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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Waffles & Nostalgia: Brunch at Treehouse Restaurant & Pub (Buckhead)

Toddler Foodie Rating:  3 out of 5 Gummy Bears

:) = The restaurant isn't big, but there's ample space for Saturday/Sunday hair of the dog seekers and brunching families alike.  Earthy, homey décor that makes you and your little ones feel comfortable.  Heated screened in patio that protects you from springtime pollen while giving you the sense that you're dining outdoors. Casual, non-judgmental crowd.  Friendly staff.  Kids menu.  Satisfying food.  Great late '90s/early 2000s soundtrack playing throughout the restaurant that will make older millenials feel young again.

:( = Small parking lot.  No changing tables in the restrooms.

"You grownups can have your dog hair.  I'll stick with this waffle." 

One morning we were driving around town looking for a place to brunch that we'd never tried before, and we were somehow led by Google (and Yelp) to Treehouse Restaurant & Pub.  Daddy and Mommy had heard of Treehouse in the context of having dinner/adult beverages with friends before a night out in Buckhead, but had never thought of it as a family-friendly restaurant.  We were just excited to be visiting a place called "Treehouse."  Would we have to climb a tree to get inside?  Do they serve acorns for breakfast?  Would we see monkeys there?  We had so many questions for Mommy and Daddy.

We arrived at Treehouse to find that it's not actually in a tree.  However, it's built with natural wood and decorated to remind guests of one of those old-school treehouses where, according to Mommy, kids would spend summers holding secret meetings with their friends, far from the prying eyes and ears of adults.  We made a beeline for the heated patio because it was a gorgeous day out - and, hey, we were supposed to feel like we were dining in a tree.

"This is awesome!  I get to eat outside without going into a pollen-induced sneezing fit!"
Our server stopped by to greet us and bring us a high chair.  She was friendly, casually-dressed, and attentive to our needs without being too salesperson-ish.  Without much input from her, we ordered Lisa's Artichoke Dip (which the menu describes as a "house favorite"), Eggs Benedict (a poached egg and Canadian bacon on an English muffin, topped with Hollandaise sauce), Salmon Benedict (the same thing but with smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon and an added spoonful of sautéed spinach), and a New York World's Fair Waffle (large waffle topped with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and a dusting of powdered sugar).  The eggs benedict dishes came with brunch potatoes, but we substituted cheese grits on one of them. The waffle came with brunch potatoes and bacon. 

Lisa's Artichoke Dip.
Photo taken by 2-year-old Toddler Foodie.
New York World's Fair Waffle.
Photo taken by 3-year-old Toddler Foodie.
The artichoke dip, waffle, and bacon were the highlights of our meal.  The artichoke dip had a great homemade feel to it and a distinct ingredient - perhaps it was Dijon mustard? - that made it really unique.  The waffle was pretty much perfect.  First of all, it was huge.  We ended up taking some home because we couldn't finish it, despite our fondness for it.  It also had great flavor and needed little to no syrup.  The delicious house-made whipped cream, sweet strawberries, and light sprinkle of powdered sugar were more than enough.  And then there was the bacon served alongside the waffle.  We hate to say this, but sometimes restaurants just don't do bacon right.  Sometimes it's too greasy and limp; other times it's too dry and tough.  Treehouse's bacon was perfect:  crispy but not overcooked; oily enough that the delectable flavors of bacon fat were still traceable, but by no means dripping with grease. 
"Check out this perfect bacon!"
As for the eggs benedict dishes, we were a little disappointed by them.  Both dishes were satisfying, but they lacked the flavor and heart that overflowed from the waffle and artichoke dip.  Moreover, Mommy thought the smoked salmon on the salmon benedict was not as fresh as it could (or should) be.  We all love smoked salmon, so we were a little disheartened by that.  We did note, however, that the poached eggs on both dishes were flawless.  Like bacon, restaurants sometimes mess up on poached eggs.  But Treehouse definitely got them right.  We also loved that the eggs benedict dishes were served with fresh cantaloupe and orange slices.  Fresh fruit is always welcome at our table.
""Hello, little cantaloupe.  I'm looking forward to eating you."
Our visit to Treehouse was pleasant even though we weren't overly impressed by the food.  We think the biggest benefit Mommy and Daddy got out of the experience was a sense of nostalgia for the carefree days when they didn't have us.  As we started to wind down our meal, the patio started to fill with sunglasses-clad, beer-drinking twenty-somethings who looked as if they hadn't slept much the night before.  We heard Mommy say to Daddy, "Remember when we used to look like that at brunch?"  We're not sure what she meant by that, but the comment must have meant something to Daddy, because he gave her the look he always gives her when they're hiding something from us.  Hmm, maybe he and Mommy were part of one of those secret treehouse societies before we arrived...   
"Why is everyone wearing sunglasses here?"

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