First, you should understand that when it comes to brunch I'm strictly on Team Savory. But a few Sundays ago I took myself to brunch at Nopa's bar, and there I was talked into ordering one of the most delicious things I have put in my mouth in recent memory: the famous custard French toast. Now I can't imagine ordering anything else.
This isn't the anemic French toast made from industrial slices of white bread like you'd find at IHOP or make at home. This is what I imagine the French had in mind when they invented the dish, which they rather poetically called pain perdu ("lost bread"), as a way to use up stale slices and crusts they had lying around the maison.
At Nopa, it's one massive, thick-cut slice of house-made pan di mie bread (literally "bread of the crumbs") that's been dried out for a few days, then soaked in a sweet, vanilla-and-nutmeg-y custard for 20 minutes, sauteed in clarified butter, and finished in the oven. The result is a crispy, fried crust on the outside with a luscious, quivering custard inside. Every bite was a delight.
Mine came topped with strawberries, but now the restaurant is using seasonal apples, both of which pair nicely with the Vermont maple syrup and pool of house-made butter.
Plus, the bloody Mary that accompanied it was one of the best I've had as well; its smokiness cut through the richness of the French toast. Both are great reasons to get out of bed early on a weekend morning.