Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Breakfast New Orleans Style

Grits & Debris

Chowing out in NOLA is a favorite pastime for me.  I grew up in the Crescent City.  Here are some of my favorite local breakfast plates and the half-dozen restaurants that make these dishes.  I'll let you Google the restaurants for their location.  By the way, all of these breakfasts in these places that serve really good food.

Coffee in NOLA is generally thick, really thick, but smooth.  Warning though, some places make it so thick that they add salt to take out the bitterness.  If you don't like a slight salty taste to your coffee, go decaf.  


Betsy's Pancake House on Canal Street near Broad Street is a 30-year favorite of local New Orleans residents.  Yes, they make pancakes and lots of them.  Here is a NOLA favorite, shrimp-n-grits.  Betsy puts into the dish a little cheese, a lot of green onions, and a hint of thyme (a creole seasoning favorite).  This dish is meant to be eaten with a spoon, and there is nearly a shrimp in every bite.

French Toast on French Bread:

Unfortunately, in the city that is famous for French bread, not all NOLA restaurants make French toast on French bread.  But Metairie's Corner Cafe does.  And it comes with plenty of powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Those two sausages on the plate would have never made it through the meal, so I called up reinforcements -- a side order of sausage.  Four links work for five slices of French toast.

Crawfish Creole Queen:

Dot's Diners of Jefferson Parish cooks up this decadent dish for breakfast.  Dot has six mom-n-pop style diners throughout Jefferson which is just outside of NOLA.  This crawfish dish is an open-face grilled biscuit covered with two eggs (any style), Dot's own Crawfish Julie sauce, and Swiss cheese.  Talk about good.  Note the hashbrowns are brown, they way they should be, not hash whites or half browns like in the big chain restaurants.

Waffles West End:

Russels was the very first place I blogged several years ago.  It was my Mom's favorite place to go for breakfast.  What makes Waffles West End so good is the fried chicken breasts.  Both the meat and the batter is seasoned.  The trick to that is using low salt seasoning mixes.  That way you can season both without the flavor being too salty.  On the side is a spicy maple sauce.  I used it as a chicken dipping sauce.

Crabcake Benedict:

Crabcake Benedict is a mainstay of most New Orleans breakfast places.  All three of the previously mentioned places have it.  This one comes from the Abita Cafe just 45 minutes from the Greater New Orleans Area.  Just cross the Causeway Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain, get on I-12 East, and then get off and go north on LA59.  These crab cakes are served on grilled biscuits and topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.  Some places have biscuits or English muffin, and some places just the crabcake.  Russels does it with just the crabcake and poached eggs.

Grits & Debris:

Here's a dish that I have found only at two restaurants.  The grits and debris displayed above is from Mother's Po-Boy Restaurant.  The other place is one is the Abita Cafe.  Abita also has biscuits and debris, and that dish is on my bucket list.  Here is a photo of biscuit's and debris that I innovated with extra debris when I was at Mother's.  Mother's has to add this to their menu.

Debris is the left over chuck that has been cooked down the day before for gravy for hot roast beef po-boys.  They serve this succulent leftover the next day on top of either grits or biscuits at Abita and on top of grits at Mother's.

Fried Andouille-Sage Grits:

Russels must have concocted this dish on one hungry morning.  Cooked grits are mixed with sage and crumbled andouille sausage, then made into paddies and deep fried.  The final dish is coated with a béchamel sauce (butter, flour, cream, and whatever).

Grits & Grillades:

This dish comes from a restaurant which has recently re-opened and then closed again -- Louie and the Red Head Lady.  This was their signature dish: sautéed veal served with Chef Louie's special gravy.  My guess is that the gravy comes from what sticks to the bottom of the pan when the veal is sautéed.  See the caramelized onions on top.
When I do it, I season and flour baby veal; then brown the veal in butter.  Afterwards, I put cold water in the hot pan to release the flour and flavor that stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Careful, some pans don't react well to going from hot to cold.    This dish is one of the BEST breakfasts that has ever passed my taste buds.  Grits were meant to be topped with Chef Louie's grillades gravy.

Crawfish Omelet:

Back to Corner Cafe for a crawfish omelet.  Picked upon this dish on the ride out of NOLA on my return trip to Texas.  Cream crawfish sauce on scrambled egg.  Really good.  Next time I'll get them to add cheddar.  Look at that biscuit, nice and crisp, but not burnt ... cooked all the way through.  So far this is my favorite biscuit in NOLA.  NOLA.com had a contest and declared the Corner Cafe's biscuit number three in the city.

Fried Oyster and Bacon Omelet:

Russel's calls this the Big Easy Omelet, and it has fried oysters and bacon!  I didn't know that those two go together so well.  Also complementing the omelet are diced tomatoes, green onions, and cheddar cheese.  All of that is topped with Russel's homemade Remoulade sauce.  Ohh so good!

