CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — French Toast Files & Father’s Day ideas

Published 2:26 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I’m some kind of food magnet, in the sense that high-quality, delicious food is always coming into my life, for free. “Hey, do you want this?” is a welcome phrase I hear all the time and I’m trying to hold my mouth just right so that never changes.

My husband helped a friend move and that’s how contents from his healthy fridge came to my house. I soaked some of his tofu in the Newman’s Own sesame-ginger dressing I inherited for a weekend lunch. He left something I’ve always wanted to try: Ezekiel 4:9, Food For Life sprouted 100 percent whole grain bread. This loaf weighs one and a half pounds. The bread in this bag went toward my husband’s new “thing” for French toast.

I had so many toppings to try on my toast that I cut my piece into quadrants. The first bite overflowed with raw honey from Caledonia Spirits, a craft distillery in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Local beekeepers source the raw honey for Landcrafted spirits. It has not been heated or filtered and keeps beneficial traces of pollen, propolis and beeswax. I’m not sure if anyone from my house will read this, but I’ll tell y’all: I’m hiding this little jar and keeping it for myself. It’s thick and rich and spreadable. And it’s mine, now.

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Other squares of my Ezekiel bread went to Runamok Maple’s Vermont Organic collection: Jasmine Tea infused, Makrut Lime-Leaf Maple and Rum Barrel-Aged. You get it: It’s gourmet. If your “roomies” are used to over-the-counter syrup on their French toast, they might not “get it.” So I suggest you let them experiment with these fancy flavors on other foods, from crackers and cheese to fruit. Let it shine on it’s own. Or, just hide it in the pantry for yourself. Look below for a recipe. Fathers who enjoy a French toast breakfast in bed may also enjoy the following indulgences:

Runamok Maple’s Hugs All Around

1 12 oz. bottle lager or stout beer (preferably Vermont made)

1 or 2 tsp. Runamok Maple’s Hibiscus Flower Infused Maple Syrup ($16.95, or

A few drops of bitters

Gently pour the lager into a tall, chilled glass.  Add one or two teaspoons of Runamok Maple’s Hibiscus Maple Syrup to taste.  Top with a few drops of bitters, stir and enjoy.

Tom Cat Gin is from Caledonia Spirits and illustrates, to the taste buds, why we need to keep our nation’s bees healthy. A Northeast Kingdom area bee keeper and farmer in Vermont blends raw honey with juniper for this one and is keeping the spirit alive in a way as equally as exciting as the black cat story on the back of the label. Botanicals, baby! Look for the bee on the front label and, again, take it slow. The provided Kettlebell recipe below is designed around elements already in the “spirit.”


One and a half ounces Bar Hill Gin

.75 ounces Amaro Meletti

.25 ounces Luxardo Maraschino

.75 oz fresh lemon juice

.5 oz. honey syrup (2:1 by weight)

2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Combine ingredients in mixing tin, add ice, shake, and double strain into coupe. Garnish with an orange twist (also a thyme prig if available).

Deep Summer – Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s spiced summer seasonal, Deep Summer Ale, is a way to support a Texas business. It’s a not-your-father’s-Father’s Day treat, because granddads could probably not imagine lemon peel, hibiscus and chamomile flowers in their brewski. These flavors make one slow down to appreciate the flavors. It’s a slow cocktail thing for me, though makers suggest it for jamming at music fests, too. Just a summer or two ago I’d have thought this odd. Now it’s a lovely flavor, much more than a trend.

Black Gold with Mount Gay rum beverages. (Courtesy photo)

Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel – I’d seen this brand on a shelf and can now say this smooth and complex blend from “the oldest rum house in the world” stands out in a glass. Established in 1703, this Barbados Rum stands out in a glass by itself, though makers are happy to promote various cocktails, including one with rhubarb in the title. We are not experienced with this in the south, so on to something our oil-business fathers may be more familiar with in this area of Texas, a drink called Black Gold, in a “Nick and Nora glass.” You may have to look that up. Orgeat is a cool drink. The ingredient below is a French almond syrup. Pronounced or-zhat, it was originally made from barley and used as a shelf-stable substitute for milk. Sounds like a dairy-free trend from long ago. Now, for some Black Gold.

Black Gold

2 ounces Mount Gary Rum Black Barrel

.5oz. Orgeat (Use Small Hands)

.5oz. Lime Juice

2 dashes of Angostura

Add all ingredients to a tin, shake and strain into chilled Nick and Nora. Garnish with a lime peel.


Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who knows her father would have been fine with a plate of lima beans and rice this Father’s Day. Reach her at