Bites: Bread With Ancient Appeal, and Pox Goes Chic

A-Peeling Bread

At most restaurants, bread is brought to the table or available on request. At Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen, order Ancient Bread ($8) as no meal there should start without it. Three breads—with variations such as saffron sea-salt ciabatta, prosciutto, jalapeno, and cranberry pecan—are made using fermented banana instead of yeast. They’re served with whipped Strauss Creamery butter mixed with local cactus honey and Maldon sea-salt flakes. Why ancient? Five centuries ago, chef Paolo Buffa says, sailors transporting bananas from Africa to Italy discovered that the overripe fruit helped bread rise. 7905 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, 949-759-0200

The Antidote
Pox, pronounced “posh,” is an ancient Mayan spirit made from corn, wheat, and sugar cane. It was first used by shamans in Chiapas, Mexico, for ceremonial purposes, notably during burials and as an antidote to snake bites. Pox more recently made its way to chic bars in Mexico City and now to Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar. A subtle and surprisingly refreshing iteration by cocktail guru Anthony Laborin features passion fruit seeds that settle, making the drink as dramatic from below as from above, with a rim of dehydrated marigolds. 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar, 949-640-1415

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