It was my first event of Vegas Uncork’d, Bon Appetit magazine’s extravagant weekend flooded with celebrity chefs and local favorites, and I burst into Daniel Boulud’s db Brasserie guns blazing. Vegas’ crazy energy was infectious and I immediately grabbed a carrot shrub champagne cocktail to get the party started.
Chef Daniel hosted a vegetarian lunch, in fact the only dedicated veggie event of Vegas Uncork’d, where he truly honored the vegetable from my first sip to my last spoonful of sundae. Vegetables are often neglected as a sad side dish or a bland “healthy” option, but chef Daniel’s inventive techniques like crusts and purees brought these veggies to the next level.
I was thrilled to meet Chef Daniel, who I’ve only been previously acquainted with via sampling a few tasty dinners at DBGB in downtown Manhattan and DC, bar hopping at db Brasserie in Singapore, and lusting after the menu at Daniel, his arguably most famous restaurant with two Michelin stars. He was just as passionate and warm-hearted in person as the ambiance in his French restaurants around the world.
I stole Chef Daniel away from floor service to fire off four quick brunch-related questions. Daniel, you’re an honorary Bitch Who Brunches in our books!
What’s your favorite brunch dish?
My favorite brunch dish? I had it in Palm Springs at Cheeky’s. Best place for brunch in Palm Springs. The dish I had was huevos rancheros, where it was done by a true Mexican chef and it was really, really special. That was the latest best. The avocado, the tomato and peppers, the crushed beans, the eggs underneath, which was right under the tortilla, so it was super runny eggs.
If you cook brunch at home, what’s your go-to? What do you cook?
I like to make frittatas or things like that, but with a lot of vegetables. I love to make a frittata of vegetables with herbs, truffle, depends what it is, the season. My favorite is scrambled eggs, and I make scrambled eggs very, very soft and light and runny and French-style, where you have a double boiler and they’re curdled perfectly, but not lumpy. And with that, caviar and smoked salmon. I have my own smoked salmon I produce with garlic. So smoked salmon, caviar, scrambled eggs.
If you’re going to go out to brunch in New York City, what are your favorite restaurants?
I love Boulud Sud, my restaurant. I go often there for brunch. My favorite there is the Tunisian brik. We do a Tunisian brik, where inside there is an egg but also there is tuna and a little bit of tomato and sweet peppers. It’s done in this very, very thin, crispy, fried in olive oil kind of big, big, big ravioli with very thin dough. The eggs inside are runny. On Sunday I go to my own restaurant. That’s my problem. And then DBGB downtown has a mean brunch. A lot of cocktails, a lot of different things happening there for brunch. If I have brunch downtown, I like Russ & Daughters. I think it’s very good. I like Balthazar—of course is a classic. I have friends who like to go there, so sometimes I go. Upper East Side I like [Le] Bilboquet. It’s more of a French bistro. Little Owl in downtown, Prune is great.
Do you do a mimosa or a Bloody Mary if you’re having a drink at brunch?
Neither. Champagne straight. I do like a Bloody Mary. I mean I had just one at Cheeky’s [in Palm Springs]. They make this amazing Bloody Mary, where the vegetable is soaking in vodka the whole time overnight, and then they make the Bloody Mary with it. It’s like a little spicy, the vodka already. That was really good.
Bitch Biz: Bon Appetit magazine and its PR firm invited Bitches Who Brunch to attend Vegas Uncork’d.