Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1886 Cafe & Bakery, Austin TX

If you're in downtown Austin, the 1886 Cafe & Bakery is the place for breakfast.  Not cheap, but great gourmet food for a reasonable price.  By the way, nothing is cheap in downtown Austin.  Paid $3.50 for a grocery store taco.  No, for downtown Austin, the 1886 is a good deal, really good deal!  Breakfasts plates run between $11-13, and that's par with top items on just about any breakfast menu.

This is a bakery so just about all of their breads are made in house.  Perhaps not the bagels. There is a continental breakfast for those who want to taste a sampling of their pastries.  For more information go to http://www.1886cafeandbakery.com.

The 1886 Cafe & Bakery is located on the side of the famed Driskill Hotel on the corner of 6th Street and Brazos.  Just go west on 6th off of I-35 till you find the hotel.  And don't ask me about parking.

Bread Pudding French Toast:

Did I say gourmet food?  Here is a heavy dish for you dieting tree-huggers: Texas toast bread pudding with rum raisins and pecan caramel.  Circling around this scrumptious dish are fresh berries and bananas.  Then topped with powdered sugar.  Can't see the sugar for the butter I put on top.  Some people put too much butter on French toast.  I'm one of those people.

Croque Madame:

Croque Monsieur, step aside.  This scrumptious dish is on the lunch menu, hence the home-fried chips, but I still consider this breakfast.  Probably a slip-up on the part of the chef.  This wondrous sandwich is a combination of shaved ham and melted gruyere cheese, and this is only the beginning.  The bread is house-baked brioche, but every bread is housed baked here.  Then the sandwich is topped with pepper-jack mornay sauce and a sunny-side up egg (the egg is what make's it breakfast for me).

A mornay sauce is made from flour dissolved in butter and thinned with heavy cream with some sort of cheese added.  It's an easy sauce to make at home in a small skillet on a low fire.

Traditional Eggs Benedict:

You know the recipe: two poached eggs with Canadian bacon served on an English muffin and topped with a hollandaise sauce.  I forgot what that orange drop of stuff is on top of the hollandaise.  I usually add Tabasco sauce to my hollandaise to spike it a little.  The bakery also does a Paris Texas Benedict which is served on a house-made croissant with shaved ham and brie cheese.  Don't know how I missed this one.

A quick and easy way to make a hollandaise sauce is to mix egg yolks with lemon juice in a blender and then add melted butter to the mixture for one final swirl.  Some make the sauce in a double boiler, but I just do it directly on the fire, adding butter as I need it and moving the pot in and out of the fire until the consistency is runny, but thick.

Quiche Lorraine: 

This dish is made with cage-free eggs whatever that means ... probably has something to do with the chickens roaming free and nothing to do with the taste.  Must be labor intensive, trying to find where the hens dropped their eggs.

The crust on this quiche is house made, and the house adds local bacon (probably cage-free as well) gruyere cheese.  This place really likes the gruyere.  That spicy sweet sauce on the side added a great tang to the meal.  At first I thought that the fresh greens were garnish, but then I took a small cut with my next bite of quiche and wow.  The crunchy from the greens combined nicely with the soft feel of the quiche.  Reminded me of the Vietnamese serving lettuce with fried spring rolls.

Healthy Alternatives:

Not shown or discussed are healthy alternatives such as steel-cut oatmeal, sliced fruit plate, and Driskill granola ... because I generally don't eat that stuff for breakfast.  All these plates are cheaper too ... probably because not too many others are eating that stuff as well.

Guys, all joking aside, I eat healthy at home, try not to eat out at night, and enjoy my breakfasts when I do eat out.  And generally when I have a really heavy breakfast, I have a lite lunch and a salad for dinner.  Unless you have serious medical conditions, splurge and enjoy a great meal out from time to time.  And the best meal in my opinion is breakfast ... but I'm the Breakfast Bro.

I am not going to the 1886 Cafe and Bakery and ordering granola!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Poor Boy Lloyd's of Baton Rouge, LA

Poor Boy Lloyd's Seafood Restaurant is the place to go for po-boy sandwiches in Baton Rouge.  It's one of the few places in the city that still uses real water-based French bread for their po-boys.  The French bread is shipped from New Orleans fresh daily.

The place is located in downtown Baton Rouge on the corner of Florida Blvd & 2nd Street, just two blocks from the Mississippi River.  This place is a favorite among the business and government employee groups and is relatively unknown to tourists.

