Have you ever had a bad day when it starts with pancakes for breakfast? I haven’t either! Protein pancakes have always come out dense and dry for me. Thanks to the dalgona craze that’s been taking over the Internet lately, I’ve developed an interest in egg whites and what they can do to combat dry or dense recipes, and that’s exactly what happened with these banana blueberry pancakes.
1 speckly banana, mashed
2 scoops Tropeaka lean protein powder (40g)
2 large eggs
1 handful of blueberries, mashed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Siggi’s vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp almond butter
Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into separate bowls. Beat the egg whites for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form.
Mix the egg yolk, mashed banana, mashed blueberries, and protein powder until a smooth consistency is achieved.
Gently fold in the egg whites until roughly combined.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Once it’s warmed, add a thin layer of the mixture onto the pan.
Once small bubbles start forming on the surface of the pancakes (about 2 minutes) and the sides lift easily under a spatula, they’re ready to be flipped!
Give the pancakes a flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
Whipped egg whites and baking powder are what makes these pancakes nice and fluffy, so make sure to beat the egg whites separately before folding them in.
Salt’s role in this recipe is to bring out the flavor of the other sweet ingredients – don’t omit it!
When folding in the egg whites, the mixture doesn’t need to be perfectly mixed. Overmixing will break down the airy strucure of the egg whites.
Tartine Bakery is one of San Francisco’s quintessential foodie establishments. It’s made every notable list, and for good reason. In 2016, Tartine Manufactory inherited 5,000 square feet of space next door to Heath Ceramics, dedicating the interior to baking bread, cooking food, and serving drinks. With countless restaurants in San Francisco vying for the same accolades and attention, repeat patrons are a reliable indicator of whether a place feels worth visiting. This was my third trip to the restaurant in the last year, and it did not disappoint.
Weekends in San Francisco are dedicated to brunch, particularly during the summer and fall months, when warmer weather beckons individuals out during the day. Nestled on the corner of Alabama and 18th in the Mission district, Tartine Manufactory has all the trappings of a memorable meal–from the coveted abundance of natural sunlight pouring in through the tall glass windows, to the quirky ingredients and reinventions of classic American dishes. Diners are greeted by the delectable sight of freshly baked loaves of bread, comfortably rising inside of industrial ovens. The ambiance evokes simplicity and elegance with its off-white colors and light wood furniture. Tartine Manufactory accepts reservations for dinner only, so it’s highly recommended to arrive early (I believe we waited an hour for a party of 4 on a Sunday at noon). The restaurant sends you a text when your table is ready, and a great way to kill the wait time is to meander next door to Heath Ceramics; besides drinking in a visually stunning display of ceramic pieces, there are also plenty of whimsical knick-knacks for sale inside the shop.
Smørrebrød is an open-faced Scandinavian sandwich. I’m principally against purchasing any permutation of avocado toast at restaurants because it tends to be prohibitively expensive, but you lose decision-making power when you’re not the one footing the bill. I’m also yet to discover a restaurant that makes avocado toast better than my homemade version (the recipe for which is coming soon!). That being said, if you are the kind of person who feels compelled to order avo toast at brunch, Tartine’s freshly baked bread does it justice, and the pepitas and serranos add nice texture and hint of heat to the dish.
For someone who is somewhat intolerant to both dairy and gluten to wholeheartedly inhale bread and cheese means that this dish is worth ordering. My first taste of this dish was love at first bite. Creamy, delicate burrata cheese was punctuated by a mild earthiness from the pistachios, yet balanced by the brightness of the meyer lemon it was soaking in. I closed my eyes as I savored the satisfying crunch from the slice of bread it was sitting atop, reaffirming a strong opinion that this experience was worth the stomach pains I’d come to endure later.
Can you even consider your meal a delectable brunch if it doesn’t include French toast? I’ve tried my fair share of French toast variations at different restaurants in the city. Either this is an impossibly challenging dish to get wrong, or every place I’ve been to has perfected the art of making it, in their own unique way. Despite the fact that Tartine’s French toast isn’t made with Challah bread (which is the best type of bread to soak up the coating), what they do have going for them, again, is bread that is freshly baked in-house. Every mouthful was an adventure of subtle, chocolatey crunch (courtesy of the hazelnuts), mild sweetness from the maple syrup, and delicate brightness from the raspberries–all against the backdrop of a crunchy-but-moist piece of French toast that had been swimming under a thin blanket of creme fraiche.
I didn’t feel very excited about this dish when we ordered it, and when it came out, it looked rather lackluster; besides the ribbons of zucchini squash plated atop the stew, it looked somewhat unappetizing. It’s funny how adding something like duck leg carnitas can spruce up what appears to be a simple vegetable dish, which took my impression of the stew from a 4/10 to a 9/10. The protein contributed a satisfying layer of dimension that was missing in the stew alone; the addition of shredded carnitas-style meat was exactly what the dish needed to come alive against the crunchy corn and soft black beans.
In contrast, I was most excited for the coddled eggs–and while they were good, they didn’t blow my mind like I thought that they would. I’m typically a big fan of fish roe and gooey eggs, but for reasons I can’t articulate very well, the dish lacked in complexity and pizzazz, and I expected more from Tartine’s execution on this one.
At this point, the four of us were getting rather nervous–we didn’t quite remember how much food we had ordered, and we were beginning to feel painfully full. We’d also grossly underestimated the serving size of every single entree we had selected. The problem lies in that, when you venture to a brunch place this good, with friends who are equally dedicated to the act of eating good food, you’ve implicitly committed to finishing every part of your order.
