Brunch. It doesn’t happen often around here, and when we venture into the controversial late-morning meal, I prefer to keep it blissfully simple. One fried egg, one piece of toast. A bowl of granola, slim crescents of pear. A plate of bacon.

Recently I had a two-pronged approach: sweet, flaky pastries from Cheskie’s Bakery, and a couple dozen Fairmount bagels (irrefutably the best in the city), smeared with tangy cream cheese and topped with tissue-thin smoked salmon, slivers of shallots, lemon juice, and capers. With a hot pot of Darjeeling, freshly squeezed orange juice, and strong tea cups of espresso, it was a wonderful, complete Sunday morning. Despite my own documented misgivings, I admit that I love the casual vibe of brunch, the chatty nature of the table, the mixture of sweet and savory.

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