Their hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday.  On Friday, they stay open to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Lloyd's is closed on Sunday.  For more information go to http://www.poorboylloyds.com.


Yes, they do make breakfast, and that's even a secret to most of the downtown workers.  See how thick the grits are and look at that biscuit.  Warning, I did order double meat (for display purposes only -- and you believe that).  Breakfast usually comes with either bacon or sausage.

Also on the menu are pancakes and French toast.  My guess is the French toast is made on French bread.  Instead of biscuits or grits, you can get toast and/or hashbrowns.  Ham is also included in the breakfast meat menu.  Breakfast is available up to 10 a.m.

The Po-Boy:

You have to have a po-boy when you go to Poor Boy Lloyd's.  This was their special of the day ... venison sausage po-boy.  And it was good ... really good.  If you want lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayo, ask for your po-boy to be dressed, that's Louisiana-eese for everything on a sandwich.

Crawfish Po-Boy:

When I grew up in New Orleans in the 50s and early 60s, the oyster po-boy was king and the shrimp po-boy was queen.  In my time there, I never remember seeing a crawfish po-boy on any menu.  The first crawfish po-boy that I had ever eaten was at Poor Boy Lloyds in the 1980s.  Now I can find crawfish pi-boys just about everywhere.  My son Adam ordered this po-boy.

Hot Sausage Po-Boy:

My brother Joe ordered this one.  He grew up with me in New Orleans and has never had a hot sausage po-boy in his life.  Must have been on his bucket list.  Don't wait 70 years to have your first hot sausage po-boy.  By the way, hot sausage in Louisiana means pepper hot.  Normally these po-boys are served dressed (that's with lettuce, tomato, and mayo).  But my brother hates MAYO.

Red Beans & Rice:

A favorite on the menu is the red beans and rice plate.  It comes with smoked sausage and French bread.  This is rib-sticking food that will not leave you hungry.  They also do a white beans and rice as their Monday special.  My friend since college, Art, ordered this plate.

Shrimp Po-Boy:

A Louisiana favorite and always a good bet for lunch is the shrimp po-boy.  Here it's deep fried to perfection and as you can see comes fully dressed if that's how you like it.  That's how I love it.  My daughter Michelle and my niece Candace each ordered one of these.

Open-Face Turkey Sandwich:

Here's one my son-in-law Derick ordered ... an open-face turkey sandwich.  The sandwich is hiding below the fries and is on French bread.  In case you have never had one, the way its made is that the bread is sliced and placed on the plate outside down and inside up.  Hot turkey slices are draped on top of the bread, and the sandwich is covered with hot turkey gravy.  At home, this dish makes for a great post-Thanksgiving treat on Black Friday for those who don't care to go shopping.

Barq's Root Beer:

Before Coke had purchased the brand, you could only get Barq's in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Area and the New Orleans - Baton Rouge corridor.  And that's the only area that you could only get po-boys as well.  Hence the marriage was made: a Barq's Root Beer and a po-boy.  And trust me, that's better than a moon pie and an RC Cola.

Fried Shrimp Plate:

Lloyd's knows how to deep fry seafood.  Whether it's shrimp, crawfish, oyster, or catfish, they know how to deep fry it.  They serve plates with all of those wonderful choices.  And if you want it all, get the seafood combo plate.  My friend Bill ordered this one.

Inside tip: this is Louisiana and in Louisiana, you tend to get more fried shrimp (or whatever seafood) on a po-boy with French bread than you get in a shrimp plate with toasted white bread.  And in a lot of places, the plate costs more than the po-boy.  So if you're in Louisiana and want a shrimp plate, get a po-boy and eat it with a fork.  If you get it dressed, you have a lettuce and tomato salad included.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Pump Cafe of Springfield Oregon

Look at that Oregon bacon!   There were four slices, but I ate one before snapping the photo.  The Pump is one of my favorite places on Main Street, Springfield, for breakfast or lunch.  

Again, the Pump Cafe is located on Main Street, Springfield, Oregon.  Use your GPS to find Main Street and once you do, you will be in Mom-n-Pop restaurant heaven.  The Pump is one of my favorite home-owned places on Main.

The Breakfast Burrito:  

The burrito has scrambled eggs and cheese and hash browns.  It's wrapped in a flour tortilla and covered with this wondrous green chili sauce.  You can add bacon or sausage.  I love the sausage in a burrito.

