• 82°
franklin county times

The thousand dollar omelet

By By Robert St. John / food columnist
June 9, 2004
A restaurant in a New York hotel has an omelet on the menu that sells for $1,000 and you thought restaurant prices in your home town were out of line.
The omelet culprit is a restaurant called Norma's and it's located in the Parker Meridien hotel. First, with a name like Norma's one would think he is dealing with a greasy spoon diner.
Norma's is no greasy spoon. It is a ritzy hotel restaurant known for its all-day breakfasts. The New York Post lists Norma's as the best brunch spot in New York. The New York Times says, "The breakfasts, in fact, are more fairy tale than real at Norma's," and, "Breakfast has its Cinderella moment at Norma's."
Cheap omelets
Cinderella slaved in the kitchen for her wicked stepmother, but omelets were cheap in the land of Mother Goose and fairy tales. Back then, a Humpty Dumpty-style Western omelet and a side of hash browns cost just a little more than the price of your average, run-of-the-mill glass slipper.
Today, the typical greasy-spoon omelet sells for $3. Where is the $997 difference?
The dish is listed on the menu as, "The Zillion Dollar Frittata." A frittata is an Italian omelet that is served open-faced as opposed to folded in half as we do here in America. Norma's frittata is loaded with lobster and caviar. As a matter of fact, it has 10 ounces of Sevruga caviar on it (that's an obscene amount of caviar).
Norma's is one of the top spots for power breakfast in Manhattan. In my experience, the typical power breakfast consists of a bunch of people sitting around in suits and ties, reading The Wall Street Journal and eating lots of dry wheat toast, granola and yogurt.
However, Norma's menu is filled with breakfast items such as foie gras French toast served with duck confit hash, and 12-layer gravlax Napoleons. That's major power, folks.
Million dollar salaries
The multi-million dollar salaries of our corporate CEOs have been drawing a lot of attention lately. I, too, have been amazed at the amount of the checks these guys were pulling in.
But now it all makes sense, and I don't feel so bad. The boys at Tyco, Enron and the like are getting charged $1,000 for an omelet at restaurants like Norma's. They need all of that money just to pay their corporate expense accounts.
I have a good friend whose wife came home with a $2,400 chair one day. Not having an appreciation for antiques, my friend lost his cool and asked his wife, "Have you lost you bearings?"
The $1,000 omelet makes me wonder if we as a society have lost our culinary bearings.
Bob Dylan said it first: "The times they are a changing." Example: For years the 21 Club drew a lot of attention for serving a $21 hamburger. People thought that was outrageous. Today, it's chump change. Celebrity chef, Daniel Boulud, now serves a $99 hamburger.
Kobe beef dinner
I once paid $150 for an entre. It was a Kobe beef and lobster dinner at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. I did it to get a column out of it. Unfortunately, until one of my editors finds a thousand bucks and a ticket to LaGuardia lying around, I won't be able to write the $1,000 omelet column.
Craig Claiborne, a fellow Mississippian and longtime New York Times food columnist, once ate a meal in Paris that cost $4,000. It included 31 dishes and nine wines. American Express paid his tab. Maybe I'll ask American Express to foot the bill for my $1,000 omelet column.
While reading the New York Times review of the Parker Meridien's restaurant I learned that Norma's "attracts a largely European crowd." Bingo! It hit me. I see it all so clearly now. That's why they're charging $1,000 for an omelet. It's the French. We're fleecing the French.
They're finally paying the tab for all of those times we went over there and saved them. We're penalizing them for being so rude for so long. We're sticking it to them because they are the only people who can understand what Bob Dylan is saying nowadays. A $4,000 meal in Paris, or a $1,000 omelet in New York who cares? Just charge it to the French.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I think I'll keep my bearings, save my money, and stick with my wife's pancakes.
Breakfast Casserole
1 pound bacon, thick-sliced, diced
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
5 ounces spinach, frozen, thawed and dried well
10 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices white bread, crusts removed
6 slices wheat bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large skillet, cook bacon until it begins to brown, drain excess fat. Add onion and continue to cook until onion begins to brown. Add red pepper, spinach and garlic and cook two more minutes. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine, eggs, half and half and seasoning. Spread the softened butter on both sides of each slice of bread. Cut the buttered bread into small cubes. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Place in a buttered two-quart baking dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving. Yield: eight servings
Robert St. John is an author, chef, restaurateur and world-class eater. He is the owner/executive chef of the Purple Parrot Caf, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar in Hattiesburg and Meridian. He can be reached at www.nsrg.com.

Franklin County

NWSCC receives $18,000 in grants from Dollar General Literacy Foundation

News

Russellville equine therapy visits library program

News

Steam locomotive delivery to Red Bay delayed, arrives July 1

News

Local author holds book signing at RPL

Franklin County

Former Russellville resident performs ‘Miracle Worker’

News

Presenting: Miss Phil Campbell

Franklin County

All American Tang Soo Do students recognized

News

Russellville High School students sign to pursue fine arts careers

Franklin County

Football Funday, special needs probowl take place June 15

Galleries

PHOTOS: RMS students take the stage for spring sing

News

Russellville member named among finalists for GFWC Jennie Award

East Franklin

East Franklin Junior High celebrates May 21 graduation

Belgreen

Belgreen Class of 2024 celebrates graduation

Franklin County

Local churches plan Vacation Bible School programs

Galleries

PHOTOS: Tharptown High School Wildcats graduate

Galleries

PHOTOS: Phil Campbell High School students graduate

Franklin County

NEMCC announces more than 400 to spring vice president’s list

Franklin County

UNA releases spring dean’s, president’s lists

News

Roxy holds June 15 concert, plans other events

Franklin County

Free summer meal program available at Franklin County Schools

News

PHOTOS: Red Bay High School graduates celebrate

Vina

PHOTOS: Vina High School graduates celebrate

News

PHOTOS: Russellville High School Class of 2024 graduates

Franklin County

RPD, FCSO raise funds through softball game

x