Yorkshire Pudding from Buttermilk Channel (Brooklyn, NYC)

Yorkshire Pudding from Buttermilk Channel

I have a love/hate relationship with complimentary restaurant bread.  Don’t get me wrong. I love me some free bread, especially when I’m about to pass out from starving myself all day in anticipation for a hearty dinner. I get so giddy when I hear the server approaching my table, bread basket in one hand, butter (or olive oil) in the other. Usually, I’m the first one to lean across the table to swipe the best looking of the bunch; or, if it’s a grab bag of breads, I go for the one studded with garlic, olives, bacon, rosemary, etc. But, I hate how much of it I can eat and how little else I can fit in my belly after.

In  Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain writes, “Just as you suspected, the bread in that charming straw basket has probably been recycled from another table. ”  Of course, this is a possibility–this unsavory act of wasting not. But if you’re a true free-bread-connoisseur, you’d figure out right away that that slice of sourdough in front of you, is truly a “sour dough.”

Recently though, I had a pretty awesome complimentary bread experience in the form of Yorkshire pudding, a British-born “bread” of pancake variety that’s traditionally made with roast meat drippings. It’s baked in a special tin that allows it to take the shape of a puffy chef’s hat. Said bread was served to me at Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn, a small dining establishment that specializes in down-home comfort cooking. I was there to experience the pecan pie sundae, so the pieces of buttery Yorkshire pudding (with honey drizzled on top) caught me by surprised. A slight crunch and char on the outside, airy on the inside. A dream.

MUY DELICIOSO! And not because it was free. Well, sorta.

Buttermilk Channel; 524 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY; 718-852-8490


Wear Your Favorite Carb Around Your Neck

Just when I thought that I was a bread fanatic, I stumble upon Etsy seller Pumpkinpye517’s store. This Etsy artisan makes bread-and baguette-themed necklaces with iconic–fine, stereotypical–Frenchman mustaches and berets. If I had a say in the design, I would have had my baguette pendant don a soul patch.

Don’t Sleep On Danish Bread and Butter

complimentary bread at Fiskebaren (Copenhagen)

Prior to visiting Copenhagen, I was a French bread and butter enthusiast. It was the baguette or the boule with whatever French import I could get my hands on, like Buerre d’Isigny for example.  Of course, my allegiance to French bread and butter was due in part to flavor preference and the French bread and butter mystique. The French have undoubtedly perfected their carbohydrates and dairy products. Go onto the Chowhoud boards and Poilane purportedly makes the best bread in the world. The finest restaurants in the city import their butter from France.

So when I was in Copenhagen, I never expected to fall in love with Danish bread and Danish butter (and Danish bacon—but that’s a whole other blog). Fiskebaren in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking district served delicate earthy sourdough rye breads, a crusty boule in form but with Nordic characteristics. And the butter that came alongside: Creamy with perfect salt content and boasted a vibrant yellow hue. I was mostly impressed with the creaminess. Ok, it also came shaped like a teardrop and that was pretty dope too. Read more after the jump. Continue reading

Recipes: Jim Lahey’s “No Knead” Stecca

Prior to discovering Jim Lahey, my journey through the somewhat complex world of bread-baking was missing guidance from a flour-dusted Captain Kirk. I had attempted to make challah bread in my boiling hot Lower East Side tuna can last winter, but ended up with a  knobbly, doughy log. It was missing a “real” crust–which is as essential to bread as iron gated windows are essential to houses in South Los Angeles. (Sorry, just keeping it real here.) I was pretty bummed, naturally. Months later, I happened upon beautiful stecca loaves resting on wooden cutting boards at my friend Kristy’s apartment. I sampled, and loved, and sampled and loved some more. Then she revealed her secret. “I used Jim Lahey’s ‘no knead’ stecca recipe,” she told me, after I indulged her with hyperbolic comparisons to a master French baker. What does “no knead” mean exactly? “I barely had to do anything. I just mixed the dough, let it rise, roll it out into four loaves, and baked them.”  More after the jump.

Continue reading

Oven Fresh: Bayou Bakery

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery is opening November 1st in Arlington, Virginia. Louisiana native David Guss is bring some deep Southern flavor to the not-so-deep South. The cafe will be serving hip cups of Counter Culture coffee alongside an extensive menu of heavenly baked things: muffalettas, beignets, cakes, pies, and more.

Bayou Bakery
1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington, Virginia; 703-243-2410

loafing around the web

photo of the day

Thanks Miller. Good looking out. Now if only I can find that picture of a van filled with Bordier butter from Brittany! My newest obsession. Saveur executive food editor Todd Coleman tells me that the butter (which he was lucky enough to sample in France), does not exist here in the United States. And that the “seaweed one is sublime”. By the way peeps, he NEVER uses the word sublime. Must be pretty delicious.

Which leads me to beg the question: Is it the bread or the butter? Could butter so outrageously tasty mask the flat flavor and texture of a subpar bread? And vice versa? I need answers people. Answers.


This is what I hate. I hate visiting a favorite local bakery, panaderia, or boulangerie and then letting the scent of delicious fresh-baked breads overwhelm my sensibilities. I end up buying way too much, and having to carry way too much back home. It’s a juggling act that occasionally ends with a ficelle or two eating pavement. Heartbreak!

THIS IS WHAT I LOVE. I love cool market bags that make my bread-buying painless. I found this adorable baguette-print tote that seems almost too appropriate for what it’ll be used for, which is carrying lots and lots and lots of baguettes and other doughy things.