This morning we made a pilgrimage over the Oakland Bay Bridge to one of my favorite breakfast/lunch joints, Brown Sugar Kitchen. For those of you who haven’t experienced BSK, it is a treat. Tanya Holland calls her style “New Soul Cooking”. I call it shear perfection, right down to the house made jams, jellies and compotes. On this visit, I noticed a photo of Tanya Holland with Julia Child at the coffee/baked goods bar. Some of us thrill at the thought of seeing actors. I got chills thinking that Tanya had the fortune to meet one of the greatest cooks of our time. Julia excited us all with her cooking.
We started out with the beignets, which I love to pronounce Beige Nets just for the fun of it. They arrived at the table piping hot and golden brown, dusted with powdered sugar. The confiture of the day was sour cherry and apricot. We each placed a beignet on our plate and drizzled sour cherry and apricot preserve next to it and tucked into the clouds of cheer dipped in the preserve. I’m not sure which was the the driving force, the beignet to scoop up the heavenly preserves or the preserves to gild the beignet. Either way, the combination was memorable and I almost licked my plate clean, I didn’t want to waste a drop of that cherry apricot heaven. “Tanya, you put your foot in that preserve.”
We ordered coffee and breakfast. One Smoked Pork Hash with Poached Eggs, Cornmeal Waffle with Mary’s Free Range Organic Fried Chicken, Vegetable Egg Scramble with Roasted Potatoes and a Cornmeal Waffle with Brown Sugar Butter and Apple Cider Syrup.
Firstly, the Mocha was the best I’ve ever had, right down to the house made marshmallow floating on top.
Everything was delectable, the waffles are the stuff that dreams are made. Light and crunchy, the exterior is actually lacy and golden. I no longer need to spend the rest of my days consumed with trying to figure out how to make these magical waffles as Ms. Holland has shared the recipe with Oprah. The apple cider syrup is also house made and such a great pairing with this perfect waffle. Just the right amount of sweet and tart to compliment the brown sugar butter on the waffle. The smoked pork hash with poached eggs was so perfectly executed, eggs cooked so the whites were done but not rubbery and the yolk completely molten so that when you broke into them with your fork they oozed out all over the smoked pork hash. The spices in the hash were full of flavor, with a bit of heat and smokey depth that were surrounded by a ring of chipotle aoili. The fried chicken is some of the best I’ve had. Firstly, Tanya chose Mary’s Free Range Chicken, one of the best free range organic chickens produced in California. Then she adds her own blend of spices and soaks it overnight in buttermilk to mingle in all that flavor. The chicken is then dredged in seasoned flour and fried to perfection and the results are delicious. Perfectly cooked, juicy and full of flavor. When frying chicken you always have to begin with the best ingredients and the foundation is fresh, sustainably farmed chicken. The vegetable egg scramble was golden yellow with chunks of broccoli, spinach and herbs. They were light and flavorful and the roasted potatoes crunchy and so well spiced. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the eggs were organic which makes an enormous difference in the flavor of the egg.
It’s an honor to be able to experience such hard work and craftsmanship in a restaurant. Ms. Holland’s passion and commitment to local, fresh exquisite ingredients is obvious. Her creativity in orchestrating these ingredients into consistently fine meals is our good fortune. I can only add that the service at BSK is remarkable, even with a 45 minute to 1 hour wait outside the restaurant we were kept apprised of the waiting list several times and brought agave syrup for our coffee while we waited. Not to mention two entrepreneurial musicians rolled down the sidewalk with a piano and set up right outside BSK and regaled us with their tunes.
BSK is located in an industrial neighborhood in West Oakland on Mandela Parkway about a stones throw from the Bay Bridge. If you haven’t tried it, you owe yourself the treat. BSK is open Tuesday through Sunday until 3PM.
Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Parkway