Brunchin’. It’s a way of life for most foodies. And you can brunch with as much food as your stomach can handle for a little less than $17 at Summer House Santa Monica + Stella Barra Pizzeria in North Bethesda.

The two places are attached to one another; Summer House Santa Monica is a California-inspired restaurant while Stella Barra features the brunch buffet on weekends and, you guessed it, Italian eats. These two places also share The Market counter -a showcase of eye-catching pastries including Rice Krispie chocolate chip cookies and triple berry scones displayed at the entrance. Go hungry, leave happy.

Let’s just go plate by plate. Because when you brunch at Stella Barra you can literally get an endless amount of plates.

Ally Tobler

My first plate was filled with approximately 90% of what the brunch bar had to offer -- Egg whites with spinach, sausage, bacon, Italian-style hash browns, salmon and cream cheese toast, a biscuit and...wait for it...mac n’ cheese.

I just recently became a fan of eggs, so I was all for the egg whites and spinach, which added a much needed healthful aspect to my mound of food. The warm biscuits were just flaky enough to peel them layer by layer, like a bougie Pillsbury biscuit, so I did that a couple times while laying the eggs whites on top. Star combo.

Another notable breakfast item was their cream cheese and salmon spread on toast. All the refreshing taste of salmon and the comfort of decadent carbs in one.

And for my indulgent side there was also (yes, I know, you’ve been patiently waiting for it), mac n’ cheese. But not just any mac n’ cheese. Cavatappi mac n’ cheese crusted with bread crumbs. All food rules had to be broken here because who can resist mac n’ cheese, even if it’s breakfast time?

The bacon. Oh, the bacon. It was slightly on the thicker end, and it was so evenly cooked. No part of each of my three hearty strips was too crispy or to undercooked. There were even parts of it that had large fat deposits. On the same savory note, the sausage was also flavorful, which isn’t hard to achieve when you’ve spent a whole year eating chicken sausage from the diner at the University of Maryland.

Ally Tobler

Now onto plate number two. My mom always used to say that as a kid her only wish was to be buried with french toast when she died. I never understood that, or wanted it for myself, until I had Summer House’s french toast.

Foremost, let me just say that their french toast is the thickest, most fluffy french toast I’ve ever seen in my life. You can eat it alone, with no syrup, if need be. It’s just that good. But of course, I got it with their homemade whipped cream and a bit of their freshly made jam. One would also think that if french toast was over an inch thick in width, it would be inevitably dry. That is just not the case for Stella Barra’s french toast -- it stayed consistently moist throughout.

I paired two pieces of french toast with two miniature waffles. Besides their inevitable cuteness from being so small, they were also perfectly cooked and soft, but not too soft. Of course, I doused my creation in the homemade whipped cream. But don’t worry, I added blueberries and to ease back on the sugar, only a bit of syrup and a pinch of mini chocolate chips. If you’ve worried about my health up until this point, you can take a deep breath now.

Ally Tobler

If you’re a college student, Summer House + Stella Barra is a great option for a weekend getaway or a birthday brunch. It's only about 35 minutes away from the University of Maryland campus (and Metro-accessible) and you can do a lot more than fine dining when you get to the area. You can shop at Francesca's or Lucky Brand, catch a movie at upscale theater iPic Pike & Rose, and go bowling or play bocce at Pinstripes.

So take my advice and treat yourself to a rewarding excursion to Summer House Santa Monica + Stella Barra Pizzeria in North Bethesda. And please, go hungry.