Sometimes, bottomless mimosas get a little out of control; to encourage safe brunching and to help you avoid morning Uber fees, Lala’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar has teamed up with Turin Bicycles for a weekly summer bike to brunch series. The new Saturday fiesta is sponsored by the bike shop on nearby Lincoln Street and Turin is donating a fire engine red cruiser to be raffled off on August 29. Stop by for a bite every Saturday morning between now and then and you’ll be entered to win the retro ride. Since Lala's is only about three blocks from my new pad, I walked over, but biking and Instagramming is highly encouraged.
Lala’s neighborhood brunch is available from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on the quiet (and very green) corner of 7th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street. It's best to go early — before the Trader Joe’s crowd is up and about — to grab a seat on the umbrella'd patio and enjoy people watching at Governors' Park right across the street. To sweeten the deal, there's even a free parking lot (if walking or biking aren't practical solutions).
Drinks and cocktails are in no short supply at this wine bar, if you’re in need of a hair of the dog. Start with a customizable Bloody Mary made with your choice of spicy or garden-infused Svedka and optional bacon, pickled veg or shrimp skewers, or go with original bottomless mimosas — blood orange or pomegranate versions are also available by the glass. Micheladas and $20 buckets of bubbly round out the booze list, but Lala's also does excellent French-press and drip coffee, so rest assured you won’t go thirsty and can get your caffeine fix or morning buzz — or both.
The menu leads with the slogan “There is no love more sincere than the love of food.” We felt the morning love — and couldn’t agree more. Brunch is divided into big plates and shareable starters; the toughest decision of the morning was choosing between cinnamon-sugar flatbread with Nutella and mini cinnamon rolls (both are dessert disguised as appetizers). We ended up going with cinni-minis — which came as a set of six in an oven-hot skillet — trying to wolf them all down before the crème anglaise stopped bubbling.
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Just as I popped the last one into my mouth and was sufficiently stuffed, my frittata primavera appeared. It was a massive plateful, like a quiche without the crust, and while it looked amazing, it was clear we had over-ordered, even with only one dish apiece. After a few forkfuls of mushrooms, roma tomatoes, spinach, goat cheese and crispy potatoes, it was time for a take-home box.
My cohort however, had no problem polishing off her plate of fried chicken and a biscuit — a dish that's more often billed as chicken and biscuits (plural). This version sported only one misshapen drop biscuit, but it took up half the plate and was one of the biggest carb bombs I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Topped with both bourbon-maple syrup and chorizo gravy (an optional upgrade), it was a hearty, sloppy, sticky and filling mess. With these portion sizes, it clear why Lala's encourages biking to brunch — because you'll definitely roll home.