Everyday Eats: Brunch at Bailiwick

Options range from classic to atypical, but you can't beat the French toast.

There's a new option for brunch in the Gaslamp Quarter. Bailiwick, Blake Thompson's  bar with an "unpretentious cocktail party" vibe opens early on the weekends to serve finely tuned cocktails and atypical brunch fare like smoked oysters, poussin stuffed with chorizo, and a bread-free take on eggs benedict, topped with a mound of burrata marinated in paprika oil.

Executive Chef Konstantin Plavnik, formerly of Searsucker and Saltbox, let me sample four of his favorite dishes. My favorite was the most classic: "the Best Thing About French Toast" ($8) -- thick slices of challah soaked in cinnamon custard and pan-fried until golden. It's served with Grand Marnier crema, blackberries, and a jug of bourbon maple syrup. The toast is perfectly excecuted: lightly crisp on the outside, and soft and warm all the way through. Those blackberries perched at the summit get extra-special treatment: a 48-hour soak in agave nectar, which ups their sugar content, and makes them taste freshly picked. And the syrup? It actually tastes like bourbon.

For drinks, there's bottomless mimosas for $15, plus top-tier champagne ($400 bottle of Dom, anyone?) but if you're going for the toast, the Bramble ($10) is a wise choice. The easy-drinking cocktail with gin, blackberry liqueur, and lemon is like a boozy echo of the berries on the French toast.

Bailiwick is located at 756 5th Ave. (map). Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Entrees range from $8 to $12.

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Restaurant reviews, food trends, top cocktails, wine, beer and generally the best eats and drinks in San Diego, with reporting (read: eating) lead by food editor Troy Johnson. Looking for the Erins? Erin Chambers Smith and Erin Meanley? Find their most recent musings over at the Around Town blog. And yes, we know that one needs a new name. We're working on it. 



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