The grilled cheese at Tartine is one of my favorites I’d had in SF. It might tie with the grilled cheeses that Cowgirl Creamery whips up at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero (a long-running favorite of mine), except this one included squash, an interesting textural addition that neatly balanced the rich cheese and bread combination. If it wasn’t apparent in my opinions about food, I believe that texture can make a huge difference in a dish, including one as simple and classic as a grilled cheese.
If there was one dish I’d come back to Tartine to order over and over again, it would be the grits. I’m just as surprised at myself, because this was what I thought was the least exciting item on the menu.
Tartine’s version of grits is the quintessence of what I’d call “elevated everyday food” that fully deserves the hype that moniker generates. The basic combination of ingredients is simple: grits, kale, and eggs, but when you throw in some prosciutto and embellish it with some shishito peppers, a simple bowl of grits suddenly evolves into a multi-sensory experience that combines the best of all cooking elements: salt, fat, acid, and heat. In comparison to other entrees on the menu that were decadent and rich, this item was a perfect balance of nourishment and satisfaction, with some unconventional elements incorporated for excitement and surprise.
After the grits, we were all but slumped over our dining table, battling drooped eyelids and an uncomfortable fullness in our stomachs. Against all pragmatic principles for dining out, the table collectively decided that we’d already come this far, and should experience dessert, so we ended up ordering a Bavarian fruit tart. To our relief, the tart was miniscule, enough for each of us to enjoy one perfect bite. I’d absolutely order this again.
Consistent with the experience I’d had during my previous visits, enjoying brunch at Tartine blew away my expectations. F&B in San Francisco is highly competitive, and it can be challenging for restaurants to survive and distinguish themselves in the midst of an ever-present competitiveness within the scene. As a foodie, I feel constantly spoiled by my vast selection of dining options in the city. My three experiences at Tartine make me feel confident that this is an establishment that will continue to stand out and thrive against formidable challenges within the industry, and I’m already looking forward to my next meal there!
It’s been a long time since my last post, hasn’t it? Since my last post back in November, a handful of other priorities have surfaced in other areas of my life that brought about a wave of reflection on how often I wanted to post new recipes and commit to sharing new culinary experiments. At the end of the day, being in the kitchen is like coming home and sinking into a warm bath; my muscles relax, and my stress dissolves as I rhythmically rock the blade of my knife over sprigs of fresh herbs. The kitchen is a place where I can create love without restriction, and share it with others. When I’m experimenting with a new creation, there’s no pressure to produce or impress. Ultimately, I decided that the cooking content on my blog should reflect a similar philosophy; beyond being a joy to make, and a joy to consume, there’s nothing else that I really want to define the food here.
With weekdays that are typically very full and demanding of time, I love carving out time for a slower brunch on the weekends, consuming it with my nose in a book, and taking my time savoring each bite. Slower brunch usually involves poached eggs and mashed avocado, because those are two breakfast staples that I think taste entirely different when made fresh, and simply aren’t indulgences I can afford during my work week. However, instead of spreading the avo on toast like I normally do, I was feeling a bit adventurous today, and decided that I wanted to pair my favorite duo with a carb source that typically isn’t seen alongside avo and poached eggs: sweet potato!
Sweet potato isn’t usually found in the same dish as mashed avo and poached eggs, because it can be tricky to make the sweet potatoes in a way that complements the two other savory items. This presented me with a fun little challenge: how would I be able to make savory sweet potato? The answer is deceptively simple: a boatload of herbs, garlic, and seasonings. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to customize based on whatever herbs you have on hand. I used scallions and dill, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule to follow here. It’s a great way to clean out your fridge and use up some remaining fresh herbs that seem like they’re on the verge of going bad. I will say that I think using fresh herbs and garlic, as opposed to pre-minced garlic and dried herbs, folds in an unmistakable savory aroma. And don’t be afraid to use a lot of garlic and herbs, because the sugars in the sweet potato will dominate the flavor profile otherwise.
Cook time: 30 minutes
2 sweet potatoes
6 cloves of garlic
6 sprigs of dill
6 sprigs of green onion (scallions)
Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Wash, peel, and cube the sweet potatoes. Some people like the skin of the potatoes in the mash, so you can also leave it on for more texture.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot (I used a Dutch oven), and cover them with water. In order to shorten the cooking time, I use an electric kettle to boil the water separately. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium so that the water is a gently rolling boil, and let it cook uncovered until the potatoes are soft enough to easily slide a fork in and out (roughly 10 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the herbs. I only used dill and onion in this recipe, but you can honestly use anything you want!
Drain the potatoes and transfer them back into the same pot. Using a fork or spatula, mash the potatoes, which should be easy if they’re cooked enough.
Fold in the apple cider vinegar, herbs, and spices (paprika, tumeric, onion, salt, and pepper), adjusting the seasoning ratios to your liking.
That’s it! This is such a versatile, simple side to make that pairs well with just about anything. Use it in place of white mashed potatoes when serving a steak. Spread it on a slice of toasted rustic bread. Layer some smoked salmon and capers on top of it, drizzled with a bit of lemon juice. This morning, I made my favorite avocado mash (recipe coming soon!), and poached an egg on top, letting all that yolky goodness bind the different textures and flavors together. It was one of the best slow brunches I’ve made in ages.
If you try this recipe out (or do any variations on it), let me know in the comments below 🙂 Happy lazy Sunday brunching.