Eat: Pie for Breakfast from the owners of Legume

Okay, so you can’t eat here just yet. But the news of Trevett and Sarah Hooper’s new restaurant, Pie for Breakfast, can’t wait. The restaurant, which is slated to open sometime next winter, will celebrate classic American cuisine and offer a more casual and affordable alternative to the Hoopers’ sister restaurant, Legume.

“Pie For Breakfast is how I imagine a typical American country restaurant might have been before WWII, before our food system was on the fast track to becoming hyper-industrialized,” explains Trevett Hooper in a press release. “When short order cooking meant more than pressing a button on a computerized fryer, and a simple restaurant could afford to do a great deal of their cooking from scratch.”

Breakfast service will feature items like yeasted buckwheat pancakes, fried chicken and waffles, granola, and of course, pie. An adjoining bakery will provide all of that pie, along with a variety of other breakfast pastries and baked goods. For lunch, a selection of soups, salads and sandwiches will join the breakfast fare. And at dinner, the focus will be on classic “meat and three” combinations. Pick a protein from options like chicken-fried steak, meatloaf and stuffed cabbage, then three sides from a rotating list of Southern-inspired staples, including greens, black-eyed peas and biscuits. The restaurant will also offer to-go coffee and a beer-focused bar.

Pie for Breakfast will open on North Craig Street in Oakland, next door to Legume and Butterjoint. Hooper recognizes that Legume has “quite accidentally” become a fancy restaurant, and envisions Pie for Breakfast as a casual, affordable spot for day-to-day eating.

“I’ve been working in kitchens for twenty years, and what interests me now is much different than what it was when I started,” he explains. “The style of cooking at Legume reflects what was important to me in my 20s, when I had a strong need to impress people. Now I am in a much different phase of life and I see food and eating in a much broader context. My biggest priority as an eater today is to make a daily event of eating nourishing, tasty food with friends and family.”

Trevett and Sarah Hooper still plan to pursue Dacha, the Eastern European inspired restaurant they announced last year. However, the space was a better fit for the Pie for Breakfast concept, so the Hoopers are moving ahead with that first.

Pie for Breakfast will offer breakfast seven days a week, and lunch and dinner service Monday through Saturday. Current Legume kitchen manager Jessica George will oversee the kitchens for both restaurants, and Legume sous chef Tom Lonardo will take over as Legume’s chef de cuisine.

Though there’s nothing there yet, follow Pie for Breakfast on Facebook for details as the project gets underway.

Drink: Cocktails with fresh herbs

Twenty years ago, a cocktail with anything fresh in it would have been a rare find. Packaged mixes dominated, and mint flavor likely came from a splash of syrupy crème de menthe. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to find real, whole ingredients on even the most humble cocktail menus, from muddled jalapenos to freshly squeezed citrus. Fresh herbs are one of the loveliest additions to the cocktail universe, and springtime brings a bevy of options to our region. Here are a few tips for incorporating your backyard herb garden into your cocktail glass.

Be gentle with that muddler. You’ve undoubtedly seen someone absolutely pulverizing mint with one of those sturdy wooden muddlers. While it makes sense that more muddling equals more flavor, over-muddling mint and other delicate herbs will actually release chlorophyll and impart a bitter taste. Instead, lightly bruise the leaves with your muddler until they are fragrant; that’s all the muscle that’s needed for a perfectly herbaceous drink.

Pick up a fine strainer. Though a mojito with little bits of mint floating in it may look nice, those green flecks inevitably end up clogging your straw and getting stuck in your teeth. Use a fine tea strainer to get the broken up bits of herb out of the drink, then garnish with a fresh sprig for the lovely pop of color.

Garnish generously. Speaking of garnishing, don’t be afraid to go big and bold with the final touch. You’ve likely heard that about 80 percent of what we taste comes from smell. So what better way to bolster those fresh flavors in your glass than to stick your nose in a big bouquet of herbs as you drink it? Lightly slapping the herbs against the palm of your hand will release oils and make your garnish even more fragrant.

Think beyond mint. It’s hard to beat a frosty mint julep on sunny spring afternoon. But mint isn’t the only herb that should find its way into your cocktail shaker. Basil and cilantro play well with tequila, rosemary and tarragon pair nicely with gin, and sturdy herbs like thyme and sage are nice matches for bourbon. Get creative!

Do: East End Brewing’s 12th annual Keg Ride

Sure, the Dirty Dozen may be a more impressive annual bike ride. But East End Brewing’s Pedal Pale Ale Keg Ride has two distinct advantages over the Dirty Dozen: fewer hills and more beer.

Since opening in 2005, East End has held their yearly Keg Ride to ring in spring, celebrate sustainability and raise money for a good cause. The premise is simple: riders pay a small entry fee, gather at East End’s brewery, then take off on a nice leisurely bike ride, kegs of fresh Pedal Pale Ale in tow. The seasonal brew is a crisp, citrusy pale ale that tastes like the first days of spring.

This year, the money raised from the ride will go to the ACLD Tillotson School’s Transition Program, which works to help students with learning disabilities transition into the world. As East End owner Scott Smith writes, “by helping us find our way to our destination with these kegs, you’re helping young people find their way in the world, and become fulfilled, contributing members of our community.”

All riders must register in advance. The $25 registration fee gets you a commemorative glass, a beer, and makes a donation to a good cause. Find more information and sign up here.

Drew Cranisky is a writer, bartender and recent graduate of Chatham University's Food Studies program. He enjoys cats, pinball and fancy burgers.