Posts tagged Atlanta restaurants
how to do atlanta - ms ann’s snack bar
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photo credit: www.burgerbeast.com People – especially Southerners, and especially Southerners in the ‘hood – have a tendency to exaggerate.

Hey, man! You seen Tiny lately? That boy done got big as a house!" "Don’t say?" "Yeah, I saw him last Tuesday and I swear fo’ God you could land a plane on his backside!"

Exaggeration and braggadocio are simply part of the parlance of the South and especially of those well-known Southern ‘hoods like Kirkwood – home of Ms. Ann’s Snack bar and – as the red painted words on the side of the building will tell you - home of the “World famous ghetto burger”. Now, I’m not certain if people in other countries have heard of Ms. Ann or her monstrously sized burgers, but due to a 2007 article in the WSJ, the ghetto burger received national acclaim as the nation’s # 1 burger. ‘Nationally Renowned Ghetto Burger’ doesn’t quite have the same snappy ring to it, plus the shack-sized snack bar probably doesn’t have enough room for all those extra letters, so… world-famous it is. Regardless, both the burger and the woman are famous enough in local circles to have become the stuff of legend, and since rumor has it that Ms. Ann will be hanging up her spatula for good this month (not the 1st time that rumor has surfaced, mind you), I felt it was my duty to pay her a visit before the legend became history.

I approached the screen door of the snack bar with a feeling of trepidation. Ms. Ann’s reputation preceded her, and the image I’d painted of her in my head was somewhere between the Soup Nazi and the Great Oz. I’d heard of her long list of rules prominently posted above the counter, and had been repeatedly warned with tales of what happened to those who dared not follow them – a fate that could range from being yelled at to being thrown out. I couldn’t remember all of the rumored rules, but the ones I did remember seemed simple enough: no talking on cell phones, no cussing, no babies on the lunch counter, the standard no-shirt-no-shoes-no-service, and the most important of all: if there are no seats available at the 8-seat lunch counter, do not come inside.

Unfortunately, when I arrived, the counter was full, but an elderly couple was preparing to leave, so I took a seat on the worn white patio furniture in the snack bar’s ‘waiting area’.  On a previous attempted visit, both the counter and the waiting area were full, and the wait was up to 2 hours. Needless to say, I felt lucky to only have a few minutes pass before going inside.

Once there, I claimed one of the open stools at the far end of the counter and took a few moments to soak in the scene. That prominently displayed list of rules, as it turned out, wasn’t so prominent after all. It was mostly obscured by framed photographs of previous diners – local politicians and figures of note – with time-faded signatures and words

photo credit: Atlanta Journal Constitution

of gratitude scribbled in the corners of each. Behind the counter, I spied the legend herself, a cocoa-colored, wiry older woman who was moving rather nimbly between an impossibly small griddle loaded with impossibly large hamburger patties, and a dilapidated fridge stocked to the brim with burger toppings and large plastic jugs of tea, lemonade, and red punch. On the opposite wall of the restaurant was another framed picture, this one larger than the rest – a black-and-white graduation photograph of a young Ms. Ann… smiling. On one of her passes from griddle to fridge, Ms. Ann stopped to chat with a couple and their two young daughters that were seated next to me. During the exchange, the smile appeared again. I was beginning to wonder if I had stumbled into the wrong Ms. Ann’s Snack Bar. Maybe this was a Bizarro Ms. Ann that had no rules and treated customers with a smile instead of a snarl. Just then, she stepped over to take my order.

"What you gon’ have?"

A little more brusque than I would have expected anywhere else, but the tone was really to let me know that if I was going to be one of these indecisive or overly picky customers, she was not going to be the one to indulge me. It was just the reality check I needed to convince me that I was indeed in the right place.

