On Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend the first of Sagra's Fashion Brunch series. The idea behind the brunch is simple and delightful - grab a gal pal (or two, or three), arrive at Sagra at noon (reservations recommended - this first one sold out), and indulge in a fantastic brunch + a short fashion show. All for $20. How could we possibly go wrong?
We couldn't. My dear friend Liz and I arrived on the scene at the appointed hour. Within moments, the mimosas and bellinis started arriving. That's "mimosas" and "bellinis" plural...because they were only a dollar. This brunch was getting off to a good start.
The meal opened with a basket of bread, muffins, and scones, along with a little cup of fruit salad. The tiny scones were delightful, with an unexpected hint of anise, and I really liked the muffins, too; perfectly sweet without being overpoweringly so.
Liz and I were having difficulty choosing our second course, so we opted to split two: a plate of shrimp marsala with capers, currants and mint served over creamy toasted corn polenta; and an oyster mushroom risotto with crispy heirloom squash.
Shrimp marsala. Butter + wine makes everything better
Oyster mushroom risotto
Both were fantastic. I was not sure what to expect, as my two previous experiences at Sagra had left me feeling overcharged and underwhelmed. But I was very pleasantly surprised by the generous portions and the excellent execution of both dishes. The marsala sauce was perfect - the butter and wine were balanced just so, and the polenta was smooth and rich and impossibly creamy. And they nailed the texture of the risotto, as well - soft, but not the least bit mushy or runny. The dish was resplendent with beautiful oyster mushrooms, and the lovely fan of squash on top became even more lovely on the palate.
It was about this time that the fashion show began. This first show was staged by Soigne Boutique. Honestly, this part was a little anticlimactic; the models simply walked through the restaurant while we were eating, and there was no music or anything to focus the energy. I saw some cute pieces, but I did tune the emcee out a little when she described a pair of $90 jeans as "affordable." I guess I am not fashionista enough to be shopping at boutiques, as my favorite pair of jeans cost me $8.
Fortunately, I was quickly able to drown the cold reality of my overly-frugal nature in dessert. I ordered the roasted peach with vanilla bean meringue, and Liz opted for the terrine of pistachio and white chocolate gelatos with blackberry compote. Liz was the clear winner of this round. My peach was adorable, but the dryish texture of the meringue with the firm peach just didn't work for me. On the other hand, the presentation of Liz's gelato was horrible, but it made up for it in spades in the flavor department.
Further proof that looks aren't everything.
Gloopy, but delicious
As parting gifts, we were each given a little bag with coupons for both Sagra and Soigne and a little Perugina Baci chocolate. Delightful.
Did I mention this brunch only cost $20? I'm sitting by my computer waiting for the announcement for the next one.