vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

Posts tagged brunch

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Anthony Bourdain did Reddit “Ask Me Anything”…

lizlemon:

On loving southern food and loathing Paula Deen: ”The South is where the greatest American traditional food comes from. It’s the cradle of American gastronomy. I reject the notion that what Paula was selling is traditional Southern food. Cheeseburger on a Krispie Kreme bun? Nobody’s Grandma I ever heard of EVER made that shit.”

To yet another question asking him, “The Taste? Seriously? Ten years ago you would have been mocking the crap out of yourself”:“This bus makes many stops. I have no expectation that you will like all of them.”

Does he feel like a sell-out for doing The Taste?: “‘Sell out’? Like Scripps (Food Net owners and owners of Travel) are some kind of an indie label? I sold out the first time I ever agreed to work a brunch shift. The question for me is always — was it fun? Answer. Yes.”

Relevant quote: “I sold out the first time I ever agreed to work a brunch shift.”

I stand by my earlier position on brunch.

(Except that I love getting breakfast at Schulte and Herr and I will forever and ever and if someone wants to call it “brunch,” well, fine.)

Filed under brunch

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French Toast is the Best

Why don’t I make french toast all the time? It’s faster than oatmeal and easier than pancakes. It involves both eggs and bread, but is more delicious than a fried egg with toast.

And it uses up stale bread brilliantly.

And it’s cheap.

French toast is the thing that makes me feel like going out to brunch is a generally a waste (except that I love the brunch at Shulte & Herr, who never fuck up tea, and whose brunch falls under the wee pancakes, sour cream, and smoked fishes exception). We should all be making french toast more.

I have to admit that my recipe is not so much a recipe as a rough guideline, but that’s okay, because french toast is hard to fuck up.

French Toast

I use a sourdough bread that’s pretty chewy even when fresh (Standard Baking Co.’s boule), and I make french toast mostly when it’s gotten quite stale and is sort of inedible. I have made great french toast with bread that seems like it would cause physical damage to your mouth if you tried to eat it plain. I don’t make french toast with the basic supermarket sandwich bread, and I’m not sure how it would turn out, because that kind of bread is so much softer and doesn’t have much of a crust and I like french toast with a little bit of integrity. But that’s just me. To each her own.

I figure a little less than an egg per slice of bread, depending on the size of the bread. Break your eggs into a shallow dish and add about an equal amount of milk, a bit of vanilla extract, and a spoonful or so of sugar. Whisk.

Take a slice of bread and soak it in the egg mixture. If it’s really stale, you’ll need to let it sit in the mixture for a bit. Flip the bread over and let it soak a little longer.

Melt some butter in a skillet. Wait until the foaming subsides and then add the toast and cook until the bottom is browned. Flip and cook, again, until both sides are browned. Rinse and repeat.

I believe french toast is something that should be eaten as it’s ready, rather than making a big batch and keeping it warm in the oven. I top it with maple syrup and sliced fruit or berries.

Filed under brunch

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Appetite Portland's Shulte & Herr Review

I am eternally grateful to Dawn for telling me to go to Schulte & Herr, the new German restaurant on Cumberland Ave. The house-cured lox is magical, as is the homemade pear and plum jam. The decor is unassuming, but it is one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in Portland, and very reasonably priced.

They’re now open for brunch on Sundays, just so you know.

Filed under brunch Portland Maine

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6 Reasons That Brunch Sucks

I understand that this is an unpopular opinion, but sometimes it’s important to express unpopular opinions.  I dislike going out to brunch.

There are some exceptions, obviously.  If brunch involves raw oysters; caviar, wee pancakes, and sour cream; smoked fishes; a variety of soft cheeses; chocolate souffles; and cocktails, I can muddle through.

Otherwise, I have the following issues with going out to brunch:

1. I get irritable if when I’m hungry.  I don’t want to wait until noon to eat breakfast if I wake up at 9 am. Certainly, I could have breakfast at 9 am and then brunch at noon, but at that point, I’d rather just get lunch.

2.  I can be wearing pajamas if I eat breakfast at home.  If I go out to brunch, I need to a. put on pants, b. wash my face, c. brush my hair, d. brush my teeth, e. make sure I have my wallet. 

3.  Brunch foods are crazy easy to make.  You can be half asleep and still make good pancakes.  Or eggs.  Making good eggs is not hard.  You could be basically brain dead and still make bacon.  French toast?  Really fucking easy.  And not only really fucking easy, usually takes about ten minutes.  At the very most.  Even things like biscuits, or home fries, or omelets are slightly harder, but not rocket science.  You can make pancakes with sautéed apples and sour cream and a slice of bacon on the side all in a single skillet (not all at the same time). 

4.  Despite the easiness, brunch restaurants often mess up the basic stuff.  Oatmeal at restaurants is generally shitty.  Rarely do they serve steel cut oats, and generally the oats they do serve are gelatinous, or too runny.  Things that are sweet are often too sweet, things that aren’t sweet are often really heavy.  Sometimes I just want some fruit, but the fruit salad is, again, usually shitty.  I don’t want a heap of cut-up pieces of hard honeydew melon, questionably-ripe pineapple, grapes, and apple slices.  Especially if I’ve got a mango waiting for me at home.

5.  Restaurants often fuck up tea.  I don’t really drink coffee.  I drink tea.  I don’t think this should be a big deal, you know?  It’s not like I’m too good to drink regular tea and need to have fancy whole-leaf teas.  My standards aren’t super high.  And this is what serving decent tea requires: some halfway decent tea on hand (and honestly, anything beyond tetley will work for me), boiling water, a means to get the tea and the water to the table in a timely fashion.  Unless a restaurant is exclusively serving lunch, a meal at which people don’t often drink tea, it should be able to figure this out.  This is the worst: waiters that bring a cup of moderately hot water, then check on other tables, see what’s what, then disappear for ten minutes, then come back with the selection of teas for you to choose from.  Or, a variation, waiters that arrive with the mug of water, and then ask you what kind of tea you want, and then disappear for ten minutes before reappearing with the tea.  This is the second worst: the waiter shows up with a small carafe of warm water and a selection of teas.  In both cases the water is no longer hot enough to make tea.  HOW DO YOU FUCK THIS UP?  And honestly, the period of the day between getting out of bed and having a cup of tea is not an awesome time for me patience-wise. 

6.  At $3.50 a carton (what I paid at the local farmer’s market this weekend), one egg costs 29 cents.  A moderately fancy tea might cost $8.99 a box for 15 teabags, which works out to 60 cents for a cup of tea.  Omelets, french toast, frittatas, muffins, soufflés, oatmeal, all this stuff is really, really cheap to make at home.  And you can make it well. 

In other words, I don’t want to haul myself out of bed, put on real pants, leave the house, get myself to a restaurant, to pay to eat relatively unexciting food that I could make myself, easily, at home. 

Filed under breakfast tea brunch things that are not awesome