Amuse Brunch Recap

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Slumdosa Millionaires/Dosa Rox My Lox. Photo by Daisy Chow.

Daisy Chow, tablehopper editorial assistant extraordinaire, has this field report from the latest SF Food Wars event:

With a theme like “Amuse Brunch” (think: brunch in a bite), last Sunday’s ~SF FOOD WARS~ competition was sure to be a pork and eggs-travaganza. So I arrived at the Thirsty Bear Brewery prepared, meaning, I brought along a meat-eating friend. All 20 teams (see their pics here) showed a lot of creativity and love of all things brunch, but I’ll only highlight a few faves.

My personal pick was a simple little bite by INNA pickle INNA jam: they put together a buttermilk biscuit, cream cheese smear, tortilla Española, and jalapeño jelly, a nicely balanced combination. Another notable savory entry was Team Valhalla’s creamy, herbed sawmill gravy with fresh peas, porky bits, and hard-boiled eggs on a wee biscuit. Call it a meaty, meal-in-one version of biscuits and gravy. Of the sweet entries, my friend liked Purveyors of Awesome’s bread pudding for its subtle tea flavor and soft texture, which worked well with the whipped cream and strawberry garnish.

I also liked seeing adventurous folks marry the brunch theme with molecular gastronomy techniques. Gastronaut’s “Hare of the Benny”—a riff on eggs benedict—had a sous vide quail egg in a sweet browned butter hollandaise sauce served in a shot glass rimmed with biscuit-y crumbles and garnished with preserved lemon and rabbit bacon, plus a molecular “mimosa” of Champagne gelée and orange “caviar” on the side. Team TimeCube was another molecular gastronomy-style entrant: their “One Shot Waffle” captured the essence of waffles, strawberry, syrup, and cream. Sipped out of a tiny test tube, the flavor was great but didn’t last long.

A shout out to two teams whose labor-intensive presentations caught my eye: Chicas con Huevos made huevos rancheros in a cute lil’ boat-shaped tamal (dubbed “El Ranchero”), and Slumdosa Millionaires had mini, smoked salmon and hash brown-filled dosas wrapped with little chive bows (aka “Dosa Rox My Lox”). If you’ve ever made hundreds of tamales or tried to tie a chive into a decent knot, you’ll understand how much work these folks must’ve put in.

By popular vote, the People’s Choice award went to Porkuporkia’s “Pork in the Hole” (slow-braised pork belly in a maple-glazed donut hole), and the Judges’ First Place award went to Good Foods Catering’s “The Bite of Smokey Porky Love” (a micro-mini BLT served on crisp pita with a smoky tomato jam, sliced cherry tomato, pork crackling aioli, house-made bacon, and micro greens). For the complete list of winners, check out the SF Food Wars website. As for their next event, did I hear…Pie or Die?