Chicken-Fried Steak:

Thick cream gravy coats this battered-fried chopped-beef steak.  It's great with scrambled eggs and hash browns.  Look how crisp the hash browns are.

The Pump Special Omelet:

This is an omelet: crisp bacon, avocado, cheddar cheese, and sour cream.  Doesn't get much better than that.

Traditional Bacon, Eggs, Hash Browns:

This is their traditional breakfast and you can change the way the eggs are done as well as the meat.  In the upper right corner is their pre-buttered toast.  See the bite I took out of one slice.

Corned-Beef Hash and Eggs:

This is always a favorite for me: corned-beef fried crisp and served on top of a bed of their great hash browns.  And all of that is topped with two eggs.  Got to have a runny yolk for this dish.

The Hog with Hotcakes:

This is a great meat-lovers omelet: ham, bacon, sausage with cheese.  It comes with either a side of pancakes or hash browns.

Pancakes and Sausage:

When I have pancakes, I have to have sausage with them.  The Pump grills their sausage instead of pan frying them.  These cakes are thick and fluffy which in my opinion calls for syrup.

Biscuits & Sausage Gravy:

Guess what your liver does with this dish.  If you say turn it into cholesterol, then you're right.  Some places just put gravy on the biscuits.  Here they pour on the sausage gravy.  Not a dish to have the week before your annual blood test.  But I sure love their sausage gravy.

Speciality of the House!

The Pump's speciality is their raspberry/cream-cheese stuffed French toast.  I just put butter on it and savor.  Eat this dish slowly.  Enjoy every taste.


The scones at the Pump are huge!  These scones are about eight inches long.  They seem to be made with a biscuit dough, and they are really good.

The scones on the top shelf are the marionberry ones.  The marionberry is a cultivated version of blackberry developed by the University of Oregon and is a favorite of the Eugene-Springfield area.

In the dark bottom shelf are the bacon and cheese scones.  I always get the marionberry ones for my son's house where I stay while in Oregon, and get the bacon ones for the flight back.  They're less messy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hunting Oregon's Wild Chanterelle Mushroom

American Chanterelle can grow up to 15 inches wide, particularly in the Great Northwest.  These mushrooms were picked out of a National Forrest in Oregon.

The Feds require all forages to obtain a permit to pick mushrooms from the forrest.  All mushrooms must be split so that the m'room game warden knows that you don't intend to sell them to a restaurant.

The bag limit is two gallons.  Wished I could have hit that limit.  My son Adam took me to forage for mushrooms and between the two of us, we hauled only a small basketful ... hardly a gallon.  Adam said the pickens would be better after a rain.

Chanterelle in the Ground:

Lucky for me that I had lived on five acres for the past twenty years where the deer, rabbits, and my dogs roamed.  So I automatically look before I step.  Because of that, my eyes adjusted quickly to spotting mushrooms.  I even found three poisonous ones.

Field Dressing Mushrooms:

Above, Adam is using a brush to field dust the dirt off the mushrooms.  The Chanterelle will pick up moisture from the air causing the dirt to stick to them if they aren't dusted immediately after picking.  Dusting is a careful process: too light with the brush and the dirt doesn't come off; to hard with the brush and the mushroom crumbles.

Trust me, Chanterelles are not that easy to spot when standing.  Often, all that I spotted was an edge sticking out of the ground cover.  And mushrooms like hiding in the moist darkness of ground cover until a heavy rain comes.

Pretty Mushroom, But No Longer Any Good

According to my guide (Adam), when the mushrooms turn darker, they are no longer any good for eating.

Here's a pretty bouquet of Chanterelles, but the bunch is already soft and likewise is no longer any good for eating.

Poison Mushroom:

See the well developed gills on the underside of this mushroom.  According to Adam, where the gills are that developed, that species of mushrooms are poison and are only served to Clint Eastwood in Confederate garb.  Adam must be right about those being poisonous because we didn't get sick off the good mushrooms that we later ate.

A Meal's Worth:

That was our take for an afternoon of stalking wild mushrooms.  If we hadn't forgotten our mushroom call, we would have probably had a better haul.  But it was enough to put into a stew.  Yes, we rinsed them off when we returned home.