I had originally planned to order the ghetto burger – a monstrous, structurally unsound assembly of two burger patties topped with sautéed onions, chili, bacon, cheese, lettuce, and tomato – but after watching my dining neighbor struggle with his, I decided to opt for a more sensible selection: a cheeseburger, fries, and a lemonade

I’ve always been a fan of watching my food being cooked, it’s about as close as you can get to cooking something yourself, plus it’s an opportunity to see the skill and love that the person preparing your food puts into it. You get a greater sense of appreciation and connection to the end result than you do when your plate of food just magically arrives from somewhere in the back. Once you’ve seen Ms. Ann hand-shape those huge beef patties, slap them on the grill with all of the finesse of a mustachioed Swedish masseuse named Helga, then move back and forth in the narrow cooking space behind the counter with the automated assurance of someone who’s been doing this for ms-ann-cheeseburgerdecades, you will most certainly appreciate the end result when she sets it in front of you. My cheeseburger – topped with sautéed onions, lettuce, and tomato – almost completely filled one Styrofoam plate, while my order of fries - dusted with seasoned salt - filled another. I took my first bite of the world-famous, nationally renowned burger, and found it to be… good. Was it the best burger I’d ever had? Was it, for that matter, better than something I could have made in my own kitchen? Not really. But it was good. Well seasoned, well done, topped with fresh ingredients, and so large that even with my most earnest attempt, I couldn’t possibly finish the whole thing.

In Latin American, Caribbean, and Asian countries, street and neighborhood food vendors are a prominent feature of the dining-out landscape. The personalities of the proprietors are often as much of a draw as the food itself, and those that stay in the game for years usually become larger-than-life personas as a result of the local lore surrounding them. By contrast, the majority of the American dining public has abandoned neighborhood food stands in favor of a more anaesthetized, highly styled eating experience. So the fact that Ms. Ann is still holding her own after 37+ years, and continues to draw crowds of locals and visitors alike, proves that she and her ghetto burger are most definitely legends. No exaggeration required.

cheers,

k

Ann's Snack Bar 1615 Memorial Dr Atlanta, GA 30317 (404) 687-9207

how to do atlanta - where to find the best fries in atlanta
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addict

I know I shouldn't love them as much as I do, but...I do. I mean some people like french fries, but I truly love them.  You know, kinda like an addict truly loves crack. Ask any friend of mine who's made the unwise decision to reach for a couple of fries from my plate. Let's just say, no one has ever done it more than once.

This weekend, I happened across Meredith Ford's latest list of the 5 best fries in Atlanta. Of course, being the fry fiend that I am, I made a mental note to check out a couple of the places on her list whose fried taters I haven't yet sampled (Shaun's and Porter Beer Bar), but there were others that I was surprised made the cut (Steak and Shake? really?). After reading, it inspired me to pen my own list of Atlanta restaurants with the best fries.

Check 'em out and let me know if there's some other places you know of in the city where I should be fueling my addiction.

5. Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Something about the whole Five Guys fry experience is just, well...dirty. But that's part of what makes them so good. Oh you're just gonna throw the fries into a little styrofoam cup? How delightfully low-brow! Grease stains on the bag? But someone might see...oh hell, I don't care. Give 'em to me, give them all to me! Let them spill over the cup into the bag. Let the cajun seasoning stick to my fingers so I have to lick it off. And when I'm done devouring them like I have absolutely no home training, hand me a napkin so I can ever so daintily dab the evidence off my lips. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep it movin'.

4. Eclipse di Luna

Here's where Meredith and I definitely agree. This authentic tapas restaurant serves up fried potatoes with a Spanish flair. Eclipse di Luna's patatas bravas are chunky cut, covered in a saffron-hued seasoning mix, and served with a side of romesco sauce, which is sort of like a spicy aioli. Ay, que sabrosos!

3. Corner Tavern dsc01907

Honestly, the fries at Corner Tavern are only slightly above average. But what pushes them to such a high place on my list are the dipping sauces, of which there are six to choose from. An order of the never-frozen, skin-on spuds comes with your choice of not one, not two, not three... but FOUR dipping sauces! My faves are: curried ketchup, BBQ, and Thai chili (I usually double up on this one).

2. Cafe di Sol  

The shoestring potato often gets the shun from me. Mainly because most places just don't do them right. They're either so thin that they fry up hard and insubstantial; or they're underseasoned and just taste like... shoestrings. Cafe di Sol, however, avoids both of those missteps. Their hand-cut shoestrings are just thin enough to get a good crispy exterior, but thick enough so you still enjoy the mouth feel of the fluffy interior. They're also liberally seasoned with a mixture of what I think is garlic, salt, and pepper, and sprinkled with fresh chives. I effs with these crabcakes.

