|brioche toast with Blenheim apricot jam and almond butter, La Esperanza coffee|
I've been obsessed with apricots almost my whole life. "Daddy, please buy me an apricot roll," I used to beg in the aisles of the old Food Giant on Canon Drive, where I would then wrap the fruit leather around my thumb and suck it while my dad finished his shopping.
|Sqirl menu: The specials change frequently|
And when I was in Israel this summer, one of the few Hebrew words I managed to memorize aside from hummus and toda (thank you) was mish-mish, the adorable word for apricot. At Sqirla's new breakfast and lunch cafe on Virgil, you can prolong the too-short apricot season with a swath of deeply flavored brown sugar Blenheim apricot jam on a buttery slice of brioche bread. A dollop of house-made almond butter turns it into a nutty, fruity, buttery wonder that verges on dessert and goes oh so well with a bright cup of La Esperanza coffee from Guatemala.
|Charles Babinski ponders a pourover|
Many have already written about the toast topped with egg, greens and lacto-fermented hot sauce. But there's also porridge made with Kukuho brown rice, with either sweet or savory (sorrel pesto!) toppings, and Proof Bakery granola. Kyle Granville and Charles Babinski, ex-Intelligentsia coffee experts, hold up the G&B Coffee part of the equation. If you're more of a milk in your coffee person, order a carefully-pulled latte, but if you've never tried one of the light and citrusy pour-overs without milk, it's quite a revelation. I wouldn't have it every morning instead of my perennial sturdy dark roast with half and half, but La Esperanza's almost tea-like quality cut the richness of the brioche and jam perfectly.
Of course, jars of Jessica Koslow's Sqirl jam are available to take home, and at lunch dishes range from a chicken salad with pickled ramps and crispy rice or geoduck crudo with dandelion.
Sqirl is probably the most exciting food to hit Virgil Avenue since Cha Cha Cha opened 20 years ago. Sqirl may be tiny (kudos to the mom who managed to nurse her baby on a high stool while waiting for her pourover), but the dishes are packed with big flavor thanks to techniques like pickling, fermenting and dry farming.
Sqirl (open for breakfast and lunch every day except Wednesday)
720 N. Virgil Ave.