As I approach the big 3-0 in a few months, I’m slowly discovering new things about myself. The most amazing discovery?
I have a case of curiosity. I’m going down Wikipedia rabbit holes, wanting to learn more about a word, an actor or a place on random Tuesday nights. I’m retrying fruits like peaches and plums to see if I still love them (yes, yes, I do). I go to the library and have lunch while searching for a new book. I am convinced I was sick the day they taught all the black girls double dutch in the 90s – so, I’m curious to know if I can, at my big age, learn how to double dutch.
I especially take up my best curiosity when it comes to brunch, and what better way for a pork-on-my-fork lady like myself to challenge herself and try something new than to hit up Bearcat Café and have her first vegan brunch.
Bearcat Café, located on Jena Street, right off the forever changing Freret Street, is a cute spot attached to a yoga studio and serves brunch, lunch and coffees in between, all of the various vegan, gluten-free, and meat-friendly variety. The first thing I learned about Bearcat, after the adorable lattes they make, is that in order to not lose your cool at brunch – learn patience. There’s often a long wait, but it’s worth it. Bring a book or a friend and have a seat. Your table and the goodness to follow will be ready soon.
I first saw the rose water latte on their Instagram, and I mean, this is basically me in a latte form. Sweet, adorable, full-bodied and perfect for morning when you need just a little bit of caffeine to wake yourself up. It was definitely the most perfect latte I’ve ever had, and it came in a beautiful ceramic mug.
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Bearcat Café is a dry brunch of sorts, but where they lack in mimosas they make up for in bottled lemonades of different flavors (Brazilian lemonade, cucumber mint, watermelon) and teas like thai basil black tea, papaya mint green tea, and cantaloupe blue eyes flavors. Today, we tried the cucumber mint lemonade and the activated charcoal lemonade, and both were refreshing and paired perfectly with the impeccable meals we were about to receive.
Again, being curious to try something new, I went with the vegan rancheros with amazing black beans, house salsa, ranchero sauce, avocado, corn tortilla and my new favorite thing – cashew crema! I cleared my dang plate. I barely put my fork down for a break, just kept eating and eating and nodding my head as the waiter came to show my overall joy for this new favorite meal. I immediately went to Pinterest to see how I can make my own cashew crema like that one. It can’t be that hard, right? Right? Because I want it all the time now.
We strayed from the vegan boulevard with the starters and got the crawfish croquettes, which were two crawfish, tasso, and crab cakes topped with a crawfish sauce and layered with a pretty green onion remoulade sauce. The serving was honestly large enough to be a full meal and the cakes had an equal distribution of the crawfish, crab, and tasso with every bite. Again, cleaned the place and decided to not lick the plate because I’m learning to control myself. Up next, we ordered the BryanRyan Fried Corn, which is exactly what it sounds like – fried corn on the cob, with cojita aioli and jalapenos. This is on their special menu, and for good reason because it is quite a special meal. With its delightfully crisp batter, it was described by my brunch buddy as “an interesting take on the classic Mexican elote!”
Another entree that was ordered was again off the beaten vegan path, but absolutely delicious – the pork verde. A dish that looked as beautiful as it tasted, it was a roasted pork mixed with Bearcat’s famous and perfectly seasoned breakfast potatoes, lots and lots of cheese and an egg. The pork melted in my mouth and when on the fork with the potatoes and the fluffy egg, it was the perfect brunch plate combination.
Last, but certainly not least, we tried the breakfast biscuit with egg, cheese, and get this – bison sausage. All the pieces were a symphony of flavors – the sweet of the biscuit, the creamy of the cheese, and the saltiness of the bison sausage. It’s like Quincy Jones orchestration but on a plate.
There are just a few more months until my birthday, and I plan on trying a bunch of new things, like mint chocolate ice cream (just to see if I like it), or learning how to braid my hair but one thing is for certain, Bearcat Café is a new thing that I wouldn’t mind trying again and again.