Okay Fine, I’ll Tout The Sprout
Has anyone else noticed the current culinary love affair with the Brussel Sprout? I always thought of it as the out-of-town runt cousin of the already annoying cabbage. But the Brussel Sprout is officially having its moment in the spotlight. Perhaps the greatest ugly-duckling-turned-swan vegetable story of all time.
The only love I had for the brussel sprout as a kid was on the Muppet Show. Remember the Swedish Chef? I distinctly remember watching an episode in our den in London (I was probably 4th grade?) and my dad and I laughed so hard it hurt as the Swedish Chef used a revolver to shoot a head of lettuce which made it rain brussel sprouts.
Apparently the sketch is timeless. I about peed in my pants to see it again:
That circa 1980 bit was the last time I even gave a brussel sprout the time of day.
Until last year.
Suddenly the little buggers are everywhere! They are popping up on every menu in town, out of town. Fine dining, casual spots. People are pinning brussel sprout recipes on Pinterest. What in the world, who flipped this switch?
Last November my friend Melissa from the Gluten Free for Good blog did a post about roasted brussel sprouts for breakfast and I have to say, it was the first moment ever that a brussel sprout actually looked appealing to me.
I didn’t make the recipe — but I actually kinda thought about it. They’re obviously good for you. I believe the claims that these little cabbage nibblets are highly nutritious. Apparently they have anticancer superpowers, which is always a plus. It’s just hard to overcome my childhood gag reflex at the mere thought of them. Although Melissa’s did look pretty good…
Well, I finally toedipped into the brussel sprout lovefest this past Valentines. We dined at the Little House Bistro in Mobile (delish) and they were an option on the holiday menu. I have to say, not bad. It wasn’t love at first bite or anything. I mean, I didn’t like like them, but I did like them as a friend. Maybe even a little secret crush?
Well, the secret crush has evolved into a full fledged torrid love affair. I have found the brussel sprout of my heart people. At The Snack Bar, right here in our neighborhood in Austin, they flash fry brussel sprouts and serve them with a housemade aioli sauce.
Do I hear harps playing?
Because we have about 7-10 more days of enjoyable spring weather before Hades-like temps arrive with a vengeance and start choking the life force out of us, the Professor was adamant we walk down South Congress to dinner last night. The breeze was lovely, and even at dusk the moon was already big and juicy. He was right, it was a beautiful night to go al fresca.
We wove through the throngs of First Thursday visitors (or as I like to call them tourists) with a lackadaisical ease. Okay, that’s a lie. In a frustrated effort to get around some tourists bottlenecking at Guero’s Beer Garden, I misstepped, tripped, blew out my flip flop, almost busted on my face, and wound up with a bloody toe.
But I immediately forgot my swollen toe pain and bloody suffering when I saw the new sign at The Austin Motel/The Snack Bar. (Some credit also goes to the wine.)
Now if you’re at all familiar with one of the most popular, beloved and photographed bits of graffiti which is on the wall of Jo’s Coffee…
…then you too will smile at the new sign next door at The Austin Motel/Snack Bar:
I love you so much. I love you more. I love you so much. I love you more. Seated between these two signs, the Professor and I found ourselves in a loop repeating these phrases to each other throughout dinner.
I do love the Snack Bar. Cool scene, slow service (which is okay because we wanted to lounge) yummy wine and good food. We shared a spread of baba ghanoush, hummus, manchego mac n cheese, Mediterranean flatbread pizza, and my new all time favorite brussel sprouts.
These brussel sprouts are salty and crispy and sumptuous. I can’t stop thinking about them this morning and wondering if I can get over there and order some to go for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.
Yes, thanks to the Snack Bar (and let’s be honest, the term “flash fry”) my love has sprouted for the sprout.
I believe the feeling is mutual.