Anybody who knows me well - or follows my Twitter - knows I have a very intense relationship with food. I cherish it passionately, and, in a random act of kindness, it keeps me alive. Occasionally makes me smile like there's Cheshire in my blood.
Last Saturday (9/18/2010), it was especially gratifying... Like, new level of awesome. they totally deserve every award and rave review they've ever received!
Tazz Daddy, who I have known for many years, always seems to owe me a "date" of some sort (brunch, drinks, cheesesteaks, etc), so, at a friend's suggestion, he and I headed off to Cafe Estelle for breakfast at 2pm.
Estelle is hidden on the ground floor of the lofts at 444 N. 4th Street (4th & Spring Garden), and is a very cool little space. Like, I'm sure I could host a really nice party in that joint. Sunny, non-pretentious, and welcoming with nice bathrooms (we all know how I feel about bad bathrooms). I sat facing the counter and kitchen area and was fascinated with it all, as Tazz remarked more than once.
From what I understand, the menu is constantly, slightly changing, so I won't go into details of what was on the list. I will stick to my impression of what I personally tasted.
This could take a while cuz we brunch hard.
First things first, I had a black cherry Italian soda, and Tazz ordered a glass of OJ. The soda was good, although a tad sweet for my tastes, but, please keep in mind, we're talking about someone (me) who rarely drinks anything (non-alcoholic) besides water, and doesn't put sugar in her daily tea. Ever. Our awesome waitress adjusted the sweetness for me when she made my refill, though, and it was great. The OJ was freshly squeezed, opaque as ever, and judging from Tazz's reaction, it was made directly from sunshine.
It took both of us FOREVER to decide what to eat. All I knew walking in, was "there will be bacon," and seeing that they cured and smoked their own bacon, there was absolutely no question about it.
Tazz and I were both eyeballing the apple cinnamon cream cheese stuffed french toast, and when the waitress said we could try a piece, we decided to split it.
Side note - They also had french toast with homemade vanilla ice cream on the menu, but were, alas, out of ice cream when we got there.
Of importance is the fact that throughout this entire ordeal, our waitress was spectacular. She was kind and patient, and totally sated my childlike, over-excited curiosity. In retrospect, I may have accidentally severely under-tipped her. I will rectify this soon.
You don't even understand the feeling of lust that sweeps over me when I think that phrase. The slices were HUGE, like, Texas-Toast-who? huge. It came with the cutest pitcher of syrup. Not that caramel tinted liquefied sugar you buy in the supermarket, either. Real maple syrup. Not that I needed any. There was also a small fruit salad on the plate. Even THAT was above average. Like it was grown in Gaia's garden or something. This french toast... Y'all may know, I have raved about the room service french toast at Caesars in Atlantic City for years, but after tasting this .. luxury, I can't even remember what made Caesars' so special. The filling was light and fluffy and sweet and apply-cinnamony-DELICIOUS! At Tazz's insistence, I did try the syrup, and it was divine, but I so didn't need it. My one slice was enough to satisfy my hunger, but it was just the appetizer.
I burned off most of those calories doing the happy dance through every bite, anyway.
For my entree, I chose the standard bacon and eggs, and Tazz chose the classic steak and eggs. There is nothing standard about any of it. Both meals came as full plates with hash browns, toast, butter, and in my case, fruit salad.
Truth be told, I like the idea of bacon and eggs, but I'm not much of an egg person, really. I usually get disgusted by them after the 4th bite or so. Cold and bland and blah. Well, not this time... My scrambled eggs with cheese were so much more than just plain cooked eggs with a slice of cheese sitting on top. The white cheddar cheese was mixed into the well-seasoned eggs, and every bite was savory and awesome.
The hash browns were amazing, and just the right amount of crispy. They also had onions! I love this place. I had a moment of panic after I placed my order because I forgot to ask for onions in my hash browns, but they were already there! And they weren't the typical unseasoned potatoes cooked til they're dry as a stack of paper napkins, either.
Then, the bacon. You already know I will order a side of bacon with just about anything... Ask the people at Little Pete's. At 4:00 am, our routine is always the same. My brother orders an Italian Hoagie with a side of bacon. I order my special omelet (which already has meat in it) with a side of bacon. *shrug* It's genetic. My momma loves bacon, too. And, seeing as how I didn't touch the stuff for 14 and a half years, my cholesterol levels can handle it, and I have lost time to make up. So, in addition to our meals, Tazz and I each ordered a side of bacon.
Yeah, I know. That's just fat. We laughed a whole freaking lot at how fat we were being throughout the entire meal. That's where the "we brunch hard" thing came from, but you know this already if you saw our tweets. Oh well.
Eventually I noticed the toast. Now I'm nobody's expert or chef or critic, so forgive me if I'm wrong about this description, but I believe it was a sliced baguette toasted on the panini grill. I put a touch of butter on it expecting nothing special, but, I think Jesus made that loaf himself. Seriously. I just sat there thinking, how is EVERYTHING on my plate so thoroughly tasty?
Oh, the kicker for me.. Tazz wanted steak sauce. I am something of a purist and don't believe a well-prepared steak (and I did taste it, and it was well-prepared) should need any condiment, but, to each his own. Cafe Estelle, however, does not have A-1. So, the chef went in the back and MADE steak sauce.
Tazz and I decided we had to speak with the chef. I wanted to shake his hand. Enter Owner/Head Chef Marshall Green (Fork, Django, Ansill, Meritage). Who knew he'd be a cutie. The beard is much shorter now, which of course, I prefer, and I could be biased because he gave me a foodgasm, but, whatever. I like him! And he's young, too. Younger than I am, even. He's also very kind and well-spoken. I would totally be his friend in real life. He entertained our questions, our ideas, everything.
It was worth every button-stretching bite. Chef does all his own preparation of the meat - we forgot to take a look at the smokers out back - and uses his father's BBQ sauce.
As I tweeted that day, and told him myself, Marshall Green is my new boo.
Cafe Estelle totally trumps my favorite breakfast anything. Well, except for my special onion, peppers, turkey sausage and cheese omelet at Little Pete's, but that's only because I didn't have anything similar that day. I'm seriously thinking that if I asked Chef Marshall to make me an omelet, it might change my religion.
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- Good girl intentions... Bad girl DNA.Cartman voice* I do what I want.I love food, I love laughing and -- though some might call it a character flaw -- I love ridiculing the ridiculous.I have no sponsors so I have no rules, and I have no motive, so I have no censor. I write about whatever interests me if the spirit so moves me. Annnd, despite the name, I'm more into the facts than the rumors. *kanyeshrug*I can honestly say I love everybody, but there's a special place in my heart for Charlamagne, Shawn Andrews, and all things Kardashian.Interests: Philly, Celebrities, Sports, News, Positivity, Love, Fun, Food, Entertainment, Open Bars, Socializing, Comedy