The most important meal
My goal and dream is to one day have my very own bakery/café. While I was sitting in class last Thursday, I was thinking of names that I could call my future bakery. A name is just a name, but the right name for anything – whether it be for a person, animal, or place – is very important because it’s the first impression. A name can convey a lot to the outside world before the world gets the chance to know you.
When a restaurant is named after the owner, it can convey an air of haughtiness and the feel of vanity. I find that a restaurant whose name has no relation to the owner and/or chef, works harder to gain the respect and recognition of their patrons so that one day, the owner and/or chef is synonymous with the restaurant.
So what would I name my future business venture? Well, when I cook or bake, it is usually driven by cravings, followed by inspiration. That is what I would like my name to reflect either directly or indirectly. Also, I want a sleek and elegant, yet simple name so that no one would ever feel that he or she is too “high” or too “low” to visit and enjoy my bakery/café.
I’m not a guru or expert in marketing and advertising to figure out the right name currently. Perhaps the name will come to me spontaneously (like my cravings) or perhaps something will eventually inspire the name. This leads me to my food-related post because everything was driven by a craving.
For weeks, I had been craving breakfast food and for the last few consecutive weekends, I slowly went about satisfying this craving. Breakfast to me is an important part of my day, although it didn’t used to be. However, I’m a simple person when it comes to the first meal of the day. I like to start out my day on a healthy tone so that if (more like WHEN) I happen to make not so nutritious meal decisions throughout the day, I am satisfied that at least I started off on the right foot.
That being said, my breakfast is almost always yogurt with fresh berries (strawberries, raspberry, blueberries, and blackberries). Sometimes I will “jazz” it up with various additions such as: coconut flakes, granola, cereal, banana, kiwi, or other fruits. Or I’ll simply go with a bowl of fresh fruits. That is my usual breakfast. However, cravings of breakfast offerings that cannot and usually not made in my house had me hostage. So I relented and gave in.
What can I say about this? Carbs are good. Carbs grilled with a rich batter is very good. However, if you stuff that puppy with sweetened cream cheese and marmalade, then my friend…you have a breakfast paradise on a plate.
Did I feel guilty about eating this?………Maybe a little.
Would I go back and eat it again?………Yes.
Did I feel dirty for liking this simple, unimaginative, corporate chain offering? ………Yes, oh gawd yes.
Come on! Everyone has their secret food, guilty-conscience, pleasures. Be it Panda Express’ orange chicken, McDonald’s chicken nuggets, Pizza Hut pizzas, or Starbuck’s frappuccinos. Hate it or love it, there’s a reason why these chains do well and that’s because they have their formulas perfected to keep you coming back for more.
However, that is not to say that the small guys don’t have a chance against the “big, bad” corporations. Is it an uphill struggle? Hell yeah it is! But for those who can fight through the thick and thin and come out as a gem, the results are incomparable.
Belgian Waffle from the La Jolla Farmer’s Market
This one came at me very unexpectedly. It was my first time visiting the La Jolla Farmers’ Market and I wasn’t quite sure what they had to offer. Upon arrival, CP and I made our way around the entire market. We sampled some delicious olive oils that I would go back for. We then went by a bread vendor that had a wide variety of rustic breads, from whom I bought three little ciabatta rolls for CP and he loved them. I didn’t try it, but I trust CP’s taste for bread, so if he gives two thumbs up for these ciabattas, then we shall most definitely go back for more! However, I still needed breakfast as did CP. After looking at all the food vendors, the only one that really intrigued me was the Belgian waffle vendor.
First, I noticed that the “batter” he was using was not like your traditional American waffle batter which is usually a thick liquid. The vendor was taking balls of dough that looked like sugar dough to me and placed it into his well seasoned waffle irons. Second, the shape of the waffles was round and had incomplete edges rather than the defined edge end.
