Brunchin' at Empire Cafe

Thursday, June 5, 2014
I am no longer in a TV rut.

In 2007 I took a trip to NYC, saw Spring Awakening on Broadway with my best friend Courtney, promptly fell in love with John Gallagher Jr. who was in the show, and dragged Courtney to the stage door afterward to meet him. That was back during my performing days, and I had been called in to audition for the show a couple of times so it was all in the name of research! (but mostly true love). After standing outside for 30 minutes in the cold rain, I got my chance to meet the future Mr. Kim Ogonosky. Conversation was as follows:

John: Hi, how are you guys doing?
Courtney: Great!
Kim: Good you were so great.
John: Thank you! What are your names?
Courtney: I'm Courtney.
Kim: And I'm Kim you were so great.
Johns: Thanks! Do you guys live here or are you just visiting?
Courtney: Just visiting, but we're moving up here soon.
Kim: You were so great.

Nailed. it. 

The second time I met John (he and I are on a first name basis now after all) was after seeing his band play a show in the village months later (stalking is legal, right?). After having had several beers and several mock conversations where Courtney played John, and I played a non-idiot version of myself, I was prepared this time. Sporting wavy hair, Chuck Taylors, some weird chain-looking bracelets, and a punk rockesque t-shirt (god I'm a tool), I was ready to go. Conversation was as follows:

John: Hi, how are you guys doing?
Courtney: Great!
Kim: Doing great - Awesome show man.
John: Thank you! What are your names?
Courtney: I'm Courtney.
Kim: I'm Kim. And you are....? (laughs)
John: (laughs) John. (looks at me) Haven't I met you before?
(long awkward pause)
Kim: Uhhh, nope. I don't think so.

My point in revealing these humiliating fangirl moments to you is now I've found my TV show to binge-watch and obsess over, and it's The Newsroom, and JGJ plays an adorable quirky intellectual on it, and I love him, and the show is awesome, so watch it now, the end.

Other things that are awesome? Brunch at Houston's Empire Cafe! (Like my segue there?)

Last weekend, I had brunch at Empire Cafe with my mom and my friend Boh. Even though the place was pretty slammers, we were able to nab a table on the expansive, breezy outdoor patio. To start the morning off right I decided to stray from my normal mimosa/bloody route and order the Ruby Kiss, a "dazzling blend of Champagne and Raspberry Liquor." It surely was dazzling. And potent. And hella sweet. If you're into super sweet cocktails, the Ruby Kiss is your lady!

For my meal I ordered the Verdi - 2 eggs any style (I chose sunny side up which I strongly recommend) on a spinach "nest" with garlic and olive oil, served with cheddar hash brown potatoes and fresh fruit. Then I threw in a side of whole wheat toast for good measure. But let's break this down here:

1) Spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil? Mah lord. Topped with broken sunny side egg yolk running over it? Absolute harmony. Just lovely.

2) Cheddar hash brown potatoes? Girl, I cannot even. And they don't give you a ton, so you don't eat them and feel terrible about your life. It was the perfect amount of cheesy potato-y goodness.

3) Complemented by fresh fruit and whole wheat toast? Home run, Astros style (okay that *might* be a stretch).

This casual, charming, counter service Montrose spot is perfect for a lazy, hazy, boozy weekend brunch with your pals. And I definitely recommend going and sitting on the patio before the weather turns into the 7th circle of Houston Hades. But they do have an overhead fan so powerful it could energize all of Switzerland, so you'd probably be okay anyway.

I should take John there sometime.


  1. I'm dying. You are hilarious!!! What are these performing days you speak of?! And also, that is SO EXCITING THAT HE REMEMBERED YOU HELLO HOT STUFF!!!! Also, my roommate watches the Newsroom and it looks great. Thanks for reminding me! I really have been meaning to watch it!

    1. OHHH, back in the day I went to college for musical theatre, then lived in New York performing here and there (my shining moment was that of a singing Christmas Tree in Macy's Herald Square). Fun times! And while you flatter me so, I'm pretty sure JGJ remembered me because of my embarrassing awkwardness and inability to form an actual sentence while standing in the pouring rain, looking like a drowned rat. How's that for an image? :) And yes, LOVE The Newsroom!


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