On Sunday morning, my wife and I hugged her sister and my brother-in-law, kissed our two daughters one last time, then slammed the doors of our car and breathed deeply. For the first time since my wife gave birth to our youngest five weeks ago, we were alone together.
For such an occasion, the goal was simple: Drink booze.
Luckily there are Sunday morning options for sipping spirits to celebrate the very precious few hours we had without children. The options are called brunch, and La Table (at its more casual spot Marché) has a pretty fun one in its new Punch Brunch. That was our destination: There's no better way to have a few relaxing moments without the kids than to share cups of a blended rum drink residing inside a giant glass bowl.
We ordered both of the punches available, but in half pours. A few minutes later, two bowls arrived, each weighed down by an ice block that kept the drinks chilled. On offer this Sunday (flavors will change, typically seasonally) were a rum and champagne drink with pineapple and orange juices, and a rum and champagne drink with strawberry and blueberry juices. Accompanying them were two small teacups, which could both retain about four ounces at a time. Both punches were balanced quite well—you could taste the Banks rum (one bowl had 5 Island, the other 7 Island) with just a spark of sweetness.
Marché's brunch menu includes eggy staples and more lavish, rich lunch fare. We got one of each—eggs Benedict and lobster rigatoni—plus, since my wife couldn't have any during pregnancy, an order of six raw oysters.
The oysters—shipped in from Prince Edward Island—were a welcomed sight, tiny but with subtle briny freshness. It instantly transported us back to our old east coast life, when we paired a dozen with a couple beers at any number of new-American haunts.
But nothing topped the lobster rigatoni. Outstandingly al dente, bathing in a lightly acidic, foamy and creamy bisque, the pasta is complemented by generous chunks of Maine lobster meat. A few chilis and tarragon add flavor. It's the perfect brunch dish for long, lazy conversations or small celebrations.
As we dined on pillows, the Nadal vs. Federer French Open semifinal on television and a jazz duo just beginning to play by the front, we chatted about life and let ourselves relax. And before we knew it, we had finished all of our punch. We imagine that, between the two half bowls, we each had about two 12-to-16-ounce cocktails. But the brunch was so loose and easygoing, and the food so delicious and filling, that the drinks didn't weigh us down. We could confidently continue our day—which meant returning to children, remember—but still feel like we had a successful "boozy" brunch. And that was perfect.
Punch Brunch runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. A punch bowl is $45 and serves up to four.