Chattanooga’s Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

I’ve spent all of about five days in Chattanooga in the last five years, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time here to get a feel for the place. It is one of those towns that just expresses itself well. It has developed a reputation as a hub for outdoor activity, with an arts district, a renowned aquarium and nicely developing riverfront.

But we are not here to discuss the minutiae of Tennessee cities, are we? We are here to discuss biscuits, which I found at a little place called Milk & Honey just across the river on the north side of town, within walking distance of the aquarium as long as the weather is cooperating. Which, I have to say, it only barely was. When we planned this trip, July seemed a safe bet for a rafting trip down the Ocoee and a weekend in Chattanooga. Sigh. We ended up with cold and rain in some weird summer weather anomaly. No matter. We were on vacation!

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

 

Anyway, Milk & Honey is a totally charming little place. Chalkboard-style menu on the wall, black and white tile, a few tables inside, several outdoor tables, and this great indoor/outdoor bar. The bar stretches along one side of the storefront and is divided in the middle by a garage door. I want one at home. We snagged the last three barstools outside. On this relatively cool day, the door was open allowing for easy and entertaining eavesdropping on our fellow diners. Religion, music, and theater were all discussed and gave us fodder for our own conversation for the rest of the day.

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

One thing I loved is that they actually have a BYOB option. That is, “Build Your Own Breakfast.” See this great assortment of options? They keep a stack of these on clipboards. I kept a blank one for ideas.

Milk and Honey BYOB Menu| Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

M decided on the pre-defined Farmhouse Biscuit with M&H breakfast sausage, Benton’s bacon, tomato jam, egg, arugula, white cheddar, caramelized onions and shallots. I built my own with house-made sausage, egg, white cheddar, sliced apples, and seasonal house-made jam.

So how were the biscuits?
Fabulous! Big, flaky, fluffy, warm and fresh, with a light crust on top that was perfectly lightly salty. They had enough density to be able to hold the supporting cast of ingredients, which were considerable, without being heavy.

Milk and Honey Farmhouse Biscuit| Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

What was persnickety about these biscuits?
The tricky part was trying to fit the whole thing in your mouth. These things were huge! I think I could have left off the egg and it would have been more manageable and not suffered from lack of flavor. The sausage provided perfect spice to counter the sweetness of the jam. And I was really pleased with the apple slices that I decided to add. They provided a wonderful crunchiness.

Build Your Own Biscuit - Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

While I loved my biscuit concoction, I have to admit M’s was mighty tasty as well. It was spicier than mine, perhaps because of the tomato jam. It was just more savory overall, which suited M perfectly. In the end, I think we both were very happy with our choices.

Milk and Honey Farmhouse Biscuit| Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

Would you come back here?
Absolutely!

 

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

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Sky Blue – Worth the Wait

Em's Bowl at Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

I have to admit, when we went to Charlie Bob’s, we were originally headed to Sky Blue Cafe. They have one of my favorite biscuit dishes. Then we saw the line and thought that Charlie Bob’s would be faster. It was not. At all. So this time I was prepared for a wait.

Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

It was a lovely day, if a bit chilly. As long as you were in the sun, it felt great. Sky Blue is fairly small. There is no space to wait inside, so we joined the group standing outside at the side of the building. I noticed there were even people waiting in the lot across the street, letting the children run around.

Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

We had not waited too long before a table opened up outside. Rather than wait longer, we snapped it up. M. grabbed a couple of sweatshirts out of the car and we bundled up at our little table, appreciating the warmth of the fresh coffee. We knew exactly what to order. Em’s Bowl comes with hash browns, a biscuit, egg, gravy and cheese. It is something to behold. M. got his with jalapenos.

Em's Bowl at Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

The biscuit was great, as were all of the toppings. Yum. Yum. Yum. Such a great combination. This is the dish that inspired my own layered biscuit concoction in St. Petersburg. It is the kind of meal that either prepares you for the day or makes you want to go home and take a nap. In our case, there was packing to do, so back to work we went!

Em's Bowl at Sky Blue Cafe | Persnickety Biscuit

Nashville Biscuit House

Nashville Biscuit House

M. and I have begun what we are calling the Farewell Tour of East Nashville. I’m only moving across the city, but I know we won’t make it back to this part of town as much. So we are revisiting the places we have loved in our two and a half years of dating.

I’ve missed you, I thought as we drove into the parking lot of the Nashville Biscuit House. It is a comfortable place, diner-ish, familiar like an old friend.

Nashville Biscuit House

It was rainy and a little cold out so some comfort food was in order. We waited a few minutes for a table, standing just inside the door, watching the bustle of the place. There is no discernible pause. Someone is always sitting down, getting food, refilling coffee, lining up at the register to pay.

