Good Taste: Martha’s Vineyard brunches

Here it comes, the holiday season. Dinner parties and holiday festivities abound. It seems that everywhere I turn is an excuse (or opportunity, depending on how you look at it) to gorge on dips, roasts, casseroles, and pies. Gradually increasing the amount of food necessary to feel full. Often, after a big feast, when I should be able to go days, or at least a few extra hours, without needing to refuel, I wake up hungry. The bigger the dinner the bigger my appetite is in the morning. And what better way to satiate the morning-after munchies than with a long, luxurious brunch? After triple Thanksgiving dinners, that’s what I did.

Brunch might be my favorite meal to eat out. I love a long and lingering weekend morning meal, bottomless cups of coffee, comfortable clothes, and no particular place to go.

The ArtCliff Diner might be the Island’s most famous brunch spot, in fact, people willingly spend a good chunk of a summer morning waiting for a table. Breezing into the ArtCliff on a sunny winter morning, with no wait is what I consider a perk of the off-season.

Try the black bean cakes, topped with melted cheddar and pico de gallo, chunks of avocado, and two eggs any style. The Bull’s Eye, ArtCliff’s cod cake, has the perfect potato-to-fish ratio. It’s completed with a spicy mustard oil, a light hollandaise, and a pinch of arugula. The Smoking in the Shower dish is a simple yet deliciously satisfying bagel and lox plate. Freshly smoked salmon, capers, tomato, red onion, cream cheese, and lemon wedges make the perfect do-it-yourself breakfast dish. And the almond-encrusted French toast with powdered sugar and ripe strawberries is a sweet breakfast favorite. ArtCliff often has special scones or muffins on hand, in addition to daily breakfast and lunch specials.

The Harbor View Hotel has remained a brunch mainstay for years. Held every Sunday from 11:30 am to 2 pm year round, the buffet is $28 per person, which gets you an item from the menu and anything from the all-you-can-eat buffet.

State Road Restaurant’s laid-back brunch is the perfect place to unwind, replenish, and let someone else do the dishes.

They offer a range of breakfast, lunch and somewhere-in-between offerings with house-made or house-cured just about everything. State Road also has a well-stocked espresso bar and tea selection. I love their lattes, served in what looks like a dainty stem-less martini glass rather than a coffee mug.

For the breakfast traditionalist, there is the classic two eggs any style, with your choice of bacon, house-made sausage, or spinach, shallots, and tomatoes, served with State Road’s thick and hearty multi-grain bread with butter and homemade preserves. This is not your average diner toast, overly buttered and a little bit charred. The multi-grain toast is so good, it has its very own spot on the menu for $3 with fruit preserves. The ricotta pancakes are topped with lemon curd and plump blueberries, sprinkled with powdered sugar. No need for maple syrup here.

Every weekend a different Sunday Hash is featured, such as braised beef, bacon, and beet, and — my favorite so far — duck and sweet potato.

If you lean more toward the lunch side of brunch there is a winter salad of local greens, roasted beets, pistachios, chickpeas, goat cheese, and a red wine vinaigrette, with local rotisseried chicken if you like. Local clams are steamed and served with house-made garlic sausage and sweet onions in a mouth-watering broth with a generous baguette to soak it all up.

The fried green tomato BLT is a house favorite with applewood-smoked bacon, arugula, and basil mayo on toasted Pugliese bread, with pommes frites (French fries) and a house-made pickle. You can add a fried egg, which I recommend you do, for a breakfast-lunch hybrid.

State Road is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, 8 am to 2 pm.