Pigskin Pursuit

An eight year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Breakfast (page 3 of 4)

Jack & Benny’s – Breakfast Buster

Few treats in the world are more satisfying than a quick, affordable, greasy diner breakfast on a Sunday morning.There is a welcome simplicity in stooled laminate counters flanking a sizzling open griddle, the rattle of a deft short order cook slapping away on a cook top dotted with glistening yellow eggs.Expanses of stainless steel flash the piercing morning sun while you squint hungrily amidst a handful of selections from a yellowed backlit plastic menu board.

Sadly, the idyllic street corner breakfast diner is quickly going the way of the dodo and the complete game starting pitcher.Displaced by an irritating trend of delicate “brunchy” style cafés featuring goat cheese frittatas, $17 exotic mushroom omelets, parfaits, and assorted other bourgeois French crap daintily arranged with sliced cantaloupe.Many of these places even have the nerve to serve my meal on actual tablecloths.

 

They probably even offer turkey bacon.

 

Real breakfast, I surmised, would lie close to the students with their ample appetites and slender billfolds, so I narrowed my search in Columbus near the heart of campus. With the combination of Michigan weekend and the 40,000+ dedicated students attending The Ohio State University, you can bet a sizeable portion of those scholars had themselves quite a session the day before.If it’s one thing that takes the head splitting edge off an all night bender, it’s a platter piled with various combinations of eggs, potatoes and pork products.Fortunately, breakfast (the way god intended it) is still alive and well in Columbus, and I had a smattering of greasy spoons to choose from on a sharp Sunday morning.

 

Some of the choices included highly touted places like Eggfast, Skillet, and the aptly named Hangover Easy.

 

http://www.hangovereasy.com/

 

In the end, I settled on a legendary OSU staple named Jack and Benny’s largely due to their showcase breakfast item called a “Gut Buster”. In addition to the Gut Buster, Jack and Benny’s also features the Buckeye Pancake (chocolate and peanut butter chips) as well as a full page array of omelets. Despite its landmark status in Columbus, the diner has only been around since the mid 1990’s, although the scarred wood floors and dark wood paneling give it a classic feel.

Shortly after plunking into an open chair at the counter, I confidently ordered the revered Gut Buster, which consisted of a formidable layered pile of hash browns, a potato pancake, bacon, ham, eggs, sausage and cheese topped with country gravy.Naturally, I opted for the gravy on the side, because if you follow my barbecue posts, you are all too familiar with my general aversion towards obfuscating sauces.

The individual ingredients in the Gut Buster are fairly straightforward and unremarkable, but layered together in a pile it made for a daunting, albeit satisfyingly greasy way to start the morning.My true breakfast fix satisfied and topped for the morning, I flipped the waiter a ten dollar bill and beamingly left with change.

 

The way breakfast ought to be.

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Big Bad Breakfast Decisions…

Sunday morning I was presented with two highly acclaimed breakfast haunts in Oxford and, sadly, only enough appetite for one. The choice would come down to a newer upstart called “Big Bad Breakfast” versus an established square favorite; “Bottletree Bakery”.

One of them was literally named “Big Bad Breakfast”, featured a glut of artery hardening hearty breakfast choices, and smoked all of their own ham and bacon on-premise.

 

Did I mention they smoke all of their own ham and bacon on premise in the Big Bad Smokehouse?

 

The other location specialized in delicate pastries, dainty baked goods, and I’m sure a handful of “cute” accoutrements. I was assured by more than a few beaming locals that Bottletree Bakery was “Oprah’s Favorite”.

 

Given my general repulsion to all things Oprah, I’ll give you two guesses which one I decided upon. The first one doesn’t count.

 

Bypassing the hour long wait for a table, I straddled an open stool at the counter only moments after walking in the door to Big Bad Breakfast, drawing a few audible groans from the anxious families behind me. While the outside is a non descript beige box within a line of mini mall store fronts, the interior of Big Bad has all the usual appointments of a standard breakfast diner.

After some deliberation on the menu, I settled for one of their famous breakfast sandwiches topped with the house smoked Ham. Not wanting to miss out on the other white meat – bacon – I added in a side of their in-house Tabasco Brown Sugar cured bacon, and a couple more eggs for good measure.

I salute any place with such extensive dedication to home made meats and offerings, and it’s not often you run across a place that smokes their own protein. Both the ham and bacon were markedly different than their mass produced brethren, offering a sweeter profile with a biting, tangy finish. The sandwich was a full sized affair, and paired with the potatoes, eggs and bacon left my appetite more than satiated for a long car ride home. A great way to start the morning.

 

Now let’s just hope Oprah doesn’t find the place…

 

http://citygroceryonline.com/restaurant.php?bbb

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Café De Amis: I bid you Andouille

Sunday morning the drive home brought us back to Breaux Bridge, though evidently the town is also referred to as Pont Breaux, famous of course for being the crawfish capital of the world. After passing back over the eerie thirty mile stretch of elevated highway bisecting the Atchafalaya Basin (the largest swamp in the United States), we arrived in downtown Breaux Bridge with eager appetites. Café De Amis was on the agenda this morning, as they are well known for dishing out uniquely Cajun breakfast fare.

 

We promptly ordered up a round of beignets for the table, which, for my sheltered northeast readers, are small balls of fried dough dusted with powdered sugar. I only wish they had some cane syrup to pair with them. While I tend to be a breakfast traditionalist most of the time, it’s not often that I see Eggs Begnaud on the menu (okay I’ll confess I’ve never seen Eggs Benaud in my life before) so I figured it was an appropriate time to embrace my inner Louisiane’. Eggs Begnaud, as I learned, is a grilled biscuit with scrambled eggs smothered with crawfish au gratin. This was a delicious departure from traditional biscuits and gravy, and the silky crawfish gravy was the perfect morning indulgence. The meal was finished off with an order of andouille cheese grits on the side, which were absolutely divine and the unanimous favorite of our discerning table.

 

Café De Amis is certainly worth a stop if you’re passing through Breaux Bridge with a morning hankering for some comforting Cajun food.

 

http://www.cafedesamis.com/

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Lasyone’s Restaurant: Meat Pies with a side of Meat Pie

If you follow the blog closely you may recall from last year that I was rather crestfallen that we would be unable to sample the notorious meat pies at Lasyone’s restaurant in Natchitoches. Since I had spent the better part of the last year practicing how you actually pronounce Natchitoches (it’s Nack-ih-tish by the way), I assured myself that this year the meat pies would not elude me again The place is an anchor in Natchitoches however they keep some rather elusive hours so our trip out to Baton Rouge required military precision to hit this unique Louisiana landmark.

 

We arrived for a mid morning breakfast and settled into a table without any crowds. I took an obligatory glance over the menu, despite the fact that I had already fawned over it online for the last two weeks. When the waitress ambled over I promptly ordered up a meat pie breakfast with a side of – you guessed it- more meat pie. In fact some of us (Kate) were even wise enough to skip the breakfast part entirely and order meat pies exclusively. Consistent with all great places simplicity prevails at Lasyone’s as there is only one choice of meat pie on the menu which the waitress informed us was a combination of spiced beef and pork.

 

The pies are most aptly described as a fried empanada. However, unlike empanadas which can tend to get a bit dry, the Lasyone’s meat pie is moist throughout and needs no condiment to ease it down. They have a wonderful crispy crust that flakes away to a moist spiced ground meat center with just the right ratio of crust to filling to make them satisfying but not heavy. There is nothing complex or extravagant about the meatpies at Lasyone’s, they’re just good, simple food.

 

www.lasyones.com

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