Monday, June 3, 2013

The Wild Love Affair That Spanned Two Coasts

Sometimes you fall in love with someone so passionately that nothing can stop you. It doesn't matter if your friends disapprove. It doesn't matter that you live over one thousand miles apart, and it doesn't matter that you can only fulfill your passion at random hotels and restaurants. But sometimes that's how it is, and even though Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite breakfast items ever, I only ever eat them when I am at a hotel or restaurant. The synchronicity involved in making my own Eggs Benedict is beyond me. It's beyond a lot of restaurants, too. The first time I had them I absolutely adored them, but thinking back my love was tempered by the fact that the English muffins were as difficult to cut through as trying to slice sourdough with a dull knife. Impossible. It's like falling in love with someone who has an addiction to Thursday night karaoke. You still love them, but you'd really rather they pick up a new hobby that didn't force you to spend your Thursday evenings listening to bad renditions of Madonna's greatest hits.

The second time I had them they were worse than the first. But I was haunted by the thought of what could have been. Obsessed with an ideal, I went home to try and make them myself. Making them at home is a fairly simple task if you have English muffins and an egg poacher handy. If not, then you're in for the culinary adventure of a lifetime as you try to poach eggs in a pot of water, toast English muffins, whip up a hollandaise sauce, and cook the ham. I am convinved that this is requires a generous amount of witchcraft as you trust that the recipe book is right and that the eggs which are currently floating about your pot of hot water like wispy Miss Havishams will eventually turn into those heavenly beings which are put on your plate at the restaurant. Again, practice makes perfect. The finished product was almost everything I had ever dreamt of with a wee bit too much vinegar. But not easy enough to convince me that I should ever try the harrowing process again.

After that experience, I carried on a love affair with Eggs Benedict that spanned the country. I ordered them every time they were listed on a menu. I had a licentious encounter with them in San Francisco. I ate them in bed in Chicago. I had a rapturous reunion with them in New York City. I even had a crazy version which involved salt air foam at a forward thinking restaurant in DC. Sometimes they were great, sometimes not so great, but you win some and lose some, and besides, variety keeps things exciting. And then fate stepped into my life one morning at a little French cafe and changed my life forever.

Eggs Benedict is amazing in its own right. The version I had with salt air foam will always hold a special spot in my heart. But Eggs Benedict with salmon is a completely different kettle of fish, and so they are called Eggs Hemingway, Eggs Royale, or Eggs Atlantic. Eggs Hemingway is the exotic cousin who suddenly descends into your life and brings with her new music, new fashion, and all that jazz. Eggs Hemingway is worthy of epic poetry written by none other than Homer. And Eggs Hemingway became my new obsession. No longer do I play the fields. I am forever faithful to this particular rendition, and refuse to try it at any other restaurant. It's like the champagne of the breakfast world, and I think is best enjoyed with as many mimosas as you can drink and still be able to walk out of the restaurant on your own two feet. After all, it is named after Ernest Hemingway, and besides, brunch is an experience, and should be splurged on accordingly. So this week, google brunch, salmon, benedict, and "bottomless mimosas", and then try it this Saturday. I promise you, you won't regret it, and it may even start your own obsession.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Beautifully, evocatively written, as always. I am so hungry, yet it's midnight here.