Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brunchy Baby

Ordinarily I would avoid a restaurant in the first few weeks after it gets reviewed, leaving it to the newbies, but Ettamae's Cafe is a only few blocks from home and a regular destination for me, so I broke my own rule.

Part of my motivation for doing so was that Fuzzy Baby was playing during brunch today and they always put on a good show. So I bit the bullet, ambled over and found my little neighborhood spot filled to bursting.

I was kindly offered the one remaining table, but I couldn't live with myself if I took up a table by myself and then a four-top, or even a two-top, came in. So instead I took the stool in front of the register where people usually wait for to-go orders. Laura said it was just fine and that was good enough for me.

Fuzzy Baby was on a break when I arrived, so I chatted with Laura and watched the endless amount of egg poaching Matt was doing. The servers were going up and down the stairs non-stop ("How many calories do you think you've burned?" one waiting customer asked. "You can have all the stuffed French toast you want!" said another).

The corned beef sandwich isn't available on Saturdays, but the corned beef hash is and I'd been dying to try it because I'm such a fan of Matt's corned beef. With a couple of eggs, a bowl of fresh fruit and some thick toast, I couldn't have been happier on my stool in the sunny front window with the construction theater of 2 Street just outside.

The hash was every bit as wonderful as I'd expected it to be, flavorful and full of bits of beef. The fruit was a mixture of grapes, cantaloupe and the ripest pineapple I could have hoped for (pet peeve: I hate trying to eat unripe pineapple).

When I got to the point where everything was gone except some toast, I asked for jam and was given blackberry jam from Nana's Homemades. Bursting with the flavor of ripe blackberries, I slathered on a layer of jam thicker than the toast and savored every bite. Nana, clearly you know what you're doing.

When Fuzzy Baby came back to start their second set, it was as the Black Stripes, a White Stripes cover band. They even had the wigs and the red and white outfits for the look.

Their first three songs paid homage to the Detroit rockers (including "Seven Nation Army," a personal favorite...I love how much Jack's 7-string guitar comes off sounding like a bass line), then wigs were removed and they got back to the musical business of being Fuzzy Baby, always a pleasure to hear.

People continued to arrive practically non-stop while I was there, probably a combination of the recent review and, as more than a few acknowledged, to hear the band. It probably didn't hurt that it was a beautiful fall day to spend on the balcony, either.

Being so close to the register, I heard customer after customer rave about the food on their way out (although I didn't hear anything I didn't already know). It's gratifying to see that so many people are discovering the J-Ward joint with the Brooklyn vibe.

Given Ettamae's limited space, Laura was saying that their musical brunches will have to be limited to duos. Low Branches or Lobo Marino anyone?

As a big fan of both local music and Matt's food, I'd say either band would go great with that corned beef hash and the blackberry jam.


  1. Great idea Karen! I'll get on that.

  2. You guys would fit perfectly at Ettamae's!