The Hunt for the Perfect Benny

Obsessed with finding the perfect Hollandaise to go with the perfect Eggs Benedict, I will travel near and far (in Minnesota mostly) hunting and writing about the best and worst Benny's I encounter.
Fri Jun 22
carmencheng:

just bored , taking pictures (:

Love this!

carmencheng:

just bored , taking pictures (:


Love this!

(Source: tv-trays-and-barbie-dolls)

Wed Sep 7
Chatterbox Pub, Highland Park
After a morning spent helping my good friend, David Wakely move into a cute little place in Highland Park, David treated all his helpers to brunch at the Chatterbox. I have frequented the establishment located on 35th Street East and 23rd Avenue South in Minneapolis but hadn’t yet made it to the St. Paul location.
The Chatterbox Benedict included a meat option of top sirloin, smoked peppered turkey or smoked ham. I chose the smoked ham because I wanted to get as close to the Classic Benny as possible before branching out to new and exciting meat choices. Instead of an english muffin they served the poached eggs and smoked ham atop toasted focaccia bread. The menu said it is drizzled with a smoked paprika Hollandaise and accompanied by green onion hashbrowns.
From bottom to top:I liked the toasted focaccia bread as a substitute for the classic english muffin. It has a difference in flavor from the sometimes bland muffin and remained crispy under the weight of the rest of the Benny ingredients. The ham was so-so. The flavor was average and since it was thin, they had to compensate by layering. Me? Not a big fan of layering. I like my meat thick.The eggs were great! They did a wonderful job with the poaching. Poaching Pro’s!The Hollandaise was good but it was neither smokey nor could I taste the paprika. Now I know most people say that paprika is just for color, but I disagree and my palate knows the difference. They either forgot to add the smokiness and paprika this day or the menu is wrong. Nevertheless, it really didn’t need anything additional since the Hollandaise was good without adding anything.
All in all, I enjoyed the Benny from the Chatterbox Pub. When I go back, I plan to ask about the Smokey Paprika Hollandaise and hopefully get to try that. Maybe I’ll even get the peppered turkey! That sounds like a party!

Chatterbox Pub, Highland Park

After a morning spent helping my good friend, David Wakely move into a cute little place in Highland Park, David treated all his helpers to brunch at the Chatterbox. I have frequented the establishment located on 35th Street East and 23rd Avenue South in Minneapolis but hadn’t yet made it to the St. Paul location.

The Chatterbox Benedict included a meat option of top sirloin, smoked peppered turkey or smoked ham. I chose the smoked ham because I wanted to get as close to the Classic Benny as possible before branching out to new and exciting meat choices. Instead of an english muffin they served the poached eggs and smoked ham atop toasted focaccia bread. The menu said it is drizzled with a smoked paprika Hollandaise and accompanied by green onion hashbrowns.

From bottom to top:
I liked the toasted focaccia bread as a substitute for the classic english muffin. It has a difference in flavor from the sometimes bland muffin and remained crispy under the weight of the rest of the Benny ingredients.
The ham was so-so. The flavor was average and since it was thin, they had to compensate by layering. Me? Not a big fan of layering. I like my meat thick.
The eggs were great! They did a wonderful job with the poaching. Poaching Pro’s!
The Hollandaise was good but it was neither smokey nor could I taste the paprika. Now I know most people say that paprika is just for color, but I disagree and my palate knows the difference. They either forgot to add the smokiness and paprika this day or the menu is wrong. Nevertheless, it really didn’t need anything additional since the Hollandaise was good without adding anything.

All in all, I enjoyed the Benny from the Chatterbox Pub. When I go back, I plan to ask about the Smokey Paprika Hollandaise and hopefully get to try that. Maybe I’ll even get the peppered turkey! That sounds like a party!

Tue Dec 28
Grandview Grill, St. Paul
The Grandview Grill has become one of my most frequented breakfast spots. My dad and I go three times a month. Earlier, I reviewed the Classic Eggs Benedict. I liked it so much, I thought I would branch out and try some of their other varieties. They have several options under “The Art of Hollandaise” section of the menu, including the Crab Cake Benny, The Cajun Benny, the Caprese Benny, & the Carnita Benedict. Since I was in the mood for some green, I went with the Caprese Benny. The dish had the classic poached eggs and english muffin but was completed with fresh mozarella & tomatoes. The Hollandaise had a basil pesto twist.
As with the Classic from Grandview, the english muffin was fine and the eggs were nicely poached. I think using Roma tomatoes would have been a better choice than Globe tomatos. Or atleast they could have been a little more ripe. As it were, they were hard and flavorless but not bad enough to ruin the dish. The freshness of the mozarella almost made up for the not-so-fresh tomatoes.
The Hollaindaise was wonderfully amazing and it went perfectly with the fresh mozarella. The basil pesto  was included in just the right amount so as to blend the earthy, nutty flavor with the creamy and slightly tangy Hollandaise.
I would definitely order this dish again. But I think next time I will try the Spicy Cajun - cuz everyone knows about me and spicy! 

