You know that time of day where it’s socially acceptable to day drink? That’s brunch. You can Bloody Mary to your heart’s content. We’ll chew into the growing selection of weekend gems and get you started on your future feast.
We promised ourselves last year to make more of an effort and drive into Long Beach. With Chef Eric Samaniego overseeing the kitchen at Michael’s on Naples, it was an easy first choice to cover. Brunch service is handled upstairs on their renovated rooftop Sundays until 2:30 p.m. If you’ve experienced brunch here in the past year, we learned they’ve recently updated the selections.
Waiting for our brunch date, we got hungry for carbs and started with their Gallette, creme fraîche biscuits alongside butter and jam. Maintaining richness despite a fluffy texture, remember to spread a thin layer of both condiments to get creamy and sweet notes. Their modest size meant our first plate wouldn’t ruin us for the rest of brunch.
Our server recommended their Insalata di Salmone, a refreshing bite of watercress, cucumber and shallot (usually seen on menus besides brunch) – it included a generous portion of smoked salmon and a dressing of creme fraîche. This would balance out our next shared plate of Olandesina, a hybrid of delicate crepe and sweet French toast, otherwise known as a Dutch baby pancake. Assorted berries and powdered sugar met their match in a whipped maple ricotta spread that disappeared without a trace.
Browsing their daytime libations, a Ciacco D’oro was the most intriguing. Starting with a base of Whistle Pig 10-year (infused with their very own WP barrel-aged coffee), it included notes of lemon and maple. Oh, and a crunchy garnish of crisp pancetta we thought fell in accidentally. Having a cocktail was wise, as it cut through our home stretch of dishes.
We remained on the carb train with N’duja Toast, a bougie relative to its avocado version. In addition to the cool green stuff on grilled bread, gently scrambled eggs were doused with spicy pork salumi, delighting our taste buds. Layers of eggy protein and spreadable meatiness are fine by themselves. Yet hearty toast and buttery avocado brought it all to a balanced place.
As we struggled to find room in our bellies for the final plate, our server arrived with Anatra. Full disclosure: duck confit is a weakness for us. Any meat cooked in its own fat is pretty much number one in our book. Our sizable confit of leg included roasted fingerlings and poached duck egg. It was indulgent and super comforting; the highlight of our brunch.
Michael’s on Naples is located at 5620 E. 2nd St., Long Beach, (562) 439-7080; www.michaelsonnaples.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.