Saturday, November 3, 2012
A few months back, my Table Set co-host Andy Windak was invited to join TJ Miller as guest chef on the Nerdist podcast Dining with Doug and Karen. They were so impressed with Andy's whimsical and heartfelt spread that they invited him back for another round. And this time, Andy asked me to join him and create a beverage program to be paired with his Breakfast for Dinner menu.
The guest co-host on our episode was Tim Heidecker of Tim & Eric fame and most recently his film The Comedy, making the total three wisecracking comedy folk to please.
We were given Meltdown Comics' green room to stage, where I set up a makeshift bar (which seemed to elicit excitement from the podcast's cocktail-loving producer).
I was most excited to serve the first drink, a shot to be served alongside Andy's amuse bouche. It was the first idea I experimented with once I knew the theme was breakfast, elevated: A Bloodless Mary. The concept is pretty simple, really: Infuse the spirit with tomato rather than clog the glass with thick juice. I picked cherry tomatoes from my garden and steeped them in gin for a week. The resulting liquor was golden and heady with a sun-kissed tomato cologne, bright and familiar on the palate with a lasting umami quality. I mixed the gin with lemon juice, bacon bitters, a dash of Crystal hot sauce, black pepper and celery salt, then served in frosty lemon-pepper ice shot glasses. Instant breakfast party!
Andy's amuse was a delicious Benedict Bite of homemade English muffin, fried speck, poached quail egg, and scratch hollandaise.
For round two I knew Andy was injecting some Latin love, so I mixed up a Dirty Horchata cocktail. Here I infused smoky Mezcal with Stumptown Guatemalan coffee beans, shaken with horchata and cocoa mole bitters until frothy, garnished with freshly shaved cinnamon.
The horchata was served alongside Andy's Chicken & "Waffles" -or- Coq Au Vin Chilaquiles, a composition of duck-fat-fried corn chips, braised chicken, salsa, queso fresco, cilantro, and a waffle fried egg.
What breakfast menu would be complete without the iconic Mimosa? For a seasonal twist I used dry French brut hard sparkling apple cider in place of bubbly. For the juice element I froze popsicles of fresh orange and brown sugar with a rosemary sprig "stick." The brut cider nibbled away at the ice pops slowly releasing and blending the flavors.
The corresponding course was Andy's fish course. He served Shrimp and Grits Poutine - Fish fumet gravy, butter-poached shrimp, grits "waffle fries," and bacon fat rouille.
For dessert I went with a coffee-replacing Breakfast Beer. Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (oatmeal stout brewed with coffee) enhanced lightly with Amontillado and Pedro Jiminez Sherry, garnished with a Stumptown coffee bean and freshly grated nutmeg.
Andy matched the robustness with his Hallowaffle - A pumpkin waffle, Count Chocula ice cream, maple bourbon syrup, chocolate whipped cream, and maple bacon crumble. As a bonus round he also brought out Booberry and Frankenberry ice creams. Nuts!
Overall I think our creativity was appreciated, though pushing the envelope always results in a few confounding reactions. Listen for yourself and imagine what it all must taste like while listening to other people sip, chew and slurp. (*wink*)
Listen to our episode of Dining with Doug and Karen
Photos by Ted Houser
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
If you find yourself trolling Pinterest for like super cute Scandanavian dream breakfast joints, well, SE Portland's Broder is your jam. The narrow subway-tiled dining room / open kitchen is crowned with geometric branch-like light fixtures and punctuated with bright yellow and robin's egg blue industrial chairs. The brunch menu is short and sweet, rich with Swedish staples. The coffee is Stumptown, so everyone wins.
|Brooke enjoys a kaffe|
I am always a sucker for signature dishes, so from a quick read vibed that the friterade äpplen was my best bet. These thick grilled apple fritters are dusted in sugar and served with baked eggs, a blistered apple pork sausage, sour cream and maple syrup (sweet+savory always wins). It's hard not to enjoy such a smörgåsbord, though I found the fritters to be plated as more of an afterthought than deserved center stage.
