Fluffy, oat-fortified pancakes to greet the day.
When I was growing up, my oldest brother and I would often wake up early on Sundays to stir up a big bowl of batter for waffles for the entire family.
Nowadays, with my husband’s predilection, it’s pancakes all the way.
Are you Team Waffle? Or Team Pancake?
It’s funny how most households seem to favor one or the other.
“Toasted Oatmeal Pancakes” might just satisfy both camps. That’s because of the toasted steel-cut oats that not only fortify the batter, but get sprinkled on as each pancake cooks, lending bits of crunch here and there like the edges of a waffle might.
The recipe is from “Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day” (Ten Speed Press, 2016) by John Currence, the James Beard Award-winning chef who owns Big Bad Breakfast in Alabama. You might also know him from his appearances on “No Reservations,” “Mind of A Chef,” and “Top Chef Masters.”
Of course in this case, the operative word “bad” really means “good.” This is breakfast done boldly, with plenty of excess. Among Currence’s “Ten Commandments of Breakfast” is “Thou shalt slather with butter,” and “Though shalt hold no meal higher than breakfast.”
Loacker’s Classic Chocolate.
It’s not often that I eat mass-produced, grocery-store cookies, preferring instead to visit an honest-go-goodness neighborhood bakery for just-baked treats. But I do make exceptions for Australian Tim Tams, and French La Mere Poulard butter cookies.
I don’t know what it is about foreign packaged cookies, but they are pretty irresistible.
Now comes Loacker wafer cookies.
First created by the Loacker family in the Italian Alps, and now manufactured in Austria, these multi-layered cookies are now more readily available in the United States. They have been made for more than 90 years, and are already sold in more than 80 countries.
It’s like two treats in one.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, TCHO, Berkeley’s bean-to-bar chocolate maker, has injected a little boozy fun and deliciousness into its artisan bars.
It has teamed with Jose Cuervo to add that renowned spirits maker’s reserve tequila, Reserva de la Familia, into TCHO’s distinctive tile chocolates.
Four-star chocolate from a four-star chef.
When Thomas Keller of the French Laundry makes a chocolate bar, you just know it’s not going to be your run-of-the-mill candy.
Not by a long-shot.
What makes this chocolate bar so different and special is that it contains extra virgin olive oil. And naturally, it’s olive oil by one of Italy’s most exclusive producers, Armando Manni. The Tuscan producer makes some of the most cherished and expensive olive oils around, beloved by illustrious chefs such as Keller and New York’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Their collaboration is K+M Extravirgin Chocolate. The premium cocoa beans are processed in a way that maintains their antioxidants that are normally destroyed in the chocolate-making process. A small amount of Manni extra-virgin olive oil is added to boost the level of antioxidants even more.
Despite wrestling with a shortage of cooks, skyrocketing rents, rising business costs, and ever increasing competition, restaurants in the Bay Area and elsewhere did themselves proud this year, turning out food that was delightful, delicious, and unforgettable.
What dishes do I still dream about long after taking the last bite?
Here are my Top 10 eats of the year, in no particular order, of which I’d gladly have seconds, even thirds, if I could.