I really enjoyed Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. It seems as though many chefs get their passion for food from childhood experiences, and Gabrielle is no exception. Her journey is rough at times, but overwhelmingly the presence of good food — inspired by travels around the world, the massive parties of her youth, and her very Italian mother-in-law — is an important element of her life. I’d love to sit at her restaurant, Prune, for a day and soak it all in.
After several attempts, I finally got the chance to have brunch at Prune on my recent trip to New York! My mom read her book as well and was excited to join me. I haven’t been eating meat so I was a little worried about the menu (her book title includes both the words “blood” and “bones,” remember?) but figured brunch would be a safer bet. Since I was flying back to LA later that day, I had to check out of the hotel first, giving us a late start. The wait was an excruciating hour…we were especially hungry…but the sun was shining so we weren’t totally freezing, which was a big plus. Finally, we were sat at a tiny table for two. There’s an art to navigating this small space which involved some table maneuvering and sliding across a banquet bench, but less room equals fewer diners and speedy service. Within minutes after ordering, we received our Dutch-style pancakes — baked in the oven, studded with pears, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. If you’re thinking this breakfast looks exceptionally good, well you’d be right. It was delicious. The inside had a cake-like texture but the outside had a nice crispy finish.
We sat with our coffees and caught up over a long-awaited meal. The parting note — licorice candy in the shape of dogs — was the perfect touch to make us feel like we had just been catered to by a friend, not a restaurant.
Looks like I’ll be getting another little fix when the movie adaptation comes out…