Our affinity for brunching really started because the day Alfonso most has off from the restaurant has traditionally been Sundays. We can go out together, have a couple of drinks (They made brunch so people had a socially acceptable reason to drink hard liquor and champagne before noon, right?), do some people watching, eat some runny eggs, and still be home before dark with no chance of a Bloody Mary headache on Monday morning when I have to go to work. Well, almost no chance.
This past weekend we got to have brunch twice- not normal, but fun! And those brunches inspired a homemade brunch to eat throughout the week. It’s usually breakfast during the week, but if you call it brunch it feels more carefree.
I’ll start with Sunday brunch because it was the most varied in dishes and we went somewhere we have never been before.
Básico is in North Charleston and part of the Mixson Bath and Racquet Club, although the club part of the restaurant is only open to members.
The final vote is that we will be back to Básico. I am interested in seeing how their lunch and dinner compares with their brunch, which I enjoyed, and Alfonso was very impressed with his, so he would like to repeat. While Alfonso would have changed nothing, there is some tweaking I would do.
Before I get to the food, the atmosphere.
Although I could hear what seemed to be a lively bunch of conversations on the other side of the wall behind the bar, our side was empty except for one couple who left shortly after we arrived and another pair who arrived shortly before we left. There was also a small, but talkative gathering going on on the other side of that door. We were attended to with a lot of detail and care, more than one would even require, but still thoughtful and appreciated. I’m not sure if that was because of the lack of other tables to attend to or a special quality of our server.
Now, the food.
We started with some house-made tortilla chips and various salsas and dips- guacamole, pico de gallo, and mango salsa. The guacamole was fresh and had perfect acidity (which for some reason seems to be hard to find in guacamole). There was a great balance of flavors and it went well with the salty chips. I would like to see the fried tortilla chips a little less done. I’ve had homemade fried tortilla chips that were crispy, but not quite as brown. Maybe turn down the oil temp?
The pico de gallo was another hit. All of the ingredients were given room to shine with out over-powering each other and, like the guacamole, went well with the salty tortilla chips.
We also tried the mango salsa which, to me, was a nice start to mango salsa. I feel like it needed more savory. Like more cilantro, salt, and maybe red onion. I would also leave some of the mango diced instead of puréed for more texture. The mango had a nice sweetness, but it tasted more like a smoothie.
We also decided to try one of their 7 creative tacos. We chose the buttermilk fried chicken taco with pickled jicama, spicy aioli, queso fresco, and cilantro. Y’all, that was one of the best tacos I’ve ever had and I’m a little bit of a taco fanatic. The chicken was super juicy and crispy on the outside. The pickled jicama was something I had never tried and now don’t know how I’m ever going to eat fried chicken again without it. The aioli added the perfect creaminess to complement the chicken and to balance the pickled jicama. It was all laid on top of a homemade tortilla. The tortilla was soft, warm, corn-y, and tasted freshly made. After trying this taco I am anxious to come back and just do a taco dinner or something.
Dang! That’s a good lookin’ taco!
Alfonso had the Básico Bowl which had coconut rice, black beans, Carolina Heritage Farms chorizo, pico, garden greens, lime crema, jalepeño, and guacamole. I’m not even joking, he would not stop talking about how good it was. Like, not stop. It seemed so simple, and it was, but he said that each individual thing was seasoned and spiced extremely well and the chorizo was top notch. “The combo was obviously well thought out because if you had taken even one thing out it would have not been half as good,” Alfonso told me.
I had the Brisket Hash, half of which I had to take home. The portion was huge and included pieces of brisket and potatoes with chimichurri, charred onion, and pimento gravy. All topped with a sunny-side up egg.
First things first, they need to make thousands of pounds of those charred onions and sprinkle them on everything. They were so good and added a little somethin’ somethin’ you didn’t even know that you needed. The potatoes were nicely done and the gravy was the breakfast MVP. The brisket was cubed and had nice char and flavor, but I could do without so many pieces of the rubbery fat. I know some people like it though, so I might be the weird one here. My only real complaint is that there was slightly too much oil on the bottom of the bowl. The potatoes could use a little more drainage. The runny yolked egg, as always, was the crown atop a lovely dish.
