brunch with the birds

My first plate at the brunch buffet, featuring the smoked salmon benedict

On Sunday I went to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh for the first time, which presented something of a strange situation for me. Usually if I’m spending a lot of time thinking about or looking at birds, it’s Thanksgiving or something. (Give me a break, I’ve spent most of my life in the food industry!) That said, I had a good time seeing all the birds, especially the penguins. My daughters did not believe me, but yes, penguins are birds, too.

I promise I didn’t try to work any of these birds into a “wild” menu; I didn’t even joke about it. The aviary is amazing–it is a very unique experience to get up so close to wild birds. But let’s talk about the brunch. The food was provided by Atria’s. They’ve been at the Aviary for a while now. If you have an event there the catering is by Atria’s. And starting on this Father’s Day, Atria’s will be serving brunch at the Aviary once per month. I believe this first brunch is sold out!

Chef Josef Karst
Chef Josef Karst presents brunch at the National Aviary for Atria’s

I had the opportunity to come preview the brunch in the Aviary’s beautiful rose garden. And let me tell you, Chef Josef Karst didn’t disappoint.

Fresh coffee and juice were available, but we focused on the white wine sangria and mimosas. Hydration is important. The smoked salmon benedict on potato pancakes were a great start. Having a good poached egg from a buffet can be tricky—usually overcooked, but these were perfect.

Chef Karst prides himself on working with local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Organic eggs and buckwheat pancakes were great and tasty examples of this. The roasted vegetable frittata con queso and salsa verde was a favorite. The rhubarb compote was also an excellent seasonal touch.

Brunch at the National Aviary can be a wonderful tradition in the making. Try it and let me know what you think.

Buen provecho!


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