If ever there was a day to test-drive a hangover helper venue, it's New Year’s Day. We rang in New Year's Eve with wine pairings at dinner, cocktails before and after, champagne at the end, and a big, huge glass of water. The trick on Thursday morning was getting out of bed in time for our midday reservation.
Pants on and shoes tied, we loaded into the car and showed off Baltimore to our out-of-town guests as we made our way to Hamilton for Maggie's Farm (4341 Harford Road,  254-2376, maggiesfarmmd.com). We'd heard good things and their Facebook photos spurred our hungry tummies.
We weren't the only ones taking refuge at Maggie's, as their small reception area buzzed with frenetic energy while the staff shuttled drinks, cheesy dishes, and baked goods. Initially, our brunch got off to a late start as it took the dining room a while to open a table. The smiling-but-apologetic staff eased our wait with drinks, coffees, and a plate of three donuts ($8): Zeke's Coffee glazed, raspberry, and ginger-apple all nestled in billowy dollops of whipped cream. Each donut had an impeccably golden-fried crusty envelope revealing chewy innards freckled with pillows of air. After polling the table, the raspberry donut won out as our favorite, but only by a hair.
Seated with our first round of drinks before us, we sipped and shared an eclectic and auspicious start to the New Year. The Excess & Sentiment ($11) showcased a tangy coffee profile topped with crunchy bits of "pecan sprankle" and delivered double duty on both bourbon and a smooth caffeine punch. It's Sour Never ($10) stood out as a natural counterpoint, boasting a sweet, grassy tequila drink fluffed with egg white and a spicy smoked paprika finish. We've heard the bartending advice that adding a pop of spice and egg to your morning booze will ease a rough morning, and we're not here to argue with tradition. We'd also order both of these drinks again anytime of day, no questions asked.
Soon our waiter delivered the Brussels Sprout Hash ($8) to our growing pre-meal ensemble. Tiny cabbage morsels immediately laid the groundwork to a productive day—or a day spent binging on HBO, depending on your plans. The slow heat of the kimchi played off the crispy fried sprouts, which only shone more brightly as they dripped with the egg yolk oozing over the bowl. Completely satisfied and maybe wishing Maggie's offered this starter as a main, we were thrilled to discover little crispy fried lardons hiding in the bottom like porky croutons.
At long last we felt fully alive and ready for our entrees and the march through 2015. When a member of our party ordered the chicken and waffles ($16), he and our server shared a knowing and enthusiastic look and we learned that the waffles may be one of Maggie's Farm's finest midday rations. The rosemary-infused waffle descended to the table glistening with syrup, adorned with crunchy candied pecans, and topped with succulent white and dark meat. The waffle crust and chicken skins were both crisped to perfection and the chicken maintained its tender, lightly greasy appeal. We didn't let a crumb go to waste.
Among the lighter dishes on the table, Bulgolgi Tacos ($18) displayed medium-rare beef piled with a sharp daikon and cilantro slaw. This beefy street food seamlessly translates between breakfast and lunch, intertwining satisfying strips of tender meat and a bright pile of veggies. Served alongside home fries, this dish hit all the right notes, blending salty and filling with bright and crunchy.
While the Red Flannel Hash ($13) may have offered a slightly smaller portion than the other dishes, it also presented a striking pile of breakfast goodies, with a rainbow of root vegetables propping up runny poached eggs and a zesty hollandaise sauce. Each bite of beets, potatoes, and onions was draped in velvety yolks and sauce. Hollandaise being a ubiquitous brunch topping, this sauce offered a gorgeously unique riff on the typical pale yellow creamy covering. This version elevated the typically rich drizzle by highlighting bright, citrusy notes to offset its buttery base, giving way to an addictive quality that had us cleaning the plate.
Without prompting, our waiter advised us that Maggie's Farm's greatest hangover helper (his words, not ours) is the chilaquiles ($12). Well-versed in Latin American breakfast foods and knowing that chilaquiles vary widely in their preparation and style, we enthusiastically peered into the oblong casserole dish. Scanning through the steam rising from the top, we discovered a creamy Mornay smothering hearty chunks of meat, covered with a crispy hood of broiled tortilla strips and jalapeños and topped with two sunny-side-up eggs. Hangover helper indeed! The dish was rich, salty, and spicy, dripping with lavish cream and fried eggs. We boxed up half of it and would easily pit it against Mobtown's best hangover remedies.
By now the dining room had slowed while we sipped our drinks and the staff had checked in on our experience throughout the meal. Maggie's is certainly home to a family-feeling dining room with a staff that hustles not only in the name of a good meal, but to create a warm welcome. New Year’s resolution: hit up Maggie's Farm for dinner, and soon.