Sunday, July 29, 2007
World's Longest Brunch at Mildred Pierce
Today, my favourite food-loving friends and I went to the eagerly anticipated World's Longest Brunch at Mildred Pierce. It was an event put on to mark the closing of the restaurant after 17 years in business as well as an attempt to break a Guinness world record for having the most people seated at the same table for brunch.
You would think that serving brunch to 400 people at the same table would be a nightmare, but as usual they made it look easy and beautiful. It was one long, continuous table (stretching down Lisgar Street), but logistically it was organized into sections of 8. All of the food was served family-style from common platters and self-serve coffee stations were set up, so reliance on waitstaff was kept to a minimum. The table was covered with checkered plastic tablecloths, decorated with gorgeous sunflower centrepieces, and shaded by lovely white awnings.
We started with freshly-squeezed orange juice and baskets of scones and biscuits accompanied by homemade strawberry jam. There was enough for everyone to have one of each. The scones and biscuits were basically butter with a little bit of flour, I think. So, so buttery.
Next came the Tomato, Basil and Asiago Tart served with lightly dressed mixed greens and crispy bacon. The tart was fanastic. I had seen this tart on the menu many times, but I always had to have the Veda's Choice (eggs benedict), so I never got to try it. It was basically a quiche, but one made in heaven. The egg custard was soft and velvety, mixed with generous amounts of Asiago and touched lightly with tomato and basil. I loved it. And how they were able to get it to all 400 of us while it was still warm and perfect, I have no idea.
If you can believe it, the next course was those enormous, impossibly fluffy blueberry pancakes. They put platters down with enough so that everyone could have one, but they were more than happy to bring more upon request. The people in the 8 next to us didn't show up, so there was an entire plate of pancakes that were in danger of being cleared and perhaps thrown away. Earlier in the morning, Darcy had said that if there were any leftovers, I should bring them home. So, I was prepared. I had a Tupperware container as well as a few large Ziploc freezer bags in my tote. The large Ziploc bag was the perfect size to hold all those pancakes. They're living happily in my freezer right how. I also made away with the rest of the jam and maple syrup that Michael discreetly poured into an empty water bottle. Shhh. No telling.
Even after all that, there was a dessert course. It was delicious, fresh watermelon and pecan squares that they thoughtfully served in a takeaway box (perhaps assuming that people would be too full to eat them). We rose to the occasion, of course, but I did end up taking 3 pieces home with me (which, as I write this are long gone). I had the pecan square in the restaurant a few months ago and like then, it was to die for. Fresh pecans, buttery (again) crust. Too good.
Just as I expected, Mildred Pierce put on an amazing event and managed to make everyone feel taken care of even with 400 guests. What always pleasantly surprises me is their attention to small details and unarguable quality of food and service. I know that Donna Dooher and Kevin Gallagher are going to open a new restaurant in the fall, so I won't be too sad, but I will miss Mildred Pierce. Today, we decided that we would have a brunch party before the summer was over where we would make things from the Mildred Pierce Out to Brunch cookbook and watch the old 40s movie that the restaurant was named after. Perhaps we should make it a monthly event to tide us over until the new restaurant opens.