1. The Shed at Glenwood

The reason for The Shed at Glenwood claiming the #1 spot in my list can be summed up in three words. Black. Truffle. Powder. A light sprinkling of this earth-colored pixie dust takes an already spectacular fry to drool-worthy proportions. The Shed's taters are made like the traditional Belgian fry (should it really come as any surprise that the folks who give us such great beer would also have such good fries?). Cut into batons and fried twice - once on low heat and once at extremely high heat - the result is a crispy fry with a luxuriously creamy interior. But thankfully, even perfection isn't good enough for The Shed. Chef Lance Gummere makes them absolutely decadent by adding black truffle powder - which retails for around $15 an ounce. But it's worth every penny. The powder imparts a rich, umami flavor that's almost like eating meat. OPULENCE! Thank you Chef Lance! And shouts out to the Belgians. Oh, and uh...good looking out, pigs.

cheers,

k

how to eat at the waffle house

I used to joke that in order to get a job at the Waffle House you had to be an ex-con. And if you looked close enough, you could actually see the leg chain that shackled the line cook to the base of the grill. Obviously that’s not true, but if you’ve gone into the ‘wrong’ Waffle House after a late night at the club, you know it ain’t completely false, either.

Still, there’s something about the place that keeps me going back every once in a while. Maybe it’s because they’re as common in Georgia as kudzu or springtime pollen. Perhaps it’s the fact that – good or bad– EVERY trip to the waffle house is an experience (Seriously, have you ever been to a Waffle House and left without an interesting story to tell?). Or it could be that it’s the perfect place to go when I’m missing mama and grandma and want somebody to call me ‘baby’ and ‘sugah’ while they serve me food that I KNOW isn’t good for me but tastes soooo right.

It’s a Saturday and I’ve foregone my usual laziness, instead opting to go out and run some early morning errands. Feeling proud that I’m up, dressed, and finished with most of my to-dos before noon, I decide to reward myself with a little breakfast. Cresting a hill, I spy that familiar sign – two simple words spelled out in garish yellow squares – and I feel an instant twinge of nostalgia. As soon as I ask myself, “Should I...?” my stomach responds with an approving grumble, and my hands comply by turning the steering wheel towards the parking lot.

I’m greeted at the door by one of the waitresses whose name I’m certain is either Flo or Gladys or Shirley or something very similar. I choose an empty seat at the counter and she hands me a menu. I’m instantly absorbed in the familiar quick-order cacophony of jangling silverware and clanking dishes, sizzling food on grill, punctuated by the shrill voices of waitresses hollering out orders in a drawling language only spoken here:

Pull! One chicken plate! Drop 2 hashbrowns! 1 scattered, covered, and diiiced, 1 scattered, covered, smothered, and chunked!”

Welcome to the House.

Immediately the grill cook – a big dude with his hair tied back in a long, Boo-Ya Tribe ponytail (leg-chain missing) gets to work. He adds a new round of oil to the griddle, and begins grabbing additional supplies from the nearby fridge, then sets to rhythmically flipping, scrambling, and shifting all the items on the grill. It’s just as much performance art as it is sheer short-order genius.

As I wait for my tried-and-true order of a waffle, a side of sausage, and hash browns – scattered, covered, and smothered, I ponder a couple of stickers positioned above the grill. Both are written in Waffle-speak. 1 reads: ‘Don’t Turn and Burn’, and the other: ‘Kill the Flame and Get in the Game’.

Soon, the meaning of the latter becomes apparent. In a 5-minute lull in the steady flow of customers and orders, the floors are swept, the waffle irons de-crusted, and napkin dispensers refilled. All the while, the staff exchanges sassy comments and witty replies. Everything here – including the banter – moves with a sort of synchronized, snappy timing.

After I finish my meal and pay the check, the waitress who served me drawls loudly from across the room, “Okay, huuun. You have a good day now!

I find myself inadvertently drawling back, “Yes ma’am, you tooooo!”

Waffle House 5565 Northside Drive NW Atlanta, GA 30327 (and many, many other locations with many, many other stories) www.wafflehouse.com

how to do atlanta - flip burger

The concept of Flip is fairly simple – burgers, sides, and shakes – American classics that everyone can identify with. But when the creative consultant behind the concept is local celebrity chef, Richard Blais, you can expect the simple classics to have some very modern updates.

