Brunch at Marchand’s Bar and Grill

Disclosure: The following post is sponsored by Marchand’s Bar and Grill.

A few weeks ago, I met the other ladies from the Tampa Bay Brunch Tour for an amazing brunch at Marchand’s Bar and Grill. This restaurant is located inside The Vinoy Renaissance Resort in Downtown St. Petersburg. Growing up, the Vinoy was always one of those glamorous hotels that I always dreamed of staying in. I spent some time in the hotel two years ago when I volunteered for the the Women’s Half Marathon. My junior prom was also held in one of the ballrooms. While I still have not seen the inside of the guest rooms, I can say that this hotel truly lives up to its reputation of exceptional service and exquisite food.

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The Sunday brunch at Marchand’s is held from 11 am to 2 pm every week. The menu recently went through a significant change when it switched from a buffet style to an al a carte menu.  Many of the items on the new menu were offered on the buffet. At first glance, I was completely overwhelmed by all of the delicious items on the menu. I really wanted to try everything. Thankfully, the chef had already decided which items our group would have the chance to try.

Drinks!

I have said this many times before but I truly believe that a delicious brunch deserves an equally delicious beverage. Besides the assortment of coffee, juices, and teas, Marchand’s offers guests a selection of adult beverages that truly tested my decision-making abilities. While I love a good Mimosa especially when they are endless, I had to try one (or two) of the Bottomless Bellini’s. They have quite a selection of fruit purees to choose from, including blueberry, watermelon and raspberry. In the end, I decided to go with a blackberry one followed by a peach one.

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If Mimosas or Bellini’s aren’t for you, the Build Your Perfect Bloody Mary bar might be the drink choice for you. The numbers of toppings available to add to your drink almost made me reconsider ordering a Bloody Mary. Beef jerky and shrimp?!? Seriously!

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Food!

With drinks in hand, it was time to start enjoying some food. To start off the meal, the pastry chef brought out a selection of pastries from the bakery. We tried the Jumbo Pecan Sticky Bun, the Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Warm Donuts with Strawberry Jam, and the Monkey Bread.

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All of the pastries were amazing but my favorite was definitely the Monkey Bread. The bread itself was soft and gooey on the inside with just the slightest crunch on the outside. It was covered in a cinnamon syrup that reminded me of the holidays. (I now have a severe craving for monkey bread …) I was able to bring the leftovers home so my boyfriend could enjoy them. I think he enjoyed the Monkey Bread almost as much as I did.

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Once we finished with the pastries, the chef brought a selection of his favorite entrées and some of the most popular dishes. The first selection of entrées included Eggs in a Jar, House Brined Corned Beef Hash, and Crispy Maple Cured Pork Belly. The Eggs in a Jar is a jar filled with anson mills cheese grits, poached eggs, corn meal fried rock shrimp and topped with a roasted chili hollandaise sauce. The flavors of this dish were so much more than I was expecting. I have had shrimp and grits before but the addition of the poached eggs and the spicy hollandaise sauce really brought this dish to life.

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The House Brined Corned Beef Hash was accompanied by fried duck eggs and heirloom potatoes. After the first bite, I knew that this dish would be perfect for my boyfriend. He loves a good corned beef hash and this one is amazing. The corned beef and potatoes were roughly chopped so that the distinct flavors were prominent in every bite. The touch of hollandaise sauce on top added a subtle hint of cream to the dish.

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The Crispy Maple Cured Pork Belly was served with a parmesan fried egg and placed on top of a mound of roasted corn grits. I absolutely love bacon especially when it is combination of crispy meat and chewy fat. (Yes, I know that bacon is not the healthiest but it is an indulgence of mine.) When I saw the roasted corn grits, I was intrigued by the color because I have honestly never seen purple grits. The chef told us that they used blue corn to make the dish, which gave it the color. The parmesan fried egg was just as delicious as I imagined it would be.

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When we finished the first round of entrées, the chef brought out another three entrées for us to try. This second round of entrées included Quiche, Rhubarb French Toast, and Red Wine Poached Egg. The Quiche was made with lump crab, roasted pepper, charred leek and cheese. It was served with a delicious roasted red pepper sauce, which added a new dimension to the dish. Normally, I won’t a quiche unless the ingredients really jump out at me. This quiche is one that I would order because all of the flavors work very well together.

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The Rhubarb French Toast was the sweetest entrée we tried besides the pastries, which messed with my taste buds a little bit. It was served with oranges, candied almonds and crumbled bacon. I loved that this French Toast was so different than the usual powdered sugar and cinnamon toast. There was a subtle crunch from the almonds and bacon as well as a citrus zest from the oranges.

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The Red Wine Poached Egg is Marchand’s version of the Eggs Benedict, which happens to be my favorite breakfast food of all time. The eggs were poached in red wine and served with prosciutto on top of sourdough bread. I have entertained the idea of poaching eggs in anything besides water but these were amazing. Also using prosciutto instead of Canadian bacon really balanced well with the poached eggs.

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Now if eating all of those delicious entrées wasn’t enough, the chef next brought out three desserts for us to sample. I am not sure how in the world I managed to eat anymore. I love dessert so I decided to try at least a bite of everything. For dessert, we had the Blackberry Cobbler, the Lemonade Cake and the S’mores Cheesecake.

