Rise and Shine, it’s Breakfast Time

spicy breakfast burrito at Red eyed Mule, served with mule chips

Photo: spicy breakfast burrito at Red-eyed Mule, served with mule chips, by Brian Benefield

[This is the latest installment of “Cobb Cuisine, Culture and Community” by Brian Benefield]

I am at a loss as to how, in tarnation, I haven’t written about my all-time favorite meal, breakfast. So, let’s take a deep dive into the most important meal of the day, and I’ll let you know some places to get authentic Southern-style vittles that I can vouch for personally. The aroma of bacon cooking in a skillet, sneaking its way down the hall on a Saturday morning, brings back nostalgic memories of my childhood. I could smell the coffee and the syrup for the pancakes. Perhaps that’s where my love for the morning meal derives from, and I believe that food memories are deeply ingrained in our subconscious.  

Sugar Cakes on Marietta Square has THE best bacon if you’re craving thick-cut, extra crispy, salty heaven on a plate. I have been accused of being weirdly fanatical about my bacon, but nobody likes thin, flaccid strips of sowbelly. My go-to order is the country French breakfast, which has eggs, the aforementioned bacon worth fighting over, sauteed potatoes, grilled tomato, and I opt for their hearty wheat bread to round out the dish. My wife, Cecilie, is not as big a brekky fan, but she’ll order something way too healthy, like a veggie egg white omelet with salsa on the side for a spicy kick. If a sweet option is your pleasure, then try their French Toast. Thick Texas toast dipped in Tahitian vanilla Creme Brulee, pan-fried to golden perfection, and served with seasonal fruit.  

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Another tried and true spot is Red Eyed Mule, where they serve biscuits and gravy that would make your Southern Grandma very proud. We ate there recently, and I ordered the Feed Bucket, which is precisely what it sounds like. A container filled with all the yummy goodness of layered grits, farm-fresh eggs, cheese, and a choice of bacon or sausage. Served with a fluffy, flaky biscuit to sop up all that deliciousness. Being that my wife enjoys a little spice in her dining experience, she got the football-sized breakfast burrito that has eggs, bacon or sausage, onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos. She said it had a perfect fiery flavor even with her heat level tolerance. And then she ate a few tums as we got in the car.

Stop into Good Kitchen and Market for some healthier menu items, such as their Breakfast Bowls. Try the veggie version with scrambled eggs, mushrooms, onion, peppers, kale, and gruyere cheese, served over sweet potato hash. Avocado toast has been super trendy for a while, but it is still delicious. Good Kitchen has a loaded choice to have your tastebuds dancing with chili campana, balsamic glaze, avocado crema, and micro greens. Piled high gluten-free pancakes are available with whipped butter and real maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth. Since we’ve had a brief taste of spring weather recently, sit on their large outdoor deck for a late breakfast and bask in the sun under the massive tree that overhangs the relaxing haven. 

A local fav that always impresses is Crooked Tree Cafe on Cobb Pkwy. Who doesn’t like smoked meat with their breakfast? And if you don’t, then we cannot be friends anymore. Taste for yourself and order the Smokey Scramble with a choice of smoked pork, chicken, or beef. For balance, it also includes spinach, onions, parmesan, and served over potatoes. You may need a nap after that. Not surprisingly, Cecile enjoys the housemade chicken chorizo hash with tomatoes, onions, peppers, potatoes, salsa, and two eggs. Now, that is a hearty, spicy way to start the day. They serve biscuits the size of a cat’s head, and you can get them in all kinds of ways, including sausage, bacon, chicken sausage, smoked pork, and the granddaddy of all baked creations, the brisket biscuit. 

No matter whether you’re a savory or sweet brekky person, you will find something at these locally owned spots that may even have you skipping lunch because of still having a full belly. Waffle House will always be there for you like an old friend, but try something new occasionally, and you won’t be disappointed. I have driven home that my love for breakfast food runs deep, and I recall that my mom would fix it for supper on occasion. And I didn’t mind one bit.  

Brian Benefield is an Atlanta native born in Dekalb County, who has lived in Cobb since 2003. He has worked in Hospitality, Marketing, Real Estate, and most recently Food Tourism. Married to Cecilie Benefield for 12 blissful years. They have a dog, Miss Pickles. Hobbies are mountain biking, running, gardening, and trying new recipes in the kitchen. Member of Les Marmitions cooking club since 2016, where we cook 5-course meals with local Atlanta chefs.  

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