Biscuits of my Soul

So I’m back after a very long period in which I certainly kept eating but haven’t paused to reflect about it. I’ve always had the problem of beginning blogs and then sort of petering off after a couple of posts, but I am determined to continue this one, even if it’s not at a consistent pace. As long as I live in the city of blissful eating, this blog must live on.

I don’t intend to write too much about restaurants in this blog; there are way too many people who spend way too much time on Yelp or on review blogs and I have neither the money nor the attention span to commit to every new restaurant that rolls around. But an exception must be made, and that exception is Brenda’s French Soul Food. Serving a breakfast like no other in the city, this cafe resides in the heart of the Tenderloin on Polk and Eddy. The chalkboard out front entices you with Brenda’s daily offerings, and the hoard of diners normally crowding the door and front window is a fitting symbol of Brenda’s committed following.

Now, let’s get the most important aspect of the breakfast over with immediately. I would hop on my bike in a matter of seconds to get my paws on one of Brenda’s biscuits. They are, sincerely, absolutely, in all senses of the word within the biscuit universe, perfect. Delicate, crumbly, fluffy, light, buttery, and absolutely seductive. They wait patiently on your plate like illuminated dandelions, the ones with the rabbit-fur poof that takes flight with the caprices of the wind, and the first bite is the entering into the cloud while rising in an airplane and when the bite’s over you are sailing over strata of cloud upn cloud and soaring. I’m not usually this hyperbolic about food. But these biscuits are magical.

And naturally, anything you pair with them benefits from their character. The first time at Brenda’s, I had eggs florentine: two poached eggs resting magnificently atop a nest of spinach sitting on the levitational biscuits and topped with a cajun hollandaise. The combination of egg yolk, spinach, and biscuit sent me straight to breakfast purgatory–I had to keep eating because it tasted so good, but I dreaded the minute the experience was to cease. To supplement the already brilliant concoction, Brenda makes savory potato hash with scallions and tomatoes. I also sampled the apple preserves along with the biscuit and wished I had another biscuit to eat solely with the jam.

My second visit to Brenda’s was equally successful: again, a cup of thick chicory coffee warmed my palate and prepared me for breakfast food. This time they were not serving the florentine so I ordered the vegetarian omelet instead. The dish was not nearly as exciting as the eggs florentine had been, but the biscuit was almost better this time and I ate most of it with jam or syrup.

My roommate Gretchen went straight for the Banana Bread Pudding French Toast special. The dish arrived with three moist banana bread triangles drizzled with a toffee rum syrup, candied pecans, powdered sugar, and whipped cream. The intensely sweet breakfast was perhaps a bit much for those who can only survive a small bit of sugar, but Gretchen, along with ample help from yours truly, had no problem polishing it off. The word orgasmic definitely entered our conversation more than once while we were eating.

One criticism is that the menu is not all that vegetarian friendly; many dishes come with tomato bacon relish or incorporate meat in other ways. True to her New Orleans roots, Brenda makes few revisions to her French Creole dishes.

I ran into her in the kitchen on the way to the bathroom and commended her on the fabulous food. She was there cooking, like most mornings, and stopped for a second to thank me in a casual tone. I asked her if she had ever been to Lucille’s in Boulder, CO, my other favorite cajun breakfast spot, and told her that they make their own Katsup. “We make the katsup that goes on the burger,” she said. So maybe next time I will ask specially for a bit of homemade katsup to accompany my potatoes.

You can visit Brenda’s every day except Tuesdays for Breakfast and Lunch, but watch for deservedly long lines on the weekends.

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