“Lard have mercy”. That’s what it said on the t shirt that I was impulse buying at Big Bad Breakfast, because I found it so punny (apparently so did Dolly Parton’s manager, as the lady who checked us out told her that he had come in, with Dolly in tow, to purchase one for her). It’s currently one of my favorite food shirts (right up there with “I Run for Barbecue”). BBB, open for breakfast and lunch only, is located right next door to Snackbar, both part of the City Grocery family. We were going to put our names in (they had a wait list at 9:00 on a Friday – don’t people have to work?), but asked if we could take one of the open seats at the counter. This was a great spot because the line cook closest to the door was phenomenal to watch – he wasn’t trying to put on a show, but he was beautifully and efficiently scrambling and frying eggs, among other things.
This breakfast opportunity presented itself based on my birthday present. Our youngest daughter and son-in-law gave me a copy of a thick orange tome, “Where Chefs Eat”. It’s a fabulous book, that is exactly what the title implies – recommendations by chefs of their favorite places to eat, in cities all over the world. I scoured it before we left, looking for places along our route. BBB was noted by Sean Brock, of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston.
She said the French toast was tasty, the bread not too thick, and the empty plate supported her statement. One of the real treats here is the house cured (Tabasco and brown sugar) bacon, which is spicy, sweet and salty – in one word, “wonderful”. I chose the Southern Belly, a grilled pimento cheese, bacon, tomato and slaw breakfast sandwich. Even though I’m not a gigantic slaw fan, I first tried it on the sandwich before I took it off and ate the rest of the sandwich without it.
The Southern Belly was recently featured in the Wall Street journal and is definitely a sandwich worthy of writing about. This pimento cheese was creamy and spicy, a perfect complement to the hot and sweet bacon.
I absolutely love pimento cheese, and I come by that love genetically. You see, my dad ate a pimento cheese sandwich four days a week. For thirty eight years. If you are as enamored with the glory of pimento cheese as I am, Roy Blount Jr.’s column in the August / September issue of Garden & Gun has a great article on the history of the pimento cheese sandwich in film.
Back to the food: I also ordered a side of biscuits and gravy. When was I going to be back? I know why “good gravy” can be an expression of shock. For those raised in a pathetic world where it’s cold nine months out of the year and you are raised to believe that gravy is that brown sauce one finds on Salisbury steak,vI can see why exclamations would be needed when good, white gravy was tasted. This fit the bill.
Lard have mercy.