One day, I was having a conversation with a friend about hobbies and creative outlets. We went through a list of things like going to the gym, cooking, shopping and even blogging, so we got on the topic of Brunch with Sam. In short, BWS was started because of my need to be doing more and experiencing more of what I like outside of my day job. Between cooking at home and being very hands on with a meal that I eventually try to replicate after one of my adventures out, is what I enjoy most about my hobby. Although I cook more at home than going out, both activities inspire the other. She mentioned to me her concerns about my hobby being expensive. Sure, eating out is very, very expensive, but so is shopping as a hobby and a gym membership for that hobby. I never actually thought about the financial commitment it can be...for others. I make Brunch with Sam as expensive as I want it to be. I could definitely be the person that goes around the city and writes about my favorite meals under $10 or visits all the 4 and 5 star establishments in the area. Which actually won’t be a bad feature idea but since I haven’t quite reached the step of planning out my posts, I spend my money based on what that week looks like...quite honestly. I don't get the meal budgets that NYT Food Critics get, of course. And if this week I just can't eat out like I would like, then I just can't make the post I want. One thing I am just not okay with, is letting money dictate my moves and wants. For too long I was letting that happen and kept putting Brunch with Sam on the back burner until I was financially ready. Little did I know, at the time, was that I didn't HAVE to eat these luxurious meals just for my blog to be valid. All of my posts are definitely fit for a millennial salary with a small disposable budget.
All this talk about money and sacrifices really just put me in a mood. I googled French brunch in lower Manhattan and Dirty French was the one with the most intriguing menu and location. I was ready to treat myself! No budget. I'm tired of having to think about it sometimes. Eating what I want is really my only desire in life right now...as trivial as that may sound to some.
I'm so happy I chose to spend my money at Dirty French. I was treated with nothing but amazing service and respect. I waltzed in wearing Dr. Marten heeled boots (Persephone), wide-legged jeans and a camo jacket. I felt slightly out of place as the setting is not quite lower east side grunge. I was eating alone of course and the hostess was more than pleasant. There was a live jazz band playing at a sound level that was still easy to hear your waiter. My waiter was Cesar. He was so, so kind. I remember at one point he apologized immensely for something I hadn't even noticed he messed up. The positive vibes and atmosphere in Dirty French was exactly what I needed this morning.
I've mentioned time and time again that I love a brunch menu that looks like it cares about its customers. The meals were not half-assed or rushed, but more thought through and carefully prepared.
As I browsed the menu, my eyes went right for the grilled oysters served with garlic butter and parsley. For my entree, I knew the duck hash confit had to be my final answer. While you wait for your meal and browse the menu, you also get a complimentary pastry tray. Since I was so hungry, I devoured the tray well before my first course arrived.
Cesar was so apologetic about the fact that my whole order came out at once, instead of the oysters first and then the duck. However, that went right over my head since I was just so excited to eat everything! What a sweetheart.
I'm not sure if I've had grilled oysters before...or if I've had grilled oysters I've enjoyed this much. I was so sad when I finished the last one. I wanted to take one home and share it with my boyfriend just so he could experience this mouth-watering treat. I ordered toast on the side just so I had enough bread to wipe each shell clean. Even writing about them right now is making me sad that I don't have a full tray in front of me. The garlic butter and parsley were caked on top giving you tons of flavor with each bite.
Duck is really one of my favorite types of meat. Thanks to my grandmother, I have been privy to eating duck almost all my life. It is a regular dish for my family around the holidays. She gets really fancy and makes a sweet but tangy strawberry gravy. The strawberries are boiled down until they are mostly withered, with the addition of some seasonings like rosemary and thyme, she pours in some grease and fat from the roasted duck and voila. Stove to table. So needless to say, I was born with an expensive palette.
This was my first time eating duck confit as a breakfast dish, though. There have been times I've ordered duck confit and found myself eating what looks like a leg over potatoes or veggies and featuring a sweet (sometimes fruity) sauce. This duck confit was served with crispy potatoes at the bottom, duck, and topped with a sunny-side-up egg. The mix of the egg yolk and the duck is the piece that made this dish a winner.
After my meal, I sat in the restaurant for awhile longer. The live jazz is really a nice touch, especially when you are dining alone. I would definitely return to Dirty French. As I briefly mentioned above, this restaurant is slightly above my normal price range, especially for a meal for one person. The bill came to a little over $100 including tip, I think. I honestly cannot remember, nor do I want to think about it much. The importance is that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the expense was well worth it.
“If you don’t lavish yourself with unnecessary luxuries, who will?” - 2 Chains