Last weekend, craving some brunch, a group of News-Letter editors traveled down to Spoons in Federal Hill. Only a 20-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride from the Homewood Campus, the spot presents a convenient opportunity to get off campus and have brunch with friends to start off the weekend.
Upon our arrival, the scents of brunch filled the room, and the dining room was full and bustling with activity — a testament to its popularity. While we did not make a reservation, Spoons does allow walk-ins as long as you are willing to wait. Note that the maximum party size is six people, and it can get busy during the weekend, so we do recommend planning your trip in advance.
As we waited for a table, we seized the opportunity to walk around the neighborhood in the warm afternoon sunlight. Just down the sidewalk, the quirky Pandora’s Box Boutique and artisanal offerings of SoBotanical provided perfect opportunities to window shop and peruse for gifts while supporting local businesses.
Back at the restaurant, the interior was small but cozy, with brick walls, wall art and warm lighting creating an inviting ambiance. For big groups, try to snag a table by the window to soak up the natural light and enjoy some people-watching.
Our group ordered a myriad of beverages, including hot and iced coffee, a latte, a cappuccino and a chai tea latte, with our selections illustrating our apparent need for caffeine. The general consensus was that the drinks were good but nothing special. Managing Editor Paige Maultsby reported that the espresso in the cappuccino tasted slightly burnt, but the drinks were average overall. However, we acknowledge that we did not sample any of their signature drinks — the Four Leaf Clover Matcha and Oatmeal Cookie Latte certainly looked tempting — and are resolved to sample these on our next visit.
Before going, we all took time to read the menu, where the images and food descriptions kept us in anticipation for our visit that Saturday. With so many exciting options, a significant amount of consideration was necessary for us to start narrowing down our choices. This served us well, and after being seated, we ordered almost immediately.
Two members of our party ordered the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, which came out beautifully presented with swirls of cinnamon sugar and topped with a maple coffee glaze — perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Leisure Editor Leela Gebo complimented the pancakes for being light, fluffy and delicious without being overly sweet. For those feeling adventurous, there is also an option to add bacon to the pancakes!
Of course, another signature brunch item that we had to try was the French toast. Spoons provided their own spins on this classic in two of their signature dishes: the Deep-Fried Sweet Cream Stuffed French Toast and the Challah French Toast. Both dishes offered thick, deep-fried slices of French toast drizzled with sweet syrup and dusted with powdered sugar.
Fried in pancake batter, the stuffed French toast in particular had an extra crunch to each bite that contrasted perfectly with the soft cream cheese oozing out of the toast. To top it all off, the fresh blueberries and strawberries perfected the trademark presentation of French toast.
While most of us opted for a sweet brunch treat, Opinions Editor Abbie Tuschman chose to go the savory route with her breakfast burrito. The burrito was stuffed to the brim with all of the typical ingredients, including black bean chili, queso fresco, cheddar jack cheese and eggs. Though the burrito was very filling, Tuschman wished that there was an extra kick to the spice level.
The breakfast potatoes, which accompanied the burrito and were available à la carte, were flavorful and well-seasoned with onions and spices. Although they lacked crispiness, the potatoes were still a nice savory addition to the meal.
For all of the dishes, the prices were comparable to other restaurants, ranging from $9 for the Challah French Toast to $17 for the breakfast burrito. Each of our drinks also cost around $4 to $5, similar to spots near campus like the Daily Grind in Mudd Hall and Bird in Hand. Considering the quick service, cozy atmosphere and how stuffed we all felt upon leaving the restaurant, we all agreed that we definitely got our money’s worth.
On the drive back to campus, our full tummies combined with the afternoon sun left us feeling lethargic, and we happily slipped into food comas from our hearty meals. We could not stop gushing over our food, not only for its delicious taste but also its aesthetic presentation.
Overall the experience at Spoons was everything we hoped for: a relaxing start to our Saturday morning, an indulgent meal and time to catch up and chat about all things The News-Letter.