Grandview Grill, St. Paul

The Grandview Grill has become one of my most frequented breakfast spots. My dad and I go three times a month. Earlier, I reviewed the Classic Eggs Benedict. I liked it so much, I thought I would branch out and try some of their other varieties. They have several options under “The Art of Hollandaise” section of the menu, including the Crab Cake Benny, The Cajun Benny, the Caprese Benny, & the Carnita Benedict. Since I was in the mood for some green, I went with the Caprese Benny. The dish had the classic poached eggs and english muffin but was completed with fresh mozarella & tomatoes. The Hollandaise had a basil pesto twist.

As with the Classic from Grandview, the english muffin was fine and the eggs were nicely poached. I think using Roma tomatoes would have been a better choice than Globe tomatos. Or atleast they could have been a little more ripe. As it were, they were hard and flavorless but not bad enough to ruin the dish. The freshness of the mozarella almost made up for the not-so-fresh tomatoes.

The Hollaindaise was wonderfully amazing and it went perfectly with the fresh mozarella. The basil pesto  was included in just the right amount so as to blend the earthy, nutty flavor with the creamy and slightly tangy Hollandaise.

I would definitely order this dish again. But I think next time I will try the Spicy Cajun - cuz everyone knows about me and spicy! 

Tue Dec 21
Patrick’s Bakery, Edina
Went to Patrick’s Bakery with butterflies in my stomach. I was just about to get on a plane bound for sunny & kilt guy inhabited Florida. That may have had something to do with my lack of excitement over this Benny when it was served, but it may also have been the fact that the eggs had the consitency of snot. Gross.
I can’t get past the eggs to write about the sauce, meat or bread.
Patrick’s came very highly recommended. And the bakery was amazing. So, I will be going back and ordering the classic Eggs Benedict again. Hopefully, I will be able to chock the poor showing up to an off day.

Patrick’s Bakery, Edina

Went to Patrick’s Bakery with butterflies in my stomach. I was just about to get on a plane bound for sunny & kilt guy inhabited Florida. That may have had something to do with my lack of excitement over this Benny when it was served, but it may also have been the fact that the eggs had the consitency of snot. Gross.

I can’t get past the eggs to write about the sauce, meat or bread.

Patrick’s came very highly recommended. And the bakery was amazing. So, I will be going back and ordering the classic Eggs Benedict again. Hopefully, I will be able to chock the poor showing up to an off day.

Thu Nov 18
Grandview Grill, St. Paul
I was tempted to try one of the specialty Benny’s on the menu, such as the Caprese or Spicy Cajun Benedict. But since I hadn’t yet had the Classic Benny and have heard that it is one of the best in the state I went with it.
It is most definitely one of the best I have ever had. Even with the english muffin being unremarkable and the ham a little thinner than I like, the eggs were perfect and hollandaise was one of the best I have ever had! And ‘tis a rare thing to find a hollandaise that I can call one of the best.
Just to add on a little, yes the ham was thin but it wasn’t like the lunchmeat I have had at some places. Also, it was layered across the muffins which gave it nice continuity and worked to smooth out the dish.
The poached eggs were incredible. Cosidering the last few Benny’s I have had (my own and Patrick’s) have either been terribly over or under done, i can most certainly appreciate the difficulty in perfectly poaching the egg. And Grandview gets a perfect 10! The sauce was amazingly buttery, with an after-tang from just the right amount of lemon. The consistency was just a tad thicker than I prefer but the flavor made up for this shortcoming.
While I was there, I was given a sample of the basil pesto Hollandiase and I gotta say, I can’t wait to go back and try the Caprese Benedict!

Grandview Grill, St. Paul

I was tempted to try one of the specialty Benny’s on the menu, such as the Caprese or Spicy Cajun Benedict. But since I hadn’t yet had the Classic Benny and have heard that it is one of the best in the state I went with it.

It is most definitely one of the best I have ever had. Even with the english muffin being unremarkable and the ham a little thinner than I like, the eggs were perfect and hollandaise was one of the best I have ever had! And ‘tis a rare thing to find a hollandaise that I can call one of the best.

Just to add on a little, yes the ham was thin but it wasn’t like the lunchmeat I have had at some places. Also, it was layered across the muffins which gave it nice continuity and worked to smooth out the dish.

