Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breakfast: A Culinary Garage Sale Afterthought

Chicago chefs pitched in to donate items from their kitchens to benefit Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago Scholarship and the Green City Market Farmer Education Programs. 
I would love to see this as an annual event and next year I’ll be the first in line and I challenge anyone to take me on for the position. Garage Sale 101: The early bird gets the goods.
I did get there early and with only 12 people ahead of me (I expected the lines to be longer and 5 minutes after I arrived they were) I window shopped until the line started moving a little after 8 AM. I knew with 12 people ahead of me the rhinestone studded Seltzer Bottle was gone so my expectations for actually getting “the good stuff” was pretty low.
The donations were priced to sell and I got what I was after – 6 beautiful steak knives from Allen Brothers for a mere $12.00.
Can you believe after all these years and after serving steak so often, I have never had steak knives? Truth is you really don’t need them when you buy good steaks but I wanted them anyway.
Bargain hunters found “treasures” ( glassware, menus, cookbooks and artwork) and kitchen tools and equipment (knives, sautĂ© pans, warming lights, bakeware, etc.) from noted chefs' restaurants including Grant Achatz's Alinea , Rick Bayless ' test kitchen and Frontera Grill, NAHA and Charlie Trotter's, as well as Abby Mandel's cookie-cutter collection.
Too bad I had so many places to go today otherwise I would have purchased any one of the magnificent sweets that were sold including treats from Hoosier Mama’s Paula Haney (love Hoosier Mama’s), CafĂ© des Architectes Patrick Fahy, Bittersweet’s Judy Contino, Gale Gand, Hot Chocolate’s Mindy Segal (my AM Addiction), Nightwood’s Matthew Rice, Prairie Fire’s Sarah Stegner (bring on the Ricotta Pancakes), Publican’s Sam Radov and Vanille Patisserie’s Keli Fayard.
I spent one hour at the sale. The first half hour was great but as my breakfast buddy, Anna, a Political Science Professor at DePaul later said “way too many people for me.”
I laughed. How many people I know have said that?
Truth of the matter is you had to be a warrior to live through this sale. If you didn’t grab it fast it was gone. If you blinked twice…well, forget it.

Honestly, I wish I would have grabbed Anna something to make her trip into Chicago worthwhile but she was busy chowing down on the Huevos Rancheros and Open Faced Torta across the street at XOCO and didn’t complain one bit that she didn’t find anything at the sale.
Just goes to prove that a great breakfast will help you forget just about anything.

Bon Appetit!