The Germans, of course, have a word for one of our favorite times of year: Spargelzeit, or asparagus season. The appearance of asparagus is the moment when going to the farmers' market begins to seem like an adventure again, and when all we can think of is eating things that taste like they have just shot out of a bed of loam, unabashedly vegetal.
At Local: Mission Eatery, Spargelzeit means the return of one of Jake Des Voignes' signature brunch-lunch dishes, an open-faced sandwich topped with poached eggs and asparagus from Zuckerman's Farm. It's the culinary equivalent of framing spring's first vegetable in a diamond bracelet.
Pools of liquid gold, thick and unctuous, hide in the centers of the smooth, cloud-white eggs, awaiting a slice of the knife to gild the asparagus and seep into the toasted slice of Shauna Des Voignes' brioche. The brioche is no mere piece of toast. Baked at Knead Patisserie, in the back of the restaurant, it is more cake than bread, more butter than flour — well, almost.
Two poached eggs and a slice of buttery brioche are still not enough for the chef. The cooks finish the dish by using a charged siphon to spray a cloud of warm, tart Meyer-lemon mousseline — a Hollandaise sauce lightened with cream — over the eggs, asparagus, and toast, where it dribbles into the interstices, mingles with the yolks, and helps balance the rich flavors. Now that's the kind of treatment asparagus deserves: a 1-percenter-tasting dish with a $10 price.
Local: Mission Eatery, 3111 24th St. (at Folsom), 655-3422, www.localmissioneatery.com.