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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nopa's Custard French Toast is the Best I've Ever Had (Sorry, Mom)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:15 AM

click to enlarge ANNA ROTH
  • Anna Roth

First, you should understand that when it comes to brunch I'm strictly on Team Savory. But a few Sundays ago I took myself to brunch at Nopa's bar, and there I was talked into ordering one of the most delicious things I have put in my mouth in recent memory: the famous custard French toast. Now I can't imagine ordering anything else.

See also:

- San Francisco's Top 10 Brunches

- Brunch and Other Big Changes at Pig and Pie

- Braving Brunch: Sweet and Savory Harmony at Plow

This isn't the anemic French toast made from industrial slices of white bread like you'd find at IHOP or make at home. This is what I imagine the French had in mind when they invented the dish, which they rather poetically called pain perdu ("lost bread"), as a way to use up stale slices and crusts they had lying around the maison.

At Nopa, it's one massive, thick-cut slice of house-made pan di mie bread (literally "bread of the crumbs") that's been dried out for a few days, then soaked in a sweet, vanilla-and-nutmeg-y custard for 20 minutes, sauteed in clarified butter, and finished in the oven. The result is a crispy, fried crust on the outside with a luscious, quivering custard inside. Every bite was a delight.

Mine came topped with strawberries, but now the restaurant is using seasonal apples, both of which pair nicely with the Vermont maple syrup and pool of house-made butter.

Plus, the bloody Mary that accompanied it was one of the best I've had as well; its smokiness cut through the richness of the French toast. Both are great reasons to get out of bed early on a weekend morning.

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About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Bio:
Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.

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