2.08.2009

"French Toast Sundays" Explained:


It always causes me to smile when people scan through our menu and upon not discovering their favorite breakfast carb look at me with pleading eyes and ask, "You guys don't do pancakes or French Toast or anything do you?" Or when people burst through the Cafe's door and grab the menu and before reading it and ask, "Do you have the French Toast today?"

This is when I get to say my line, the same line I say every time: "We do a seasonal French Toast special every Sunday." Emphasis on e-v-e-r-y. And I mean it. Every single Sunday for the last year the Cafe has had a French Toast Special. As though the consistency of this event isn't enough, the response I often get when I say my line is a pouty look, as though I've stolen their favorite candy bar right from their hands.

Evan's Buttermilk Pancakes
with brandy maple syrup

So how can I best explain this? The kitchen of our cafe was originally set up as the kitchen to a coffeeshop. Let's keep in mind that the Cafe's capacity is 15 seats. Despite several different arrangements and rearrangements this simple fact remains: the Little Red Bike kitchen is a coffeeshop kitchen, originally and albeit best set up for bagels and pastry rewarming. The very fact that we do produce and expedite as much food as we do is nothing short of a miracle. It took quite some time for us to figure out a menu that would work for our neighborhood, the city's and fire marshal's regulations, and lastly and most importantly for the best utilization and layout of our kitchen space.

Whenever someone informs me they just don't do eggs for breakfast, especially fried egg sandwiches and that they would really prefer a more "traditional breakfast", or when someone begs us to add fries to the menu because they would be a perfect match for our tuna melt, I try my best to quell their complaints. Trust me, I get it. I love fries and blueberry pancakes just as much as the anyone. But it's not that simple. It never is and frankly there is just no way we could pull it off; whether because it's completely illegal given the status of our hood, or the kitchen is just not set up for it.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
with caramelized bananas

Allow me to explain better. Every Sunday when we do our French Toast and on the occasional rare Saturday when we do a pancake special, my mom is responsible for setting up a special station on the counter near the prep sink just for the electric griddle. During the week this counter houses our milkshake mixer and our soup kettles and the griddle is up on the shelf, away from any vacant counter space (which actually doesn't exist in our kitchen.) Every Sunday we clear the counter, with the exception of the milkshake mixer and she sets up shop, placing a cutting board over the prep sink just to have space to slice the challah. The execution of French Toast is a space killer and logistical nightmare, especially when someone orders a milkshake on a Sunday and we are forced to bump elbows, hips, and at times egos when we're fighting for our rightful position. But we make it work. We always do.

Chocolate-Orange French Toast
with Nutella, orange marmalade butter, and Dominica Noir dark chocolate shavings

So the quickest and easiest way I can answer the question is yes, we do have pancakes and French Toast... but only on the weekends, when there is a strong enough demand, when we have enough people working and enough space to pull it off. I can promise you this: our specials will never be boring and waiting a week in between them is worth your while. Look at it this way, almost every place that does French Toast or pancakes rarely changes their formula. Oftentimes I find the selections and options in the carb department to be very "same-same." My menu-reading self is rarely inspired. That is just one reason why I like to take a week in-between our French Toast specials to give them and you the thought and attention you deserve. During that time my brain is spinning and swimming in thought-process, trying to think of the next best possible way that I can wow your taste buds. I shutter at the thought of anyone blindly eating our French Toast special and thinking to themselves, "ehh, tastes just like Denny's..." I never want you to eat our offering and think you've eaten basically the exact same thing someplace else. Even if I haven't altered the batter, I always try to infuse a syrup or whip up a special butter. In short, I want you to know that we don't just throw around that word "Special." I firmly believe that there is something special about our French Toast and our pancakes. To hell with "same-same."

As for today's French Toast special, I got a little help from Evan who had a hankering for sausage. Without further ado, we proudly present:

Log Cabin French Toast
challah French toast with your choice of pork or veggie sausage links, served with whipped maple butter and fried sage leaves

4 comments:

kati said...

i am begging you to please never get enough counter space to make french toast all week. i will weigh FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS!

you are breakfast carb geniuses!

About this Tim Roth guy... said...

Boy, does Evan ever have a hankering for sausage...errr...me too. That was a damn good French toast special you served up today. It made me smile to see that people are still clamoring to get a bite of what you serve on the weekends!

todd said...

Love you guys. Remeber, you can never use enough blueberries. And you guys saw a Quetzal...awesome! Old man mauritz has gone in search of this ellusive gem of the tropical forest many a time but to no avail. And 30 secs in the birding world is like, well analogies never were my fortay, but a really long time! Congrads. I wait for you guys in Chile. Besos, abrazos, y cariƱos de Chile. Cuidate mucho, LRB2C I await thee.

Kendal said...

Thank you for french toast sundays. Sunday soon, we shall meet again. Challah!