Making the call (or let's be real, group text) to get people together and go to weekend brunch is the easy part. The hard decisions present themselves once you arrive at the restaurant and start perusing the menu. Should you go for all out carbs and sweetness with a pile of pancakes? Or choose the protein-rich route of something eggy with a side of bacon? The beauty of brunch at Tongue in Cheek in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood of St. Paul (dubbed the East Side Eat Street) is that you can truly have it both ways, that is if you order the misleadingly titled Coffee and French Toast.
The dish is layered up like a J. Crew mannequin at the start of sweater season, with a foundation of crunchy, custardy French toast slathered in coffee butter (made up by chef Leonard Anderson with lots of espresso powder for serious intensity), then smoky slices of regionally raised ham, house-made tart cherry compote, and, as is the case with most any trendy dish these days, they put an egg on it.
The coffee butter and compote come together to form a sort of fanciful yet familiar glaze for the meat that somehow doesn't make the French toast at all soggy. In fact, the whole stack on stack on stack remains buoyant and interesting till the very last bite, which always seems to come too soon.
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