Located on Howell Mill just past Chattahoochee Avenue, Flip Burger Boutique looks and feels like a retro burger joint with Sex and the City flair. From the outside of the building, large windows reveal a dimly lit dining space with patrons swathed in flattering candlelight. The interior aesthetic could be best described as a post-modern Johnny Rocket’s. Stark white predominates, highlighted by flashes of red and chrome. A bar flanks almost the entire length of the room, opposite a few cushy benches set into intimate alcoves. In the center of the space, two rows of adjoining high-top tables create a communal feel, which is ideal, since you’ll invariably be tempted to peek over to see which of Flip’s many gourmet burgers your neighbor settled on. At the rear of the restaurant is the open-air kitchen where you can observe two chefs feverishly churning out the goods.

The burger offerings are split into two categories, beef (organic, of course) and ‘flip’– non-beef alternatives that will satisfy vegetarians, those who shun red meat, and anyone with a hankering for a pork patty. All of the burgers are slider-sized and served on buns that are part-Kaiser, part Hawaiian sweet roll. Actually, they’re more like sliders on steroids, so depending on how hungry you are, one might suffice, but two are recommended for larger appetites and for indecisives like me and my friends. Among the three of us, we sampled 4 different selections:

From the Beef side: Butcher – with red wine jelly, caramelized onion and Cabrales blue cheese, this burger was my absolute favorite. The red wine jelly and caramelized onion added a hint of sweet and a lot of savory, while the tiny amount of Cabrales blue packed a tangy, funky punch.

Southern – featuring a fried patty w/pimento cheese, was definitely my least favorite. I’m not a huge fan of pimento cheese, plus the super-crispy coating encasing the burger shredded the roof of my mouth. Not fun.

From the Flip side: Po Boyger – A shrimp patty topped with lettuce, tomato, a fried lemon slice and Old Bay mayo. Delicate flavors, but still very very tasty. I was pleased that the patty wasn’t overly pureed, and I could still identify what I was eating as shrimp.

Bun Mi – An interpretation of the Vietnamese banh mi hoagie-style sandwich. This burger features a ground pork patty topped with cilantro and pickled veggies. It’s spicy, exotic, and complex – I can definitely see it becoming one of the restaurant’s more popular creations.

For our sides we ordered a sampling of sweet potato tots, french fries, and vodka battered onion rings. Accompanying them were ketchup, a dill mayo, and a honey mustard. Fries and rings were decent, nothing terribly remarkable about either. The tots were slightly disappointing – while the flavor was great, the texture was more mushy than crispy.

For dessert, we ordered one of each of the shakes on the menu – The Krispy Kreme and the chocolate. The Krispy Kreme actually has doughnuts blended into the vanilla ice cream base, and the chocolate shake comes topped with marshmallows given the hand-torch toasting just before being served. The shakes are cooled with liquid nitrogen, which aside from just sounding, well…cool, actually makes for a thick, creamy treat that stays that way until the last slurp.

Service was attentive and friendly if not a little gregarious (it was pretty obvious they’d been coached to make some very pointed suggestions on what and how to order). Blais was onsite for the duration of the evening, and stopped by to chat with us briefly. He admitted to being a bundle of nervous energy, which is understandable when you’re preparing to debut your culinary baby to a town of increasingly fickle and increasingly educated diners.

My bill – which included 2 burgers, a side, and a shake – came to over $20. With the baby burgers averaging about $8, it’ll be interesting to see how well the restaurant performs after the initial excitement wears off and the reality of a tight economy settles back in.

cheers,

k

Flip Burger Boutique 1587 Howell Mill Rd. Atlanta, GA 30318 (404)-352-FLIP

Umezono - a taste of japan in cobb

Despite the never-ending craze for all things Japanese, there are surprisingly very few authentic and affordable Japanese restaurants in the metro-Atlanta area. One very pleasant exception is Umezono.

My first visit to Umezono was at the recommendation of a former co-worker - an older American fellow who was married to a native Japanese woman. This guy, though generally likeable, was certainly no charmer. He was the salty dog type that responded to most people with short, harsh grunts. I managed to build something of a rapport with him when I let on that I knew a little Japanese. This of course led to us talking about Japanese restaurants, and ended up with him agreeing to take me and another colleague to his favorite Japanese eatery for lunch one day. On the day of the outing, I noticed that his eyes had taken on a youngish look, and he’d suddenly become quite garrulous – explaining the proper way to drink ocha and sharing all kinds of tidbits about the different dishes he’d tried. If ‘Old Guns’ (our endearing nickname for him) was this excited about something, I knew I was in for a treat.