Adam's Mushroom Stew:

Chop up one-half a garlic and one yellow onion.  Sauté onions till clear, then add garlic.  Afterwards add seasoned/floured meat.  Once the meat is browned, add the mushrooms.  Then move to a larger pot for stewing.

Add carrots and a beef bullion cube.  (Carrots always make stews better.  My daughter-in-law Dani says it's the releasing of the sugars in the carrots that enhance the flavor.)  Bring the stew to a boil.  Note: Adam's secret ingredient is rosemary fresh from his garden, and just add a dash.  The rosemary gives the stew an added dimension to the flavor.  Near the end of the cooking, my son added a small can of cream of mushroom soup to thicken the sauce.  The die-hard home chefs out there can substitute the mushroom soup with a heavy cream sauce.


Oh, did I tell you that the meat he used in the stew was bear steak from a hunt of his this past bear season.  Sorry, I forgot to add that.  By the way, the recipe works with beef as well.

No Longer Wild, but Tamed Chanterelle:

Look how scrumptious they are!  Now just sit down to the coffee table with a bowl of bear-mushroom stew to watch a movie.  How about The Beguiled?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Frank's Restaurant on I-10 Texas

Bacon done the right way ... that's Frank's Restaurant in Schulenberg, Texas.  Frank's has a short country breakfast menu with nothing on it out of the ordinary.  What's out of the ordinary is their high quality preparation.  This is an old family restaurant which has been serving the locals and passerby's for eight decades.  I love the breakfasts here at Franks.

Frank's is an easy stop off and on of I-10 in Schulenberg.  The restaurant is located on the access road on the south side of the interstate.  Coming from the San Antonio area heading east, the place is a regular stoop off for breakfast.  The coffee is good, and I make it better with a pinch of salt.  Salt gives some coffee that added dimension.

French Toast & Custom Sausage:

Great French toast with a sausage that a local meat market custom makes for Frank's.  A little bit of butter and syrup, and you're good to go.

Bacon-n-Cheese Omelet:

This is awesome.  Nice bite-size pieces of bacon fried to a crisp before being dropped into the omelet.  Add onions and cheese, and then fold.  This was really good.  I chose hashbrowns with this dish.  The red stuff is their home-made salsa.  Really tomatoey!

Pancake Breakfast:

Their pancakes are on my bucket list for my next stop in Schulenberg.  Sorry, no photos yet.

Country Breakfast:

Look at those biscuits.  Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  Comes with country gravy.  The eggs are always cooked the way you order at Frank's.  And the grits pass the pepper test.  What makes Frank's a great place for breakfast is that they're consistently good.  When you're on the road, that's very important.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Terese's Place of Springfield OR

Great bacon!  But this is Oregon and bacon is generally great in Oregon.  Terese's is a great place for breakfast if you're a pork buff.  Portions are large and the prices are reasonable. Don't get the oatmeal like my son did though I tasted it.  For oatmeal it was great, but don't tell anyone I liked the oatmeal.

Here it is ... in downtown Springfield on Main Street.  If you are traveling Oregon and are passing thru Eugene or Springfield, use your GPS to find Main Street and then drive slow so you don't miss it.  Have to drive slow on Main anyway.  For more information go to http://www.teresesplace.com.

Hungry Man Plate with Bacon:

The Bacon Hungry Man Plate comes with three eggs, six THICK bacon strips, and a mess of hash browns as well as toast or biscuits.  I was in a wheat toast mood that day.

Omelet with Home Fries:

What kind of omelet this is, I forgot.  But the home fries I remember.  Little reds with the skins still on them.  Great addition to any breakfast at Terese's.

Hungry Man Plate with Sausage:

Normally there are two sausage choices for this Hungry Man Plate: six sausage links or two sausage paddies.  I negotiated three links and one paddy.  See how the paddy shines ... that's the grease.  This time I was in a biscuit mood.

Hash Brown Potatoes: 

This is the main side dish for breakfast at Terese's.  And they're good with ketchup.

Pancakes and Eggs:

My grandson Grayson loves his pancakes.  This is one of the larger cakes on Main Street.

Biscuits and Gravy:

This plate comes with two eggs, hash browns, and breakfast meat.  I always get sausage with my biscuits and gravy.  And the link sausage are great here at Terese's.

This place never skimps on the food.  You'll never leave Terese's hungry ... unless you're just sitting there watching your friends eat, or you're getting the oatmeal while I feast in front of you.