The poached eggs were incredible. Cosidering the last few Benny’s I have had (my own and Patrick’s) have either been terribly over or under done, i can most certainly appreciate the difficulty in perfectly poaching the egg. And Grandview gets a perfect 10! The sauce was amazingly buttery, with an after-tang from just the right amount of lemon. The consistency was just a tad thicker than I prefer but the flavor made up for this shortcoming.

While I was there, I was given a sample of the basil pesto Hollandiase and I gotta say, I can’t wait to go back and try the Caprese Benedict!

Wed Nov 3
Cory & Bre’s, Blaine
Every month some friends and I do themed dinners and this month’s theme was the Classic Eggs Benedict. So, I thought I would try my hand at the classic French Hollandaise (with the help of good friends’ Bre and Chhun).
Starting with mediocre to incredible: The muffins were store bought but were toasted perfectly so that there was minimal sogginess. The eggs were okay, but we were trying to poach them to taste - some like ‘em runny and some don’t. They ended up being a little overcooked for my taste but Bre seemed satisfied. The canadian bacon was from Everett’s on 38th Street and the flavor was incredible.
As for the sauce: We did a vinegar reduction with shallots and black peppercorns. Thank god for Bre’s amazing whisking skills which made a sauce the perfect consistency. It had a slight lemony taste and the cayenne gave it just a teeny bite. It was pretty darn good. Changes I would make for next time? Higher quality vinegar. Addition of garlic to the reduction. A tad more lemon juice and about a tablespoon more butter.

Cory & Bre’s, Blaine

Every month some friends and I do themed dinners and this month’s theme was the Classic Eggs Benedict. So, I thought I would try my hand at the classic French Hollandaise (with the help of good friends’ Bre and Chhun).

Starting with mediocre to incredible: The muffins were store bought but were toasted perfectly so that there was minimal sogginess. The eggs were okay, but we were trying to poach them to taste - some like ‘em runny and some don’t. They ended up being a little overcooked for my taste but Bre seemed satisfied. The canadian bacon was from Everett’s on 38th Street and the flavor was incredible.

As for the sauce: We did a vinegar reduction with shallots and black peppercorns. Thank god for Bre’s amazing whisking skills which made a sauce the perfect consistency. It had a slight lemony taste and the cayenne gave it just a teeny bite. It was pretty darn good. Changes I would make for next time? Higher quality vinegar. Addition of garlic to the reduction. A tad more lemon juice and about a tablespoon more butter.

Wed Sep 1

edkohler asked: What's the best side for a Benny? Breakfast greens like French Meadow does? I doubt it.

Hashbrowns drizzled with Hollandaise.

Thu Aug 12
Sunny Side Up Cafe, Uptown Minneapolis
I used to frequent this cafe when I lived at 25th & Lyndale. Mostly because I was extremely poor, it was extremely cheap, and the food was always amazing. I was happy to see that the food & prices are still how I remember them from 15 years ago.
I was tempted to get the Early Bird special #4 - the Corned Beef Hash Eggs Benedict for $4.95 but then the Special Benny with sausage on a bed of veggies with garlic/lemon Hollandaise caught my eye. In the end however, I ended up ordering the Classic Benny to make sure I liked that firs before devling into the more exotic Bennies. 
The presentation  of the Classic was excellent. The Benny was on top of a bed of thick and crispy hashbrowns. It was light on the Hollandaise which was a bummer because the sauce was very good. The consistency was light & fluffy yet dense with buttery goodness. It had a perfect blend of butter, lemon and pepper. The canadian bacon was satisfactory thickness and had a smokey, salty a bit of sweet that meshed well with the egg & sauce. The eggs were poached perfectly and were aesthetically perfect.
The best part of the Sunny Side Up Benny however was the English Muffin. Grilled instead of toasted it had a meaty & buttery flavor - I suspect from being on the grill after the ham. Wow! It was crisp on the entire flat side and soft when bitten into. Very Very good. I will definitely be going back and I hope they have the Benny special with sausage on a bed of veggies with garlic lemon Hollandaise. Sounds amazing!

Sunny Side Up Cafe, Uptown Minneapolis

I used to frequent this cafe when I lived at 25th & Lyndale. Mostly because I was extremely poor, it was extremely cheap, and the food was always amazing. I was happy to see that the food & prices are still how I remember them from 15 years ago.

I was tempted to get the Early Bird special #4 - the Corned Beef Hash Eggs Benedict for $4.95 but then the Special Benny with sausage on a bed of veggies with garlic/lemon Hollandaise caught my eye. In the end however, I ended up ordering the Classic Benny to make sure I liked that firs before devling into the more exotic Bennies. 

The presentation  of the Classic was excellent. The Benny was on top of a bed of thick and crispy hashbrowns. It was light on the Hollandaise which was a bummer because the sauce was very good. The consistency was light & fluffy yet dense with buttery goodness. It had a perfect blend of butter, lemon and pepper. The canadian bacon was satisfactory thickness and had a smokey, salty a bit of sweet that meshed well with the egg & sauce. The eggs were poached perfectly and were aesthetically perfect.