Brooke's Broder breakfast sandwich looked delicious, a manly open-faced situation on sourdough rye with country ham, Swedish farmer's cheese, marjoram cream, two baked eggs, house ketchup, and a big sharp utility knife. And yet a light portion. Rawr.
Judah had to steal the limelight with a sizzling cast-iron skillet holding his förlorade ägg. These "lost eggs" hid under fried brown bread, spinach, bleu cheese and walnuts. Crunchy!
Broder is the kind of cozy café I not only want on my corner, but would want to open a branch of on my corner. Solid, across the board. Skål!
2508 SE Clinton St. Portland, OR 97202
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
When I moved out of Portland in 2005, I knew Oregon would always be my home away from home, largely because of the adopted family I was leaving behind. And while PDX is still tattooed on my heart, my last visit to the bay area reminded me that often times people is place. It was my dear friend Catherine's milestone 30th, and I was helping her celebrate in her new city post-Portland. But curled up in her cozy Tenderloin apartment with Casey and Allie Afternoon (their pug) while we ordered-in dinner, I was overwhelmed with the familiar comfort of home.
For our first family outing, Catherine decided to make a day out of going to breakfast. We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands, winding down between the historic officers' residences of Fort Baker. Eventually this lead us to Murray Circle at Cavallo Point. Brunch, with one heck of a view.
While we weren't there for the food per se, we were pleasantly surprised. Catherine's house-made granola with organic yogurt and dried fruit was hearty and complex.
It was a chilly morning, and I couldn't resist the idea of a warming plate of eggs benedict with bacon, spinach, fresh-baked biscuit, and béarnaise. Classic good times.
We polished off the cornmeal pancakes and fresh berries with ease. After breakfast Catherine surprised us with a hike. And so we made off across the green toward the bridge.
After soaking in the view, we needed a nap- or a coffee. Coffee won. We visited the revitalized Hayes Valley neighborhood's Blue Bottle Coffee outpost for a little cup of what-what.
Craving an afternoon sweet treat, Casey and I walked across the strangely utopian Patricia's Green to Miette for a macaron fix. Rose geranium, please.
Back at the homestead I mixed us pre-dinner happy hour drinks while we got ready for our dinner at Bar Tartine...
601 Murray Cir. Sausalito, CA 94965; 415.339.4750
Blue Bottle Coffee
315 Linden St. San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.252.7535
449 Octavia St. San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.626.6221
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Deciding where to dine in San Francisco stresses me out. In a city where everything is "good" sometimes finding "worthwhile" gets a little hectic.
Thank goodness for friends.
On my last trip, my lovely hosts informed me "we have reservations for brunch on Sunday at Bar Agricole." What a relief! Come Sunday we approached the closed gate, with a smattering of other trolling groups, hungry fire in their eyes. Open open open...
Beyond the gate, a spacious deck patio leads into an airy interior of high ceilings and concrete, warmed with worn wood and spectral skylight sculptures.
Denim napkins. I mean, so hip.
It was breakfast, so naturally I ordered a Scrimshaw pilsner. In a cute little glass.
Prized company. Casey and Catherine of Coffee Pencil Knife always know where to take me.
Of course Andy of the Wind Attack was along. We were skipping out on the Foodbuzz Blogger Fest's farewell brunch, and determined to trump it with the meal ahead.
We started with the buckwheat beignets with rum raisins and cream. These fluffy doughnuts melt in your mouth. Into it.
Keeping with the dessert first, the crêpe cake with persimmon was next. An impressive stack, brûléed to a satisfying crisp.
Casey was feeling Nordic, and feasted on King salmon gravlax with rye, roasted beets and horseradish. Gorgeous, and delicious.
Catherine's three scrambled eggs with leeks, rainbow chard, chives and chantrelles inspired. A scrambled egg is an art, and these fellows were golden perfection.
Neither Andy or I could resist the corned beef brisket with potato hash, a poached egg and mustard hollandaise, and were happy to not to have to share. Intensely awesome.
Oh, what's one more beer? They're tiny.
355 11th St. San Francisco, CA 94103; 415.355.9400