Antidotes from the Laboratory
EGGS … Whipping up Weekend Brunch
Over the last few months, as we venture into further experimentations, it occurred to us that the one element we hadn’t integrated in our Lab repertoire was brunch – Michael and my preferred weekend pleasure. We’ve amended that gap by offering you weekend brunch.
Granted we may no longer partake ourselves for a while, instead we’ll share some of our favored dishes with you; a fried egg over soft polenta and seasonal greens, poached egg with warmed bitter greens and Michael’s divine Quiche Lorraine; filled with prosciutto and cheddar cheese or enhancing the creamy egg mixture with spring vegetables taking advantage of what we have in season. Michael’s quiche in and of itself is a delectable treat but to make it with farm fresh eggs is a superb delight! We honor the true star of brunch – the organic egg.
We are so pampered to have the easy access of organic eggs. Michael and I have had the luxury of eating eggs from our friend Heidi’s chickens; beauteous with brown speckles, sage green, hints of blue – amazing shells and even more amazing yolks, sunny orange to butter yellow. Although we can’t get Heidi’s eggs to share with you, we do have our neighbor Marin Sun Farms, whose chickens produce the most astonishingly bright orange yolk that we fry, scramble and poach for you. If that’s not enough we have slab cut bacon from Marin Sun to round out the perfect brunch offering with polenta. Come join us every Saturday and Sunday for a leisurely brunch, celebrating the joys of a lazy weekend in Dogpatch. We promise to make it worth your experimentation in our Lab.
SOUPS … Keep Up The Tradition of an Old Meaning.
Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 6,000 BC. The word soup comes from French soupe (“soup”, “broth”), which comes from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.
The word restaurant (meaning “something restoring”) was first used in France in the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for the shops.
At Chocolate Lab, we also give you a means to our antidote; we offer you our soups, taking full advantage of the ample selection of vegetables, the exceptional organic meats and quality legumes available to us here in the Bay Area. Our soups are offered weekly in varied form; brothy with meatballs, thickly enriched with lentils, pureed squash, spiced and dressed – the diversity goes on, all inspired by what we receive fresh from our farmers.
We hope to fortify you with a bowl of warmth and comfort, accompanying our tartine sandwiches or other specialties of the day. Most importantly, we hope to be the place you can drop into at any time of day to amend your exhaustion with a sustaining bowl of soup, restoring yourself, well … this at least would justify the dessert you’ve stolen away to indulge in the first place.
Springtime in Dogpatch
As we look forward to the season of growth – anticipating farmer’s market finds in the way of asparagus, spring peas & onions or the first warm day to enjoy a glass of rosé, Michael and I long to enjoy our backyard garden again.
We captured a few snapshots last year, holding on to them through the winter and dreaming of getting our hands back into the soil to refresh the garden with the hope to entertain again this year. We haven’t enough sun to grow food; instead we created a secret hideaway where we have friends over to smooth out the creases from a hectic week of work, within the peaceful presence of our copse of white birch. We barbeque meats from Olivier’s, toss greens from our favorite farmers (Martin & Mariquita), indulge in cheeses from La Fromagerie drizzled with honey from our very own Susan Eslick (who lives above us along with her apiary of honey bees) and pour wines from DIG. Even without a vegetable garden of our own, we live in a village where we can eat and drink as we like, plucking from the diversity of other small businesses in Dogpatch.
After a backyard meal we venture out to walk away the fullness. The trees are blossoming with magnolia and dog-fennel is growing in wild patches as we walk up and over Potrero Hill. Then we stroll down into the Mission, where we cross through the energy of enthusiastic young hipsters waiting to get into the newest and best of Gourmet Ghetto restaurants. We keep walking towards our old neighborhood of Dolores Heights. When we circle back around Dolores Park, we retrace our steps back up the hill, and as we hit the peak we come upon an awe-inspiring vista. We take a moment to enjoy the distant show on the Bay Bridge – LED lights raining patterns up, down, back and forth, never repeating the same impression twice.
As we return to the quiet dark of our back garden at night we flick on the circus lights strung around the back to create a halo of glowing bulbs. Here we sit again to reflect on how the simplest of pleasures are in our lives to enjoy. Cooking, eating, drinking – which reminds me … I go back in to grab a pair of glasses and a bottle of El Maestro Sierra Amoroso (which we pour at Chocolate Lab), we sit to enjoy the sherry and relax into the pleasure of being out of doors in the cool freshness of a spring evening, sated by a good meal and grand walk. Springtime.