I recently decided to make a roadtrip out to see my family in Stuart, Florida. Rather then fly, I decided I would set out to find some of the most killer breakfast joints along I-10 & I-95. I packed up the car, set up a bunk cabin in the back, and hit the road. I decided to drive through the night, with an early Bu-cees stop in Baytown (Last one in Texas, so had to grab road essentials). First stop came at about 8:30am after driving all through the night. I knew that I had to hit Pensacola, Florida, home to the newest location for one of my Nola fav's, The Ruby Slipper Cafe. Yes, the same Ruby Slipper I wrote about in one of my early articles. Only this time, it is to show my support for their efforts in Pensacola. And as expected, they did not disappoint. From there, I set out for the remaining 8 hours of my drive. By the time I got in, I was exhausted. My only thought, "Where am I getting breakfast in the morning?". I knew that my mom & brother would have a few spots to hit, so it was time for me to rest from the long drive (only to repeat in a week for my return trip home). Same deal as the drive in from Houston, only this time, I needed to wing it, and find a hidden treasure. In this article, I will highlight my 5 top finds, that will without a doubt, satisfy your delicious breakfast cravings. 3 of which have multiple locations covering the gulf coast thoroughly.
The Ruby Slipper
5 locations in New Orleans & Pensacola
What can I say, I am a creature of habit. And when I find something truly awesome, I stick with it. The Ruby Slipper is that old reliable go to any time I visit New Orleans, so finding out they are branching out into Pensacola, I knew that I would have the motivation to drive throughout the night just to have their classic house crowd pleaser, the Eggs Cochon. I mean, this dish is everything that breakfast should be. I will continue and preach about this dish. In fact this would be my "Best Thing I Ever Ate for Breakfast" episode when the Food Network comes calling. I want to be that guy. Slow roasted pork shoulder debris piled high on a buttery & flaky scratchmade biscuit, topped with 2 runny poached eggs, smothered in a rich and creamy hollandaise sauce. Its a pork lovers fantasy feast. Its takes benedict dishes to a whole new level. Its just flat out awesome.
Living in Texas, I have not been able to find good pastrami. Florida has such a heavy North East influence that I always know I can find good pastrami when I am in Florida. Both my mom & my brother had told me about Too Jays. This place put a smile on my face so big, I went back two days in a row for their killer breakfast sandwiches. House cured pastrami grilled hot, scrambled egg, & swiss on housemade rye. For a mere $6.25, it may have been the best value around. More so than the value, this sandwich kicked ass in every way. The housemade rye is on point, and is cut thick like Texas toast. The pastrami is cured for days on end, and when heated is as good as any pastrami I have had in New York. Too Jays knows how to do it. And this sandwich is one that I think about often, now that I am back in Texas. In addition to killer sandwiches, Too Jays also has a bad ass bakery that serves some incredible muffins, cookies, & other baked delights. I split a grilled crandberry walnut muffin with my neice, and we both left with smiles. Too Jays has 28 locations all over the state of Florida, so finding one is pretty easy.
Again, I must confess, I am a creature of habit. The Nook is my go to when I visit my old buddy Mason (whom also happened to be my videographer for Hungry Outlaw, episode 2 - stay tuned). The Nook is always crowded, and you can expect a wait of at least 30 minutes. You can usually find a seat at the breakfast counter to avoid a wait. Personally, I love sitting at the breakfast counter in diners. It puts you in the middle of the action. On this day, I had to try Busha's benedict with kielbasa, poached eggs, on a housemade biscuit, smothered in bacon gravy. Yup, bacon gravy. It had huge chunks of smoky bacon in a creamy and delightful gravy. It blended perfectly with the runny yolk, and a few squirts of srirracha. I always really enjoy the experience at The Nook. The owners, Lori & Gary Kohler are active running food to tables, and putting smiles on everyones faces. They love seeing people leave full, happy and satisfied from their locally sourced farm fresh breakfast and lunch menu.
The Nook is that place that is known by the locals, and does not have a need to advertise. Why, because they have loyal customers that keep coming back. They are not on the tourist radar, don't even have a website, but its the type of place that needs to be known outside of the local Jupiter community. Eventually, Guy Fieri is going to come calling. The secret is slipping quickly.
Another on point recommendation from my brother Jim. Berry Fresh prides itseld in local & farm fresh. Hmmm, are you seeing a theme here on HungryOutlaw.com. I am a huge believer in serving locally sourced, farm fresh ingredients. Its cheaper to buy, but takes more work & love to prepare. The end result is that places doing this keep their customers coming back for more. Berry Fresh has a pretty large & extensive menu for a daily brunch spot, but its dishes are all phenominal. You really cannot go wrong on anything at this joint. For me, I was feeling the carnitas omelette with slow roasted pork (another theme you'll discover from me), avacado, chipotle sauce, roasted corn & black beans, drizzled with BBQ sauce & sour cream. Yup, it was as good as it sounded. The homefries were also on point. We also tried the berry fritters, and I had some of my dads challah bread french toast, both also perfectly prepared. The fritters are almost like a fried blueberry muffin coated in cinnamon and suger. They serve it with a side of housemade strawberry preserves. It may be the freshest breakfast spot in sunny Florida.
As I hit the road to journey back to Texas, I followed the same logic, leave the night before, drive through the night, then find a killer breakfast. I remembered seeing a billboard on the drive out for Dick Russells Bar-B-Q, and that alone had me intrigued. They definately hype themselves up on their I-10 signage. Fortunately for me, it timed perfectly, as I drove past the billboard at around 8:15am. I knew immediately I had to stop in. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed not a single parking space was available. The place was packed at 8:30am. Seeing that had me excited, as I knew I was in for something special. Little did I know, it would be for their scratchmade biscuits, Oh my god, these were easily the most perfect biscuit I ever tasted. They serve it with their housemade peach preserves, and together is a truly devine treat. I ordered the creole omelette. It was served covered in a red creole gravy, with a side of homefries. Add in several biscuits, and a coffee, and I was ready to get back on the road. I would love to say this is a hidden treasure, but based off the traffic in their parking lot, its safe to assume its a Mobile, Alabama staple. Hats off to effective highway marketing.
After that awesome week of enjoying killer breakfasts all over the gulf coast, its back to Texas, and back to some sense of responsibility. I definately can't stay in vacation mode and eat like that on a daily basis. I am going to miss these delicous spots until I am able to make the trip next year. If you get there before I get back, do yourself a favor, find any one of these 5 breakfast joints. It will start your day off the right way, and help make your vacation even more awesome.