Every year in December, my girlfriends and I attend the opera for a special holiday treat. One of my favorite things about the opera is that the stories still apply to modern life. I always learn something profound from the opera that applies to me. Last year, Carmen taught me I ought to get rid of my two-timing boyfriend, perhaps outside the town’s bull ring with a dagger.
This year, instead of an evening dinner and murderous final scene, we chose a matinée opera buffa and weekend brunch at Bottega Louie in downtown Los Angeles. We were hoping for happy endings.
Arriving just in time for mimosas to be respectable, we scoured the brunch menu. It was glorious. Like the dashing Count Almaviva, the Pancetta & Burrata Scramble with pancetta, carmelized cippolini onions, mushrooms and burrata mesmerized us with its flashy good looks, cloaked in its down-to-earth demeanor. It was rich, delicious and satisfying in the way only an egg breakfast can be.
The innocent, lovely and spirited Rosina herself must have inspired the Farmer’s Market Breakfast with poached eggs, haricots verts, potatoes, golden baby beets, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes & Reggiano parmesan. Rustic, beautiful and nourishing; we’d never seen a breakfast item like it.
But the best dish on the menu was the common and proud French Toast made with brioche, macerated berries and maple syrup. Like Figaro himself, this dish represented the “common man” breakfast bursting with self-confidence. Just as Figaro sings loudly and happily how everyone in town needs him, this humble toast was the shining highlight of the meal.
We can all learn something real from the Bottega and the Barber: the best recipe for happiness is a little humor, a splash of hot pink and warm maple syrup over toast for brunch.
key west ferry
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