Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eggs Benedictine- a Matter of Worship

It is a fact.   On vacations, we overeat and eat things we typically do not eat.  As I try to segue into a fully vegan diet, I am constantly tempted, particularly on vacation by delicious egg dishes.  My favorite, of course, is eggs benedict, which I now eat without the meat (ham, bacon etc).  It is chockfull of buttery and eggy goodness from the poached eggs to the lovely hollandaise sauce.  Three times on this trip I have resisted the siren call of the eggs benedict.  First, at Red Rock Cafe where I vaguely remember thinking the sauce was not worth it, I decided against the lovely dish.  Second, I passed at Josephine's in Flagstaff, much to my regret as my husband let me taste his.  The sauce at Josephine's is superb with just the right amount of lemon for my palate.  Third, this morning I skipped them at Yavapai at Enchantment resort and after tasting the sauce remembered why.  It is a bit spicy for my taste although the husband loved it!

It is hard to find acceptable eggs benedict these days, which is probably good for me if I am in fact giving it up. In Los Angeles, there were a few places that made eggs benedict just right but I am afraid those places do not exist in the incarnation when the eggs benedict were king.  We used to go to the Sandcastle in Malibu/Paradise Cove for Sunday brunch and get an excellent eggs benedict.  Now the place is the Beach Cafe and somehow neither the eggs benedict or the atmosphere are the same.  Another place I loved for the dish was Cafe Rodeo in Beverly Hills during the late 80s and early 90s.  I think the restaurant is still there but did not even see regular eggs benedict on the menu.  Recently I tried the Farm in Beverly Hills for eggs benedict.  They put it on a biscuit unless you ask for an english muffin.  Again, not as good as the best I remember.

About eight years ago, my husband, daughter and I took a trip up the California coast.  We started at the Sandcastle and decided, as only our family would, that we would go on an eggs benedict tour up the coast. I do not think we stopped at the Biltmore in Santa Barbara (now the Four Seasons) which also had decent eggs benedict but continued north to Cambria. There unfortunately we could not find the dish but instead found wonderful croissants in a French patisserie.  Next we moved on to Monterey where we found excellent eggs benedict  in an unassuming restaurant on one of the main streets.  In San Francisco, we ventured over the Golden Gate Bridge to a hotel sitting on top of the hill in Sausalito overlooking the bay.  Hands down, that place had the best eggs benedict we ever ate.  Unfortunately, the hotel is long gone, now replaced by a luxury drug rehabilation residential facility, where I suspect they do not serve eggs benedict (although you never know).

The only place where I have been recently that served exquisite eggs benedict was Dean Street Townhouse in London.  The egg was farm fresh with a bright reddish orange yolk, almost unobtainable here in the states unless you keep your own chickens.  And the hollandaise sauce was divine.  Even the english muffin was cooked appropriately--crispy and not soggy or chewy.  Ah, the memories.  Luckily I do not go to London very often.

So if I keep my promise to myself to eliminate dairy and eggs after this course of chemo treatment ends, eggs benedict will be a thing of the past for me.  I will remember my days of worshipping the dish fondly as I move onto other foods that reportedly will keep me healthy.  Salut my old friend.  Maybe I will eat you once again.

ADDENDUM: I tried a taste of eggs Benedict at ABC Bakery this morning in Napa. Pretty good sauce (with a little kick so not for purists) and delicious homemade English muffins.

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