The Perfect Bite
St. Johns Magazine's exclusive reviews of Local Restaurants by Local Foodie Lori Allen
by Lori Allen, Local Foodie
They say the best way to start your day is with a good breakfast. Well mostof you know that there are a few very good chain restaurants around here...but are you aware that there are equally as good family owned ones?
One of my favorites is Bayard Café, here the food is what I like to call "clean cooking". What I mean by that is that every time I go it seems as though the food is super fresh and seems to be cooked with minimal amount of
grease. (You need a little of it for flavor but not a ton!) They have a nice choice of freshly made omelets to choose from and they also make homemade quiche with such a variety of ingredients that make them so interesting and delicious that it's hard to choose from! The mushroom, cheese and bacon one for example, usually you would get cheese and bacon but why not add some fresh mushrooms to it to bring it to a whole new flavor. Who doesn't love that?
Of course you can get your eggs, bacon and pancakes but if you feel like taking an adventure try one of their breakfast burritos. These are stuffed with delicious breakfast ingredients, fresh eggs sausage, cheese and more cheese then rolled up in a big soft tortilla served piping hot. They also
have one stuffed with steak, eggs and cheese that is for a heartier eater and so darn good!
Another option would be their homemade super fluffy biscuits. I personally love the BELT biscuit (they have lots of bread choices if you aren't into biscuits) it is like having breakfast and lunch all in one..Brunch! The biscuit is super light and fluffy with lettuce, tomato, 4 pieces of bacon
topped with a scrambled egg and it takes two hands to hold it for a good flavorful bite!
On the sweeter side you can try one of their Belgian waffles- these are good size and come with several topping choices but even plain it super thick and full of flavor. Another sweet treat that comes highly recommended would be one of their other homemade specialties...the Cinnamon bun! This thing is huge and comes covered in cream cheese melty frosting such gooey goodness! With a nice hot cup of coffee you can't go wrong when you really need something sweet. Along with their misspelled signs (on purpose) and bat search (for fun) it's a nice family owned place. The cool thing is that they even have a drive through for your convenience so you can swing on in there to get your coffee, burrito, biscuit and Cinnamon bun to go and not be
late to work. Genius!
So our next stop was Café Genovese - this place is a hidden gem here on 210 past the truck stop on your right in a small plaza. When you pull up you think well I wonder what this place has to offer? But once you open the door to the warm inviting smells and smiles of the locals you swear you can hear the jingle inside your head going "Sometimes you wanna go where everyone knows your name...!" You know the one.
You can start with a traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon and fluff pancakes and up it a notch by adding some chocolate chips to the pancakes (always a favorite in my family) or you can try their "Grit Bowl". This thing is filled with creamy grits, several choices on cheese (I like the monterey pepper jack), sautéed onions, peppers, cheese, bacon or sausage or ham and then topped with 2eggs! I love sausage in it instead of bacon, it adds some nice spice along with the onions and peppers for the veggies there is so much flavor. The last time I was there I tried over easy eggs on there instead of your traditional scrambled and the yolk just ran thru the bowl covering everything with such a rich sumptuous taste that I will be getting that from now on! For the sweet lovers they do have French toast and Belgium waffles all made to order and can be covered with fresh strawberry's for a special treat. They also have nice fresh 3 egg omelets with several choices; my hubbys favorite is bacon, onion and cheese....so
If you want to try one of my foodie things try their corn beef hash. Corn beef for us Northerners (and I do believe the owners are Northerners...but from the other side of the tracks because I always see lots of NY paraphilia along the walls) usually means a nice piled high sandwich with thinly sliced corn beef on Rye with Sauerkraut and spicy sauce..otherwise known as the Reuben.
We never want to waste such good food so we make sure we use every part of the rich flavored meat covered with spices(One of the key ingredients in making corned beef is a curing salt called Prague-Powder, which is what gives the corned beef its distinctive pink color)in a flavorful hash. Any dish that starts out with diced up meat, potatoes, vegetables and spices was designed to fill bellies and satisfy a taste for warm and savory comfort food along with a side of eggs and toast. I don't think you will be leaving hungry. The interesting thing about corn beef hash is that it started out because the main ingredient was leftovers but today corned beef hash has been elevated to a whole new level and is even served in high-end restaurants. Here's a little foodie fact for you...
More sophisticated versions of the original recipe, as well as unique recipes are being served all across the country. Southern hash is made from a blend of barbecue pork, barbecue sauce and rice. You can find this version at barbecue restaurants throughout Georgia, South Carolina and the other southern states. Texas hash is a southwestern variation that is made from a stew of pork, chicken and/or beef that is seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked over an open flame in a traditional hash pot. These varieties are about as far from traditional corned beef hash as they can get, but they are still a part of the growing trend. So give it a try for breakfast you won't be disappointed!
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Lori Allen is a local who moved from the Boston area to attend Flagler College and never left. She is a family person that loves the beach, football, working out and finding new places to try. Her love for food comes from her northern background and her love of cooking as well as meeting new and interesting people. She has never met a stranger nor has she ever been afraid to try an intriguing place. (Check out all her reviews on stjohnsmag.com)