Sinfully Fancy French Toast

Columns Ono, You Know

August 25, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

Imagine the power food has over me. Just as the syrup oozes onto the plate and my lips hit the soft, egg-battered bread accented with a sugary sweetness, my mood shifts in an instant. Believe it or not, with a snap of a finger, all my worries subside, my stress vanishes — a gorgeous plate of luscious French toast lures me in and I’m captivated by its very existence. And while it may not be regarded as the most avant-garde or contemporary of fare, French toast creations topped with freshly plumped fruits, savory whipped cream or even gooey peanut butter leave me in a trance.

Here at the following Ono, You Know locations, all I can think about is getting this sumptuous comfort food from my plate and into my belly. This week, Ono readers, give in to all the cravings, because sinful compositions of French toast await. Truth be told, this beloved favorite has had me at “hello” … since, well, forever.

Brasserie Du Vin

My travels will soon take me to Europe, so it seemed only right to immerse myself into a bit of European-dining culture at Brasserie Du Vin in downtown Honolulu. This quaint and rustic establishment is located across from Hawaii Theatre and is always bustling with diners enjoying a meal in the dining room, a cold draft beer at the bar, or relaxing on the pet-friendly outdoor patio, chatting away for hours on end over French-inspired appetizers, soups, salads, a plethora of entrees and desserts.

While any day is as good as any to hit up Du Vin, I’ll let you in on a secret: If you share a devout love for French toast, the restaurant’s Saturday brunch (11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) serves a dynamite rendition of this breakfast favorite.

Priced at $10, Du Vin’s French Toast features two fluffy pieces of Hawaiian sweet bread graced with a creamy batter comprised of egg, cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla sugar. The result is a custard-like consistency that is just sinful. Add to that a raspberry and cream cheese filling laced with chocolate ganache, and a dollop of whipped cream — it’s almost like having dessert for breakfast! The combination of tart and sweet is right on the money. A side of potato hash completes the meal, as a hint of savory is the perfect accompaniment to this oh, so sweet dish.

Du Vin dares you to accept the invitation to take part in French toast gluttony like you never have before.

Brasserie Du Vin
1115 Bethel St.

Eggs ‘n Things

Eggs ‘n Things is always a trend-setter with sugar and spice, and everything nice. On my most recent visit to the Piikoi establishment, I had my heart set on my favorites, including Macadamia Nut Pancakes and most especially Eggs ‘n Things’ French Toast of the Day. This time around, my sweet tooth clamored for Strawberry and White Chocolate Chips with Whipped Cream and Macadamia Nuts ($12.95). Good news, it is available as today’s spotlighted flavor.

“We like to be unique with our French toast flavors and use fresh fruit whenever possible,” says public relations and customer service manager Damian Zukeran, adding that the restaurant only utilizes fresh eggs and Big Island macadamia nuts.

This French toast delicacy is a work of art. Three pillows of Portuguese sweet bread are dipped in a rich egg batter and cooked on the grill. The beauty of it all is encompassed in the decadent topping of fresh slivers of strawberries and sprinkles of white chocolate chips, a dash of powdered sugar and mountains of homemade whipped cream.

My photographer and I dug in as if we were ravenous animals who hadn’t eaten in days. We couldn’t get enough — each bite of French toast was ridiculously good. As sweet as it is, Zukeran noted that some patrons also like to douse their French toast in guava or coconut syrup. But trust me, this hot commodity needs no dressing up. It’s delicious as is, and I can guarantee that I’ll be back for more.

Eggs ‘n Things
451 Piikoi St. (and various locations)

Anytime Cafe

If you looked up “comfort” in the dictionary, “peanut butter sandwich” would be the definition of choice. And at Anytime Cafe in Market City Shopping Center, you’ll find a special peanut butter sandwich with all the works. Roll out the red carpet for French Toast with Peanut Butter Filling ($6.95). This Hong Kong-inspired dish has quite a fan base, but that’s surely to be expected, as substantial slices of white bread are spread with just the right amount of creamy peanut butter, dipped in egg batter and deep-fried. According to Anytime Cafe owner Cindy Wong, it’s your traditional peanut butter sandwich upgraded to French toast style. Wong recommends adding butter and maple syrup, which transports this French toast from great to beyond amazing.

“Customers can also request fat-free maple syrup,” she adds, noting that this Hong Kong best-seller is the item of choice during tea time and for dessert.

Actually, make that “anytime” of the day or night. French Toast with Peanut Butter Filling always makes for the optimal meal.

Anytime Cafe
Market City Shopping Center
2919 Kapiolani Blvd. #218

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Hawaii's Best