Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Brooklyn Brunch Experiment

There is nothing I love more in life than breakfast, so receiving the opportunity to participate in a ***BRUNCH COOKOFF*** would be an incredible dream come true.

That dream came true today, courtesy of The Food Experiments, a brilliant idea crafted by culinary ingenues Theo Peck and Nick Suarez.  Past food experiments have included: tacos, cheese, beer and chocolate.  I finally caught wind of these food experiments this week for brunch, and boy, not a moment too late !

Warning: serious photo overload forthcoming !

The event was held at The Bell House, a transformed warehouse on 9th St between 1st and 2nd Avenue (warehouse-city!). 

We waited outside for a cool 30 minutes.  A long line quickly emerged after us.  Tickets were sold out online a couple days before the event, but they had a very limited (read: 10) amount of tickets available on the day of the event.  Greeshma and I were lucky enough to be part of that 10!

Contestants were lined among a snake of tables, proudly standing behind their culinary wares.

Nearly every contender was gracious and friendly, eagerly explaining the ingredients of their brunch bites.  The overall theme appeared to be bacon, which appeared in about 85% of the entries.  I love bacon (of course!), but apparently vegetarians were not as pleased. 

Here's the parade of food!

Cornbread cupcakes with bacon buttercream frosting. Jalapenos
added a nice subtle punch to the cornbread, but was otherwise typical.

Tamales.  Solid tasting tamale, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Rosemary-brown sugar Belgian liege wafels with maple-cardamom
roasted D'Anjou pears and Vermont maple syrup, pear reduction, candied black
walnuts with fleur de sel, Point Reyes blue cheese and wildflower honey
whipped cream.  Total mouthful on the ingredients, and all the flavors were
nice, but Greeshma and I enjoyed the pears best.

The pig and fig quiche had interesting flavors, and yes, bacon.  It was topped with some dressed greens.
This was Greeshma's initial favorite.

The contestant with the quiche above.

Touted as the best non-kosher french toast.

Self-acclaimed brunch pirates with the following entry:

Crispy bread exterior (yum) with softish egg center, bourbon sauce and sausage.

Redneck caviar: duck confit donuts & bacon marmalade
The duck confit tasted beefy, and the raspberry jam was very nice!

What my plate looked like during our first "break,"
breaks were dictated by the limited plate space we had.

Greeshma having an awesome time.

Italian Breakfast Bocce: lemon glazed puff pastry filled with blueberry
pistachio marscapone.  This had the potential to be very delicious, but
the lemon glaze was mouth-puckering sour and seized all mouthbuds immediately.

Tony Santoro had my initial favorite entry: fig, honey and OJ tamale
(a sweet tamale?!) with CINNAMON ICE CREAM AND DULCE DE LECHE.
o.m.g. i. know.
The cinnamon ice cream was amazing.
His plates below:

Closeup of the sweet tamale + cinnamon ice cream + dulce de leche.
Tony encouraged us to eat it like a shot, so we tossed them back quickly.
I had two. :D

My next favorite entry was called "Full Brunch" which featured
a toasted crostini, luscious scrambled eggs, deliciously sauteed asparagus and rabe,
and duck prosciutto.

Did I say duck prosciutto?

Yes.  And I meant it.  Duck prosciutto!
It was as smooth, sumptuous and sexy as it looks.
Total. Yum.

Chicken and waffles?  Had to be the worst dish of the competition.
The chicken was completely overcooked and oversalted, and the 'waffle'
just did not resemble much of anything.

Break II of my mushpot of a plate.

I think these little spoons were supposed to be "shots."  They were little
globules of liquid.  I liked the white one more than the red (white was more sweet),
but Greeshma preferred the reverse.

Piping the cream into the sea urchin quiche (below)

Sea urchin pretty (with bacon)

Sea urchin quiche exposed.  The flavors were very unique...but was hard to enjoy.

And last but not least, my ultimate favorite of the day:
orange blossom scones with earl grey and honey ice cream.
The ice cream was melted and completely absorbed by the scone creating
an utterly fantastic confection.
And yes.  We totally got two of those too. :-)

All in all, the event was a complete blast - being able to try 20 dishes for $25 is so, so, so, SO worth it !  I cannot wait for the next food experiment !


  1. shut up, shut up, shut up!! THIS IS LIKE THE PERFECT DAY. i am soooooooooo jealous. :) my favorite definitely woulda been that egg+sausage+crispy bread!! *drool*

  2. you picked right !! that was the audience favorite !

  3. Hey, I know this is waaaaay late, but I just discovered your blog via your coverage of the Holiday Experiment and wanted to thank you for the kind words. The tea and scones ice cream dish was mine and I'm very happy to see that it was your favorite. Positive feedback like this makes all the hard work and stress that goes into competing well worth it!

    I notice you didn't manage to get a picture of my Holiday Experiment dish, the Thanksgiving B'stilla. Hope you enjoyed that one too! Keep up the good eating, photographing and blogging!