A Few of My Favorite Things

Two perfect brunch items: Florentine Frittata and Chocolate Croissants by Sara O’Bryan at The Bean Counter Café

Dreams really do come true. Culinary dreams included—the kind you eat and the kind you make.

Two of my favorite things in Lee’s Summit happen to be made by the same person at the same place: Sara O’Bryan at Bean Counter Cafe. When you bite into her utterly sublime creations, you are literally eating a dream come true, and I think this is truly part of what makes them so incredible. She dreamed of opening her own café since 1995 when she went through the Kauffman Foundation’s Fast Track program for small business entrepreneurs. Her passion for cooking is one of her key ingredients. She mixes in her experience as plant manager for The Roasterie and general manager at Atlanta Bread Company, as well as her own homegrown, organic herbs and produce when possible.

The Florentine Frittata

“Why notta frittata? We think ya oughtta.”  — Toni Bruce, Bean Counter employee

The Story: Ever since it opened, I’ve enjoyed meeting friends at Sara’s for breakfast, brunch and lunch and this is always my order, served with a side of grapes. It’s also my first-choice, go-to item to serve for special occasions, guaranteed to be devoured with awe. I’ve served it for birthday celebrations, holidays, small group gatherings, and everyone always raves about it.

The Taste Sensation: When we were at Bean Counter to shoot these pictures for you, I got some help in describing why this is so special from another frequent customer. Josh Rowland is vice chairman of Lead Bank, where Bean Counter is located, and says he’s eaten the frittata about eleventy billion times. “It’s definitely my favorite breakfast item,” he told me. But why? How do you describe what makes this so delicious you would eat it eleventy billion times? “The consistency is good, it has a layered feeling to it, and it’s satisfying to eat. It has good fork feel, good mouth feel.” Bingo. I would also add it is substantial but not heavy, has great textures, is fresh, flavorful and creamy. Apparently the secret is now out, as Sara told me she recently served this at the Lee’s Summit Chamber Holiday Gala at Longview Mansion.

The Ingredients: Ham, fresh spinach, provolone, Parmesan, mozzarella, angel hair pasta layered and topped with a rich egg custard (this is the secret ingredient she’ll only tell you for the right six-figure amount). Sara will make a vegetarian version upon request.

The Price:
1 slice at the café – $7.95
Half Pan (Take and Bake) serves 8 to 16 – $35
Full Pan serves 16 to 32 – $70

Sarah’s Chocolate Croissants

The Story: A few years ago my friend Becky introduced me to chocolate croissants when she served them at a brunch. It was an instant love affair. Her standards are very high, and since then I’ve been on a quest to find Parisian-quality equivalents (not the frozen kind at Starbucks or Costco). You can drive to some hoity toity French bakeries in KC and spend nearly $5 for one, but I recently discovered that Sara has been making them under my nose right here at home, and Becky agrees they are spectacular. (Think awesome Valentine’s Day treat…)

The Taste Sensation: Sara’s croissants are light, fluffy, flaky pillows of divine perfection.

The Ingredients: She wraps 60 percent bittersweet cacao (dark) chocolate in her homemade croissant dough, drizzles them with more dark chocolate and dusts them with powdered sugar.

The Price:
Just $2 each! (no matter how many you order)

You can enjoy either of these onsite in the café–a warm, welcoming, metro environment with a friendly Lee’s Summit feel (and decidedly beautiful, non-metro view)–or order either to share with friends and family. Sara appreciates a 48-hour notice.

Editor’s Note: Lee’s Summit is filled with talents and treasures. We love discovering little gems around town, and for this food issue we are delighted to share two we’ve found. What are some of your favorite things right here in town? Email me at KMathewson@lifestylepubs.com.