Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas or Passover, it seems much more socially acceptable to eat out for your Easter meal. Local restaurants have taken note, so welcome to brunchapalooza!
For a full-on brunch buffet, area hotels seem to have the scene covered. My first thought would be the Hilton Harrisburg, which is offering everything from an omelet station to apricot-basted pit ham and carrot cake. The buffet will be equally scrumptious at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey in Grantville, where you'll sample molasses and orange-crusted leg of lamb, as well as strawberry- and cream cheese-stuffed chicken breast with balsamic reduction.
Sometimes forgotten is the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, but it sure hasn't forgotten Easter brunch. How does crab and corn salad with roasted red peppers sound? Probably just as good as shrimp and scallop scampi over fettuccine. Not to worry — omelet, waffle and carving stations also will make an appearance.
In York, you can feast on a buffet at The Yorktowne Hotel that includes cheese blintzes with crème anglaise and fresh berries, as well as Virginia ham with grilled pineapple chutney. You'll find its signature corn pudding, too.
Just down the road, the White Rose Bar & Grill is breaking from its usual menu to host a special Easter buffet. It will include a carving station with traditional ham and lamb, along with breakfast favorites like stuffed pancakes, home fries and bacon.
If à la carte dining is more your speed, Devon Seafood Grill in Hershey will be offering its regular Sunday brunch. Your taste buds will be torn among tasty items like French toast Napoleon, wild mushroom quiche and roasted duck flatbread.
The Pressroom Restaurant in Lancaster is catering to Easter diners by opening earlier — at noon. Its regular Sunday dinner entrées will be interspersed with exclusive holiday features.
For a little romance and pampering, head to Mount Joy for a sumptuous five-course prix fixe brunch ($47) at the Cameron Estate Inn & Restaurant. Start with a kir royal to accompany the fennel and zucchini soup. Try the petit filet and crab cake or maple-applejack brandy-smoked pork chop along the way. And perhaps end with the lemon icebox pie.
Where am I headed for Easter brunch? This year my family also has decided to eat out in lieu of a meal at home. So, naturally, we're headed to our favorite brunch place: Mangia Qui. From its "Benny Collection," asparagus and tomato timbale and chicken paillard, the menu is a perfect blend of breakfast and lunch. Plus, exotic renditions of the mimosa, such as guava or blood orange, always are on special.
Are you eating out for Easter? Where?
Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Publications Inc., parent company of the Central Penn Business Journal. She moonlights as a foodie and wino, and many people also know her as founder and organizer of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that doubles as a fundraiser for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Follow her at @HbgFoodandWine.