Bucket List: Crabmeat Omelet.  
Several places offer it.  Will update post on my next trip.


Native or tourist, coffee and beignets are a favorite here in NOLA.   Cafe Du Monde lives up to its name ... it's where the world comes for coffee au lait and fresh beignets in the French Quarter.  Also serving beignets is Morning Call, both in the French Quarter, in City Park, and at Lakeside Shopping Center.  The above photo comes from Morning Call in City Park.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bonnie's Kitchen of Denton

A bite of bacon, onion, egg, and cheese omelet.  More like four bites.  Welcome to Bonnie's Kitchen.  The food is good and you can get a table during their Sunday breakfast buffet.

Bonnie's is located on I-35 just north of Denton.  Take Exit 471, and it's on the east side where the TA Truck Stop is located.

Hey Denton people, wake up!  This place has a fantastic breakfast and plenty of tables on Sunday.  Take a drive to the north and enjoy the food.  The drive will be more pleasant and quicker than the wait at a breakfast place in the city.  And on this buffet, you can get eggs the way you want them.

French Toast & Sausage Links:

Sausage links are popular here in North Texas and Oklahoma.  The batter for the French toast must have had vanilla and a very slight hint of cinnamon ... a really good taste combo.

Two by Four Plate:

The French toast was part of the egg plate shown here.  Look at those hash browns ... they're brown not white.  That's why they call then hash browns.  I don't like the white hardly cooked ones.

The Sunday Buffet:

I ordered a two-egg omelet and look at all of the bacon and onions the cook is going to put on my omelet!  Below is a quick photo of the almost finished product.  In a moment, the cheese will melt from the heat of the egg.

Of course I had to have biscuits and gravy, and what's B&G without the sausage.

The nice thing about a buffet is that one can create his/her own dishes:

Biscuits & Bacon

Biscuits & Ham
Biscuits & Sausage Paddies

Here is the Buffet!
Yes, I was by myself and ate all of the buffet food listed above.  Mom raised me not to waste food.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Addi's Diner of Springfield, OR

That dark stuff is the cinnamon inside of Addi's French toast.  This is really great stuff.  

Addis is a block off Main Street in Springfield.  I don't know how the mom-n-pop restaurants survive here.  There are more than nine of them in the Main Street area serving breakfast, not counting the bars, delis, and ethnic restaurants.  The people of Springfield take good care of their restaurants, and my guess is that several from Eugene cross the corporate lines to help out.

Giant Pancake:

Addi's is home to the giant pancake.  Pictured above is my grandson's breakfast and that looks like a small one.  Their giant pancake varies in size and nobody complains because there always seem to be leftovers.  One of them had to be almost 18-20 inches diameter.  Man, that's family size.  How do they flip it?  My guess is that most of them are two forks wide.

Cinnamon-Roll French Toast:

Somehow they make this huge cinnamon roll swirl, bake it, and slice it pancake size.  Then they egg-batter it and cook it again.  The French Toast is dribbled with icing and served. This is one of the best renderings of French toast that I have ever had.  I ordered four link sausages to go with it.  The pork in the sausages is really tasty and makes a savory companion to their cinnamon-roll French toast.

Whatchamacallit Sandwich:

Their Whatchamacallit Sandwich is a Monte Cristo Sandwich in the swanky restaurants, many of which will sell it for double what you'll pay at Addi's.  And Addi's is just as good. Basically it is a hame and swiss melt that is dipped in egg batter and fried.  The flavor is rich, very rich.

Look at those hash browns.  Yes, they're brown, not white, the way I like them.  Need the hash browns to go in between the sandwich bites.  Their Whatchamacallit is too rich for me to eat one bite after another.

Egg and Meat Breakfast:  

Thick Oregon quality bacon and link sausage, now that's a breakfast plate.  And look at those potatoes, slice thin and fried.  All that's needed is catsup.

Biscuit & Gravy:

OMG!  Look at the size of that biscuit!  Not enough gravy for all of that biscuit!

Kid Friendly Place:

In addition to having giant pancakes and kid friendly food, Addi has a toy box.  If you're a kid, it doesn't get any better than this!

Chicken-Fried Steak: 

The chicken-fried steak here is delicious, flavored with salt, onion, and garlic.  This is better than most places.  It comes with a eggs anyway you want, a choice of potatoes, and bread.  I ordered their biscuit and eggs over-easy.  Also ordered potato skins.  Who has potato skins for breakfast!  Even bars that serve breakfast don't have this treat!  I took the leftover potato skins home and melted pepper-jack cheese on them for lunch.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Abita Cafe of Abita Springs Louisiana

New Orleans breakfasts at their best: grits & debris.

French Toast made the way it's supposed to be made.

