One of the more interesting trends I've noticed in the past few years is the reemergence of brunch. Even more interesting is that the most brunches are no longer all-you-can-cram glutfests. The help-yourself buffets used to be synonymous with brunch. Even the perennial brunch favorite at La Coquina, now deceased, was an all-you-can-eat buffet, albeit one without a single steam chafing dish.
Now, you're much more likely to be handed an a la carte menu when you're seated for brunch. That's fine with most people (including me). Most of the folks who gather for a brunch after a night on the town are more interested in the all-you-can-drink options.
Santiago's Bodega offers all-you-can-eat-and-drink at its weekend brunch, and combines the steam-table options with carving stations and made-to-order omelets, waffles and other comestibles.
You can have your fill — perhaps a bit more — of prime rib, crab legs, biscuits and gravy, pasta and, of course, desserts. And you can swill it all down with bottomless mimosas (mimosi?) of sangria. It should be noted that the regular lunch menu is also available for those who don't feel the need to eat and drink themselves into midday oblivion.
I enjoyed a made-to-order omelet. The nice thing here is that you don't have to stand there at the omelet station while your eggs are coagulating. In fact, you don't have to visit the table at all; your server will gladly take your order and deliver the omelet when ready.
Besides being a nice service to offer, it keeps guests from causing a bottleneck in the fairly cramped space inside Santiago's. The chafing dish options are along the wall in the bar area. I ladled out some good gravy onto a fluffy biscuit and grabbed some rashers of bacon to take back to my table.
And I was full just about then. And I had just one goblet of sangria. Clearly, someone like me wouldn't get his money's worth from the $39.95 fee. But if brunch means hanging out for hours with your friends, having a mimosa or five, eating breakfast items first then moving on to lunch in one sitting, then it's a bargain.
Another trend: Brunches aren't just for Sundays anymore. Many places, including Santiago's, offer the repast on Saturdays, as well.
And Santiago's patio is a pleasant place to overindulge when the weather is clement. The staff deserves some kudos, as well. Santiago's Bodega had a bumpy start when it first opened, but it has turned into a fun, neighborhoody place with good food and service that I'm happy to recommend.
Santiago's Bodega is at 802 Virginia Drive, Orlando. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The phone number is 407-412-6979.