Hey everyone! I’m Jen from the Haystack Needle and one half of the shop Cabin 7. I’m thrilled that AmberLee asked me to share a little post here about what helped me transition into living on my own in New York City. In two words, weekend brunch. But let me start at the beginning, which is with my mom’s pancakes.
My mom is one amazing cook, and food is definitely one big way she’s always added a sense of comfort and community to our family. Since we were kids, I can remember brunch being a big deal in our house. The meal was never complicated — we’re not talking rosemary bacon or chorizo scramble. I tended to be the first up and would beat out my brothers for pick of what brunch dish Mom would make — I always chose pancakes. And so Sunday mornings started with the inviting smell of buttermilk pancakes and me following my mom around the kitchen. Her pancakes were not even made from scratch. My mom took a pancake mix and then added in buttermilk and fresh blueberries (or some other fresh fruit). But something about her tweaks, the fruit, and her touch made them some of the lightest, best pancakes I’ve eaten to date. The big trick is my mom put fresh fruit in her pancakes while they heated on the skillet. The baked blueberries in the pancakes —heavenly.
After college, when I moved out to New York, I was living in a studio with an icebox for a refrigerator and one dinner I could make: taco salad. But I soon found myself drawn into the culture of New York brunch. That magical meal weaves together a sense of community in a city of millions. There’s something so comforting about breakfast foods. But what’s even more comforting is starting your weekend around a table with friends recounting your week, ranting about your work or some subway ride, and swapping stories that make you laugh. Honestly, not even some fancy lemon ricotta pancakes at a restaurant will ever compare to my mom’s blueberry pancakes. But I’ve luckily found that sense of comfort and community in gathering for weekend brunch. New York City brunches were one of those little rituals that made this big city feel less scary.
ps. If you’re in New York, my favorite brunch spot is Cafe Mogador in the East Village. (The pancakes are good, but their Moroccan Benedict is the best brunch dish ever.)
Thank you, Jen! If this is your first time experiencing Jen talk food, you have to get over to her blog. Or see a photoshoot she styled here with goodies from her shop and you will be instantly in awe.