One of the perks of working at Magpie is that I get to order a meal per shift. (I also hear we’re allowed one beer per shift, but I’ve yet to do so — what is wrong with me!) When I start getting hungry, I just write what I want on a take-out bag and run it over to the line cooks and a little later they pop into the bakery, my plate of food in hand. It’s kind of dreamy.
Here are a few of the meals I’ve ordered…
Chilaquiles: tortilla chips in red sauce topped with fried egg, crema, cilantro, etc.
Tomato Toast: a piece of toasted sourdough bread topped with both roasted tomatoes and fresh, soft mozzarella, basil, and balsamic.
Chicken Milanesa: Breaded chicken on a milk bread bun, with greens, house pickles, and a creamy sauce. Afterward, I was stuffed.
Egg Sammy with Sausage: such an easy, fast meal, and deeply satisfying. I want to try it with bacon next.
Rainbow Bowl: dressed greens topped with beet hummus, quinoa, and assorted veggies. It’s insanely delicious — my favorite so far — and it makes me feel fantastic.
Not pictured: egg scramble with bacon over toast. Turkish eggs (that I sampled from my daughter’s plate, and which are enormously popular). A BLT. Fries. The Green Goddess sandwich (which they no longer offer, much to my older daughter’s vigorous dismay) (yes, my kids like to eat at the diner!). Countless cups of coffee. Buttered heels of sourdough (my usual mid-morning snack). Croissant tastings.
Chocolate croissants are my fave.
Another perk of the job is that I occasionally get to take home scraps: failed bakings, dough scraps, leftovers, etc.
All day long, we throw dough scraps on a baking sheet and then, at the end of the day, we pop the pan into an oven and bake it off with the residual heat. The baked scraps get dumped into the “pig buckets” that a local farmer periodically stops by to pick up. Except sometimes one of us might grab a hunk of the still-warm scraps to take home for supper…
Stale loaves of sourdough are fabulous for toast, grilled cheese, baked egg casseroles.
One time I took home a tray of croissant cuttings to play with. By the time I got home, the scraps had overproofed wildly in the hot car, so I raced around, slicing peaches into a pan, adding some sugar, flour, and lemon juice, and then tossing on the top crust of pastry bits.
The other little pieces I baked up and then brushed with a vanilla glaze.
My helter-skelter creations were nothing like the bakery’s tender, buttery pastries, but even so, they still got scarfed.
But the best yet was when I got to take home a whole paton of mis-rolled pastry dough. My older daughter and I made trays of chocolate croissants (I used a chopped-up bar of Godiva 53%), vanilla braids, and cinnamon rolls, and then I tossed some nectarines with brown sugar and bourban and capped them with a pastry lid.
We skipped the overnight proof in the fridge (no room), and after letting the pastries rise at room temp for a couple hours, baked them that evening.
The pastries baked up gloriously high, so I celebrated by front kicking my way across the kitchen and roaring, “TAKE — [kick] — THAT — [kick] — PASTRY — [kick] — SCRAPS — [kick].”