We were stuffed after our chorizo bowl and brisket hash, but we saved a little space for brunch dessert- churros!
The plating was adorable. The churros were good, but a little empty inside. It looked like some of them had busted a little on the sides and maybe the inner mass started to leak out after the outside was already hard. The chocolate sauce was everything chocolate sauce is supposed to be. Rich, not too sweet, and thick. Alfonso tried to drink it out of the bowl before I reminded him that he is 32.
I would give the brunch an A-. Alfonso would give it an A+. But either way, we’ll be back. Especially for the tacos.
Backing it up a day to Saturday before the chili cook-off.
We decided to grab a quick bite before heading over to the Charleston Animal Society’s Chili Cook-off and Oyster Roast. Advice: don’t go to Butcher and Bee if you are in a hurry. Do go for some stellar breakfast with quality ingredients. We were late, but it was worth it. To be clear, they did not advertise themselves as fast breakfast, we just assumed they would be.
The inside of the restaurant is a collection of vintage-y looking things and community tables. The menu is written on a chalkboard and changes frequently.
Alfonso had what Butcher and Bee calls a ShakShuka- egg in a tomato and tahini sauce with cilantro and pita bread. It is similar to Spanish and Italian baked eggs in tomato sauce dishes. There was nothing negative to say about these perfectly cooked eggs and deep flavored tomato sauce.
I had a very nice quiche. It was delightfully creamy on the inside, but a little too done on the outside for my tastes. It had andouille, broccoli, peppers, and cheddar, all served with a little, beautifully dressed salad. I am a sucker for baked eggs in any fashion, and this quiche was a great version.
We didn’t stay long at Butcher and Bee, but we already have plans to come back and try their dinner sometime. Excellent start to a Saturday!
My lovely little quiche at Butcher and Bee reminded me that we haven’t made a frittata in a while. We like to do frittatas because it’s a good way to use up miscellaneous veggies and cheeses. It’s also an easy way to feed a good amount of company. Prep the components the day before and just pop it in the oven the next morning for an easy, elegant breakfast. The only thing that is consistent in our frittatas is that I use a 9 inch pie pan and 9 eggs. Eight eggs if there are a lot of other ingredients. The filler, like I said, changes based on what we have in the house. One frittata takes care of breakfast for both of us for at least a few days.
In short, frittatas are magical and can solve all your breakfast problems. Just add coffee.
Today’s frittata is simple, but flavorful.
We used green onion, crispy, but tender potatoes, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese. The most important thing to remember is to season everything well- nothing worse than bland eggs!
This particular frittata is an excellent main dish with a side salad for those that like to do a Meatless Monday Meal. We usually try to do as much organic as possible, but especially in situations like this where we will be eating a large number of eggs. Costco has a great deal on organic eggs.
Roasted Red Pepper, Potato, and Goat Cheese Frittata
For the frittata:
9 organic eggs
4 T heavy cream
1.5 t salt
1 t pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
2 green onions, diced
1 red pepper, roasted (see roasting instructions below)
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
For the salad:
*makes 2 small green salads
3 cups mixed greens
3 T grated parmesan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
the juice of 1 lemon
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
To make the frittata:
Roast the red pepper at 425 degrees. When done place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. After 20 minutes remove from bowl and peel off skin and remove seeds. Dice.
Lower the oven temp to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper together and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender and slightly crispy on the outside. Drain and set aside to cool. When cool, add to the eggs along with the green onions, peppers, and goat cheese. Pour into a greased 9 inch pie pan and cover with aluminum foil.
Place the pie pan inside a roasting pan and then in the oven. Pour hot water slowly around the outside of the pie pan about halfway up the side. Be careful not to pour water into the frittata. Bake for 1 hour and 35 minutes or until cooked through with a slightly golden crust and then let cool 10 minutes before serving with the mixed green salad.
To make the mixed green salad:
In a small jar add the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Close jar and shake until emulsified. Pour a couple of tablespoons over a portion of greens and mix well. Top with parmesan cheese and serve on the side of the frittata. You will surely have left over dressing.
Serve with toasted French bread.
We’ll be back next week with some more recipes. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!