I love food.
I love talking about food, eating food, blogging about food, cooking food, baking food and the whole experience of food. Because that’s what good food is to me: an experience. Sometimes it’s atmosphere at a sweet little café tucked into a side street, or a thoughtful waiter at a bustling restaurant. It’s also the laughter of friends fueled by red wine, and the full feeling of heart and appetite at my parent’s dining room table. I’m not a food critic and I don’t go looking for Zagat ratings (although I admit to Yelp-ing and Urban Spoon-ing in a new city). I just like food.
One of the best meals ever put to plate in my opinion is breakfast. Growing up my father’s breakfasts were legendary. Friends stayed over and hustled around the kitchen table watching the magic happen: silver dollar pancakes, bacon, eggs, french toast, homefries, an endless array of good smells and good eats. At the time I raised my eyebrows at runny yolks, and now I will gladly skewer a fried egg over a medium burger. I pursed my lips at Hollandaise sauce and other “fancy” deviants at the restaurant table and have since converted to savory treats and curious flavor combinations.
Some stellar state-side examples:
- Chicago: A Carnita Egg Sandwich at Yolk in South Loop
- SoCal: Breakfast tacos & loaded breakfast potatoes at Egg Heaven in Long Beach
- Philadelphia: The Wakin’ Bacon Bloody Mary at the Continental in Old City
- Houston: The infamous chicken & waffles at the Breakfast Klub on Travis Street
- Memphis: An open-faced Florentine omelet at Brother Juniper’s on Walker Avenue
- New Orleans: A cornbread duck waffle at Elizabeth’s in Bywater
Brunch is an event. Even if it only involves two people, there is fanfare. I have a long standing arrangement with several friends to 1) not commit to the same dish, 2) switch plates at the halfway point and 3) combine savory and sweet. This may sound serious .. but this is breakfast. We are not messing around here, people.
My most recent off the charts breakfast experience in early November was here in Baltimore at a divine haunt known as Miss Shirley’s Café (three locations). It’s the kind of place with a monster menu and gorgeous twists on breakfast classics. We even ordered an appetizer: Sweet potato biscuits with peach jalapeño jam. She stole my heart with a “healthy” Grilled Salmon Florentine Benedict .. Poached Eggs & Grilled Salmon, Potato Zucchini Pancakes, Wilted Spinach, Dill Garlic Sour Cream & Herbed Hollandaise Sauce. The result automatically puts her on the above list of memorable eats.. and I’ll continue to search for more.
Well met, Miss Shirley.