BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH (2003)
El Chorro Lodge
Sundays are for sleeping in. Unless we've got a reservation for brunch at El Chorro, in which case we might not sleep Saturday night at all. Brunch is served in the cool months, October through May. El Chorro is stunningly beautiful, nestled below the red cliffs of Echo Canyon of Camelback Mountain. It's historic, built in 1934 as a school for girls. As a resort, it's played host to celebrities like Clark Gable and Milton Berle. Many of the staffers are original characters, including the owners, Joe and Evie Miller (Joe started there as a bartender in 1952). The spread is much more intriguing than the typical eggs, bacon and Danish buffets, and excitingly retro. The magic begins with free sticky buns (homemade cinnamon rolls). Then it's on to eggs Benedict (classic, with turkey, filet mignon or vegetarian), a Spanish omelet, curried chicken salad, salmon fettuccine, chicken livers and eggs, chipped beef, beef stroganoff, or shrimp Louie. Now that's worth waking up for.