From the Irrashaimase yelled out, to the Japanese soap opera playing on the teeny black-and-white TV behind the sushi bar, as soon as you enter Umezono, you know you’re about to encounter the real thing. This is not a place where you will be entertained by a wise-cracking, spatula-twirling griddle cook spooning out ‘steak-chicken-or-shrimp’ covered in teriyaki sauce. Nor will you find waifish waitstaff with high-post attitudes dishing out overly decorated, over-priced maki. So, if either of those is part of your definition of a good Japanese restaurant, you should probably skip this place altogether.

The décor is simple and modest – there’s a main dining area that houses shoji-screened booths and the sushi bar, an overflow dining room off to the left, and a traditional tatami room in the back. The waitresses all exude an air of rushed, but very polite busy-ness, and more than a few don’t speak English very well. But as long as you stick to the items listed on the menu (read: special order at your own risk), there shouldn’t be a problem.

The menu includes an extensive variety of authentic Japanese fare: less-intimidating stuff like donburi, teriyaki, soba and udon dishes mingle with more unfamiliar, tongue-twisting items like: shishamo (grilled whole smelt fish) and gyutan shioyaki (grilled beef tongue with salt).

I’ve only ever visited for lunch, during which there’s a $7.50 combo special that comes with your choice of two small dishes accompanied by miso soup, salad, and rice. My favorites are the saba shiomaki - a small piece of mackerel that’s been grilled to skin-crisping perfection; and the gyoza – that are so good they’ll make you smack umami. Ok - that was corny, but I couldn’t resist.

kanpai,

k

Umezono Windy Hill Plaza 2086 Cobb Pkwy. SE (Windy Hill Rd.) Smyrna, GA 30080 www.umezono.us

how to do atlanta - vickery's glenwood

 

Despite the fact that I live pretty close to Vickery’s and Glenwood Park, I’ve never done more than drive past both of them on a few occasions. Recently, a friend of mine suggested we have lunch there, so I finally got a chance to check it out.

As soon as I entered Vickery’s, I fell in love with the décor. Vinyl, art-deco style chairs in burnt orange and cream nestle up against dark wood tables surrounded by natural stone accents and exposed ductwork. The space feels equally warm and modern – the kind of place you want to linger in not only ‘cause it feels good but also ‘cause it looks good. The space was surprisingly small, but since it was lunch, the crowd was probably much lighter than what is usually is. Strangely enough, so was my appetite that day. As you might have heard, I’m not usually a salad eater when I go out, but this time I opted for one – the Southern Pecan Salad – which featured mixed greens with golden raisins, cucumbers, bleu cheese and candied pecans. Not really sure what makes it ‘southern’ other than the pecans. Hmm…on second thought, it could be quite Southern depending on how you pronounce it. PEE-can = Southern; puh-CAHN = regular old salad. Anyhow, no matter how you say it, it was still right tasty.

I also chose the calamari to share with my friend. Pretty much every restaurant nowadays does calamari, so it’s really only worth noting if it’s done exceptionally well or horribly bad. Vickery’s rendition falls in the exceptional category. Glazed with a sweet chili sauce and tossed with red and green bell peppers and onions, the calamari was perfectly cooked and, thankfully, it came without the tentacle pieces that always make me feel sort of squirmy.

They were out of the wine I originally ordered – a pinot grigio, I think – but the server recommended another one (can’t remember the name of that one either, sorry) that was quite pleasant – bright, citrusy, and refreshing. And yes, I had wine at lunch. Go ahead, tell my boss, see if I care! Okay. Okay. I was off work that day.

