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Easter brunches: Celebrate spring with family and food

Published on March 31, 2015

Brennan's of Houston

Regardless what religious practices you observe, a key tradition of spring break anywhere in the country is a lavish special-occasion Sunday brunch. Some people are having Easter egg hunts, some are day-drinking bottomless bubbly on garden terraces, and in Southern California, the ultimate celebration is when the chef comes to your home. Here's a sampling of the most amazing Easter brunches from coast to coast.

Peninsula New York

The Easter theme is executed with elegance and culinary flair all week at the Peninsula Hotel on Central Park. The celebration starts on Tuesday with Easter Afternoon Tea that runs every afternoon till Sunday in the lounge — $60 for a selection of pastries, sandwiches, and gourmet hors d' oeuvres. Saturday afternoon is the big day for kids, because of the annual Easter Egg decorating class. Sunday brings a fantastic buffet to Clement, the white-tablecloth signature restaurant. There will be an incredible raw bar, prime rib carving station, eggs-to-order station, various gourmet entrees and nearly two dozen desserts. Price: $165 per person, $75 for children 12 and under. Easter Egg hunt at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Your home, if you live in Los Angeles

Though app-based driver services have done a lot to improve LA driving logistics, most people still prefer not to deal with freeways if they don't have to. So the ultimate holiday indulgence is having a personal chef come to your home and cook for yourself and your loved ones. If you do so through experiential packager IfOnly.com, part of the price goes to the chef's charity of choice, which seems in keeping with holiday spirit. So in LA, hire popup impresario Chef Kevin Meehan to cook brunch (or supper) for a party of 10-12, and a portion of the $1000 fee goes to Tipping Point, the chef's charity of choice. If the price seems steep, note that it covers shopping/foodstuffs/ 4-course menu/setup/cleanup/service/gratuity. And think what you'll save on valet parking!

Wicked Spoon, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

In a town where buffets abound, Wicked Spoon surpasses the competition consistently for three reasons: individually portioned presentation of most dishes; adults can add on bottomless drinks for a nominal fee; and the brunch hours are slightly more expanded than other Vegas buffets. Brunch is available Easter weekend Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and priced at $27 Fri and $40 Sat-Sun. The $12 beverage upgrade buys bottomless house wine including bubbly, mimosas and Bloodys. The menu will be comparable with other weekend brunches, except for an addition of five special desserts for the holiday, including Key lime cheesecake and PB&J tart.

The Kitchen, Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

If you're the type of parents/cool aunt and uncle/older cousins who like celebrating the holidays with the whole family, but don't want to do it in a Rainforest Café, you'll find a happy halfway point at the annual Easter Brunch at the Kitchen. The buffet is definitely rocking, with a carving station doing leg of lamb, sirloin and Jack Daniels-glazed ham. Sides range from biscuits and sausage gravy to couscous salad. For finicky little ones, the kiddie table has chicken fingers and mini-pizzas. The dessert selection goes over-the-top on chocolate and Easter cookies. Sunday only, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $48 per person or $16 children age 3-9.

Brennan's of Houston

With wisdom born of experience — this has been a special-occasion stalwart for a long time — Brennan's offers two different brunch experience. Sunday is a posh prix-fixe featuring rich Texas Creole cuisine, while Friday's Brunch with the Bunny is a family-friendly shindig. The Easter Bunny pays a visit on Friday, with an entourage of live bunnies ready for cuddling and photo-ops. Sunday is the epicurean experience, $56 per person for a three-course menu with entrees like Atchafalaya Crawfish Omelette and Hill Country Quail. Call for reservations.

B Too, D.C.

Such a sleek, sophisticated space as this might not seem the spot to look for slap-up breakfast foods, but appearances can be deceiving. For a holiday brunch treat, this modern Belgian restaurant entices D.C. scenesters with a waffle bar on top of other serious temptations like the "fancy hash browns" and steak frites. Don't expect some ordinary strawberry-topped waffles, either. Signature waffles here are topped with lobster and lobster bisque, caramel apple, or slow-cooked pears and crème brulee cream. The a la carte menu also includes sandwiches and various presentations of Brussels' staple mussels and frites.

Iron Horse Hotel, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is consistently ranked among the United States' most livable cities, and a survey of holiday offerings across the country shows why: A special Easter brunch buffet in a luxury hotel here costs $49 including bottomless Mimosas, and includes all the must-have elements including prime rib carving station, raw seafood bar and a myriad of desserts. Available Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., priced at $49 adults, $15 children under 12.

The Greenbrier, West Virginia

Renowned for its Easter egg hunt, the landmark Greenbrier holds enough Easter festivities to justify a weekend's stay in the Allegheny Mountains. The egg hunt, complimentary to guests, hides 100 prizes in 5000 plastic eggs around the property. Oh, and this hunt is for the adults — prizes include spa days, golf, culinary and more. Kids get their own "Hippity Hop Egg Hunt," with age-appropriate goodies galore, plus over-the-top Easter baskets if parents want to splash out. The brunch buffet is a separate event from the egg hunts, served from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., $65 per person, $38 children 4-12.

Wild Dunes, South Carolina

This is another destination resort where a brunch buffet is only one component of the full weekend entertainment. On Saturday morning, "Breakfast with the Easter Bunny" is a less pricey, less formal morning celebration that's probably more exciting for little ones. The menu's less extravagant but bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas are just $17 per person with breakfast ($20 per adult, $12 per child). Sunday's full-on brunch with carving and omelet stations costs $47 per adult, $18 per child. Easter egg hunt is Sunday at 9 a.m., free to children under 10. Brunch seating starts at 10 a.m.; call for reservations.

L'Auberge de Sedona, Arizona

Early spring is the perfect time to visit Arizona: Temperatures are wonderfully warm, making outdoor dining in L'Auberge's garden terrace a perfect option. The Easter buffet goes from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday, and features a carving station, chilled seafood bar that includes oysters and crab claws, crepes and puddings, a great selection of cold salads and appetizers, and entrees like a petite filet Oscar with Dungeness crab. Price $65 adults, $35 children. Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys are an additional $20 per person .