Once considered the new kid on the block in the Bella Vista restaurant community over a decade ago, Sabrina’s Café has expanded beyond its original walls bringing its delectable menu of gourmet comfort dishes to the Art Museum and University City neighborhoods of Philadelphia with plans already in the works to open another restaurant in Wynnewood, PA.
The corner bakery-turned-restaurant, named after owner Robert De Abreu’s baby daughter, is best known for its scrumptious breakfast/brunch items like a 4-inch high stuffed challah French toast and fluffy pancakes and ever-changing menus and specials, with chalkboard art to match, satisfying local patrons and visiting celebrities like actors Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal and NBA champion/superstar Lebron James.
However, what has remained a constant throughout the restaurant’s history is the serving of La Colombe coffee, switched recently from our Corsica blend to Lousiane, which emphasizes the smoky, mineral qualities of coffee, with the use of Haitian beans. It’s a breakfast place so you definitely need good coffee.
Mounir Draissi, who has been working at Sabrina’s for two and a half years now, said, “Ever since I moved to the United States from Morocco, I had been looking for a good coffee. I found that with La Colombe. I came here in 1996, which is around the time La Colombe opened. I would go to the café near Rittenhouse Square. I liked the atmosphere in the café. That’s what I’m used to from back home. It’s good for Sabrina’s to have La Colombe coffee. It’s local, good coffee.”
Mounir’s morning ritual consists of starting the day with two double Nizza espressos. We ask him what he pairs it with. He replied that he chases it down with a drip coffee. Mounir also provided us with the recipe for Sabrina’s fall sausage, butternut squash and ricotta bread pudding (below), a savory breakfast dish that goes quite nicely with La Colombe in the morning.
Sausage, Butternut Squash and Ricotta Bread Pudding
10 lbs. Italian sweet sausage, taken out of casing (you can use any type of sausage that you like)
3 cups red onions, julienne slices
1/2 lb. unsalted butter
3 cups butternut squash, medium dice (peel & deseed)
3 cups fresh spinach
3 cups red bell peppers, julienne slices
2 Tbsp. fresh garlic
2 Tbsp. shallots, small dice
3 Tbsp. kosher salt & black pepper
1 Tbsp. red chili flakes
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme & rosemary, rough chop
3 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups Parmesan cheese
12 cups brioche bread (or white bread), large chop
1 qt. of heavy cream
12 large eggs
2 1/2 cups maple syrup
Start by sautéing the sausage in a little bit of butter. When sausage is cooked, discard the fat, and remove from pan to cool down. Add a little more butter, and sauté the squash, peppers, garlic and shallots with salt, pepper and aromatics. When squash is a little soft, add the sausage back in. Remove from heat, and place in large bowl. Add the bread, cheeses and spinach. In bowl, crack the eggs. Add whisk. Add the cream and 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Add liquids to the bread and sausage mix. Butter or spray a large baking dish, add the mixture, bake in oven, covered for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove covering, and bake for additional 10 minutes for a little color. Cut out a piece, and top with warmed maple syrup.
For more info about Sabrina’s, you can go HERE.