Casa Luca brunch

Now that Larry/TBM was finally done with school, and finished working at the law firm, I was so hopeful that I would see him more than every three weeks (reasonable expectation when you’re dating someone, I believe). We actually hung out twice in one weekend after he turned in his finals, which was completely totally new territory for us. He did not seem fazed by two sleepovers in the span of three nights, which was encouraging to me. The following weekend, he had his parents and his brother’s family in town for the law school graduation, and I assumed that I would not see him. I tried to tell myself that I would not be disappointed if he did not contact me since I knew he had a jam-packed weekend, even though I knew that I would be a little sad to go another week before spending time with him. By Saturday night, after a few sporadic texts between us, I headed out to meet some friends at Bar Pilar. Suddenly, I felt my phone buzz, and looked down to see a text from TBM asking if I wanted to meet up after he left his graduation gala. Of course, I said immediately said yes (zero chill here, guys) but immediately panicked because I had not shaved my legs…….. or other body parts, in preparation of seeing any member of the opposite sex in close proximity. In addition, I was also not wearing ideal undergarments (hellooooo $2 H&M clearance undies with a giant pink bow in the back) for male company. After forcing every single one of my friends in a twenty yard radius to feel my legs, I decided the stubble fell in the “still relatively acceptable” range of body hair and there was really nothing I could do about it at that point (although I did debate for 0.03 seconds if I had enough time to Uber back to my apartment to shave). TBM and his friend from law school arrived shortly afterwards and after a couple of drinks, we hopped over to POV meet up with the rest of his grad school friends for more drinks and dancing. Before I knew it, the lights were coming on and it was time to head home. He invited me over (insert an imaginary fist pump into the air), and I warned him about the state of my legs before grabbing his hand and forcing him to feel the stubble (flirting comes in all shapes and sizes, ladies) on my shins. Despite my odd behavior, he did not rescind his invitation and we headed back to Capitol Hill. The next morning, I woke up exhausted, with a slight headache and hangover. TBM dropped me off at my apartment early before his graduation ceremony, and I decided the best thing to do before my 1pm brunch was immediately head out for a run before the sleep deprivation set in.

After sweating out most of the cheap wine from the previous night, I took a long shower and got ready to meet up with some girlfriends from college for a brunch at Casa Luca. It was a hot afternoon, and I was grateful we picked a place literally two blocks from my apartment. Casa Luca opened in 2013, and is the most “casual” of restaurants run by the fantastic Fabio Trabocchi, chef/owner of Fiola and Fiola Mare. I stopped in when it first opened to have dinner with A (fake roomie), and while I was satisfied with the food, was not impressed enough to return despite it’s location. Recently, I kept hearing rave reviews for Casa Luca’s new brunch offerings, especially when it came to the pastry basket, and put it on my list of brunch spots to try. So when a friend from college sent out a text about organizing a girls’ brunch, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try Casa Luca.

The five of us arrived around the time of our 1pm reservation, but posted up at the bar after the hostess told us they still had to set the table. I was sweating profusely and starving, but appreciated the cold AC blasting and the comfortable bar stool. Forty minutes later, I was not feeling as appreciative. By this point, the hostess had said “Just 5 more minutes” to us at least four times, and we were getting antsy to fill out growling bellies with some food. The manager was an extremely kind lady, and offered us glasses of prosecco to make up for the long wait. This was a very nice gesture, but at this point, I was so hungry I could not stomach the thought of alcohol. Each sip of bubbly prosecco just reminded me that I needed nourishment as soon as possible. Finally around 1:45pm, they seated us. The sweet manager came around again, and told us she would be sending out a pastry basket immediately. Now that made me feel instantly better, and when it arrived, it did not disappoint one bit.

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The large bowl held fluffy sweet rolls, brioche buns, two muffins, crispy bread sticks, along with delicate tiny jars of fruit jams, local honey and soft, creamy butter. Every single bite was amazing. After loading up on carbs, we were all starting to feel better, and I managed a few sips of prosecco. We perused the brunch menu, which gave you the option of ordering a la carte, or the Casa Luca Signature Brunch (one appetizer, one signature Italian specialty, dessert, plus bottomless beverages) for $32. For everyone who wanted a healthier option, there is also Maria’s Light Brunch, served with a mocktail, for $26. I knew I needed something comforting and filling, so I went with the Steak & Eggs. SM and N followed suit, while SBS ordered the Vegetarian Omelet with Mild Mushrooms and Caroline got Maria’s Light Brunch. To share, we ordered a side of bacon and country style fried potatoes.

I had pretty salivated all over the table by the time our food arrived. I had been up for five hours at this point, which was more hours than the hours of total sleep I had the previous night, and was so ready to finally put some food into my body. The plate of steak and eggs was a beautiful sight, but even more beautiful to eat. The steak was tender and juicy with a lovely outer char. The eggs (I mean, LOOK at those yolks) were perfectly runny, while the thick slices of crusty bread held up well under the hollandaise sauce and juicy roasted tomatoes.

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I had no problem polishing off every morsel of food on this plate. The sides were equally delicious. The bacon was smokey, sweet, and fried to a crisp, just the way I prefer my pork. The mini cast-iron skillet held piping hot, fluffy, crunchy slices of fried potatoes that we dipped into the lemony aioli sauce. Everyone seemed satisfied with the food (although SM and N fawned a little less than me over the steak and eggs), and we were soon all leaning back into our chairs as our food comas started to hit us. Overall, a delicious brunch, although the items are definitely on the pricey side for DC. The vibe in this beautiful restaurant is comfortable and classy, without being too uptight. On a less scorching day, their patio would be a lovely place to sit and make the most of the bottomless drinks deal. However, with a large steak in my belly, I had no more room for anything else looked forward to my recovery nap.

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