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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Batch And Brine’s new chef takes Tuesday tacos to a new level

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Chef Nick Peters is Batch & Brine’s new chef in Lafayette, CA and with his arrival comes a brand new Taco Tuesday menu – just in time for Cinco de Mayo! A former CIA chef, Peters previously worked as an executive chef at San Francisco’s Valencia Street hot spots, Tacolicious, Mosto and more recently Curio Restaurant & Bar.

Batch & Brine, a family business, prides itself on its cuisine inspired by generations of closely related family recipes. The menu has a range of delicious food ranging from juicy burgers and sandwiches to fresh salads and sharing platters, and of course, milkshakes.

Popular inventive items include merguez with spicy lamb patty, harissa aioli, roasted red pepper, pickled red onion, arugula, pickled red cabbage on a pretzel roll; the Bleu with Chuck Angus, Whipped Roquefort, Arugula, Fig Jam, Confit Bacon on a Pretzel Roll; Pepper with Chuck Angus in Pepper Crust, Buttered Onions, Seared Mushrooms, Swiss, Green Pepper Sauce; and Banh Mi duck with garlic aioli, marinated carrots and daikon, cilantro, UKTN, jalapeno, cucumber, Banh Mi sauce on a torpedo roll.

Batch & Brine also offers a gourmet weekend brunch that features innovative dishes such as Southern Fried Chicken Benedict with Bacon, Hollandaise, Biscuit, Potatoes; Pastrami hash with homemade pastrami hash, fried eggs, rye bread; and banana and pecan French toast with challah bread, pure maple syrup, caramel and powdered sugar.

They also offer a selection of craft cocktails, beers, and wines, as well as a selection of take-out cocktails and happy hour cocktails. Libations include Lulu Melon with Rutte Gin, Honey Cucumber Shrub, Lime, Chipotle; Honey I’m Home with Barr Hill Gin, Lillet Blanc, Ananas Citrus, Honey; and Something With Vodka with Bergamot, Lychee, Cava, Citrus Smoke, Spice & Everything Nice-Mezcal, Mandarin, Lemon, Tradewinds Spiced Brandy.

The newest addition is the Taco Tuesday menu which includes fries and dips; $ 6 tacos (or $ 3/15 tacos); with guajillo-braised short ribs served with onion and cilantro, tomato-avocado salsa and escabeche vegetables. The selection of tacos includes pollo borracho with ancho pepper and tomato, braised in cerveza and tequila; and the tradicional carnitas with braised manteca meat marinated in orange and oregano.

I sat down with Chef Nick Peters to discuss his new role, menu inspiration, current stuff and more. Here’s what he had to say!

You recently started working as a chef at Batch! Congratulations! How did the move go and what changes, if any, are you making to the feeding program?

So far, the movement has been tremendous. The other restaurants in the Lafayette community as well as the Chamber of Commerce were very warmly welcomed. Really great feeling of neighborhood all around. The East Bay in general has always been one of my favorite places. The family and I have lived in the Concord and Walnut Creek area since 2010 so it’s great to be close to my friends and family.

We have some amazing things in the works for a new summer menu that will focus on high comfort classics and chef-inspired burgers. Probably the most enthusiastic about new “share” snacks and bites to showcase our craft cocktail program. Still a few final touches to put on the menu as we have seasonal ingredients on board. Stay tuned!

Cinco de Mayo is around the corner! What do you have for this?

We just launched a brand new Taco Tuesday program which went live this week. After being in San Francisco for so long, I definitely fell in love with guisado style tacos and wanted to see more of them in the East Bay.

These tacos are slowly braised in flavorful liquids containing various dried peppers, tomatoes, spices and other herbs. Additionally, we have homemade tortilla chips that we serve with an assortment of dips. The fresh guacamole is a must, but we also make a summer tomato salsa which has hints of UKTN and a chili con queso which is liquid gold.

Tell us about the taco specials? What is good about partnering with them?

So the tacos themselves come in three different ways.

Our first is a traditional carnitas that takes three days to make. On the first day, we cut off the pork butts and cut out all the extra fat to make a tasty manteca or pork lard. We then marinate the pork overnight in sugar, salt, dried Mexican oregano and orange juice. We cook it in its own fat the next day and let it cool one more night in this same manteca. The last day is when we heat it up and finish it in small batches on the flat top.

Second, we have our Pollo Borracho. The chicken thighs are braised with tomato, ancho Chili, oregano, light beer and tequila. Hence the drunken chicken.

Last but not least; Short ribs braised with guajillo. We braise baby back ribs with Guajillo Chili, chipotle, tomato and amber beer.

All tacos are served with homemade escabeche vegetables and a tomato and avocado salsa.

The best thing to pair with our new tacos will certainly be our Micheladas and our agave-based spirits cocktails. My two favorites are the new cocktails created by our bar manager Casey Carr. These are the “Serrano mi Hermano” and “You can’t Hibisc ‘With Us”. The “Serrano mi Hermano” is made from tequila with serrano syrup, pineapple, lemon, basil and black lava salt. The “You Can’t Hibisc ‘with Us” is mezcal with a 36 hour homemade cucumber-Jamaica cordial, chareau aloe liqueur and lime.

The Micheladas are really great too. We’re going to use the Taco Truck Lager from Dust Bowl Brewing Company and traditionally serve them in red or a slightly different green. Micheladas Verdes are prepared with Serrano, Jalapeno, Pineapple, Cucumber and Cumin. Both are topped with a chili and lime salt that we make.

Are you going to start new promotions?

I have some ideas in preparation for weekly events. We’ve started with the new Taco Tuesday and are getting ready to kick off some industry nights. Work on some details, but we’ll make it super fun. Could be something where we are spreading a password in the industry for secret items that change weekly.

I think it’s really important to do something for the people who have been through this pandemic in our industry. It was very difficult for all of us to be able to get by and do anything other than quarantine and work. On top of that, we’re looking at the rest of our menu and new changes coming up, so really, it’s all going to be special for a while.

What is the inspiration for the menu at the moment?

The menu is definitely focused on our chef-inspired burgers. Batch & Brine was put together with a love and appreciation for handcrafted cocktails which are often batched or aged in barrels and bringing our own pickles and meats. We’re definitely going to keep that at the center of what we do, but also look at the beautiful produce and fresh produce from California to create a place you want to go multiple times a week.

What else do you like on the menu right now?

I grew up in New York City and one of the most awesome things about Batch & Brine right now is their homemade pastrami. There is no skipped step on this beauty. From start to finish, it takes at least 15 days for it to be ready. All the briskets are cured for 13 days, coated with spices, smoked, roasted with steam, then finally cut into slices. We serve it on a sandwich dubbed the Lower East Side or LES as well as loaded over hand-cut fries with a Gruyere sauce. Look forward to more things with Pastrami soon.

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