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Overall Thoughts!

Overall, I thought that the food and drinks at Marchand’s Bar and Grill were absolutely amazing! The pastries were delicious with jus the right amount of sweetness. The menu included a variety of both sweet and savory dishes. I loved the Eggs in a Jar and the Red Wine Poached Eggs. I also really enjoyed the selection desserts available to choose from. The S’mores Cheesecake was to die for! I can definitely see myself bringing my boyfriend back here for brunch in the near future. I just know he will love the House Brined Corned Beef Hash.

Marchand's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Marchand’s Bar and Grill. I received a free meal in exchange for this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Brunch on Tampa Bay at Oystercatchers

Disclosure:  I received a free brunch from Oystercatchers in exchange for this post. As always, all thought, opinions and yummy photos are my own.

Every Saturday and Sunday morning, I wake up, roll over and immediately ask my boyfriend what he wants for breakfast. I go to sleep on Friday nights thinking about where I want to enjoy a delicious weekend brunch. I wake up thinking about what type of meal would be the best way to start the day. I don’t even consider going for a run until I have the exact brunch I want to enjoy once I finish. My boyfriend thinks I am obsessed with the weekend brunch and he is probably correct.

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This past Sunday I woke up excited for the meal I had planned for the morning. It was the 4th stop on our Tampa Brunch Tour and I had been looking forward to it all week. I missed the last stop but there was no way I was going to miss this one. At 10:30 am, I walked up the steps to Oystercatchers, a seafood restaurant located at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. The restaurant reminded me of the beach houses I have seen along the Atlantic Ocean. It is light and airy inside with huge windows that allow guests to enjoy gorgeous views of Tampa Bay.

The Sunday brunch at Oystercatchers is a unique experience every single week. There is plenty of breakfast, lunch and dessert items to choose from on the buffet. Each week the theme of the menu changes. Our brunch group was fortunate enough to enjoy a Floridian and Cuban themed brunch. The items were fresh, light and full of flavor and there was plenty of seafood, including oysters.

Drinks!

A brunch just wouldn’t be complete without Mimosas and Bloody Marys. As part of the buffet price, you can enjoy an unlimited supply of those two delicious beverages. The champagne doesn’t start popping until 11 am though. The drinks are poured to the order! I loved that the server poured the champagne at the table before adding the freshly squeezed orange juice.

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The Bloody Marys station was the first thing I saw when I walked into the restaurant. As soon as I saw that multiple flavors were available, I knew that I would indulging in a tomato beverage. At this station, guests have the opportunity to rim their glasses with some spices as well as choose the garnishes for their drinks. I was excited to see bacon as one of choices because I love bacon in my Bloody Mary.

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Food!

The amount of food available on the buffet was overwhelming! There was sushi, salads, fresh fruit, sliced cheese and meats on the cold bar. There was a pasta station and an omelet station with quail eggs. The selection of hot foods included lobster eggs benedict, macadamia pancakes, carved meat, strawberry grouper, and black beans with rice plus a whole lot more.

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To start my brunch, I created a plate with an assortment of the breakfast and lunch items. I loved the lobster eggs benedict. The hollandaise sauce was one of the best I have ever had. I also tried the macadamia nut pancakes, the strawberry grouper, house-made hummus and pita bread, and a spring roll. Everything on my first plate was delicious. I could taste the freshness of the ingredients. I also loved that the spring rolls weren’t fried and were actually chilled.

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The second plate I created was filled with lunch items. Katie suggested the quinoa salad and the caprese salad. Both of those salads were amazing and I may have to recreate them in the near future! I also tried the roasted mushroom salad, a chilled chicken salad, the Dutch onion soup and the drunken goat cheese. The mushroom and chicken salad also delicious. The flavors really popped! The Dutch onion soup was an interesting twist on the traditional French onion soup. It had potatoes and venison, which added a richness to the soup. The drunken goat cheese was one of my favorite items though. It was so different from the goat cheese I am used. It was a hard cheese and the flavor was bold and distinct.

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Dessert!

When we sat down, our server made sure to tell us to save room for the dessert and I am so glad that I listened to him. The desserts are displayed in a separate room and the selection was awesome. Cupcakes, chocolates, cookies, beignets and bananas foster were just a few of the items in the dessert area.

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For dessert, I went with a blondie dipped in chocolate and covered in corn flakes, a fruit tart and a chocolate pudding candle. Let’s start with the blondie. Holy yum! Most blondies I have eaten taste more like a cookie than a brownie. This one was gooey like a brownie and tasted divine. Oh and I loved the extra chocolate and corn flakes. The little fruit tarts were also delicious with an orange cream inside. The chocolate pudding candle was entirely edible and I had to force myself to not eat the entire thing.

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Overall Thoughts!

Everything about this brunch was amazing. The chefs use local ingredients as much as possible so the flavors are always fresh. The location couldn’t be more beautiful. The view was fabulous and the décor of the restaurant complimented it very well. This is a brunch that I can see myself enjoying again and again. My boyfriend is already insisting that I take him sometime soon.

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Oystercatchers on Urbanspoon

What is your favorite brunch food? Do you prefer a buffet style or a traditional menu?