The French, who invented everything worth eating for breakfast (croissants, omelettes, café au lait served in a bowl), call their eponymous toast pain perdu ,

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Best French Toast

Tilth

The French, who invented everything worth eating for breakfast (croissants, omelettes, café au lait served in a bowl), call their eponymous toast pain perdu, or "lost bread." American brunch cooks seem to take the virtue of reusing stale bread as its own reward, stacking up sloppily fried white bread ringed with a yellow-brown fringe of egg-wash dribbles. An eight-ball of powdered sugar can't make that crap presentable. Tilth's French toast, by contrast, almost looks too good to tuck into: thick, neat squares of egg bread, saturated with custard but not mushy, lined up on a long oval plate. On each vanilla-perfumed square, the cooks arrange a spoonful of cherry compote, and on each dark-red puddle floats a perfectly football-shaped quenelle of whipped cream. One last smear of cherry compote on the plate to underline the row of French toastlets, a jaunty mint leaf at the plate's center, and voilà: pain découvert.—Jonathan Kauffman

 
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