By Saturday morning I can't bear the thought of cooking another breakfast for my children. These are the mornings I lean heavily on the culinary skills of my husband, or abandon the house to allow a paid cook handle the whims and desires of my family of five. Sure, there are many local diners around town, but I'm always on the lookout for something more…well, more unique. Rosie in New Canaan is just this type of place.
Caterers Rosie and George Nammack are the brains and cooks behind "Rosie," offering eat-in, take-out, and catering services. Walking into their almost unmarked glass-store front on Elm Street, I am reminded of some of my favorite coffee houses in Seattle serving that perfect combination of well prepared comforting fare and plush pillows. The decor at Rosie rotates regularly featuring paintings and photographs from local artists as well as a few childrens' crayon masterpieces. The current exhibit displays images of peace as marked by the large peace sign etched into the front window. The result is quirky and casual...the kind of place that has serious regulars.
Many know Rosie for their excellent baked goods; in fact, their Carrot Cake with Mile-High Frosting and Fresh Coconut has won CT Mags Best of CT two years in a row. However, there is much more than just frosted treats at this great local hang out.
Last Saturday morning, we arrived early and were lucky enough to get a large window seat. There is a small selection of books for kids looking to pass the time, although my children were so captivated by the stacked platters of cupcakes, they really didn't require any additional entertainment. Plus, the proximity and adjoining doorway to Elm Street Books makes waiting for your food actually pleasant.
Rosie serves breakfast all day, every day but Monday (they've gotta sleep sometime). The breakfast menu has the requisite pancakes, French toast, and oatmeal, but there is also a decidedly South of the border theme to many of their dishes. Breakfast Burritos and Huevos Rancheros spice up the standard fare, which came as a welcome and unexpected surprise.
As we wrestled with the ordering strategy, a neighboring diner was served a decadent Belgian Dark Steamed Chocolate complete with a tower of sprinkled whipped cream. We promptly ordered one "for the table" and a few cappuccino's (made with Illy espresso). I recommend this pre-order for the kids as I won't lie to you, the food does not come out of the kitchen as quickly as they crank out the food at the Post Road Diner (which is disturbingly fast I may note), but Rosie is worth the wait.
The Huevos Rancheros was the first to arrive, with two eggs over easy, melted cheddar, black beans, half an avocado, salsa and cilantro all resting atop a flour tortilla. No need to ask for hot sauce…it was already on the table. Bravo. The eggs were cooked just right…not overdone, and the beans were well seasoned with hints of onion. The huevos boasted simple fresh ingredients and a clean zesty flavor. My husband reported this as a definite re-order at $12.00.
I have always appreciated the efficiency of a complete breakfast tucked neatly inside a wrap, so I went with the Breakfast Burrito. This is truly a nourishing meal. Picture if you will, three eggs scrambled with sausage, cheddar, scallions, salsa and cilantro (plus I threw in some avocado for good measure). Size-wise, it looked daunting, but I was up for the challenge. The large chunks of sausage nestled amongst the soft eggs were particularly well seasoned, so much so that my kids began foraging through my breakfast for these tasty morsels. The eggs absorbed great flavor from the cilantro and salsa, and once again, they were very generous with the avocado, There was a lot going on here, but the result was delicious.
My daughter went old school and ordered the Brioche French Toast. To me, French toast is not French toast without the proper batter delivery vehicle. The extra butter and eggs in the Brioche bread turned this light fluffy toast into a decadent treat especially with a thick blanket of powdered sugar. We opted for a half order for my 5 year old who said that the thickly sliced serving filled her up perfectly (especially after that steamed chocolate).
Breakfast in not breakfast without oatmeal, so Rosie's Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal was a mandatory order. I'm picky about my oatmeal as I require that little crunch you get from oat groats or steel cut oats…rolled oats are simply not my bag. This was the real deal, very simply prepared, allowing the diner to add milk, brown sugar, or berries as desired (you'll need some add-ins here for flavor). Granted you'll bump up the price from $6.50 to $10.00 if you add fruit but it is worth the additional cost.
My eldest tried the B-E-C on an English muffin (A.K.A Bacon Egg and Cheese). This was a noticeable step up from our local diner, boasting nice crunchy bread, perfectly cooked eggs and melty Cheddar cheese. You get the feeling they cook up a lot of these for take-out customers. The colorful Berry and Organic Yogurt Smoothie was a nice healthy accompaniment and came packed with fresh fruit.
My only regret is that we were a day too early for Rosie's Sunday New Orleans Brunch. Every Sunday Rosie has a special Southern brunch menu complete with live music from 11:00-1:00 pm. This unique menu includes everything from Shrimp and Grits, Praline Pancakes, to Louisiana Crab Cakes Benedict. Call 203-966-8998 for more information. We'll be back to sample this in the very near future.
Rosie is a wonderful alternative to the standard brunch grind. Owners Rosie and George are almost always on premises either cooking or keeping a watchful eye on everything coming out of the kitchen. Head in for breakfast all day, or check out their eat-in or take-out entrees like Fish Tacos, Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich, Salmon Cakes, paninis and homemade soups.
Fairfield County needs more wholesome and simple handcrafted food joints like Rosie. In the meantime, this Westport girl is heading to New Canaan.
Rosie 27 Elm Street, New Canaan CT. 203.966.8998