Although I’ve never been to Belgium, I’ve seen the waffle street vendors on the Travel Channel and this vendor in La Jolla was producing waffles like the ones I saw. Lastly, throughout the market, CP and I noticed how many people were speaking French as they shopped. Then at the vendor, an older lady was talking to the cook in French and he was responding in French. Sold!
We both ordered waffles, a small plain for me and a large with blueberry jam for CP. I saw others who ordered the waffle with all the fixings but once again, from what little knowledge I had of Belgian waffles I obtained from the Travel Channel, I knew that the real stuff would be sweet on its own. So I took a bet on that this was going to be the real stuff and I was right.
The waffle was freshly made so it was piping hot with a crispy outer texture and soft, almost custard-like innards. It was magnificent! It needed absolutely NOTHING because the waffle was so packed with flavor that had I gotten anything on it, it would have been too much. I tried some of CP’s waffle with jam and it confirmed my suspicion that the waffle didn’t need anything. So for anyone who wants to try this, I highly recommend that you get it plain and I mean PLAIN. That way, you can enjoy this wondrous little disc of goodness without going into a sugar coma.
Lastly, while shopping at the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market, I spotted one of my most favorite, ultimate, indulgent, and gluttonous sin sitting on two large baking sheets at a French pastry vendor booth – Almond Croissants. Rows and rows of the unsuspecting and horrifying beauties were beckoning to me, cooing me, and digging up the wonderful memories of a San Francisco bakery where I had the best breakfast item that I’ve yet to have a repeat of here in San Diego. *Sigh*
Pastries are meant to be eaten fresh out of the oven. It is the unwritten law in the world of flaky, buttery indulgences. I’m telling everyone out there, who lives within a mile of a bakery that there will never be anything like the smell and first bite into freshly baked carbs – bread, pastries, muffins, puddings, cookies, etc.
Now, you may wonder why I called the almond croissant horrifying. Well…unless you are one of the blessed people in the world who can consume any amount and any type of food without growing your own area code, the almond croissant is one of the most nutritionally bad foods. Croissants are made with tons of butter in order to obtain their beloved flaky innards, the hallmark of a good croissant. Now take that butter-filled carbohydrate, cut it in half, and slather both side with frangipane. Frangipane is basically a paste made from grounded almonds, sugar, butter, eggs, and flour.
Once the extra fatty goodness has been slathered on, put the two slices together, dip or brush simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) on the croissant and sprinkle sliced almonds on top, then finally bake until golden brown, and finish off with a dusting powder sugar.
This pastry was created originally for miners who would need the energy in order to work long hard days. Almond croissants (croissant aux amandes) runs around 600 calories with approximately 30-40 grams of fat. Even with this knowledge…I saw the almond croissant, I wanted the almond croissant, I got myself the almond croissant, and I demolished the almond croissant.
A tray of delicious Croissant aux Amandes
Unfortunately, I devoured my almond croissant from the market before it even crossed my mind that I should take at least one picture for you. (UPDATE: I went to the market today and this time, I remembered to take a picture for you!)
However, I can tell you that if you are ever at the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market, you should put aside any hesitations or reservations and dive straight in for one of those babies. Although it wasn’t as fresh as I would have liked it, it was pretty damn good. My only gripe about this almond croissant was that it was too sweet. The frangipane that was in-between could have used a cut-back in the amount of sugar. I’m not sure if the vendor made it himself or it was outsourced by some other bakery, but I would love you more if you just cut the sugar back please!
As you can tell, when I eat out for breakfast, I put all my hesitation and nutritional conscience aside and stuff them into the closet. And why should you do the same? Because not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, but in order to live up to the importance of it, one should go BIG…or go home and make yourself your own wimpy breakfast!
10788 Westview Pkwy San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 566-6667 La Jolla Farmers’ Market La Jolla Elementary School at Girard Ave and Genter Sundays, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Hillcrest Farmers’ Market DMV parking lot at 3960 Normal St and Lincoln St
Sundays, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm