PHOTO CREDIT TO CHARLES KOH
The one question that comes up a lot in Bellevue is, “where the heck is a good place for brunch?” Well my friend, we have an answer for you, Earls Kitchen + Bar in downtown Bellevue. Starting… well 2 months ago (back September), guests can experience the new brunch menu with a “Vancouver flair” available on Weekends and Holiday Mondays. That means more Bloody Caesars, maple syrup and poutine to add to the Northwest lineup.
Weekends provide an opportunity to take things slow, gather your friends and spend a quality meal together and Earls’ new menu lets you do just that. After two years of continuous preparation, they have mastered baking the perfect sourdough bread which you’ll see though out many of the dishes prepared for brunch. Rising slowly and naturally from an in-house grown sourdough starter, the dense, chewy new bread has a “decadent,” “sour,” “tangy” taste to it.
Did you know: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, consuming food in the morning helps increase metabolic rate (this is how fast you burn calories) and will set you up for the rest of your day.
Brunch is not complete without a Mimosa, a refreshing accompaniment to a weekend meal. Get freshly squeezed orange juice combined with sparkling wine to start your morning.
Fun fact: The Mimosa cocktail was first invented at the Paris Ritz, unless you believe that a French barman stole the strangely similar “Buck’s Fizz” from a London club and re-named it and claimed it. The name introduced in 1925 comes from the flowers of the mimosa plant, which are yellow and appear slightly frothy from a distance. In Britain, the mixture of orange juice and champagne is still referred to as a Buck’s Fizz, while the other name is used in the United States and in most of Europe.
Something that isn’t on the menu but should be are these complimentary house made brioche cinnamon buns brushed with cream cheese icing that are moist, sweet and pack a sugary punch.
(PS, don’t miss a special interview with Chef Jonathan Fraser of Earls at the bottom)
History: The original Caesar was invented in Calgary, Alberta in 1969 by restaurateur Walter Chell to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the city. It quickly became a popular mixed drink within Canada where over 350 million Caesars are consumed annually and it has inspired numerous variants. However, the drink remains virtually unknown outside the country.
Translations: Croquer (“to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”). The sandwich’s first recorded appearance on a Parisian café menu was in 1910.
The Croque Madame is best eaten by cutting open the egg and letting the yolk drip over the crispy sourdough giving off a creamy taste counter balancing the sweet taste of the Virginia ham.
The Chorizo and Mushroom Hash combines poached eggs, crispy fried potatoes, sliced avocados, field mushrooms, a warm creamy-dreamy hollandaise sauce. The chorizo is spicy on the tongue, but neutralized by the oozing yolk from the poached egg and the green-fleshed avocados.
Here’s the Sourdough French Toast – chantilly cream, berry puree, pure maple, and whipped butter. This dish will really make your eyes roll out as the house made toast combined with the powder sugar, fresh raspberries and cream will melt in your mouth.
Eggs Benny – virginia ham, hollandaise, grilled sourdough, $13
Granola and Yogurt Parfait – house made, flax, rolled oats, dried cranberries, sultanas, toasted almonds and pecans, fresh berries, $9.
Frittata – a lighter than light vegetarian Frittata folds in fresh goat cheese with grape tomatoes and field mushrooms, $12
JONATHAN: I actually began my career in the culinary industry at the age of 15 washing dishes at an Earls in Vancouver. It was a great part-time job that offered a fun, challenging environment and the flexibility I needed in order to play competitive hockey and rugby, as well as focus on school. I continued to work my way up the kitchen ladder over the course of the next 3-4 years.
While I was attending the University of Calgary (and still working at Earls, there are several locations in Calgary) I decided to pursue a career in the culinary field. I was promoted into my first sous chef role at 19 in the highest volume store in the company at the time. I then moved back to Vancouver to focus on developing my culinary and restaurant management skills and continue to grow with the company. I then began my formal training and started my apprenticeship in the Canadian Red Seal program (cooking is a trade in Canada). Over the course of the next four years I accumulated 9000 hours and training before completing my apprenticeship. Earls is very committed to learning and giving aspiring chefs the opportunity to do so. They paid for my tuition, books, knives and continued to pay me while I attended the program. A great experience for sure!
In the summer of 2009 I moved south across the border to open our first location in Washington as Head Chef of Earls Bellevue.
Also, Earls has partnered with the Washington State Chefs Association and registered as a Sponsor Training House. I am the supervising chef and we are getting our first apprentice ready to graduate the program this fall.
EATSEATTLE: Where did you get your influence from in becoming a chef?
JONATHAN: My mother was a high school foods teacher as I was growing up and is an amazing cook. It was her that first pushed me to go and get a job at Earls.
I have also worked with some amazing people during my time with Earls and experienced some very talented leaders and Chefs. These role models were key for me to choose this career path.
EATSEATTLE: Your favorite cuisine and why?
JONATHAN: I would have to say French. Rich sauces, clean flavors, butter in everything. Most modern cuisine has roots in French cooking and the concept is still largely the same as it was when Escoffier wrote his first recipes.
I was in France for the first time last month, so this may have a slight impact on my reasoning here.
EATSEATTLE: Your favorite restaurant (any location)
JONATHAN: Tough answer. There are so many great restaurants in this area alone and I eat out quite a bit, regardless of what city I am in. I have to go with a couple options:
- Bastille (Ballard)
- Crush (Madison Park)
- Le Grand (Carillon Point)
- Vij`s (Vancouver, BC)
- Chambar (Vancouver, BC)
EATSEATTLE: A secret tip for cooking
JONATHAN: Cooking great food starts with finding the best ingredients. Washington has such a wide range of amazing resources to choose from. I always try to find awesome, local ingredients. Fish, lamb, produce, wine, etc. is all available locally. I love the local farmers markets. Everything is fresh and grown/raised here!
EATSEATTLE: And anything else you want included
JONATHAN: I am a habitual picture taker of all things food. Social media links are:
- Twitter: @fraser_jj
- instagram: jj_fraser10
AUTHOR: CHARLES KOH
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