This is the furthest thing from brunch at RockCreek.
  • This is the furthest thing from brunch at RockCreek.

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People love the food at Fremont's RockCreek. Former Stranger food critic Bethany Jean Clement wrote that Chef Eric Donnelly's food "makes you happy to be alive, right here, right now." I have friends who rave about their brunch service as well.

Earlier this week, I got a press release announcing RockCreek's new "Hip-Hop Brunch" series, which will be held the last Sunday of every month "and include a live local DJ and awesome MC-inspired dishes." But I had trouble getting past the first menu item, which made me cringe:

NWApancakes with Nutella, walnuts, and crème anglaise

This one got me too:

Public Enemy #1ham, turkey, Swiss, raspberry jam, and pancakes

There are other more innocuous-sounding dishes like the "Biggie Smalls" (a short stack of pancakes with braised bacon), but I had to look at the press release three times before I could read beyond NWA.

At a time when many black businesses are struggling to hang on (see the recent closures of the Central District's Philadelphia Fevre and Catfish Corner) and black youth are being killed for being black, it’s painful to see white-owned businesses try and make money off of black culture. It might be fun (and even funny to some) to turn an abbreviation that stands for "Niggaz Wit Attitudes" into "nutella, walnuts, and crème anglaise" or call ham and pancakes "Public Enemy," but these hiphop names were born out of real political frustration in the black community in the 1980s over things like racial profiling and police brutality—problems that continue today. It's a privilege to be detached enough from these meanings to repurpose them for a brunch menu.

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I doubt that Donnelly and his staff at RockCreek had any intentions with this menu beside a joke, or maybe a tribute to the music they like. But it reads as ignorance more than a tribute. I reached out to Donnelly through his PR company to get his side, but didn't get a response.

Here's the full menu:

NWApancakes with Nutella, walnuts, and crème anglaise
Southern Playalisticfried chicken with jalapeno corn cakes
Biggie Smallsshort stack with braised bacon and sunny side up eggs
Funky Homosapienpancakes with Bananas Foster and candied walnuts
MC Solaar (reppin’ France!)—Mornay sauce, ham, onions, and poached eggs
Public Enemy #1ham, turkey, Swiss, raspberry jam, and pancakes

Plus, drink specials:
Brass Monkeycrushed orange, ice, lime, and lager
Gin & Juicegin...and juice, orange and grapefruit Ricky
Purple Drankvodka and ‘purple’ bubbles
Beer & A ShotMontucky Cold Snacks beer & O.G.D. shot