Since I kept it light, the cost for lunch wasn’t too bad – around $15 for everything (that includes the split calamari). But with Vickery’s entree’s averaging $15-16, I definitely don’t see myself making it a regular lunch spot. However, if the food quality and service experienced on my first visit is any indicator, I’m looking forward to visiting again for dinner. Or make that…supper, for my Southerners.

cheers,

k

Vickery's Glenwood Park 933 Garrett Street Atlanta, GA 30316 404.627.8818 www.vickerysbarandgrill.com

a love song for ma
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Some people call you Dinho, some people call you Frank Ma’s. Most Atlantans in the know call you the best Chinese food this side of the Great Wall. Every foodie in Atlanta from Buckhead to Bankhead has written about you, so why should I? What more could I possibly say? But that one Friday night we spent together just before closing has been lingering like a phantom in my mind and haunting my taste buds ever since. So consider this not a review but a futile attempt at exorcism.

I should have known that something so difficult to find even though it was right under my nose, would mean nothing but trouble. But I was determined to have you, so I persisted, bumbling my way up and down Chamblee Dunwoody Road for almost 15 minutes until I finally relented and called out for help.

The woman who answered the phone patiently directed me to Chamblee’s China town. Chamblee has a Chinatown? Almost as soon as the thought formed in my mind, you appeared like a mirage on the back side of the Marta station. Hmmm…I could’ve sworn we just drove past this spot, but I don’t remember seeing this place here before. No matter. The woman from the phone and the man (nay, the magician) whose namesake you bear greeted us warmly and expectantly. “Ah, you made it! Hurry, hurry.” They ushered us to a table in the middle of a floor made of opaque tiles with multi-colored lights slowly pulsing underneath. Wait…did I just step into the Billie Jean video? For a moment, I felt conspicuous and exposed. Like I might have been the main attraction but didn’t know it yet. I pretended to study the menu, flirting with you even though time was running out. I knew what I was here for. I’d soup bunsalready seen what you’d given to the others who’d come before me. They’d marveled about it and plastered pictures of it all over the internet for the world to see. I kind of wanted my time with you to be different, special. But who was I kidding?

"I’ll start with the Shanghai soup buns. And I’d like the sliced fish in hot oil.” The waitress slipped the menu out of my hands with a knowing look. Was I so easy to read?

Mere moments later, the soup buns arrived. At first we just sat there and looked at them with wide-eyed awe, they were almost too pretty to consider eating. Cute little wrinkly dumplings whose sticky, starchy exteriors were transformed into silk by the accompanying briny dipping sauce. I popped one into my mouth and on the first chew, my eyes closed involuntarily. Oh no, I thought. I’ve come undone. The entrees showed up soon kung pao chickenafter. My friend’s kung pao chicken was a glistening display of spicy goodness; and my dish was a ridiculously large bowl of tender fish pieces, bok choy, and straw mushrooms swimming in an addictive, peppery sauce that just begged to be soaked up with some rice.

I heaped a few spoonfuls onto my plate tentatively, not wanting to rush the experience and afraid that if I did, it might break the spell you’d cast on me, making it all just disappear before my eyes. We ate our meals with the same innocent appreciation as the appetizer, each bite eliciting quiet grunts of pleasurable satisfaction.fish in hot oil

We’d planned to go out after dinner, but once we left you and made it back to the car we knew it was a wrap. Nothing was going to top what had just happened.

That night, I drove home silently and slept…well. And I’ve been dreaming of you ever since...

…Call me.

cheers,

k

Dinho / Frank Ma's 5389-A New Peachtree Rd Chamblee, GA 30341 770.234 4885 Adagio Teas

copycat brunch - j. christopher's and flying biscuit
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Ahhh, brunch…the breakfast of slackers.

Hands down, brunch is my absolute favorite meal (or mix thereof) – just another manifestation of my decidedly dualistic nature, I guess. But there’s also an implied indulgence in brunch that I think is what really makes me love it. When you sit down for brunch, you’re saying to the world, “Yeah, I was too lazy to get up for breakfast, so what? I can still have my (pan)cake and eat it too!”

Throughout the South and especially in Atlanta, Sunday brunch is a hallowed weekly ritual, kind of like Saturday feijoada for Brazilians. As such, there are several restaurants throughout the city that are well-known for their take on this holiest of hybrid meals – many of them don’t even bother serving dinner. Two of my favorites are The Flying Biscuit and J. Christopher’s. The Flying Biscuit’s hallmark is obviously their made-from-scratch biscuits, but to me their French toast – with raspberry sauce and honey crème anglaise – is the show-stealer. The roasted potato skillets at J. Christopher’s are a perennial favorite of mine primarily because they’re the egg-less alternative to an omelette (I don’t really like eggs, and only eat them hard-boiled or hard-poached). And both places serve turkey or chicken sausage – which for some reason is still a restaurant rarity these days, though I can’t understand why.

