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 within fairly limited time spans. And now the first meal of the day is 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.

Tabard Inn is the stuff of happy memories, with its English country inn interior and outdoor cafe, particularly if you are lucky enough to encounter the roast beef hash (big chunks of truly crusty roast beef) and chocolate cake sealed with bittersweet glaze. The flowered cloths and vivid primitive paintings revive the dimmest Sunday, especially if you start with a mimosa made with freshly squeezed orange juice, or a bloody mary made with pepper vodka. Main dishes are $3.75 (omelets with french fries, very good ones) to $6.95 (cold poacahed salmon), and choices are few but interesting-fruit and cheese, chicken salad with grapes and almonds in melon half. The food is fresh, homemade, full of vitality, even though an omelet may be overcooked. The menu lists melon and prosciutto or artichoke ($2.50), and croissant or bagel (75) cents, but brunch could be improved by adding other fruit appetizers, and serving toast and coffee cakes with the meal.