I’m not even the Bloody Mary type. And had my friend not encouraged me so, I wouldn’t have thought to order one. But I do as I’m told, generally, and I began my breakfast at The Ramos House Cafe with a Bloody Mary. A Bloody Mary teeming with pickled green beans, sprinkled with shredded basil and chives, and topped — completed — with a scotch quail egg that is.
What, might you ask, is a scotch quail egg? A scotch quail egg is a soft-boiled quail egg, wrapped in ham, breaded and deep fried. And it is insanely delicious. Had I ordered nothing else that morning, I would have been completely content.
Well, in theory, I would have been completely content. Had I never tasted the apple cinnamon beignets, had I never spread the buttermilk biscuits with homemade apple jam, and had I never run my fork through the wild mushroom scramble into crispy sweet potato shavings, I would have been completely content.
I’ve been to Ramos House now several times and can’t say enough about it. For one, it’s hands down one of the most charming restaurants I’ve ever stepped foot in. I could spend hours in the bathroom alone. Truly. Go. You’ll understand.
But even if Ramos House wasn’t rooted in an idyllic garden, flanked by lemon trees and gurgling fountains, stationed next to a railway leading to, perhaps, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the food would make up for any lack of ambience.
This place is worth a trip across the country. Seriously. All of you East Coasters who have yet to come visit me in sunny California, here’s some more fodder. It has been a little over a year now since I moved, and I am finally feeling settled. Meaning, I have finally found some food outlets that rival, in their own way, Ding Ho noodles, Fisher’s soft pretzles, and Melograno’s mushroom pappardelle.
My most recent visitors, pictured here standing outside Pannikin on PCH, another favorite spot, shared my enthusiasm for Ramos House. And, before leaving the OC last week, they managed to so kindly buy me a copy of the Ramos House Cafe cookbook. Words cannot describe my excitement. While I haven’t tested the recipe below, I have a feeling it’s a winner.
Ramos House Bloody Mary
Yield 4-6 servings
Source: The Ramos House Cafe cookbook
- 1 liter Clamato
- Vodka or Soju
- 1 T. prepared horseradish
- 2 T. wild hot sauce (not sure what “wild” means)
- 1 T. black pepper
- 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 T. lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon, blanched (not sure why it must be blanched)
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup pitted green olives, chopped
- salt to taste
- Place all ingredients except for the vodka in a blender or food processor and puree. Fill a glass with ice and add desired amount of vodka. Fill remainder of glass with Bloody Mary mix.
- Garnish with Pickled Green Beans (recipe below), crab claw, herb salad and diced bell peppers.
Pickled Green Beans
- 2 lbs. green beans
- 5½ cups rice wine vinegar, unseasoned
- ½ small onion, sliced
- ¼ cup crushed, dried red chiles
- 1/8 cup coriander seeds
- 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup water
- 4 T. salt
- 1 oz. whole black peppercorns
- 6 T. sugar
- Bring all ingredients except for the green beans to a boil. Skim. Allow mixture to steep for at least 30 minutes, then strain.
- Bring to a boil, blanch beans in brine (add to water for about 15 seconds, then remove), then cool on sheet trays in the refrigerator.
- Strain pickling brine again. Cool. Return vegetables to cool in pickling liquid. Refrigerate for up to one month.
Scotch Quail Eggs
- 10 quail eggs
- ½ pound bulk sausage, raw
- 2 eggs, beaten
- flour for dredging
- bread crumbs for dredging
- Place quail eggs in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Drain off hot water and cover with ice to stop the cooking process.
- When cool, peel the shells off the eggs. Flatten sausage into 10 pieces. The pieces should be big enough to encase the egg, but not too thick.
- Roll the eggs in flour then wrap the eggs with the flattened sausage. Bread the wrapped eggs by rolling them in flour, dipping them in raw beaten eggs and rolling in the bread crumbs.
- Deep fry in 350ºF oil for approximately 4 minutes.
Murdock’s Magic Mustard
- 1 cup Coleman’s dry mustard
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup tarragon vinegar
- 3 large eggs
- Whisk together all ingredients in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Set bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. Stirring constantly, cook mustard sauce until it thickens. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and chill immediately. Murdock’s magic mustard will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.