Saturday, March 29, 2014
Mmm Bap: Bean & Burgundy Bread
Sous Chef and I learned very early in our relationship that we shouldn't have serious conversations if one of us has gone longer than four hours without eating. Basically, if we're not constantly at some stage of the digestive process, we are Super Hangry. Especially Sous Chef. (But don't tell him I told you that. This will be a test to see how long it takes him to catch up on my blog posts.)
A recent conversation at a stop light:
Me: Hey, I want to try Bean and Burgundy! This is a perfect opportunity to try it!
SC: Okay, where is it?
Me: I have no idea.
SC: (pause) You do realize we're both at the height of our Hanger - is now really the time to try to find a place we've never been?
At that point, we both looked up - at the sign for Bean and Burgundy.
I could hardly contain my excitement; "Two Dudes have been here! HowChow has been here! And now finally here!" You'd think I'd gotten into Harvard on an eating scholarship. Which I could, were such a thing to exist, thank you very much.
Walking inside, we were immediately surprised and impressed with how large it is. High ceilings, a long cafe/baked good/take out counter, plenty of seating, even a fully-stocked bar in the back. It's a coffee shop/restaurant/bakery/bar all rolled into one, without any one thing trying too hard. It works.
The menu is also a sort of hybrid - American stuff like sandwiches and wraps, but also Korean specialties like noodles and bibimbap.
What? Haven't heard of bibimbap? It's okay, I hadn't either. It's basically a rice bowl with lots of toppings to choose from, like spicy cucumbers and radishes, marinated eggplant, etc. It's topped off with chili paste, a fried egg, and usually a meat, like bulgogi.
What? Haven't heard of bulgogi? It's okay, I hadn't either. It's a Korean dish - strips of beef marinated in things like soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic and then grilled within an inch of its beefy little life until it's crispy yet juicy. Kind of like the meat you find in a Philly cheesesteak, but way more flavorful.
I ended up ordering a bulgogi panini, Sous Chef ordered the bibimbap with bulgogi, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, and cucumbers.
My sandwich was great - toasty buttery bread, chewy juicy bulgogi, a tangy Thousand Island dressing, grilled red onion, and Provolone cheese. Fantastic flavor combination - hearty and satisfying. The only thing it was missing was fresh veggies - but I gave myself a pass on this one in the name of exploration. The portion size wouldn't satisfy someone looking for a gut-busting food coma, but it was plenty for a filling lunch or light dinner. I ended up taking half of my sandwich home so I could save room for dessert.
Sous Chef's bibimbap was similarly satisfying. Definitely a good choice for the health-conscious, or someone looking for the taste of fresh ingredients. I ended up coming back in during the work week to grab a bowl to go.
Good gracious I love bulgogi.
The bakery sources goods from La Cakerie and Patisserie Poupon - that's where the fancy shmancy stuff like my strawberry cream cake comes from. I'm not sure where their bread selection comes from, but that's only because I forgot to ask. If you find out, let me know!
The atmosphere here is very casual, yet somehow modern and a touch upscale. Maybe it's the long wooden tables. Or the red velvet rope separating the restaurant area from the cafe seating. Or perhaps it's the industrial-looking ceilings playing off the warm chocolate colors in the furniture and counters. Or the contrast of the shiny, futuristic bar and the sturdy wooden floors. I don't know. But it works.
I think we need to have a HoCoBloggers party here. Just sayin'.