Best à la Carte Brunch - 2006
Ice Box CafÃ©;
The Ice Box is a nice box, a big, airy square with colorful prints, hanging lights, and a bright stainless-steel kitchen. The first sight to grab your attention will likely be the glass display cases arrayed with outrageously delectable desserts. Take a mile-high wedge of legendary German chocolate cake, cuppa steamy espresso, and presto, your brunch is set. Actually the options are wider than that at weekend brunch (served from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). The most basic choices would be creamy steel-cut Irish oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts, and cream; crunchy homemade granola with fresh berries; and "the egg box" of scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage, roast potatoes, and a biscuit. Menu specials change often, so you may be offered chive pancakes with smoked salmon, Boursin and lime cream; or tres leches pancakes with crisp bacon and dulce de leche sauce on the side. Either way, they will be fluffy. (À la carte prices range from $10 to $15.) Other noteworthy attractions include the laid-back vibe of a local crowd, creative menu of refreshing nonalcoholic beverages, obligatory mimosas and bloody marys, and free Internet access -- in case you are dining alone. When it comes to brunch, it is clearly preferable to think inside the box.