There’s something special about brunch. It’s one of those unnecessary meals that sits after breakfast but before lunch and usually involves nicer clothing, real plates and flatware (i.e. not plastic), somewhat hoity-toity foods and an alcoholic beverage that’s ok to consume before noon. What’s not to like about that? In my opinion, the pièce de résistance to any brunch occasion is a glass of Moscato or sparkling wine and that’s just what I got last Sunday.
BFOB (best friends of blogger) came by air and by land to visit for the weekend. Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of eating, ballgames, museums, sightseeing, walking, reminiscing and laughing, and on their final morning in my city, we decided to treat ourselves to brunch. After browsing several brunch menus online, we decided on Casbah, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in Pittsburgh. We were given a variety of choices to serve as our pre-noon alcoholic beverage and the three of us selected the bellini, a genius combination of champagne and peach puree. As my first brunch course I chose a smoked salmon appetizer with a truffled potato cake, aioli, capers, red onion and boiled egg. Beautiful pink slices of smoked salmon were rich, buttery and silky and were displayed vibrantly beneath a crispy yet pillowy potato pancake. The pancake was warm and crunchy on the outside and sprinkled with intensely flavored truffle oil. Each bite was enough to make me sigh with delight. The cool aioli was thick and lightly flavored with garlic while the capers and onion added spice. It was, in a word, heavenly. Champagne is a classic pairing with smoked salmon and, in this case, the addition of the peach puree was so subtle and un-sweet, that the whole dish just worked.
To follow my appetizer course, I chose the jumbo lump crabmeat and tomato omelet with smoked paprika fingerling roasted potatoes. The eggs were fluffy and the crabmeat spilled out in giant chunks, each one sweet like the ocean. The tomatoes were a bit acidic and would have probably been better had it been the middle of summer, but it was a minor offense easily forgiven. Similarly, the combination of my bellini with the crabmeat was superb, neither the drink nor the food overpowering the other.
And so my theory held true, BFOB and I were dressed tastefully, the restaurant used real plates and flatware, the food was superbly hoity-toity and the alcoholic drink didn’t disappoint.