You've got the flowers and the playlist, but what are you going to eat? Takeout—after months and months of cardboard boxes and foil-wrapped foods—just isn't going to cut it for a romantic weekend meal.
But we have a delicious proposal: Why not cook a special brunch at home? We asked a few local chefs behind some of the Bay Area's best loved brunches to help us with the menu.
Here you'll find recipes—heavenly scrambled eggs, sourdough waffles with a cult following, a bagel sando to drive you wild, and sweet-as-can-be carrot cake pancakes—from Foreign Cinema, Merchant Roots, Daily Driver, and Standard Fare...plus, a bloody mary recipe and tips on how to make the perfect mimosa from Mendocino's Harbor House Inn.
Ready, set, brunch—and don't forget to tag us in your pics on Instagram.
Harbor House Inn's Recipe for the Perfect Mimosa
Before you start cooking, you'll need a mimosa....
Let's all make believe that we're sipping bubbles with an ocean view at the magnificent Harbor House Inn on the Mendocino coast. The hotel/restaurant's beverage director, Marsella Charron, is here to teach us how to make the perfect mimosa.
First, ditch the cloying OJ and sweet wine and focus on quality ingredients. "Too often, people use mimosas as a vehicle to disguise a poorly made sparkling wine," Charron says. "But just like a great cocktail, ingredients are what truly make the difference."
Charon recommends choosing Cara Cara oranges, a cross between a Washington Navel orange and a Brazilian Bahia Navel orange. "They have a beautiful reddish-pink flesh and a popping sweetness to them—a perfect complement for the snappy, crispness of the Sorelle Bronca Extra-Dry Prosecco di Valdobbiaden," an organically grown, estate-bottled sparkling made primarily with prosecco grapes.
"Everything is done by hand at this small, family winery and is a far cry from the industrial, bulk styles of prosecco that are usually used."
Purchase Sorelle Bronca Extra-Dry Prosecco di Valdobbiden ($20) at K&L, klwines.com.
// Harbor House Inn is currently offering lunch and in-room dining to guests daily, as well as dinner outdoors as weather permits; 5600 CA-1 (Elk), theharborhouseinn.com.
Secret Recipe: Foreign Cinema's Heavenly Scrambled Eggs With Meyer Lemon Salsa
San Francisco brunch connoisseurs are well acquainted with Foreign Cinema's chef/co-owner Gayle Pirie's seasonal Heavenly Scramble. Citrus is in right now, so Pirie is making her eggs with a bright Meyer lemon salsa.
"Seek out Meyer lemons in season—they provide a depth of fragrance, sweetness, as well as sour, the precise reasons why we use the entire Meyer lemon for this recipe, the skin, pith, flesh," Pirie says.
Set the ambience with Roman Holiday on the TV and pretend you're brunching on the Mission's most iconic patio.
For the Meyer Lemon Salsa:
(You will have extra salsa to store and refrigerate for use on grilled steak, roast chicken, roasted vegetables or as a bright condiment for sandwiches.)
Makes 1 cup
1 small shallot, peeled, minced
1½ tablespoons of Champagne vinegar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, leaves picked, washed, dried
2 tablespoons brined capers, rinsed, chopped
1 small Meyer lemon, rinsed, patted dry
Combine shallot, vinegar, salt and let macerate for 10 minutes (to soften and lightly pickle shallots.) Chop parsley leaves to medium fine texture.
Combine with shallots, capers. Slice the Meyer lemon into thin circular disks skins, pith, and all, removing seeds, as they appear, chop lemon slices into irregular pieces, about ¼ inch thick. Add lemon to parsley mixture and stir in olive oil to create "salsa-esque" consistency. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more olive if needed to create a glossy texture. Taste for salt, and adjust if needed. Allow salsa to sit for 30 minutes.
For the scrambled eggs:
5 whole eggs, preferably pastured raised
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
4 tablespoons grated Comte cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons grated Fontina cheese (optional)
Pinch of kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3-ounce piece of Reggiano Parmesan
1 1/3 cups pure olive oil, or more if needed
In a small bowl beat the eggs with a fork with the crème fraiche, cheeses if using, and salt. Beat together until thoroughly mixed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a non-stick 9-inch Teflon or egg pan. When the butter bubbles, add the egg mixture. Gently stir with a wooden spoon folding the egg curds onto themselves in an eight formation until the eggs thicken, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, continue to cook until eggs are tender, creamy, medium rare, about 2 minutes. For firmer eggs, cook another 30 seconds, or more, depending on desired consistency.
Serve eggs immediately on warm plates and spoon lemon salsa over eggs. Use a micro plane to garnish eggs with freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan for a "shower" effect.
Secret Recipe: Merchant Roots' Carrot Cake Pancakes
(Courtesy of Merchant Roots)
Merchant Roots' chef Ryan Shelton has quite the brilliant imagination, but he's also a technique-driven fine dining chef. This means he has an incredible gift for turning low-key comfort foods into innovative, tasting menu–worthy fare. For 7x7, Shelton mingled two of our favorite cakes, carrot cake and pancakes, for a decadent brunch dish with a trio of optional toppings.
For the pancakes:
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup molasses sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup shredded raw carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup milk (approx)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix together all the dry ingredients except the baking soda. Separately, mix all the wet ingredients except the milk. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until smooth. Allow the mixture to rest in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, mix in the baking soda and just enough milk to create a pourable batter.
Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Keeping pan oiled or buttered lightly, pour quarter-cup scoops of batter into the pan. Cook until browned and cooked through, flipping once.
For the ricotta and cream cheese stuffing:
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, juiced
Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spread the mixture one to two inches thick in a small casserole dish, then cover with foil. Set the casserole in a larger casserole or baking pan and add one-half to one inch of hot water to the larger baking pan. Bake at 350F until just set in the center, about 30 minutes. Chill completely, or overnight before serving.