Nashville Biscuit House

The waitresses all wear these t-shirts, which are also for sale. Every time we go I have this internal dialogue. “I would LOVE a Nashville Biscuit House t-shirt. But the shirts have muffins on them, not biscuits. You don’t want a muffin shirt. Who designed these things anyway? Don’t they know the difference between a biscuit and a muffin?” I have not bought one yet, but am still torn.

Uneeda Biscuit at Nashville Biscuit House

This tin was on a shelf. Probably not the same kind of biscuit, but pretty cool anyway!

The menu consists of all of your standard breakfast foods – bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, etc. – combined in different ways and amounts so that everyone gets just what they want. Prices are very reasonable, the food is hot and fresh, the waitresses are friendly, and the coffee is passable.

I’ve eaten – and watched the eating of – a wide variety of breakfast configurations and no one leaves this place hungry. Regardless of what else I order, I always get a biscuit, and have even been known to order an extra one after my meal is finished. Just ’cause.

Nashville Biscuit House

On this day, I kept it simple. I ordered a biscuit sandwich with egg and turkey sausage. All the breakfast goodness I could want on a fresh-from-the-oven buttermilk biscuit. I persuaded M. to get a side of gravy that we could share. In the process of ordering that we learned the difference between their Country Gravy, which is a plain white vegetarian sauce, and their Sausage Gravy, which is just their Country Gravy with sausage crumbled into it.

Nashville Biscuit House

That explains it, I think. I have wondered why I prefer some sausage gravies to others. I’ve not tried making it myself (yet!), but think I like when the sausage is more incorporated – using the sausage drippings in the gravy as it is being made. That’s something I will have to try myself.

Nashville Biscuit House Menu

Nonetheless, the biscuit sandwich was delicious. I like to play with my food, so I ate some “as is,” some with jelly, and saved some biscuit to eat with the gravy. The biscuits here are so fluffy and tasty that I could eat them plain, but where’s the fun in that?

As we left, we saw that the line to get in was out the door, literally, and some people were even waiting in the rain. I felt a little guilty about lingering over my coffee. But I knew that soon enough these folks would be ushered into the warmth and served a good hot breakfast. They would just be glad to be there because sometimes good things are worth waiting for, you know?

New Find! Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese BISCUITS

Nashvillians take note. There is a new pimento cheese in town – Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese, to be specific.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Sometimes, it pays to know people. This was one of those times. Tom Bailey, owner and head pimento-cheese maker for Professor Bailey’s Pimento Cheese, went to high school with my brother. When I heard about his new venture, I asked if I could get an advance sample. To my surprise, he showed up on my doorstep with a cooler full of goodies. Pimento Cheese, Pimento Cheese Gougeres, AND Pimento Cheese Biscuits. [He’ll soon be offering a pimento cheese mornay sauce, too.]

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese

The gougeres and biscuits came uncooked and frozen, so into the freezer they went. I wanted to save those for a leisurely weekend breakfast. I immediately opened up the pimento cheese container, though, and had a sample.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese

Now, I grew up in the south – I’m actually a native Nashvillian, as is Tom. So I grew up with pimento cheese. My memory of it is as a kind of gloppy spread with something resembling cheese in it. Not the best of impressions. THIS pimento cheese, though? Professor Bailey’s Pimento Cheese? Totally different. Real cheese, clearly more than one kind, sharp, grated, just barely held together with a little mayo, and graced with enough jalapeño to give it a kick and that distinctive peppery flavor. One bite and I knew this was something different. But could I wait until the weekend for the biscuits?

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

It was hard, but I did manage to wait. When I finally took the biscuits out of the freezer and put them on the baking sheet my first thought was, “These are the cutest biscuits I’ve ever seen!” They even have these little hats on them. Precious. My second thought was, “I’m going to need more of these.” My third thought was, “They are SO cute!”

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Ok, I’ll get off of the cute subject. But they are. Cute.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Anyway, I baked them up and they rose prfectly, lilting off to the side slightly, gaining even more personality. You can see how full of cheese they are. As is, they provide a perfect bite or two straight out of the oven. If you know me, though, you know I had to try a variety of accoutrements.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Here is the sampling I prepared. Honey butter, bacon, sausage, and extra pimento cheese. Honey butter went wonderfully with this biscuit, because, well, honey butter goes with everything! The bacon, baked with pepper and brown sugar like I learned to do when making this recipe, was perfect. There was just enough sweet, salt, and pepper to enhance, rather than overwhelm, the flavor of the biscuit.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

The sausage, while delicious, did overwhelm the biscuit, so was my least favorite combination. Finally, adding just a little pimento cheese as filling lent a creamy texture that was delightful. Overall,  my first and second choices would be to either have this biscuit plain – straight from the oven – or with bacon.

