January provided cool breezes to South Florida this year but thanks to Gulp we are warm with good food, good friends and the Screaming J’s. This month we were at the warehouse on a cool but sunny Sunday for a small bite brunch paired with traditional and not so traditional cocktails. You can never call Gulpers traditional.
An Ovation must go out to the Screaming J’s who were the co-stars of the day with their crazy mix of jaz, blue grass and a bunch of other music. Not to mention they are awesome guys. Thank you guys for the great music and laughs!
I also want to take a moment and give a big shout out to Ashley who was our bartender for the afternoon. Great job Ashley!!
Ok, now the for food and drinks.
For me, this experience was more about the food,there wasn’t too much “pairing” going on. Coreen and LeBeau too this opportunity and showcased their culinary creativity with the menu.
First, there were salmon, capers and cream cheese topped pirogues which Jim said had great texture and put him in mind of lox and bagels. The potato filling added another layer of creaminess for a lovely alternative to a bagel bite. Served at the same time was pickled okra. I didn’t taste them but again Jim said they were delicious.
Then came the ham and cheese sliders on Hawaiian rolls. I know that doesn’t sound all that special but let me tell you about the sauce that was brushed over the top of the rolls and then baked on for a crispy savory condiment curve ball. Coreen mixed Worcestershire, dijon mustard, minced onions, and butter and slathered it on. It was love at first bite. A little crispy top, into a soft bun and salty ham and savory cheese. It hit all the flavor buttons!
Up next was what Coreen referred to as an egg boat. This was a fun take on a breakfast sandwich. Scrambled eggs, sausage, cheese on a crispy bread boat. For those who wanted to go lighter the sausage was swapped with spinach. I had the spinach boat and loved the crunchy bread, creamy scrambled eggs and the touch of bitterness with the spinach. Tasty!
4th on the menu was an interesting bite. It was a croissant filled with bleu cheese, chocolate and strawberries. I have to be honest this wasn’t my favorite. There was too much going on in the flavors. The trio of fillings were all strong flavors and I felt fighting each other. The bleu and strawberries would have played nicely as would have the obvious chocolate and strawberries. It was just one ingredient too much, for me. I also wanted some more texture. Sarah suggested slivered almonds and I think that would have been nice.
Now, we were not eating these without libations. I enjoyed the Asian Bloody Mary a lot. It was with Siracha, soy sauce, wasabi paste, tomato juice and vodka then rimmed in nori salt. It was tangy, spicy and full of umami. It was delicious and pretty. The other drink I had was the Pineapple Mary. Pineapple juice, smoked paprika, lime juice, simple syrup and orange zest came together for a light refreshing cocktail. It was nice then Coreen came over and gave it a hit of siracha. Holy delicious Spice Batman!! The hot sauce took it from being a nice friendly drink to one that was hot and a bit naughty. I am so making these for my next Sunday brunch!! Okay, I have already made them and it was Wednesday night. Dang that was good! The other interesting cocktail was dubbed the Dorothy Parker because Luna was channeling the iconic lady with her cloche hat, and sweater over the shoulders. This was a sexy little drink using the newest trend in beverages, coconut water and champagne. Dorothy, I mean Luna enjoyed it saying the coconut was subtle letting the champagne be the star. (Really she said the coconut wasn’t a punch in the face).
After that came the shallot and feta tarts. The carmelized shallots played so nice with the feta for a sweet and tangy combination in the mouth. I would have liked the tart to be crispier.
The finale was totally worth the wait. Gingerbread French toast topped with bacon and a vanilla chai syrup! I know just typing it makes my mouth water. The syrup stood up to the bacon and said chill, you’re not the only guy here and my taste buds were dancing with the lovely mix of flavors. It was a harmonious bite! The other thing that was cool about this was the bread was really gingerbread from Pepperidge Farms. I love discovering new things and I can say without a doubt this group has introduced me to more culinary innovations in the 8 years than probably the rest of my life put together. That is just amazing to me. Thank you Coreen! Thank you LeBeau!
Ok, that does it for January! Next week, (I know it’s already February), is the February event. It is on, you guessed it Valentine’s Day, February 14th at 7:30pm. It will be held at the Warehouse and Coreen promises it to be a low key evening of food, wine and love. Don’t miss it!