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Ask a Local Chef: Best Spring Brunch Recipes

Executive Chef Travis Strickland_Baltaire_Photo Credit Kristin Tieg
(Credit: Kristin Tieg)

After the closing of the Cheesecake Factory, Baltaire opened its doors in Brentwood, serving sophisticated California-inspired steakhouse cuisine. A worldly wine selection, craft cocktails and housemade everything dominate the menu, showcasing high-quality ingredients sourced from around the world and, of course, locally. An extensive dining room and separate lounge with leather couches and fireplace make up the majority of the restaurant, leaving room for an airy patio with a retractable roof. Whether you're dining at Baltaire for midweek lunch or dinner, or weekend brunch, you'll get a taste of the restaurant's modern touches on all-time classics in an elegant space.
Chef Travis Strickland serves at Baltaire's Executive Chef. Before coming to the West coast, Strickland worked at a number of Chicago's steakhouses, including stints as Executive Chef for both Chicago Cut Steakhouse and The Local Chicago. In addition to all things steak, there's his passion for American Southern barbecue, which guests can enjoy in the lounge on BBQ, Blues and Brews starting April 18th. Specialty beer and whiskey flights and live blues music, plus a brand new barbecue menu, will debut soon. For now, here are a couple of Chef Travis Strickland's recipes for restaurant-style brunch dishes you can make at home, plus one of the restaurant's newest cocktails that would be a perfect accompaniment.
11647 San Vicente Boulevard
Brentwood, CA 90049
(424) 273-1660

caramelized brioche french toast- Baltaire
(Credit: Baltaire)

Caramelized Brioche French Toast
Serves 2

  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 4 slices brioche bread, cut 1.5" thick
  • Granulated sugar, as needed
  • Butter, softened, as needed

  • Maple syrup, for serving


  1. Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until well incorporated. Dip brioche bread into batter, and coat all sides.
  2. Cover the bottom of a large, heavy duty saute pan with granulated sugar, and turn heat to medium high. Do not move or shake pan.
  3. When sugar begins to melt, wait until color turns light brown, then add two small knobs of softened butter, and allow to melt. Now, add the bread, and move carefully to coat the bottom with the caramel sauce. Cook for 30 seconds, flip over and repeat on the other side.
  4. Remove from the pan and serve immediately with maple syrup.
King Crab Biscuits and Gravy - Baltaire
(Credit: Baltaire)

Alaskan King Crab Biscuits and Gravy
Serves 2

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup clarified butter
  • 3 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 4 ounces picked Alaskan King crab meat
  • 4 buttermilk biscuits, warm
  • 2 poached eggs, warm


  1. Combine first two ingredients into a medium sauce pan, and create a roux. Cook roux for three minutes, or until pale brown. Add cold milk in two equal stages allowing to boil between additions while whisking periodically to avoid clumping.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and stir gently with a spoon taking care not to break crab meat.
  3. Pour over freshly baked buttermilk biscuits and top with a poached egg.
Dorothy Michaels - Baltaire
(Credit: Baltaire)

Dorothy Michaels
Serves 1 - (By Beverage Manager Marianna Caldwell at Baltaire)

  • 1 ounce Tanqueray 10
  • ½ ounce Aperol
  • ¼ ounce St. Germain
  • ¼ ounce Lime Juice
  • Splash of Grapefruit Juice
  • Float of champagne
  • Sliced limes, for garnish


  1. Pour the first five ingredients into a shaker, and shake well.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass with one large cube. Top with champagne and a lime twist.
Chrystal Baker is a freelance food and events contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Basil Magazine and Frugivore Magazine. She is the co-editor of a recipe blog, The Duo Dishes, and manages her own lifestyle and travel blog, Any and Everywhere.
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