For the carrot butter:
4 ounces salted butter
1/3 cup boiled carrot (until the texture is very soft)
Blend carrot in food processor, add butter, and blend until smooth.
For the apple maple butterscotch:
1 cup good quality maple syrup
1 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons butter
Lemon juice, as needed
Combine the maple syrup and apple juice in a small saucepan and reduce over medium heat until halved (about one cup should remain). Separately, brown the butter over medium heat. Combine butter and syrup; add a dash of lemon juice for a light tang.
Serve two pancakes with two small scoops of cream cheese stuffing and one dollop of carrot butter; drizzle with apple maple butterscotch and garnish with raw baby carrot curls.
Secret Recipe: Standard Fare's Sourdough Waffles
No one would blame you for adding an egg and some bacon to Standard Fare's sourdough waffles. (Courtesy of Standard Fare)
At Berkeley's beloved daytime eatery, Standard Fare, diners plan their weekends around the Saturday-only sourdough waffles, which chef/owner Kelsie Kerr tops with seasonal bounty.
"Crisp, light, and slightly sour, they are a perfect complement to maple syrup," Kerr says. "The batter is made the night before and left on the countertop to rise. In the morning, all that is needed is to heat your waffle iron, whisk in a couple of eggs, and you are ready to go. During the late fall and winter, we serve them with an apple compote seasoned with brown butter and myrtle—sweet and savory. These waffles owe a generous hat tip to the late Marion Cunningham."
Look for myrtle, an herb with a distinct bay flavor, from Star Route Farms at local farmer's markets.
Serves 4 to 6
For the waffles:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
3 ½ grams dry active yeast
2 ½ cups milk
9 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sourdough starter
Prepare the batter with all ingredients except eggs the night before. Leave out overnight and whisk in eggs in the morning.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, and sugar). Pour all of the milk in at once and whisk lightly. Add butter, whisk. Last, add the starter and whisk together. Cover with a clean towel and let rest overnight on the countertop.
Whisk in the eggs in the morning. Add milk to thin as necessary. The texture should be that of heavy cream. Heat a waffle iron and bake waffles according to directions.
For the compote (makes 1 ½ cups):
1 pound apples, (about 3 medium), Braeburn, Sierra Beauty, or Pink Lady are good choices
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon myrtle, (chopped finely)
2 teaspoons water
Salt, to taste (a pinch will be plenty)
Peel, core, and cut the apples into a ½ inch dice. Toss with sugar and lemon juice. Set aside. Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot. Keep cooking until the milk solids turn golden brown. As soon as they are brown, turn off heat and, if using, add the myrtle. Be aware, the butter will bubble up. Next, stir in the apples and the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are cooked through. Finish with the salt. Some of the apples will breakdown and some will keep their shape creating a delicious, chunky texture.
Serve with warm apple compote, butter, maple syrup and, if desired, a fried egg and bacon. Any excess waffle batter may be stored in the refrigerator for a few days; extra waffles can also be stored in the freezer and later popped in the toaster for a quick morning breakfast.
// Standard Fare is currently open for outdoor dining and takeout; 2701 Eighth St #118 (Berkeley), standardfareberkeley.com
Secret Recipe: Daily Driver's Grilled Cheese Bagel Sandwich
Got some day-old bagels laying around? Make grilled cheese. Chef Martin Siggins of Dogpatch's Daily Driver shares his recipe. Just be sure to slice off the top and bottom of the bagel so it grills evenly.
Bagel of choice (preferably one to two days old)
1 square Tomales Farmstead Teleeka Cheese, cut into 8 equal slices
8 slices cooked bacon
4 tbsp. cultured Daily Driver butter
Preheat oven to 400F. Heat a large oven-proof skillet on medium heat.
Thinly slice off the top and bottom of the bagel then split down the middle. On each outer side of the cut bagel, spread softened butter and and brown lightly in skillet. Top each half with two slices of bacon and two slices Teleeka cheese and place skillet in oven for 5-6 minutes (until cheese is melted fully). Remove from oven and place bagel halves onto cutting board to rest.
While grilled cheese is resting, add 1 tbsp butter to a small nonstick frying pan. Cook your egg to your preference. Once the egg is fried, slide onto bagel half and top with the other bagel half to break the yolk.
// Daily Driver is currently open for takeout and delivery; 2535 Third St. (Dogpatch) and 1 Ferry Building, stall 21 (Embarcadero), dailydriver.com
Secret Recipe: Foreign Cinema's Persian Bloody Mary
Sumac packs the punch in Foreign Cinema's signature bloody mary. (Courtesy of Foreign Cinema)
"Sumac, a botanical spice grown in sub tropic climates, is common to Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian cooking, and finds its way into our cooking for its citrus tang and gorgeous rosy purple hue," say Foreign Cinema chef Gayle Pirie. "For our popular Persian Bloody Mary, sumac is mixed with kosher salt for the glass rims to temper the saline crunch with exalted pungent pop. Prepare the base mix ahead and add the vodka when ready to serve to ensure more time with friends."
10 cups tomato juice
¾ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon kosher salt
16 ounces vodka
Ice cubes, for serving
8 lime wedges, for garnish
In a pitcher, stir together the tomato, lime, and lemon juices with the vinegar, curry powder, turmeric, sea salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to a day ahead.
For the salt rim, stir together the sumac and kosher salt in a shallow plate or saucer.
To serve, stir the vodka into the juice mixture until evenly mixed. Moisten the rims of 8-ounce tall glasses by running a clean, damp cloth around the rims, then dip the rims into the sumac-salt mixture. Fill the glasses with ice cubes. Pour the vodka mixture into the glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge. Drop a small pile of the pickles into the glasses, if using, and serve.