I study the menu in consternation, my brow taut with anxiety.
"It's not here," I think frantically. I glance across the table at Cathy from Gastronomy Blog's menu, hoping that it's just a misprint on mine – hoping that I'm wrong to suspect that Canelé is no longer serving the chickpea pancake with fried egg, feta and harissa for brunch.
I'd been planning to order the dish since Cathy, Amy from Roaming Belly, and Laurie from G-Ma's Bakery, had scheduled our brunch date at the Atwater Village local's spot two weeks prior. I had even announced it to them via e-mail after analyzing my options at home that Friday night. For once, my mind was made up. I wasn't going to get Canelé's souffle-like French toast again, I was going to get a savory delight instead – the chickpea pancake – and that was the end of the discussion.
Or so I thought.
"I don't see it." I say finally, looking up at my dining companions in confusion. "It should be between the Quiche Lorraine and the Soft-Scrambled Eggs."
They shake their heads – they don't have an answer for me either.
My eyes narrow over the replacement dish – Fried farro with a fried egg, bacon and sriracha ($11.50).
It sounds good, but most things with bacon are. Pork fat – in any incarnation – has become almost tiringly trendy. Everybody wants to put it in and on everything, and often times it's done without much thought as to how it will actually enhance or integrate into the dish.
I don't want to have bacon just to have bacon. If I wanted that, I'd just order a side of bacon ($4.50).
But the waitress is enthusiastic about the farro. Her face lights up when I mention it. It lights up even more when she describes it. "So good." She insists.
I trust her. So do Cathy and Amy – all three of us order it for our brunch.
It takes some time for our food to come out (everything is made to order in the small open kitchen), but I know as soon as I see the wobbly yolk of the fried egg teetering over the heap of farro that I'm going to love the dish.
Every component on the plate makes sense. The nutty farro has been prepared similarly to fried rice with ginger and heady punches of garlic and green onions. It's the perfect base for the oozing egg and fatty hunks of bacon that are generously interspersed throughout the plate. I love the kick from the sriracha, and am glad that it’s served in a separate cup so I can add it at will. The earthy, spicy, sweet, and savory elements meld together perfectly, and the bacon is the proper lubricant to bring a touch of decadence to the mostly wholesome dish.
By the time I’m scraping up the last few kernels of farro, the chickpea pancake has been long forgotten. The farro was everything I didn’t know I wanted – including the fatty bits of bacon.
3219 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039-1831