Friday, January 8, 2010

Epicurean Adventures: Second Breakfast's the Charm!

Boy and I spent an absolutely fantastic New Year's Eve in Green Point, Brooklyn, bar-hopping with the same sidewalk-stumbling abandon that we were accustomed to in our beloved New Orleans, but with a bit more bite to our frosty inhalations than of the New Year's Eve past. We rang it in with great food and great friends at Teddy's, a favorite of our favorite Brooklynite power couple, with the most faboosh mac-and-cheese (with salad), clams (it was still raved about by Boy over breakfast the next morning), mussels, and beautifully spiced, tender calamari with tangy Remoulade sauce. Champagne toasts all around, wine flowed, tequila abounded, and vodka was our friend all night. So obviously, by the time the next morning arrived, we were desperate for the greasy goodness of a hearty breakfast.

We walked up the block to Enid's, a hipster/scenester-friendly restaurant regularly frequented by the residents in this residential neighborhood, for its convenience and what, my friend tells me, is a generally reliable menu. We arrived 10 minutes before its noon opening time, and went back home to try to persuade our friend, who had passed out fully clothed with his tie still in a snazzy full Windsor, to come join us, failed, and returned. After sitting down, we realized that their normal breakfast fare was replaced by a "New Year's Brunch." Initially, the options sounded pretty good. They had crabcakes and eggs for $13; sausage, biscuits, and gravy for $7 a half-order; mac and cheese with lardon and a salad for $8. The prices seemed pretty reasonable, and the soaring ceilings with kitschy decorations and a brightly lit bar made for a funky ambience. Bloody Marys and mimosas were served to the more hardcore of our team; I drank tea.

My lovely hostess ordered something that included the word chilenos and tortillas in it (nuevo huevos rancheros, or a variation thereof?) and I got the mac and cheese with lardon. It'd been a good long time since I'd had me some tasty lardon. The boys, after peering about interestedly at other people's dishes, decided to order the sausage, biscuits and gravy. Boy had lived in New Orleans long enough to realize that sausage + biscuits + gravy was a good thing, and my other friend was also a Tulane grad, thus in the know. As for Jared, well, when in Rome, eh?

The Bloody Mary was bar/laundromat/grill/lending library Igor's good, if not better, spicy and rich, and so I expected everything else to be delicious, too. Well, there's a reason that Enids is a bar by night, since even though the line had swelled to gargantuan proportions since we sat down, it was a disappointment of hipster proportions.

Boy's conversation when kind of like this:
Boy: Hm ... I think they gave me the vegetarian option. Does anyone else have any sausage, 'cause there's no sausage in mine.
All: *Shake heads.* No sausage.
Boy: Excuse me, miss? *Signals the waitress.* Umm ... I don't think there's any sausage in here ...
Waitress: Sure there is. *Grabs Boy's fork and begins to cut through the biscuit.* I'm sure it's in there. It's just cut up real small!
Boy: *Looks at her, flabbergasted. The biscuit is white as snow.*
Waitress: *Continues to stab at the biscuit determinedly.* See? It's right there! *Holds up a gravy-coated, long shape triumphantly and leaves.*
Boy: Uh ... that's a green bean, guys. *Scrapes off gravy.* Yep, definitely a string bean.

So that left several mysteries. For instance, where was the elusive sausage? Why was the gravy not even room temperature? Why were the biscuits so hard in the middle? And why, for the love of God, was there a string bean in the biscuit?!

Thinking that this breakfast was the only option and loathe to send back food, especially when hungry, Boy and Jared powered through their sad, sausage-less biscuits, but my other friend sent his back untouched. My lovely friend who'd taken us there apologetically sent her tiny appetizer sized bowl of six nacho chips and a mess of sour cream and beans (no eggs, by the way) back, too, which goes to show how unpleasant the food was, given that these two were the only ones of us that had put in serious, hard time in the restaurant industry as servers and bartenders both.

I, on the other hand, was the only one that managed to enjoy my meal. Spring greens tossed in a light house vinaigrette with little radishes (I left those on the plate) and sweetly toasted sunflower seeds were light and refreshing, and although my mac and cheese wasn't the best, it also wasn't the worst. Fatty pork does a lot to redeem food, I must say, and thick cubes of bacon are always good in my book. Unfortunately, my food was barely even warm, too, and the lardon was a bit too hard. So it was with distinct pleasure that I boxed the remainder of my meal up when my Brooklynite friend announced we were going to try this breakfast thing again.

We then walked through a lovely park and down a couple of blocks to return to the scene of the crimes of the night before, Teddy's. It was here that breakfast was done right, with a brunch menu, a breakfast menu, and a lunch menu, all with appetizing options that made it hard to move forward with our lives as we stared hard and urged a decision to jump out at us.

After much deliberation and threat of tears, the table ordered some Eggs Benedict, Crab Cakes Benedict, Huevos Ancheros (not to be confused with popular Rancheros, which I fell in love with at Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar of New Orleans), some other form of Mexican style eggs involving salsa, Canadian bacon, and other goodies, and beer for the troopers. The prices were astonishingly low, the Benedicts costing a shocking $8, and service was awesome. Our hardworking waitress was the one that served us the night before, and she treated us to a bottle of Proseco to start the new year off right. (After all, she did still owe us a round for our answering a question right on the contest last night ... even if we DID cheat ;-)

The potatoes were big chunks of red potatoes tossed with paprika, rosemary, and sauteed
onions, and filled half the plate. The eggs for the Eggs Benedict and Crab Cakes Benedict were actually poached the right way (vinegar and water), the yolks breaking in a luscious cascade over the English muffin bases. The crab cakes were made of mostly claw meat, but high quality claw meat, and had excellent flavor; the Canadian bacon was outstanding, perfectly and mildly salty, but mostly delectably sweet.

The Ancheros ended up being a fluffy unflipped scrambled egg omelet topped with black beans and salsa with a base made of a hard corn tortilla; it was almost as if it were a Mexican breakfast pizza, if such a crazy mix of cultures could be said to be. Anchero sauce topped the salsa and beans, and a healthy dollop of sour cream and some of the freshest guacamole I've ever had the pleasure to taste (not even being a huge fan of le guac) sat dividing the potatoes and the huge spread-out eggs.

And THAT was how breakfast SHOULD have started.

But on the upside, isn't it always better to start every year with a great story?

560 Manhattan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY

Teddy's Bar
96 Berry Street
Brooklyn, NY

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