Does anyone besides me like reading menus? Really reading them…top to bottom? It’s one of my favorite parts of going out to eat. I can’t get enough of the mouth-watering details and descriptions. With real literature, getting your hands on the latest and greatest to hit the marketplace is thrilling, but you can’t go wrong with the tried-and-true classics either. I’d argue the same can be said for restaurants and their menu offerings. For example, the quintessential vegetarian venue in Seattle for the last 21 years has been Cafe Flora. Their standard menu is always reliably delicious but on a recent visit, a new dish inspired me to get creative in my own kitchen: Poached Pear and Brie Focaccia.
As part of a special Restaurant Week menu, I got to sample their 3-course lunch for $15. This included a French Green Lentil and Beet Salad, Poached Pear and Brie Focaccia, and a Bramley Apple Crisp. It was all delicious but I was blown away by the Focaccia. Here’s the complete menu description, for your perusing pleasure:
Clara Frij pears poached in spiced red wine with St. Andre triple cream Brie, red onion confit and pistachio pesto on Columbia City Bakery Focaccia with a red wine reduction drizzle and chopped pistachios.
Could I recreate this at home? I pondered the crunch of the bread, the sweet cinnamon spiciness of the pear, and the buttery melted brie for the 90-minute drive home to Bellingham. Inspiration had struck and I began piecing together how I could recreate it myself. The result? Something a bit reminiscent of a savory and sweet French toast, that can be enjoyed at breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.
A warning: this is a time-intensive project, but oh, so worth it. Normally, I’d shy away from a dish that requires three separate recipes to come together just to make one item, but the combination of flavors is spot on and it is so worth it in this case. I experimented with a couple of shortcuts to save time and they just didn’t provide the same results. So, put on some tunes and get ready to spend a few hours building some pear and brie deliciousness.Print Print Print
If you find yourself with some time on your hands, and a hankering for something with complex flavors and textures befitting a classy restaurant, this just might be a tasty new addition to your menu.
Have you had success recreating a favorite restaurant recipe at home?