnamon sugar and paired excellently with coffee. Each perfectly crisp bite that spilled into ooey-gooey goodness brought us closer to nirvana as Donna Summer penetrated our eardrums and disco lights danced across our retinas; this was nothing short of gay heaven. Upon passing the bar and learning that drinks were $11, however, we were quickly demoted to gay purgatory. Did we want to be that bougie? Would it be worth numbing the awkwardness of the first hour of the event? Just then, we harnessed the incredible power of the press; the bartender served us a mimosa and bloody mary to taste and review for our readers (thanks again!).
First came the mimosa. In the best of brunch fashion, the recipe was 99 parts champagne, one part orange juice. A spear of berries added a tart bite to the drink. Overall, the mimosa was pretty standard, but like … it was still a mimosa, so we were thriving. After a few sips, we moved on to the bloody mary. The presentation was visually striking: A spear of celery flamboyantly sprung out of the top, speared lemon, lime and olives rested lazily on the rim, a long piece of perfectly crisp bacon (where was this at the brunch buffet??) stood sentry, prepared to assault taste buds with salty goodness and complementary texture. Despite this wondrous visual presentation, the bloody mary was pretty standard as well, though we give kudos to its well-balanced spice and acidity. As we sipped our cocktails, we dove into the main entrées.
The first main entrée served at the event was an egg, potato and bacon egg casserole topped with baby cilantro. We excitedly topped the casserole with sour cream, salsa verde and cilantro (the “adult” variety this time) and stabbed our forks into what we thought would be a sensuous experience. Our hopes were dashed, however, as the first bite was a bit dry and lacking the flavors one would expect from such a dish. It might have been that the dish had been prepared earlier, allowing the heating tray to dry it out. We weren’t too sure, but this dish was certainly not what we were expecting. There are very few things in the food world that are worse than dry egg casseroles that promise bacony goodness and deliver starchy lukewarm-ness instead. At best, this was a mediocre vehicle for decent toppings.
We moved on to the next main entrée: egg and cheese tacos wrapped in a blue corn tortilla. When first grabbed out of the heating pan, the morsels were oddly cold. It could have been that they had just put out the tacos, but again, much like the rest of this event, we weren’t too sure what was going on. The first bite was also quite disappointing. The cheese hadn’t reheated properly, the tortilla didn’t taste particularly fresh and the egg flavor got lost to the flavor of the corn and other ingredients mixed into the taco.
We decided that one cold-egg-and-coagulated-cheese catastrophe was enough for us and decided to invest our energy in the delicious Bananas Foster empanadas. Back at the food table, the sound guy for the DJ MCing the event recommended trying butter in our coffee. Not one to stray away from trying something interesting and unique, Collin went for it. Though there were some reservations at first (all thanks to a mild lactose issue), it was surprisingly delicious. The sound guy said it was “so 2013,” but honestly if it weren’t for the calories and fat, we’d make this a habit.
Without realizing it, the first hour of brunch was over and it was time for the queens to take the stage. Our small crowd of six or so still hadn’t grown, but that didn’t stop the performers from putting on one hell of a show. Santa Barbara native/Los Angeles socialite Borgia Bloom opened the show, acknowledging the intimate setting we were in, and began her Dolly Parton-inspired performance. Not only was Borgia working nine to five, she was #werking it. From there, our fabulous entertainers performed some classic and new hits from the likes of Whitney Houston to Chaka Khan. Each queen brought her own unique energy, bringing us new life while also ripping the wigs right off of our heads. Though each act was a treat, some personal favorites included haunting, ragdoll-esque performances by local queen Miss Thing and a few truly flawless, soulful appearances by the reigning Miss Gay USofA, California, Ava Stone. The food could have been better overall, but the drag queens were definitely the highlight of the event.
During a quick post-show chat, Borgia Bloom recommended checking out her usually sold-out brunch show at SOhO. No doubt, your angels of gay purgatory will soon be back to check this show out for all you dragsters.