Food for Thought
Breakfast becomes Houston's hottest meal, testing a foodie's cholesterol
So I’m sitting there the other morning with my breakfast consisting of a glass of soy milk, two-percent-fat Greek yogurt and a handful of almonds.
How did it come to this? Where are my buttermilk biscuits with cream gravy?
Oh, right. They fled the scene when my doctor said “Your cholesterol is a little high.”
Not words a food writer really wants to hear.
So now I start the day with the breakfast of choice of skinny, healthy people. And it’s a real cryin’ shame, too. Because right now the breakfast choices in this city just exploded.
For instance, take the new morning menu items Cafe Express executive chef Greg Martin just rolled out. There’s a huge South of the Border platter of scrambled eggs, creamy queso (queso for breakfast, they’re killing me here) with cilantro and tortilla strips, a side of black beans topped with spicy habanero sauce, served with house salsa and flour tortillas. It’s enough to feed an army.
There’s also another platter of eggs, turkey sausage (OK, not bad), buttered, toasted ciabatta bread and a choice of fruit or skillet potatoes (go for the fruit, man!).
And there are several new breakfast sandwiches. My personal favorite is the Breakfast BLT: bacon, lettuce, Roma tomatoes, mayo, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese on a buttery toasted brioche bun. (Yes, I tried it, so shoot me, just don’t tell my doctor.) It’s about four times the size of a dinky Mickey D’s sausage biscuit.
“Growing up my mom used to make this for us,” Martin says. “But she used a fried egg.”
On the plus side, you can get all of these dishes with egg white only.
Bad enough that these yummy morning meals are being served up all over town at the ubiquitous Cafe Expresses, but then the restaurant of Southern charm and comfort food, decides to open for breakfast.
Eloise Adams Jones opened her eponymous Ouisie’s Table at 7 a.m. to start serving morning meals. Now there are a lot of healthy choices here, fruit plates, granola, steel cut oats (hold that butter) and even a smoked salmon sandwich for those important omega-3 fatty acids.
But I’m not gonna order those, am I?
Oh no, I’m lusting after her famous cheese grits, crabcake Benedict and of course the chicken fried steak with my beloved biscuits and gravy on the side. Order that with an Irish coffee, or just another side of gravy, and you’re in heaven.
And just when you thought you could actually start liking turkey bacon, the long awaited Revival Market opens in the Heights offering a plethora of piggy products.
Brainchild of chef Ryan Pera, formerly of The Grove, and heritage farmer Morgan Weber, Revival Market is a trendy take on an old timey country store. It’s charming interior is constructed of white subway tiled walls and reclaimed Ship Lap Pine from a local home, with an antique butcher block and wooden crates of fresh, local produce. In fact, everything sold here is sourced from a 150-mile radius. It’s all about the environment, education and, of course, eating.
“Five years ago we couldn’t even dream of finding enough local produce to fill this shop,” co-owner Weber says. “But now we’re seeing a come back of the small family farm, and this is a place to showcase their products.”
“We want to utilize the local bounty,” adds Pera, who has a butcher room in back and a glass fronted dry charcuterie room where Weber’s pigs are turned into luscious prosciutto and long sausages. Of course they put tables right in front of the glass so you can drool over the hanging hams.
Since Revial just opened Monday, (doors open Monday through Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays) breakfast is limited to selections at the coffee bar (locally roasted Katz Coffee and Max Gonzalez’s Catalina beans are staples), Slow Dough Bread Co. offerings and sugary goodness from pastry chef Rebecca Masson’s Fluff Bake Bar. (Nothing wrong with a mocha and slice of cream pie for breakfast, now is there?)
But Pera plans to offer hot morning meals soon. I just hope I can get that cholesterol down by then because I’m hankerin’ for a big meal of Slow Dough sourdough toast slathered in butter and several slices of thick Mangalitsa pork bacon.
In the meantime, I’ll have to buy my own to cook at home, along with lots of those handmade smoked hot dogs the circumference of Dachshunds, and plenty of those old-fashioned glass jars full of house-made preserves, rillettes, pâtés, Heights honey and sorghum syrup aged in whiskey barrels.
“Because everything tastes better from a whiskey barrel,” Weber says.
Ya gotta love these guys.