Birthday Morn: Wintry Table for Two

January 21, 2012 !!!!!!!!!

I entered the world at 8:36am, on January 21, 1984, at Gothenburg Memorial Hospital.  I know how my name came to be (maybe I’ll share that story soon).  I know my dad was sure as shootin’ I’d be a boy.  I know he was not convinced and sent the nurse to check baby me again (wishful thinking…that therapy bill will make it to him one of these days).  It occurs to me there is more of this story I should know, and I’d very much like to hear my family regale the events of that January 21st in 1984.  However, my family has always made a point to talk about 8:36am, so every year, even when my birthday falls on a Saturday, when most would sleep late, I like to look at a clock at my birth time and know that time is special.

Those forecast snowflakes flurrying around my birth time were not lying…

Fortunately, it wasn’t enough snow to prevent a brunch outing.

Where to celebrate such a special brunch?  Based on this and that, it was a pretty easy choice really…

E2
5904 Bryant Street, (Highland Park) Pittsburgh, PA 15206

For the sake of review:

“Located in Highland Park, E2 Pittsburgh is the first restaurant of Chef Kate Romane.  Offering rustic Mediterranean fare, the menu is small but ever changing and features local produce and locally produced goods whenever possible.”

The pale green, the flowers, the writing on the tables, the weathered floors, the long wooden bench, the mismatched frames… they charm me every time!

As does the donut menu!  On this visit, the ginger sugar donuts enticed us.  I love when that brown bag of warm, fresh donuts arrive!  It conjures so many memories…

The memory lane with the hole in the middle…?
The old cronies would gather at Daylight Donuts, the local donut source in Gothenburg.  My dad still tells me how even the cheapest old gent melted around little me and treated me to a donut every now and then.  When I was in elementary school in Pennsylvania, my sisters would walk me to the small shed that was Dengler’s Bakery.  After a swim at the nearby public pool, nothing replenished an exhausting swimmer like a gigantic, Dengler’s jelly donut!  My sisters would also bring me my ideal donut- a chocolate iced ring- after a shift at their grocery store jobs.  When I worked at “Harvest Days” at my brother-in-law’s family’s dairy farm, the warmth of the cider donut was a pleasant break from the gray skies of the changing seasons.  I have a lot of donut memories as it turns out, but I doubt any of those memory donuts would compare to these e2 “omg” donuts.

If dense and fluffy can coexist, the two adjectives mingle happily in these donuts while the ginger sugar adds an extra bit of spice.  Just ask Matt at Espresso a Mano, I am routinely a cappuccino drinker, but e2‘s bottomless coffee is worth noting.  Their Building New Hope brew is not only good (especially good with a ginger sugar donut), but it is brewed from beans with a good cause!

The name of our brunch game is always sharing.  Maybe one day we’ll find a brunch spot with rotating tables!  Maybe one day I’ll have a brunch spot with rotating tables!

Mush
Polenta with maple and pecans.  Topped with bacon and sausage.

One might assume I am a huge polenta proponent based on my corn obsession, but in general, I’m fairly ambivalent to the yellow mass of mush.  It is a benign mass of mush after all, BUT when one starts talking maple, pecans and just the right types of meats, I perk up a tad.  Rightfully so!  The bacon and sausage bites had a tinge of maple, and there are very few foods I find cannot be improved with a tinge of maple.  This was a syrup sweetened score for the polenta team.

French Toast
Banana walnut over berry mess with cream cheese and maple.

French toast is the dessert of brunch and thus, a staple in my weekend world.  I even made an exception to my typical no-banana rule (that’s another story) because it was my birthday brunch, and my birthday brunch would not be complete without those stacks of toast.

The berry mess was art to my eyes!

Left in awe of a good brunch, it was time for snowventures!

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