virtual brunch

Canadians can chat with new friends and enjoy a shared meal with Virtual Brunch

At this point in lockdown, all of us are pining for the aspects of pre-pandemic life that we took for granted: things like the ability to go on carefree (and mask-free) trips to the grocery store whenever we felt like it, being able to sit two metres from another human being at a bar on a Friday night, and getting to savour meals out with friends.

Brunch, in particular, is something that a lot of people have been reminiscing about lately — who doesn't miss indulging in a midday mimosa or five with someone other than just themselves, somewhere other than in their own apartment? — so much so that some Ottawa residents have launched an epic online brunch series that we can all partake in weekly while social distancing.

Virtual Brunch, which touts the now-ubiquitous ethos of "physical distance, social closeness," invites people to join in via a Zoom link and "seats" them at a virtual brunch table, where they can chat with others over a shared meal.

Participants can show up either alone or with friends anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on Sundays, and there is even a set menu each week, created by guest chefs.

The dishes for this coming Sunday, April 19 — designed by chef Rebecca Schwartz for the fictitious "Rebel Cafe" — include an oatmeal bowl, a hearty potato hash, two eggs with sides cooked however you like and various selections of toast with toppings.

There is also the option to come up with your own meal if nothing on the menu appeals to your tastebuds or pantry supplies — though this is, of course, a decision to be made "in discussion with the kitchen."

The menus have elevated classics built to utilize common kitchen staples so that brunchgoers can get the feeling of dining together on the same meal in an actual restaurant without having to make an extra trip out of the house for ingredients. (Hopefully everyone's got some champagne or Clamato on-hand).

This, along with the hosting aspect that allows guests to meet new friends at their virtual "tables," takes the experience a step above simply chatting with a friend or two over Skype on a Sunday morning.

As the website says, "at this isolating time, we need our social interactions and traditions more than ever."

"While we can't go to our favourite neighbourhood brunch spots like we used to because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can still enjoy the company of our friends and family over Virtual Brunch."

Lead photo by

Virtual Brunch

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