Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Load of Texas and Toast at Local 44

Quiz: Which of these plates is the Shitake Scrapple and which is the PB&J French Toast Sticks at Local 44? The new brunch menu features both, vegan to boot.

It's tricky, I know. Only the dusting of chocolate flake would give the french toast away, the baby pool of banana sauce could have been the kitchen's best go at vegan gravy.

These french toast sticks are not your kiddie version - they lean on the savory side, even though the inside has a smidgen of jelly and some peanut butter (in my opinion, not enough). A few bites was an entry into brunch, but I could not imagine ordering this for my entree. As amusing as the idea was, the color brown will simply not hold me over very long. I needed some greens and some protein. Which is why I decided on some vegan Migas with queso sauce (nutritional yeast and soy milk).

Migas is a dish that I get romantic about because it reminds me of a road trip to Texas where I tried to eat as much migas as possible during SXSW. I haven't had migas since then, because you can't find it in Philadelphia. Until now.

Local 44's brunch menu gets my kudos for clearly labeling vegan and vegetarian selections and knocking out enough to keep you coming back - there's more than an item or two to flirt with. It's like a vegan buffet.

And just like a buffet, there are a few things that you may not be into, but you can surely expect some creative grub.

The Shitake Scrapple, for one, was fine as an interpretation. I would rather have mushrooms, personally, but I know some people get really excited about having this fried breakfast side. Another case of the romantics, I suppose.

The Migas would have been delicious, except it was ferociously hot, and I am the kind of person who dabbles in jalapenos for breakfast. Let me remind you of our hot sauce collection, which includes a sauce from the hottest pepper in the world. The whole time I talked about how hot it was, I kept shoving forkfuls in my mouth, assuming I would adjust to the heat. Even with the forest of frisee on the side, that never really happened. I am still convinced that this would be a great dish without the hostile jalapeno takeover.

Overall, I don't eat brunch often and am not the biggest backer of brunch as a meal, so I will probably stick to Local 44 for West Philly nights. For vegan brunch options in our city, however,  it is worth exploring.

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