Abita Springs Cafe on LA59 north of I-12 near Covington, Louisiana.  Thanks to my brother Joe for finding this place.

Abita Springs is a sleepy community first made famous from its spring water.  You drive four blocks in any directions, you are out of town.  This place and its outlying area boasts a brewery, a coffee-bean roasting plant, a water bottling plant, a restaurant, and a bakery ... a worthwhile stop if you live in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Covington or Slidell.

If you wait until 9 a.m., the drive from New Orleans is around 45 minutes.

Meatlovers' Omelet:

The breakfast trinity of meats: hickory ham, applewood bacon, and sausage.  The omelet is topped with cheddar cheese.  And look at that biscuit!  The hashbrowns are brown, not white.  I just hate white hashbrowns.

New Orleans French Toast:

Not just French toast, but New Orleans French toast.  "What's the difference?" you ask.    French bread!  New Orleans French toast is made the way you're supposed to make French toast ... on French bread.

Abita Star:

Abita Star is this stack of stuff called breakfast.  It starts with this awesome sugar-cured ham which I will get with my French toast next time.  The ham's so good that it will be my meat of choice on just about any dish here.  Next in the stack are their hashbrowns.  On top of that is an egg your way.  The climax is the coating of everything with sautéed mushrooms, red & green peppers, and onions.

Cafe Breakfast Combo:

This is a classic egg breakfast with a choice of meats, breads, and sides.  My brother ordered a second biscuit.  The eggs are really fresh from the restaurant's own hen house.

Blueberry Pancakes:

Great pancakes, crisp on the outside and done on the inside.  Not doughy at all.  I would love these cakes with a thick slice of Abita's sugar-cured ham.


They have this stuff specially brewed for the Abita Cafe: Abita Springs Cafe Private Roast.  You can get a bag ground or as beans to take to your house, then it's not private anymore.  The cafe has its private roast made at the Abita Roasting Company.

Cajun Country Platter:

This is one of their two biggest platters, the Lumber Jack being the other.  The Cajun Country Platter comes with cornbread pancakes (yes, you heard me right), hot sausage (this is a Cajun platter), hashbrowns, and a couple of eggs your way.  And it doesn't stop there: biscuits and sausage gravy along with grits and debris.  I took the sausage and pancake back to the condo for a snack.

Bucket List:

  • Lumberjack (sugar-cured ham, bacon, link and paddy sausage plus eggs, etc.)
  • Crabcake Benedict (grilled biscuit, crabcake, poached egg & Hollandaise)
  • Blue Crab Omelet (sautéed onions & rooms topped with Hollandaise)
  • Biscuits & Debris (debris is yesterday's chuck cooked down to strands)

The cafe also serves lunch and dinner along with Abita beer (one of my favorites).  For more information, just follow the link to http://www.abitaspringscafe.com.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Metro of Phnom Penh

Metro has a light tasty fare for breakfast.  Above is an open-faced sandwich on a French baguette.  Fresh baguettes are easy to find in Cambodia.

The Metro Restaurant is an elegant restaurant located in downtown Phnom Penh.  Metro serves a number of egg dishes for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

Salmon Benedict:

Eggs Benedict may well be the Cadillac of breakfasts, but this dish is the Porsche of Eggs Benedict.  Smoked salmon turned in Metro's Hollandaise sauce and served on poached eggs, spinach, and English muffins.  English muffins are a rarity in Cambodia.  My son-in-law Derick ordered this smash of a dish.

Traditional Eggs Benedict:

Look how thick the Hollandaise sauce is.  It just coats the perfectly poached egg and English muffin.  Look how good that ham looks.  Don't look at the sprig of asparagus.  Pretend it's not there.  My daughter Michelle ordered this plate.

Open-Faced Egg-n-Bacon Sandwich:

Here is what I ordered.  The open-faced sandwich is served on ciabatta bread with perfectly fried bacon strips covered with tomato and two poached eggs.  The greens are called rocket, whatever that is.  The rocket was a great addition to this already good sandwich.  That yellow stuff under the bacon tasted like Hollandaise sauce.

Ginger-Spiced Ginger Ale: 

I like ginger; I like ginger ale.  I really like this drink: ginger-spiced ginger ale.  And whoa, it has a kick, a ginger kick.  This stuff may be hot, but it's a great way to settle one's stomach after a big meal.

Moca Cappuccino: 

Had to have this.  Had to....  A combination of everything that is good about coffee.  This was may chocolate fix for the day.

The Egg Menu:

Note that there are several dishes not yet tried:  Metro Bacon & Egg, Spinach Benedict, Mushroom & Cheddar Omelet, and Ham & Cheddar Omelet.  Also, a favorite of mine when I'm in Southeast Asia, Fried Rice.  This one is fried with bacon and comes with a fried egg on top.  This place is a good stop for Westerners looking for breakfast in Phnom Penh.