The first meal of the day is a highly personal one; people are unyielding about whether their first mouthful is orange juice or coffee or corn flakes. The first meal of the day is an unpredictable one; people may eat breakfast at 6 a.m. or noon, while lunch and dinner fall with fairly limited time spans. And now the first meal of the day is becoming a very social one, at least on weekends, when brunch has not only become the focus of the day for many, it becomes the bulk of the day for some. So here is the first of a two-part series on brunches. The choice was far too broad to include more than a small taste of what is available; many temptations had to be left out. I sampled from those promising the comforts that might tempt one to while away a lazy Sunday. Many also allow such whiling away of a Saturday. And one serves its Sunday brunch on Saturday only, and calls it Frunch instead. In any case, there is something for most tastes, whether orange juice or ouzo is what gets you going in the morning.

Even if you are not squinting from the night before, the Bread Oven's mimeographed Saturday Frunch menu is difficult to read -though easy to enjoy. The half-dozen main courses cost $4.50 each, and range from the simple (cheese platter) to the complicated (eggs benedict, wellmade but misguidedly based on French bread rather than English muffin). You can have dinner food-hearty stuffed veal breast with wine sauce or chicken sauteed with garlic. Light and pretty is the hors d'oeuvres platter, a kink of edible advertisement for the Cuisinart. Best of the Frunch is the bread-baked in front of your eyes-and the pate assortment ($2.50). While the pastry tray offers commendable sweets, it could use breakfast pastries to round it out. The crowd and service remind you of Paris-a crowded street corner in Paris. But the sunshine washing the room makes it always seem like April.