Simply Called..The Perfect Breakfast
I am sitting here in my pyjamas now dreaming how wonderful it would be for me to get dressed at go to Rick and Ann’s in Berkeley.
I don’t know about any of you , but I could eat breakfast for every single meal .Yes, 365 days of the year for the rest of my life. Hands down. There is nothing more comforting than sinking your teeth into anything that brings back memories of home and family.
I can remember as a child hot home made bread coming out of the oven; thick slices were immediately cut and toasted on top of the wood stove .My grandmother would then put on a layer of butter, tasting like it just was made, and then top them off with dollops of sweet homemade jam. That is the feeling I want to have when I go out to eat breakfast. I want to bite into something that makes my day look a whole lot brighter.
“Brighter” to me is not half a grapefruit and a bunch of granola in a big bowl either, no matter how good it is for me. The only time I can remember grapefruit being served was when an article came out years ago in Good Housekeeping about how it would melt off weight. My grandmother hooked on to that idea fairly quickly and ate so much grapefruit she should have lost half her body weight. But she never did.
I have favourites here in Berkeley, but have never darkened the doors of Rick & Ann’s before. I was told if I went there to expect a very long wait. A wait so long I might want to notify my next of kin. So agreeing on a “no whining “contract, we made our way to a place I had only heard tales of, but had never experienced. Of course most of you have heard of the place and probably don’t really want to hear another review of it. But this is different. I got to sit on hallowed ground.
The hallowed ground I am talking about, dear readers, is right on the front lines in front of the people that make this food so delicious. I am talking about one of two stools smack dab in front of the cooking station. Uncomfortable yes, but I was mesmerized for the next 75 minutes, and really could not feel at any point that my butt and dangling right leg were falling asleep.
In less than two minutes we both decided we would have the Yukon Gold Plate. It was a vegetarian hash with sweet and white potatoes, sweet bell peppers, corn and apples, served with two eggs and muffin, toast or scone. The smell was just oozing into my nostrils sitting barely three feet away from the main action and my hunger, as Emeril would say, went up a notch or three. I watched the cook working away on that flat top like he was a fine tuned orchestra conductor.
Huge piles of red potato home fries lined the side of the grill looking much like a picture out of a cookbook. Seeming to have seven pairs of hands he ladled out pancake after pancake filled with blueberries and a host of other delicious things.
Fresh bacon was sizzling under a huge iron weight in the middle, yet he found room for the Northeast Flannel Hash. It is deep ruby in colour, and I questioned it until I read the menu and found out it is made of beets, sweet and white potatoes and onions. I really do not have one fond memory of any beet that has crossed my path, but I was sure willing to let these beets entertain me.
I watched the sous chef make huge fresh buttermilk waffles and immediately went into gluten shock. I asked myself how someone like me, who suffers with celiac disease, could stand watching their table neighbour bite into this glory, with a side of chicken apple sausage no less.
I swear I started to shed gluten free tears until I noticed they also had orange rice flour pancakes served with blueberries on the menu. Yes, I exclaimed in my mind. I too could sink my teeth into something that thick sweet syrup was the main condiment. Oh syrup, hear me roar!
Time has passed by now and I still have not seen the Yukon Hash darken the flat top. Pleasssssssssssse, my inner child screamed. I want my food and I want it now. Considering myself kind of an adult now after 59 years, and knowing this will not work, I go back and watch the sous chef once again with great interest. I watch him make a fruit plate with the precision of a sushi chef.
While watching him cut apple slices that almost look like feathers on the plate, I see fresh blueberry scones come out from an oven in the back. I eye the fresh fruit jam on the counter in the clear glass container and envision how that would just put a capital S on the first letter of that scone. I watch another chef poach an egg so perfectly I want to document it for posterity.
All of a sudden I see the main cook start working on my Yukon hash. Oh glory be and saint’s be praised; I will be dining on it soon. I try to calm my soul watching the sous chef make what they call Erica’s French Toast. I don’t know where the famed Erica came up with the recipe, but I watch him drench the huge slices of challah bread in orange-cardamom batter. It says to allow 15 minutes for the preparation but it seems to be winning this food horse race in speed by a mile.
I see the chef flip the hash on our plates and the “egg man” slide a couple of eggs to accompany it. I scream silently with delight as the plate is put down in front of me. I dive in and put my fork down in ecstasy. Was it worth the wait? Was it worth the agony?
My answer comes in three’s.YES! YES! YES! I have never had an egg in my life that was cooked this way. If I order an egg “over hard” it’s basically break the yolk of the egg and slap “her” down on the grill. This egg was a perfect soft boiled egg in the middle. How did they do that? Is it some magician’s trick? It must be because the whole meal was completely magic.
There is breakfast and then there is BREAKFAST. This was the latter in triple capital letters. The hash was tasty and filling. The thick slice of bacon crunched as you bit down on it. There was not one thing I could complain about, and no I am not related to anyone at Rick & Ann’s.
Would I wait again until my hair turns grayer to enjoy this breakfast feast? You betcha and that is what I told one waiting complaining woman on the way out with my eyes. She looked at me and I looked at her and she knew. Yes, she knew what the wait was all about and she immediately stopped whining. Like I said before, dining at Rick & Ann’s is a whine free zone and worth every minute of the anguish.
My stomach absolutely seconded that emotion.
Rick & Ann
Bad writer..bad.. :0
For those who asked where it is..:
2922 Domingo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705-2454