The many artful faces of eggs benny

I love Eggs Benedict. It is the ultimate comfort food for me … on weekend winter mornings that is.

So, imagine my joy as I anticipated our visit to High Country Inn’s Bistro On Fourth. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 a.m. To 2 p.m., it has an Eggstravaganza that features the beloved Eggs Benedict.

Sure, you can find three or four different ways of making Eggs Benedict, but I really wasn’t prepared to find an entire page of them in the menu and with such exotic themes.

Well, can you really call smoked elk carpaccio “exotic”? It is certainly something you don’t see everyday.

And the creations of Chef Gedas Pabritsa shook my definition of the classic Eggs Benedict as we were warned that some hollandaise sauces are red.

“The Terra has Beetroot-Pink Hollandaise Sauce,” said Len Svensson, the director of food and beverage for the High Country Inn and the Gold Rush Inn. “It takes people aback.”

Svensson joined my Lovely Dinner Companion and I (er, Lovely Brunch Companion, I guess) and that added two more varieties of Eggs Benedict to sample.

As he explained to us, each plate comes with two eggs and we could mix and match from the menu.

My LBC had a heart-smart selection that included Yukon Gold Potatoes, spinach and Portabella mushrooms.

Meanwhile, also on the table was the Il Florentino with spinach leaf, tomato and pea meal back bacon; The Territorial with the elk and Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Hollandaise Sauce; and The Gallus with chicken breast, grilled vegetables and the shockingly brown Balsamic Hollandaise Sauce.

Each was artfully arranged in such a way that every forkful was a different taste sensation.

Svensson explained that the Bistro on Fourth wanted something “thematic” for the weekends, but they didn’t want another buffet to add to the downtown mix.

“And I am an Eggs Benedict fan, so we said to Chef, ‘We want something really out there’.

“He got really passionate about it,” he added, as he describes how the first creations started coming out the kitchen for testing. “Wow!” was the first reaction. “Wow!” was the second, etc.

“In a professional kitchen, you want cutting edge,” says Svensson. “You want something out of the norm.

“It kicks the staff out of their comfort zone and they like that.”

My LBC was enjoying her “Eggs Benny” — as we all took to calling it — and she commented, “This is nice. When I go out, I want something that I wouldn’t make for myself.”

She then speared a glistening, golden chunk out of her fruit salad and said, “Look at this pineapple; it didn’t come out of a can.”

Yes, Svensson confirmed, it was cut out of a pineapple in the kitchen.

For weird people who do not like Eggs Benedict (don’t worry, those people stopped reading this review after the first paragraph), there is also a page in the menu with omelettes, flap jacks, eggs any style and the usual assortment of breakfast choices.

I also noticed on the menu there was a history of the Eggs Benedict. I had thought it was named for that British war hero, Benedict Arnold.

But it was actually named for Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stock-broker who wandered into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and ordered “buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of hollandaise.” He thought it would cure his hangover.

This review is not meant to judge quality of food or service. It only describes the experience offered by the reviewed restaurant. The owners were informed in advance of the review and the meals were provided at no cost.

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