Since it’s my favorite meal to eat (and to cook) I have a pretty good assortment of brunches I love to prepare. So I thought I’d share one of them that features my takes on the dishes mentioned above. You’ll need: 1 large baking potato Onion Green bell pepper Fresh cilantro Tomatoingredients.JPG Herbs / seasonings – I use: oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, black pepper, seasoned salt or blackened seasoning Cheese – this time it was thin-sliced mozzarella, but shredded cheddar or jack or pretty much whatever you have in the fridge will do Turkey sausage Loaf of French bread Egg Whole milk Vanilla flavoring Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice Orange zest Condensed milk Raspberry preserves Chopped pecans Butter Bossa nova – I think brunch goes best with it, dontchu? Plus it gives me just the right rhythm to cook to...

parboiled-taters.JPGI start with the potatoes.  Usually 1 med-large potato is plenty for two people (brunch is better when shared right?). Pre-heat the oven to 425. Wash and cut the tater into small chunks, leaving the skin on. When you’re done cutting, add the potatoes to a pot of water and bring to a low boil for about 7 minutes or until they’re tender enough to be easily pierced with the tip of a knife. The parboiling shortens the roasting time. While the taters are boiling, I dice the onion, green pepper and tomato and chop some cilantro that I’ll add to the dish later.

Next, drain the potatoes and place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Prepare your roasting pan by coating lightly with oil to keep the potatoes from sticking. Drain the potatoes well and spread them in a single layer on the pan Season liberally with oregano, basil, garlic powder, etc. Slide them into the preheated oven. They’ll go for about 15 minutes. seasoned-taters.JPG

On to the meat…. Heat a skillet on med-hi, add a small amount of oil (canola or veggie, not olive), then add the sausage and cook until nice and brown on the outside. Turkey is pretty low in fat, so you may have to add a wee bit more oil as it cooks to keep it from sticking. Remove from the skillet and drain in paper towels, then wrap in foil so they’ll keep warm until the rest is ready.

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slicedbread2.JPGNow it’s time to prep for the French toast. Slice the French bread into about 2-inch thick slices and set aside. In a medium bowl, add 1 egg, about 2/3 cup of whole milk, 1 tsp of vanilla flavoring, the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I also add about ½ teaspoon of orange zest. Note: I like my French toast on the eggy side – makes for a bit of a crust when it cooks – but you can play with the egg-to-milk ratio to find what you like. Also – when I have it on hand – I like to add a capful or 2 of Appleton’s rum to the mix…c’mon, you know you’d like it ;-)! Dip each slice in the mixture for a few seconds on each side, then set them aside. I usually place mine on a sheet of foil and let them rest in the fridge or freezer.

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By now, your potatoes should be done roasting. If not, make yourself a cup of coffee and sip slowly while you enjoy the sun streaming in through the kitchen windows and the tunes playing in the background.

pepper_onions.JPGRemove the potatoes and set aside. Turn the oven off and move the sausage to the oven, so it doesn’t get cold. In the same skillet you used for the sausage (the pan drippings are full of flavor), add about a tablespoon of oil and heat on med-hi. Toss in the peppers and onions and sautee until the onions are golden. Next, add the roasted potatoes and sautee for about a minute to combine with the onions/peppers. Turn the heat off and gather the potatoes in a mound on one side of the pan. Top with the cheese and let rest so the cheese can melt.

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pain-in-pan.JPGIn another skillet, add a tablespoon of butter and heat until it begins to foam. Add as many slices of your soaked bread to the pan as you can fit. Cook until golden brown on each side. Remove and place individual servings on plates. Drizzle each slice with the condensed milk and the raspberry preserves (give the preserves a few seconds in the microwave to make it more fluid). Top each slice with a sprinkling of pecans.

Add a heaping mound of the potatoes to the plate and top with the diced tomatoes and a bit of the chopped cilantro. Serve with the turkey sausage and another cup of coffee.

Taste the difference of Community Coffee New Orleans Blend Coffee and Chicory brunch_aerial.JPG

Eat. Repeat. Nap. ;-)

cheers,

k