Where: Madison Park Cafe, 1807 42nd Ave. E., 324-2626.
When: Saturday morning. Weekend brunch starts at 8.
Level of hangover: After attending a bachelor party for a strictly religious groom-to-be and his like-minded pals, I was feeling exhausted and secular as ever. On a scale of 1--10, I was hovering around a 6, somewhere between a thorny-crown headache and a water-to-wine-to-vomit session at the almighty porcelain throne.
The Soak: If there wasn't a sign out front, you might mistake Madison Park Cafe for a quaint old house. It has a small lawn, rickety stairs leading to the heavy front door, and a white paint job only slightly past its prime. Inside it feels like home, too.
Because my plus-one had a similar (but much worse) night with the bride-to-be, I shuffled in alone and sat down at a table positioned toward the wall. The place has everything one might need from a brunch: quiche, huevos rancheros, pancakes, French toast, blintzes, granola, pastries. I chose the featured scramble from the cafe's weekly rotation of egg dishes, and was convinced to try a side of potatoes. Made with thick chunks of tomato, spinach, onion, and cheddar and jack cheese, the scramble came out quickly and hot, with a powdered-sugared currant scone on the side.
The potatoes, tossed with red and green peepers and white onions, were spiced to perfection, nearly outshining the rest of the meal. Along with the setting, the attentive service and local art reminded me of the childhood I didn't have but occasionally enjoyed at friends' houses. If Madison Park Cafe is Leave It to Beaver, my house was closer to The Munsters, only with no laugh track and more divorce (Now in Color!).
Hair of the Dog: In keeping with the simplicity of the menu, there's not much choose from. But what you do find may be all you need: Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers, and fancy Mimosas. For instance, I found that pomegranate juice mixed with champagne is very, very refreshing and perfectly capable of helping wash down two Ibuprofen.
Success of the Soak: This was my first trip to Madison Park Cafe, and I found it to be good, quick food for a reasonable price in a comfy setting. I returned to my own home to complete the circle: drifting in and out of sleep on the couch for the rest of the day.