Don’t get excited: I’m not thinking about opening a restaurant.
But! I have a really good restaurant name in mind (based on a nickname for my friend Diana who, in my fantasy, opens this imaginary restaurant with me here in L.A.; again, it’s just a fantasy, stop getting excited!). I realized, though, in having this fantasy that if I were ever to really do it, I wouldn’t be shooting for the moon ambition-wise. I’d just want a cozy place where I could serve biscuits and comfort food and hang out, during the day, chatting with the staff and customers and maybe blogging from a corner booth. I just heard the guffaw from anyone who’s worked in the restaurant industry when they read that last sentence. Which is why I’m posting this post.
Breakfast may be my favorite meal to cook because there’s nothing fussy or formal about it. You just wake up, roll out of bed, head to the kitchen, put the coffee on, see what you’ve got in the fridge and the pantry and get going. Most of the time, I improvise with what I have on hand; but sometimes, if I want breakfast to be special, I turn to one of these ten recipes and start my day in style. Now that it’s almost the weekend, consider this a prompt to start your Saturday or Sunday with style too.
We had plans to eat Sunday brunch with Rebecca Lando of Working Class Foodies last week only we were a bit under-the-weather (um, hungover). Instead of canceling, I had an idea: what if I just invite Rebecca over at 11:45? This was at 10:30. So I had an hour and fifteen minutes to cook up an impressive breakfast before she’d arrive. Could I pull it off? I most certainly could. Here’s what I did.
I’m writing to you now from Emory Village, a flash from the past, as I prepare to speak to Emory Students at 2 PM, sign books at the Emory Book Store at 4 PM and then hustle over to Empire State South where I’m hosting a dinner at 6:15. There are still seats available, so, Atlantans, please come! Call 404-541-1105.
Now before all of this happens, I want to tell you about two incredible meals I’ve had so far since arriving in Atlanta on Friday. Let’s start with the brunch I had yesterday with Atlanta Magazine food critic Bill Addison at the One-Eared Stag near Imman Park.
Once upon a time, my friend Patty told me that the best biscuits she’d ever had in her life were at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville, Kentucky. “They were huge,” I remember her saying, “and buttery and fluffy and AMAZING.”
When Patty told me this (back in 2009), I was working on a project that required me to research all different kinds of biscuit recipes. And so, after hearing this, I reached out to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe to see if they would share their biscuit recipe. I strongly suspected that they would say “no.” Instead, a very nice woman–also named Patty–sent along the recipe and said, “I hope that you enjoy them.”
Andrew Carmellini, in his new book American Flavor, shares a biscuit recipe that he calls “the world’s best biscuits.” This is a bold claim, even for a chef as revered as Carmellini, but in his defense, when he started serving biscuits (and fried chicken) at his pre-The Dutch Italian restaurant, Locanda Verde, the critics gushed. In fact, while working on a different book proposal, I called Carmellini to have him coach me through biscuit-making on the phone. The man knew his stuff.
I make a mean weekend breakfast. The variables often change; sometimes it’s a frittata, sometimes it’s waffles. The only constants are freshly ground coffee and paper towel napkins because who uses cloth napkins at breakfast? Lately, though, my mean weekend breakfast looks a lot like the breakfast you see above: homemade biscuits, crispy bacon and two sunny side-up eggs. I’m going to walk you through it so you can make that same plate for your loved ones this weekend.
Is there such a thing as biscuit terroir?
In wine, as in coffee, we can talk about the soil and growing conditions of the grapes or beans and how that affects the end product. But with biscuits, there are so many variables–the butter, the flour, the baking powder and the buttermilk–you can’t explicitly tie the biscuits to a place. For all you know that baking powder came from Newark, New Jersey.