Jeff Smith 8 p.m., Aug. 30
Brunch at Sessions Public
It takes a lot to get me out of the house on a Sunday morning. This was especially true yesterday when I awoke with particularly slowed motor skills but a smile on my face after spending the previous evening at a bottle share where I spent time with friends and fellow beer enthusiasts polishing off many, many, many ultra-rare and interesting craft brews. Yet, by 10 a.m., I was up, at ‘em, and on the freeway headed to Ocean Beach. I had a brunch to get to.
Normally, the allure of food is low to non-existent for me before noon. I absolutely love breakfast, but usually have it for dinner, since most of the large meals I eat take place into the late hours of the evening, leaving me pretty stuffed when the sun comes up over the hills of El Cajon bearing those two scoops of plump, juicy raisins.
But this was no normal brunch. This was brunch at Sessions Public (4204 Voltaire Street). I don’t get over there as often as I’d like, but I am a fan of this casual Ocean Beach gastropub. The food is usually pretty solid, and they do a really nice job stocking their taps with a wide-ranging array of craft beer. The latter has never been more true than last weekend. On Saturday, they put on all of the best, most special beers they could get their hands on in celebration of their second anniversary. Even with a steady stream of thirsty patrons, almost all of those brews were still on Sunday morning, hence my heeding of the howl of the hairy dog from the night before.
Turns out, the food was just as worthy of venturing outside my comfy domicile as the exquisite whiskey and cocoa-rich One Bourbon, One Scotch, Oh Dear barrel-aged American strong ale from San Leandro-based Drakes Brewing I got back into the sudsy swing of things with. A cool take on Eggs Benedict drops Canadian bacon (something I generally find to be a pretty lame use of perfectly good pig) in favor of smoky, spicy chunks of tasso ham. That Louisiana staple of dry-rubbed, smoked pork shoulder had vibrant black pepper kick that meshed well with the beer's peaty Scotch notes, and tasted especially good bathed in warm yolk from two perfectly poached eggs and gobbled up with salty home fries.
Tasso also made it into a sweet potato hash that was nice, but a bit too sweet for my tastes. I’d have to think a more satiating sweet and savory one-two would be delivered by the bacon pancakes. Guess I’ll have to wait until the next weekend I’m feeling uncharacteristically motivated to shake off the sandman dust to confirm that one.
Sessions Public isn’t as well known as similar spots like Tiger! Tiger! Tavern or Neighborhood, due mostly to its tucked away location and the fact it’s mostly blocked from view by next-door neighbor, Catalina Lounge. But if it’s a weekend and you find yourself with an AM hankering for brunch and/or a beer, all the conditions are right for ferreting out this enjoyable OB gem.
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