IMG_0056This can’t be breakfast. That was the thought I had at Parallel 17 last week, right after a plate of hot, sugar-and-cinnamon-dusted fried dough balls arrived to our table at brunch…I was about to make dessert my first meal of the day.

But Parallel 17’s donut holes, while crunchy and fried for sure, had just enough filling to be sweet without being too sweet. And though maybe it’s a bit cheeky to name them after a deity’s bountiful stomach, these “Buddha Bellies,” piped with either Saigon cinnamon cheesecake, chocolate ganache, kaffir lime curd, or blueberry sauce, were a worthy homage. (Orders are usually limited to a single flavor—choose the rich chocolate ganache, or the kaffir lime curd for its bright, fresh acidity—but our server had wrangled us an assorted plate.) Not a bad way to start the morning after all.

The Buddha Bellies were part of a new set of winter menu items at Parallel 17, and my friend and I were glad to make brunch a sampling of the arrivals. First up was the Smoked Pork Belly Benedict, which consisted of perfectly poached eggs atop smoked pork belly and a bit of watercress, and then layered with buttery, creamy spoonfuls of five-spice hollandaise sauce—the kind of fun twist on a classic that this Vietnamese-French bistro is especially good at. Home fries, dotted with rosemary, and a nicely dressed green salad completed the plate.

Even better were the Prime Rib Sliders, constructed with tender, thinly shaved beef in a lemongrass and ginger glaze and paired with watercress and wasabi mayo on a brioche bun. Next to the sliders, pomme frites were not just pomme frites—upon closer inspection, the tangle of fried spuds revealed themselves to be a mix of sweet potato and potato, and they’d all been dusted with sugar and tossed with frizzled basil. Herbal and sweet-salty, these were some mighty good—and surprising—fries.

Only a few changes have been made to Parallel 17’s brunch menu this season, but other winter menu items appear at dinner and for dessert. And if you’re looking for more winter fun, on Saturday, December 5th, from 5–7 pm at the bar, Parallel 17 is partnering with the new movie, New Year’s Eve, to create a fun cocktail party to celebrate the movie’s release. Specialty theme drinks and prizes await.

Parallel 17
1600 E 17th Ave