Arugula is the new kale. Lately I just cannot get enough of this spicy green. I’ve been putting it on pizza. I’ve been devouring it raw with a simple vinagrette of mustard, olive oil and lemon juice. I eat it with eggs. I’ll eat it on the bed. I’ll eat arugula in the kitchen. I’ll eat it playing with a kitten. I’ll eat arugula in the rain. I’ll eat it in the dark. And on a train. I’ll eat arugula near a deer. At Sardine I’ll eat it with a hoppy beer.
It may have been my inundation lately with children’s literature (not that I don’t love it) that drove me to Sardine on Saturday for brunch; a place I can feel like an adult and maybe even an adult who has found herself on vacation. And so I found myself this past Saturday at Sardine with Dan, but only after a trip around the Square for- drum roll here- Harmony Valley arugula and Bleu Mont cheese curds (you knew there would be cheese).
With its high ceilings, wooden beams, white tile walls, and squares of butcher block paper draped over an iron rail, Sardine oozes a certain sophistication, but despite this, I still feel at home. Except now I live somewhere on the coast, where they serve oysters and I do things like go to happy hour without staying the whole night.
If you go to Sardine for brunch, try to sit at the bar (or outside, if a table is available and the weather allows it). The bartenders are quietly charming and if you pay attention, it’s a tutorial on drink-making. You can also play the game that I invented this past trip to the bistro- if you had to consume one of the garnishes in the rocks glasses that line the bar (oversized-green olives, lemons, limes, gurken, sugar- the raspberries, orange slices, and cucumbers didn’t count) in one minute, which one would you choose? See, I may pretend to be sophisticated, but these are the things I think about.
On to brunch. I started with a greyhound in a tall glass and pondered the menu. I usually opt for the caesar salad but this time my eyes landed on the arugula salad: Arugula, shaved shallots, blueberries, hazelnuts and farmer’s cheese dressed in a lime vinagrette. Boosh.
I have to admit, when my salad arrived it paled in comparison to the appearance of Dan’s grass-fed burger with bleu and frites. I may have even uttered something disparaging about the size of the salad. But then I took a bite. Citrus, salt and pepper flavors took charge and I quickly ate my words. This salad may have looked small, but what it lacked in quantity it made up in flavor. I was unable to identify the salt source (the cheese? vinagrette?), but this salad definitely had that, dare I say it, umami. And paired with a hoppy beer from Three Floyds Brewery my brunch was out-of-sight.
I like arugula. I do!