The Christiane Chronicles: Who serves toast in a bowl?

Plus: rich and creamy nut milk is always a source of delight
Christiane Chronicles

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Bowls ≠ Plates
Or they shouldn’t, anyway.

Soups, hefty salads, and pasta all belong resting in the depths of bowls. But, as much as I love them, they should not double as plates.

I recently ordered one of the loaded toasts at the health-forward Upbeet in West Midtown, and the cashier handed me a disposable, recyclable bowl. I was confused but took it anyway. Within, I discovered the thinnest slice of sprouted wheat bread topped with labne and cherry tomatoes.

Who serves toast in a bowl?! I lost most of the toppings trying to unearth the bread from its ill-fitting concave vessel—where it was already turning soggy (hard to do with sprouted wheat).

Remi Granger, the new, very French chef at Billy Allin’s Bread and Butterfly, has also caught the bowl bug. While I am happy to see that he’s inspired by Mediterranean flavors, I have to rebel against a dish whose ingredients (lamb, yogurt, feta, eggplant, potato, and pistachios) come unfortunately not plated, but bowled. Lamb chops, however beauteous, placed atop vegetables, no matter how stewed, in a deep bowl smeared with yogurt is an impossible dish to eat with a knife and a fork; you don’t have the full range of motion you’d get if there were no walls around the food. (The restaurant has since come to its senses and is using a wider bowl with lower edges.)

There’s something comforting about bowls, I know, but plates have a purpose.

Nut milk
Nut milk

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

I’ve Gone Nuts
Like most people who were raised outside of America, I don’t drink milk. I take my coffee black, I eat bread and butter (not cereal) for breakfast, and I’m not a fan of smoothies. Really, there’s no reason for me to taste-test milks of either the dairy or nut—or seed or rice—variety.

But Stacey Eames, who opened the health-conscious coffee shop Press & Grind in the heart of Virginia-Highland two years ago, made me try her house-made coconut, almond, pecan, and cashew milks. I was fairly skeptical about the four little samples she set before me, but I fell for their purity of flavor. Unlike the pasteurized packaged products you may be familiar with, these are raw, thickener-free, and just barely sweetened with dates. The cashew milk, in particular, feels creamy and rich on the palate.

So, I’m a convert. Eames’s milk-based warm drinks might be my favorite use of these products: there’s the golden, highly aromatic Turmeric Tamer (coconut milk, turmeric, cayenne and black peppers, honey, and cinnamon) and the slightly sweeter Iron Maiden (pecan milk, blackstrap molasses, fresh ginger, and cayenne pepper). Nut milk has now become a whole new source of delight for me.

But I’ll still never put it in my coffee.

This article originally appeared in our January 2018 issue.