Mochi Milk Bread French Toast with Strawberry-Lemon Compote

I know I write a lot about breakfast. Can’t help it. It is, after all, the most important meal of the day, and Portland has such a cultish breakfast and brunch culture (and let’s face it; brunch is just breakfast with alcohol). It might just be that we are humble, foul-weather folk who will eat anything that tastes good with coffee. Best not to analyze it too closely, I guess.

Thing is, I hate waiting for breakfast. Absolutely hate it with a searing napalm passion. My favorite breakfast joints in town were discovered because of my impatience; I’ll gladly pay a little extra for the fact that we never have to wait for a table at Sub Rosa, and I love Denny’s-esque Tabor Hill Cafe just as much for the same reason (and despite their insistence on providing only depressingly peaked, generic hot sauce in lieu of Tabasco).


I can make breakfast at home. It’s so easy, that unless I’m feeling particularly lazy or like a princess, there’s not a lot of reason to leave the house for it. Especially when I had the foresight to buy a loaf of mochi milk bread from An Xuyen (located in my neighborhood, but they’re also a supplier to Uwajimaya). Mochi milk bread is basically the Vietnamese take on brioche, made with the addition of mochi flour for extra tenderness and sweetness.

I made a basic custard of egg and whole milk, added a bit of sugar, a couple scratches of nutmeg and a drop of homemade bourbon vanilla, then plunked in thick slices to sponge it up. I browned them on both sides and then put them in the oven to cook the custard through and let the sides get a bit toasty. Meanwhile, I made a quick compote by warming sliced strawberries with some of the Meyer lemon marmalade that I canned a couple months ago. Just like that, lickety-split, and you’re patting down your apron.

A sprinkle of powdered sugar is all you need to make this quick-fix breakfast look like something worth dropping an easy $10 on, yet you didn’t even have to get dressed. Add some slices of bacon or sausages on another small side plate for added effect. Oh, and add a mimosa (or two), why don’t you, and make it brunch.
Leaving the house is so overrated.