Saturday happened to be a ridiculously gluttonous day for The Skinny Pig. I had two brunches in a row. You can't make this stuff up. My first brunch, we will call Brunch 1 (like Thing 1 and Thing 2), was at Betel and it was different and yummy. My second brunch (Brunch 2) was at Olio, and let me tell you, nothing makes you feel more like a fat pig then eating a bunch of pizza after you've already had brunch.
Saturday was Betel's (pronounced like beetle) first day open for brunch, and I must say I was rather impressed. I've never had a Southeast Asian/Thai/Australian brunch before, but I am glad I did. The Son in Law Eggs (a traditional Thai wedding dish) were probably my favorite, along with the Banh Mi Burger. Son in Law Eggs are deep fried hard boiled eggs topped with a sweet & sour tamarind sauce and fried shallots. If you love hard boiled eggs (and anything fried) then you will love this. It's definitely a gigantic leap from the usual eggs benedict and goat cheese omelettes of brunch, but a very welcome one in my opinion. Paired with Betel's version of the Bloody Mary, it's an awesome combo; and I normally hate Bloody Mary's but this one was good.
The Banh Mi burger was cooked perfectly and had a lime-chili mayo that gave it a nice kick; it was topped with carrots, cabbage and cilantro as well. My hatred for cilantro hasn't changed, but being in this food scene for so long, I've learned to appreciate it in certain foods (guacamole, for example). In this case, this burger didn't need the cilantro, but it added a little something to it. And another thing I liked about this burger (besides that amazing Banh Mi bread) was that it looked like it was going to be a big, greasy mess to eat, but it wasn't; everything basically stayed in it's place and didn't fall apart.
The Betel Pearl Balls (yes, Betel offers dim sum for brunch) were good too, but they were a bit salty. Pearl Balls are traditional dim sum: steamed, glutinous rice balls filled with pork (and in this case, mushrooms). At Betel, they're served with sriracha and soy sauce, but truthfully I don't think they needed the soy sauce, and I am usually a salt abuser. We also had the steamed pork buns, which were nice and fluffy, but lacking something. Maybe a spice? The pork was very tender, but I felt it needed something..
After Brunch 1, we head to Brunch 2 at Olio. Why? Because I can. And because I was told that they use 30 year old yeast from Italy to make their dough. So I was either getting moldy pizza or delicious pizza - and judging by the crowd, I figured it was the latter.
I love a good pizza. To me it's basically about the crust and the sauce. Sometimes I'm not even in the mood for the cheese, and Saturday was one of those days. I feel that if a restaurant makes a good marinara sauce, their pizza will be pretty tasty anyway, so I like to try the pies that have no cheese. At Olio, the Marinara pie is just marinara sauce, garlic, basil and oregano. Mmmm. Garlic. The other pie we tried was an ode to the flavors of Fall: pumpkin, smoked mozzarella, and speck. These two pies were like polar opposites – simple and traditional vs.complex and modern.
Turns out, 30 year old yeast wins. I loved this dough. It looks like it's going to be heavy because the edges are so fluffy, but it's really not; it's thin and crispy on the outside, and chewy and light on the inside. The marinara sauce was delicious, so I really enjoyed my marinara pie, and the pumpkin/speck work of art was also tasty, and very "Fall." You can actually smell the smoke from the smoked mozzarella as you go to take each bite.
Lastly, this day of testing my stomach-stretching ends with the piece de resistance: the Nutella pie. Father, forgive me for I have sinned; I have no idea how I accomplished this, but I imagine it was the work of the devil. This thing was all kinds of evil: two pizza crusts sandwiched together, filled with heaping mounds of nutella and almonds, topped with powdered sugar. I can't deal. Who am I? To say that it was difficult to move for the rest of the day would be an understatement. I had a grilled chicken paillard and spinach for dinner later that night though, so it's ok. Most people probably just wouldn't have eaten for the rest of the day, but I am Skinny Pig, and I have a reputation to uphold. Though if I eat two brunches in one day again, I probably won't be Skinny Pig for much longer…