The best part of the Sunny Side Up Benny however was the English Muffin. Grilled instead of toasted it had a meaty & buttery flavor - I suspect from being on the grill after the ham. Wow! It was crisp on the entire flat side and soft when bitten into. Very Very good. I will definitely be going back and I hope they have the Benny special with sausage on a bed of veggies with garlic lemon Hollandaise. Sounds amazing!

Tue Aug 3
French Meadow, Uptown Minneapolis
After a very fun Saturday night, I brunched with Dave Lee and Sarah Burt at the French Meadow Cafe. At first, I considered sticking to coffee but I have heard so much about the Benny at French Meadow that I decided to seize the opportunity - hangover be damned. When my Benny came, I was suprised that it came with mixed greens instead of the normal fruit and potato combo. Depite my feelings that mixed greens with a Benny is a little odd, one bite of the dish did away with my reservations about the Benny itself. It was amazing! The organic english muffin was incredible. It was soft and chewy and had absolutley no sogginess. The Black Forest ham - although not Candian Bacon like I prefer - had an incredible smokey, salty flavor. The organic eggs were good - maybe a little teensy over poached…but, the roasted tomato Hollandaise was one of the best tasting sauces I have ever put into my mouth. From the look of it, I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special but WOW! It was buttery, savory, fluffy but a little dense and had a tiny bit of tang. I will definitely be going back - multiple times - for the French Meadow Organic Eggs Benedict. Yum!

French Meadow, Uptown Minneapolis

After a very fun Saturday night, I brunched with Dave Lee and Sarah Burt at the French Meadow Cafe. At first, I considered sticking to coffee but I have heard so much about the Benny at French Meadow that I decided to seize the opportunity - hangover be damned. When my Benny came, I was suprised that it came with mixed greens instead of the normal fruit and potato combo. Depite my feelings that mixed greens with a Benny is a little odd, one bite of the dish did away with my reservations about the Benny itself. It was amazing! The organic english muffin was incredible. It was soft and chewy and had absolutley no sogginess. The Black Forest ham - although not Candian Bacon like I prefer - had an incredible smokey, salty flavor. The organic eggs were good - maybe a little teensy over poached…but, the roasted tomato Hollandaise was one of the best tasting sauces I have ever put into my mouth. From the look of it, I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special but WOW! It was buttery, savory, fluffy but a little dense and had a tiny bit of tang. I will definitely be going back - multiple times - for the French Meadow Organic Eggs Benedict. Yum!

Thu Jul 8
Bon Vie Cafe, St. Paul
My dad and I have a monthly standing breakfast where he humors my Benny obsession. He refuses to go anywhere west of 35W so today I chose Bon Vie Cafe at Selby and Dale. I was tempted to go for the Florentine but stuck with the Classic Benny. It was $10 which I thought was a little expensive given nothing came with it except an orange slice. On the menu, the Hollandaise was described as a Lemon Hollandaise so I was a little nervous that it would be too heavy on the lemon. Fortunately, it wasn’t..but holy smokes did they over do it with the salt! The saltiness of the sauce combined with the saltiness of the ham was overwhelming. I could have done without the chives on top as a garnish too. It isn’t neutral enough for a Benny garnish and interfered with my tasting of the Hollandaise. The eggs were the best I have had so far. They were perfectly poached and delicious. The muffin was chewy - with no sogginess - and toasted just right. This would have been a very good Benny if not for the heavy handed salting of the sauce and the strange choice of chives as a garnish. I think next time, I’ll try the Florentine and ask for some hashbrowns on the side.

Bon Vie Cafe, St. Paul

My dad and I have a monthly standing breakfast where he humors my Benny obsession. He refuses to go anywhere west of 35W so today I chose Bon Vie Cafe at Selby and Dale. I was tempted to go for the Florentine but stuck with the Classic Benny. It was $10 which I thought was a little expensive given nothing came with it except an orange slice. On the menu, the Hollandaise was described as a Lemon Hollandaise so I was a little nervous that it would be too heavy on the lemon. Fortunately, it wasn’t..but holy smokes did they over do it with the salt! The saltiness of the sauce combined with the saltiness of the ham was overwhelming. I could have done without the chives on top as a garnish too. It isn’t neutral enough for a Benny garnish and interfered with my tasting of the Hollandaise. The eggs were the best I have had so far. They were perfectly poached and delicious. The muffin was chewy - with no sogginess - and toasted just right. This would have been a very good Benny if not for the heavy handed salting of the sauce and the strange choice of chives as a garnish. I think next time, I’ll try the Florentine and ask for some hashbrowns on the side.