After a summer of panting plywood reports, Peels opened for business on Wednesday. The Freemans offshoot is currently serving breakfast and lunch, as well as a tempting selection of pastries. Since the restaurant is a five-minute walk from Fork in the Road HQ, we wandered down to see if we could find a way to observe Fat Pants Friday, and found this berry crisp.
The berries, according to the chef, are raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. As in any crisp worthy of its name, they’re baked into a thick, juicy submission beneath a crumbly, crunchy topping comprised in part of oats, butter, sugar, and nuts. It’s a pretty sight, those lush purple berries winking from beneath their veil of deeply tanned crumbs. And for what Peels is charging, it should be: A serving costs $6, which, while certainly not unreasonable for a honking slice of cake, is a bit steep for a modest portion of fruit and oats.
That said, what you get is of pretty solid value. The berries are baked so that they retain their curves and a welcome bit of bite, and they are adulterated with just enough sugar to amplify their natural sweetness. Likewise, the crisp topping isn’t overly sweetened, and it tastes predominately of toasted oats and butter. Parts of it are a little too toasty, though to be fair, the restaurant is likely still getting its kitchen up to speed. It’s already turning out a stellar brownie, samples of which were set out when we visited, as well as a biscuit that, while tasting a bit too much of baking powder, boasts an ethereal crumb and a beautiful crust.
So we have high hopes for the crisp, too. It’s already off to a good start — the over-browning didn’t stop us from scarfing the whole thing, or from fantasizing about a second serving, accompanied by a scoop of buttermilk ice cream. Eaten alone, the crisp rates only a pair of relaxed-fit jeans on the Fat Pants Scale — and, best of all, you can convince yourself that all of those berries constitute a daily serving of fruit.
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