Have you ever run into one of those restaurants that you only ate at once, but would still list as one of your favorites? Jack’s of New London, NH was one of those for me…it closed down before I could get back. Baker’s Best Cafe in Newton was also one of those, and it also closed down before I got to go back.
So imagine my excitement when I was approached to set up a brunch for the Boston Brunchers with Baker’s Best Catering! You see, they had closed down the cafe, but only to be able to focus on their thriving catering business.
We were lucky enough to be greeted by owner, Michael Baker, and Chef Phyllis Kaplowitz for the majority of our day. While Chef was busy in the kitchen, Michael gave us a personal tour of the space, which was so much better than you ever imagined a catering space would be.
Before building this space, the catering facilities had been located in the basement of the old cafe. When they decided to build the new location they had military consultants come in and watch and analyze the way the catering staff moved and worked. The result is this perfectly designed, optimized chef’s paradise. Honestly, the staff never has to double their path, they can go from dry goods, to cold storage, to freezers to cooking to packing and out the back door. It is really quite impressive.
Equally as impressive is owner Michael Best’s obvious vigour and love for what he does. From the initial goal of creating a “REAL” turkey sandwich, to now employing over 120 catering staff, chefs, cooks, and administrators, Michael has kept his standards of quality at a peak, and some how instilled an equal passion from his staff.
Chef Phyllis Kaplowitz glowed with every morsel that was introduced to us. Her creativity combined with a certain practicality made for the perfect introduction of passed apps, or “Eye Openers” as they so cutely named them.
A couple of the bites that followed have now joined my list of some of the best things that I have ever eaten. The Asian Tuna Tartar in a miso sesame cup with siracha aioli, wasabi greens, and soy pearls had a texture unlike anything I had eaten…in a good way! The sweet potato corned beef hash in a maple brown sugar bacon cup was delicious, but paled next to the other bites. However, more than one bruncher did declare this their favorite bit.
But now it is time to talk about the bite that I will be dreaming about from here until the end of time….The Everything Bagel Bite. A moment of silence please….This bite was made up of a crunchy everything bagel cup filled with creme fraiche, gravlax, red onion, lemon pearls and frisee. The way the textures and flavors came together in this bite…it was honestly one of my greatest food bites ever.
We returned to the dining room (which was actually Michael’s office decorated by Peterson Party Center). We were delighted to find that the remainder of our meal would be a Chef’s Sideboard Buffet served right in the middle of the kitchen! What an experience! We helped ourselves to quiches, beet ravioli stuffed with queso valdeon and challah french toast with bananas foster, fresh berries, and Vermont cider maple syrup.
This buffet earned an A+ just based on beauty alone. The beet ravioli…genious! It did not prove as bold in flavor as it was in color, but once I added the salad to the beet bite, it was pretty close to perfection. While at brunch, some one tweeted to methat if they didn’t serve us french toast, I should demand it. Luckily I didn’t have to do that. And yes, it was absolutely delicious, the thick challah bread standing up to the perfectly balanced batter.
I would be remiss if I did not point out the delightful conversation that happened during this brunch. Like any good meal should do, our brunch at Baker’s Best created the perfect atmosphere for enjoyment. And it wasn’t over yet! When it was finally time to leave, the farewell committee had these adorable containers of multi-flavored whoopie pies for us to take home. Carrot cake, peanut butter fluff, peppermint, chocolate and red velvet whoopie pies better than any I have had were the perfect au revoir!Michael, Phylis and the rest of the Baker’s Best crew put on an unbelievable event for the Boston Brunchers. I have no doubt that their professionalism, passion and creativity pours into every wedding, bar mitzvah, oscar party, and office breakfast that they cater.
Disclaimer: Brunch was provided to the Boston Brunchers free of charge courtesy of Baker’s Best Catering. As always, all opinions are my own.