|Hangover Remedies 2010
by Karine Bailly
| Photos by Antoinette Bruno
The prix-fixe menu extravaganza has just been published, a tell-tale sign that the holiday season’s pinnacle is upon us again. Drained chefs are working doubly hard to prep for fully-booked dining rooms on back-to-back nights—and even the most veteran of sommeliers has a bad case of palate fatigue. Relief is needed, often in the form of a tasty libation. From the breweries of the East to the distilleries of the South and the wineries of the West, drinks are guzzled in copious amounts and should have’s and could have’s are exchanged on the prep-line on the morning after. ‘Tis the season to be hung-over. Be not afraid. Good Samaritan and compatriot chefs from around the country are happy to lend their expert advice.
A few hours after sunrise in the east, Chef Brian Roche opens the doors of La Verdad and begins to serve his Carne Asada Taco as a meaty cure for grieving Bostonians. If the oil and salt soaked into the lightly toasted tortilla aren’t enough to quell the dizziness, surely then the juicy skirt steak will make a dent. (Fatty meats have greater bioavailability of Vitamin B6, a rumored hangover remedy). To top off his hole-in-one taco remedy, Roche generously slathers the tortilla with a caramelized onion puree, just the enhanced touch of richness needed to absorb any lingering toxins.
And, equally as important as the food, Roche reminds us to hydrate with his revitalizing Hibiscus Agua Fresca. “The hibiscus is extremely refreshing and matches really well with the food that we serve.” The beverage boasts a delicately sweet, herbal flavor, not to mention various medicinal benefits, the hibiscus flower itself known to combat minor kidney ailments.
Meanwhile, down South in the kitchens running on CST, Chef Scott Boswell of the Stanley Restaurant in New Orleans knows just the cure after one too many Sazeracs. “It’ll definitely do the trick and change your whole mindset,” Chef Boswell says of his famed Breaux Bridge Benedict. Think of it as a glorified version of eggs Benedict, plated with pork Boudin patties over two-inch thick wedges of baguette. Breads are a staple go-to for hangover sufferers, but it’s the cysteine rich eggs that help decompose the acetaldehyde chemical responsible for hangovers. The throbbing headaches born of New Orleans bourbons are a serious force to contend with, but this chef-dubbed “hangover cure” is up to the challenge.
And surely the chefs of the West’s wine country have also had serious hangovers to rival. John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu and Bovolo in Healdsburg propose a Fried Green Tomato and Black Pig Bacon BLT as a finger-lickin’ good, shabby-chic remedy. The heat of the spicy aioli will burn off any blurred vision, but it’s the house-made bacon, cured for 21 days prior to service, that launches this sandwich into hangover heaven. The fattiness of the bacon coupled with the sponginess of the rustic bread will mop up the menacing stomach acids, and voila, you’ll be cured far before the bell tolls for dinner service.