Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tavern: Please sir, do not pass the butter

I have many irrational fears. Most of them are related to germs and cockroaches crawling over my face while I’m sleeping, but I also fear silly things like forgetting to bring my lunch to work and running out of the dried cranberries I like to put in my oatmeal. Perhaps the most irrational of my fears both food and germ-related, however, involves Paula Deen’s favorite ingredient – butter.

I blame my visceral opposition to the slightly yellowed sticks of emulsified fat on my mother who refuses to touch the stuff outside of cooking and baking (incidentally, she blames her older brother who is the reason she stopped liking it as a child). Of course, to be completely honest, my fear can also be traced back to my feminine desire to continue fitting into my current dress size.

While butter does wonders for a slice of warm bread, it does not do any favors to one’s waistline, and as such, I’ve always approached it with a trembling hand. I cringe when a cookie recipe calls for two sticks, shudder when I see a slab oozing over a steak, and feel the urge to run for the car when confronted with the stench of popcorn at a movie theatre lest it permeate into my fat cells through osmosis. Though, to be fair, I could also be reacting to the high concentration of children in an enclosed space (see germ fears).

Even so, certain occasions demand a pat or two (or five) of butter, and in some situations, I will closet my fears for a brief and dramatic foray with the product.

Birthdays are one such occasion.

A couple weekends ago, Sarah from the Delicious Life/ TasteSpotting, Lauren from Harb Knock Life, and I took Sook from Yutjangsah out for a birthday brunch at Tavern. While I made the tragic mistake of ordering “just a salad” the first time I went to the beautiful Brentwood restaurant for a midday meal, I decided that I could justify being a bit more indulgent for such an important celebration.

Not only did I do something I never ever do – drink alcohol (specifically Prosecco) – before 1 pm, I also ran amuck with my least favorite form of fat. I molested my slice of tender house-baked sourdough bread with the softened butter and accompanying rock salt. I insisted we order the butter-massaged cinnamon monkey bread ($3) for the table (and proceeded to eat three pieces). And, in a move that was so un-me that I think I may have been having an out-of-body experience at the time, I requested the most over-the-top, butter-saturated dish on the menu – the Tavern “benedict” with prosciutto and lemon ($16.).

While my dining companions daintily nibbled on smoked fish with toasted rye ($16), a wild mushroom frittata ($16) with the yellowest eggs we’d ever seen, and a simply dressed spinach salad with fennel, citrus and avocado, I corrupted my vessel with more butter than I ever remember ingesting in a single sitting before. (Aside from the time I inhaled ten of my neighbor’s fresh-from-the-oven snicker doodles...)

My heart glugged with each bite of the prosciutto, cheese-laden brioche bread that was also lavishly accosted with poached eggs and a stream of a bastardized lemon-infused hollandaise. The lemon and endive provided some relief, but ultimately, all I could taste was butter on top of more butter. It coated my mouth, left a grease trail on my lips and oozed out from my pores like a vicious odor. The dish was good in the way that bacon wrapped bacon would be good, but ultimately, too much for a butter-phob like me to handle.

The creamsicle coupe ($10) that Sook ordered for dessert pulled me out from the yellow sea I was drowning in, and I clung to the refreshing citrus segments and orange and vanilla ice cream scoops like they were life preservers. It was the healthiest thing I ate the entire meal.

When I finally laid my grease-stained knife to rest, I felt dirty all over – as though cockroaches had been crawling over my face, and little germy children had been wiping their grubby fingers on my dress. I happily returned to more familiar territory – green vegetables – at dinner time. Try as I might, even on birthday occasions, I will never be Paula Deen.

11648 San Vicente Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Phone: (310) 806-6464


SinoSoul said...

Are you shitting me? I ate a GLOB of butter straight-up Tuesday night at Bastide, with a knife. Butter on Knife, insert into mouth.

Have you been to Palate? They also serve their own churned butter. It's effin' fantastic. I'm thinking there should a tour of all the house-churned butters in LA.

It's been a while since Tavern's fat slid down my throat. Maybe it's time for a re-visit.

April said...

That entire brunch sounds incredible! Especially all the butter! I've eaten at Tavern for dinner but it seems like I must try the brunch.

yutjangsah said...

Butter is the devil I will not disagree with you. But brunch was awesome! yay Tavern!

Jenn said...

Butter and brunch are awesome. My blog ain't called Bread plus Butter for nothin'. hehehe... I must try Tavern.

Lauren said...

Tony's comment freaks me out

weezermonkey said...

Who doesn't heart butter? :)

Kung Food Panda said...

Whatever Weezermonkey said! :)

Diana said...

Tony - Haven't been to Palate, but have been wanting to do their Sunday tasting or Tuesday cheese night. Maybe I'll call it a special occasion and allow myself to eat some globs of butter? We'll see...

April - I love it for brunch! It's so light and beautiful in the room during the day. I hear amazing things about their pancakes too. I think that's what I'll order next time. With the buter on the side. ;)

Sook - Best. Birthday. Brunch. EVER.

Jenn - I was thinking about you as I was writing this! Thought you might get a kick out of it.

Lauren - Everything Tony says freaks me out.

Weezer, Danny - It just doesn't feel so great when that grease hits my lips!

Anna A. said...

At least the butter was somewhat soft this time. I prefer the vegan buttery spread. It's probably still somehow bad for my arteries but at least I don't see Paula Dean's face when I eat it.

stuffycheaks said...

sounds like my kind of brunch! prosecco and eggs bennie :)

Gastronomer said...

Darling, embrace butter! Pretty please? It's so very good!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

I love butter how do you not! I want butter on everything and I never stop to think about how bad it is for me =). After reading this post I can't stop thinking about monkey bread. I will report back about my butter consumption today and you better believe my overdose will be blamed on you!

Diana said...

Anna - Yes, it was perfectly soft! All the better to spread over the bread... curses!!

Stuffy Cheaks - I think I'll skip the eggs benie next time -- pancakes with butter are more my style. ;)

Cathy - Nope, can't do it! Unless it's disguised as a cookie. :)

Nastassia - Haha, well I'd never know it from looking at you! You'll have to show me that butter report when you are done.