Too bad the Guinness World Records folks weren't in town.
About 100 chefs from 30 restaurants served what SF Chefs organizers touted as the largest Sunday brunch ever in the Bay Area, and it looked nothing like the sorry steam-table affairs that have soured so many diners on the concept of Sunday brunch. If there was a drop of Hollandaise around, we didn't find it.
Instead, chefs seized the challenge, and -- with any luck -- the creative results will help transform menus all over the region. Here's the take-away for your home inspiration (or you can just make reservations).
Combine sweet and savory: Chef Ryan Scott of S.F.'s two Market & Rye restaurants, which specialize in weekend brunch, added a little housemade pancetta to the mixed-nut filling in his sticky buns, then topped them with a Brentwood sweet-corn frosting. From the East Bay, executive chef Adam Carpenter of the Lafayette Park Hotel's Park Bistro & Bar glazed his sausage slices with a mixture of Maker's Mark and brown sugar. At the booth for Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto, chef William Roberts added a dollop of peach jam to his pork sausage and biscuits.
Toss tradition aside: Who says every egg brunch dish has to be served on an English muffin? The CIA-Greystone team working under chef Lars Kronmark, a native of Denmark, created a Nordic-style brunch dish called Biksemad with juniper-smoked pork, fingerling potatoes, onions, sliced horseradish and fried quail eggs atop -- here's the idea to steal -- lovely slices of beets. Delish and carb-free.
Ditto for traditional serving plates and glasses. Pour cocktails atop shaved ice in snow-cone cups, or do as executive chef John Hart of MaSo (as in Market South), in the Westin Market Street hotel did, and fill paper cones with strips of smoked wild salmon, topped with nectarine relish, and let your guests eat while mingling.
Banish the mimosa: Get some inspiration from the mixologists. Noted cocktail specialist Reza Esmaili, of Ananas Consulting, created the Milk Julep, a creamy cocktail that combines elements of two classics, the Bourbon Milk Punch and the Mint Julep. The folks from Chambord liqueur offered up a yummy concoction called the Chambord Tropical Fizz that blended Chambord Vodka (vodka flavored with French black raspberry liqueur) with spiced pineapple juice. We snagged a simplified version of the recipe for you to try at home.
Chambord Tropical Fizz
1.5 ounces Chambord Vodka
1 ounce "spiced" pineapple juice
2 ounces sparkling water
To make the spiced pineapple:
To 4 cups of pineapple juice, add 10 cracked cinnamon sticks and 2 tablespoons cracked Allspice Berries, wrapped in cheesecloth. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator for two days. Remove spices/strain before serving.
To make the cocktail:
Pour ingredients in a short glass, add ice, then add soda. Garnish with mint.
-- Created by Victoria D'Amato-Moran of Cent'Anni Cocktails for Chambord