Red eye flights are rough. I hobbled off the flight to JFK, still bleary eyes and yawning, barely awake. I was barely awake all the way into manhattan and all the way to my friend’s apartment. Seeing her woke me up though and we slipped under the covers and unleashed a non stop catch up session. By the time we paused for breath, somehow we had breezed through 3hrs straight to noon. Time for some coffee and sustenance!!
Marseilles had come highly recommended. Just a few blocks away from my friend’s apartment, the French bistro was popular among locals and out-of-towners alike. There were a few sets of outdoor patio tables available along the sidewalk but we chose to go inside.
We were directed to the bar to wait for 5minutes as a table was cleared for us. There were yellow-gold light fixtures: massive circular disc-shaped nodes of brightness. The walls reflected a similar hue of muted yellow-gold trimmed in a deeper shade of reddish brown of sorts. The color conveyed a sense of calm, bright but sedate, with sophistication yet a youthful freshness.
As we ordered, we were served a bread basket of freshly baked pumpkin-carrot mini muffins and a couple of other interesting breads, with a side platter of butter and jam. While the breads were nice and warm to the touch, it was somehow still not sufficient to warm up the cold butter: maybe consider room temp butter next time? Just a thought 🙂
I can’t remember whether we waited long for our breakfast. Time just flew by as we sampled the mini muffins and talked: it had been ages since we had met. Before we knew it, massive platters of our brunch-goodness showed up. And we were ready to dig in!
My friend ordered the eggs Copenhagen: think eggs Benedict with smoked salmon instead of the Canadian bacon. I tasted some of it and it was definitively tasty: lovely runny poached eggs with silken and just mildly smoky salmon. The creaminess of the egg yolks and the salmon was well complemented by the creamy hollandaise which could have been one notch more lemony.
I had ordered the frittata because of the novel flavor combinations promised: it came ‘stuffed’ with Swiss chard, raisins and toasted pine nuts, then topped with pesto sauce. Ok you have to admit that that’s pretty unique. When I ordered the dish, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it would be a little nutty and a little sweet, and also savory from the Swiss chard, but I could not imagine how all of those tastes would come together and meld.
Apparently really well! I forked off a bit of the frittata, some of my experimental bravado muted at the prospect of now tasting something so brazen. I made sure to get some of the Swiss chard, a couple of raisins an a few teeny pine nuts, swirled around the eggy forkful in the pesto sauce and ‘bite’.
Interestingly enough, the sweet of the raisins and the toasted nuttiness was just the perfect flavor with the Swiss chard. All that I had imagined and more. The egg was fluffy and perfectly done, weaving in and out of the luscious green of the Swiss chard. The sweet of the raisin was probably my least favorite part of it and maybe some day I’ll try something like this, substituting some garlic in place of the raisins.
The frittata came with a side plate of green salad with cranberries in it: yum! The side salad came with some lovely mild-golden home fries: reputed on yelp as dried out, but actually pretty ok. Pretty good complement to the frittata.
My friend and I had both ordered a side of the spicy lamb sausage. Three links of mildly browned lamb sausage came dipped in two sauces: what seemed like a peppery but syrupy base, and then a panna-cotta like yogurt sauce. The lamb sausage was incredibly delicious, alone, paired with the home fries and the frittata, or just dipped into the nectary yogurt sauce. Lip smacking amazing.
Marseilles was an interesting ride through novel and sometimes unpredictable combinations of flavors of the sweet, the nutty, the savory an crispy and spicy and creamy!