A week ago, we collected a couple dozen chicken eggs and drove the trusty Volvo down into the canyon. The occasion: Sunday Brunch with friends at the Mayfield Estate. Even before we arrived, I knew it was going to be a beautiful day. What I didn’t realize was how much this afternoon would remind me of our getaway to the South of France (in May 2009).
If you’ve spent any significant length of time in Provence (especially in the company of French hosts), you’ll know what I’m talking about. To reach ours, we had to navigate our way through shaded oaks and dirt roads.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with open arms and friendly faces. Surrounding us, a landscape of pure Southern California beauty: a backyard garden complete with sublime weather, view of the open space, a dry creek bed, shade trees, and a picnic table set for all of us.
We were only two steps into the doorway when we spotted a chalkboard with the days’ menu. On the kitchen counter, we spied a batch of freshly made English muffins, later to be fork-split and used as a base for the Eggs Benedict. In the garden, a colorful display of late-season tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and herbs.
For brunch, everyone contributed something. We not only brought our dishes, we also cooked them onsite. In the end, we had Eggs Benedict, cheesy grits, sausage gravy, roasted root vegetables, and so much more. (See Facebook photo album for more photos.) Late in the afternoon, apples were collected from the tree were cut, and served at the table.
The beverage of the day was a bourbon concoction with hard cider, hibiscus-infused grenadine, and crabapple shrub. Poured in a dainty glass punch cup, the jolly qualities of the Manna Hatta Bourbon Punch sustained my rose-colored outlook on the entire afternoon. As risk of excessively gushing, this was hands down, the best bourbon cocktail I’ve ever had. Tangy, sweet, sour, and happy. Thank you, Jason Schiffer, thank you.
Days of kitchen camaraderie and friendship like this remind me that I don’t get enough of them. Next time, we’re doing Sunday Brunch at our house. If you’re within driving distance of Southern California, please swing by. More details soon. In the meantime:
Please read more about, and get the story and recipe for Jason Schiffer’s Manna Hatta Bourbon Punch Recipe here. Special thanks to Priscilla Mayfield for the day, and to Orange Coast Magazine for the recipe.
Have a great week,