Monday, February 17, 2014

Tupelo Honey Cafe - South End

After being stuck indoors for the majority of this past week, BFTB and I were anxious to get out and about on Saturday and decided to grab some brunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe in South End. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably share that this was not our first go-round at Tupelo Honey. We visited the restaurant back in December when BFTB's family was in town for our pre-Christmas celebratory meal. Two out of the five of us were pretty pleased with our food, but the service was just about God-awful (and BFTB's sister never even received her meal, despite the fact that we were there for over 2.5 hours). Hoping that our first experience was a reflection of newly-opened-restaurant-jitters, we decided to give Tupelo Honey another shot before passing too much judgment. 

Max really enjoyed this past week's snowstorm... his mom, not so much.

We arrived around 10 A.M. on Saturday morning and seemed to just beat the weekend breakfast rush. Tupelo Honey has a pretty intriguing cocktail list, including the ginormous Tupelo Mega-Mosa and the Moonswine Mary (jalapeno and bacon-infused moonshine blended with Whiskey Willie’s Bloody Mary Mix and garnished with pickled okra), but BFTB and I had some errands to do, and opted to forego the fun beverages for our typical coffee/soda combo. BFTB reported that his coffee was pretty good and comparable to Zada Jane's quality-wise (my Diet Coke was also pretty good, in case anybody is concerned...). 

After perusing the menu for a bit, BFTB decided to order the Fried Egg BLT with a side of home fries and I went with the Eggs Betty with a side of goat cheese grits. We also decided to split an additional side of fried green tomatoes (and by "we decided to split," I mean that I ordered them and demanded that BFTB eat a bite in order to make me feel better about my fatty-ness).

Complimentary biscuits and blueberry jam

Almost immediately, our server brought us each a biscuit along with some homemade blueberry jam and (what else!) a bottle of Tupelo honey. The biscuits were warm, fluffy, buttery, insanely rich, and completely deserving of this Southerner's seal of approval. The jam, on the other hand, was nothing to write home about and I decided to pass it up in favor of a giant glob of super-sweet honey. 

Fried Egg BLT with a side of home fries
  
Our food arrived shortly thereafter (a welcome change after our first experience!), and we happily began to stuff our faces. BFTB's Fried Egg BLT consisted of two fresh, free-range eggs prepared over hard, two strips of maple peppered bacon, lettuce, tomato, and smoked jalapeno aioli on THC's exclusive sourdough wheat bread. The sandwich was really, really good, but had clearly sat around for a little bit, because it was a little cold. Regardless the disappointment in the temperature department, the bacon was thick and flavorful, the veggies were fresh, the jalapeno aioli was spicy and flavorful. I was also surprisingly impressed with the deliciousness of the fried eggs -hard-cooked yolks normally make me want to yack, but these were eggy without getting any kind of over-cooked sulphur-y taste. The sandwich was also huge, which was a good thing because the home fries were pretty disappointing. I'm guessing that they were fried at an incorrect temperature, because they were soggy and overloaded with grease, rather than crispy and salty as we'd hoped they would be. Maybe if they'd been cooked a little better, they would have been tastier, but they were pretty much devoid of any kind of flavor. BFTB avoided them for the most part, but, despite the heat-related issues, was really happy with his sandwich.

Eggs Betty

My Eggs Betty, Tupelo Honey's southern take on Eggs Benedict, was also really tasty. I never would have thought there would be a way to make a breakfast item richer than classic Eggs Benedict, but serving it atop a buttery biscuit (rather than a basic English Muffin) made it happen. THC's Eggs Betty featured two perfectly poached eggs (seriously, I haven't seen an egg poached this successfully in years of breakfast-eating -the yolk was warm and runny and the white was soft, silky, and completely set... nomnomnommm), thin slices of smoked ham, and a generous blanket of thick, lemony Hollandaise sauce. Although it was way too rich for me to eat over half of it, I really enjoyed each bite and will certainly think about ordering it again the next time I'm jonesin' for something Hollandaise-y.

Fried Green Tomatoes

The best part of my meal, however, was my side of Fried Green Tomatoes, especially in combination with a spoonful of Goat Cheese Grits (if that mix sounds good, you're in luck because the appetizer version of Fried Green Tomatoes is served atop a bed of Goat Cheese Grits). The cornmeal coating on the FGTs was insanely crispy and housed the most delicious, surprisingly un-mushy, tangy tomato of all time. I seriously think I'm going to have glorious dreams about these things for at least a week straight -they were that good. The Goat Cheese Grits themselves were savory and delightful (especially when the entire combination was doused with a little bit of hot sauce), but the combo really was out-of-this-world, flavors-dancing-on-my-tongue incredible. 

All in all, I am SO glad that we decided to give Tupelo Honey Cafe another chance. Our service was ten-thousand times better this go round, and the food was definitely delicious enough to warrant a re-visit. Although I'm fairly certain that their menu is a cardiologist's worst nightmare, the meals are exactly what you think they're going to be -rich, comforting, and busting at the seams with Southern flavor. Despite the few temperature-related missteps, Tupelo Honey Cafe is a solid choice for a hearty brunch. For breakfast food, THC gets a 7.5/10.

Tupelo Honey Cafe on Urbanspoon

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