Are you ready for some pimento cheese and biscuits now? If so, you can find Tom at the Farmer’s Market  Thursday-Sunday. Professor Bailey’s products can also be found at Lazzaroli’s pasta shop in Germantown, which is a wonderful little shop. Apparently, they make pimento cheese ravioli, too. You might just see me there, because I am fresh out of pimento cheese!

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

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For more info, check out Professor Bailey’s Facebook page. His website is not up and running yet, but should be soon. And Chris Chamberlain did a great write-up in the Nashville Scene this week.

A Biscuit with a View at Copper Kettle – Nashville

Copper Kettle

I have to admit, I don’t usually choose buffet meals. Too much food. Too much temptation. Too high a likelihood that I’ll need a nap afterwards. But the Copper Kettle in downtown Nashville has this wonderful casual vibe, and great food, so it is worth indulging myself every once in a while.

When we arrived for the famed Sunday brunch, there appeared to be a huge crowd waiting to be seated. Thankfully, at least for us, they were leaving instead of waiting, which meant we were seated immediately.copper kettle view

We got a lovely table by the window with a fabulous view of downtown Nashville and the Titans Stadium. It was a gorgeous day, but starting to get hot, so I was glad to be seated indoors. The best of both worlds.

I had been to Copper Kettle for brunch a few times, but M. had not, so I proceeded to show him the ropes. I usually try to scope out a buffet before beginning to fill my plate, but I knew mostly what I was going to get and am not shy about starting with small amounts then returning later if something is particularly tasty. Of course I had to get the biscuits and gravy or there would be no blog post! I did manage to fit some fruit on my plate, and potatoes, and a donut and…. you get the idea.

Copper Kettle brunch plate

Despite the fact that this was a buffet, all of the food tasted very fresh. I don’t know how they do that. Perhaps the quantity of brunch-goers allows them to replenish frequently? Even the biscuits had more of a fresh-baked taste than a warmed-over one, which was a pleasant surprise. The gravy was plain, with no sausage, so I got myself a sausage patty for a little DIY. I was really pleased, though, at how savory and flavorful the gravy was even without sausage and ate half the biscuit with just the gravy, then half with the sausage crumbled over the biscuit and topped with gravy.

Sausage Gravy Biscuit

One of the other things I really like about the Copper Kettle brunch is that you can order an omelette or waffle (or both) and they will be made to order, but still included in the price of the buffet. The omelette of the day had brisket and caramelized onions and sun dried tomatoes and was truly a highlight. M. said he thought it was one of the best omelettes he has ever had.

We lingered at the table over another cup of coffee and then were ready to start the day. Full, but not quite in a nap-required way. Now I call that success.

Copper Kettle Nashville

Another Beach Biscuit Breakfast

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How can you not go to a place that has not only a giant chicken outside, but also a humongous Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall?

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Welcome to Skyway Jack’s.

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There were many tasty and creative items on the menu, but I selected a traditional scrambled egg and sausage meal with a biscuit and a side of sausage gravy.

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The biscuit was huge and appeared to be homemade. On its own, it was a bit heavy. But it proved to be an acceptable conduit for the gravy. I ended up creating my own sort of breakfast bowl with sausage, eggs, potatoes, and biscuits jumbled together and all smothered by the peppery sausage gravy. My companion called it a Breakfast Jump-up (movie reference). I called it scrumptious.

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They really should add this to the menu, don’t you think? They could call it The Persnickety Biscuit Special.

Biscuits at the Beach

Ah, vacation. The beach, the sun, the biscuits…. What? You didn’t think I would go a whole vacation without biscuits did you?

Thanks to Yelp, we found a place close by that has an extensive breakfast menu – including biscuits.

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I didn’t say it has the best name in the world, but isn’t that a groovy sign?

Kissin’ Cuzzins is a very casual, almost dive-y spot that serves breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is served all day, which was a good thing because we got there pretty late. What can I say? We arrived in town late the night before, went straight to the pool, then were shocked when we got out to realize it was after 1 am!

I was hungry so I ordered the Lexington Benedict, basically Eggs Benedict served on biscuits. This was a half order. Yes, that’s what I said. A half order.

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You can’t really see the biscuit there but when I rearranged things a bit it looked like the biscuit had been split open and then toasted face down in a skillet – something I now can’t wait to try when I get home. I don’t think it was a homemade biscuit but who cares when there is rich, buttery hollandaise and a thick slab of ham?

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Is that photo scary to you? I was told it is a little scary but wanted to show a little corner of biscuit not already covered in hollandaise. Regardless, you’ll have to trust me when I say it was delicious. I’d go back to Kissin’ Cuzzins anytime.