Breakfast Traitors: Non-Traditional Eggs Benedict at Scramble and Daily Dose
There's much debate in the culinary community about the origin of Eggs Benedict in the US. Some say the dish was created by a couple who used to dine once a week at the famed Delmonico's restaurant in New York City. A letter printed in the September 1967 issue of New York Times Magazine cited Commodore E.C. Benedict, a sailor and banker, as the dish's originator and namesake.
Considering that recipe books from the 1800s mention hollandaise and Benedict, all of the rumors are unlikely. Perhaps they were named after Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold. But who cares, really? Anything that combines an entire breakfast platter -- eggs, ham, bread and sauce -- into one sandwich is genius no matter who invented it. For this week's Battle of the Dishes, we compared non-traditional versions of Eggs Benedict offered by two of metro Phoenix's favored breakfast spots.
In One Corner: Daily Dose
4020 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale
|Eggs Benedict Arnold: These eggs whites tried to run away.|
I'd like to say the four-star Urbanspoon listing and dining critic Michele Laudig's favorable review of Daily Dose were what sent me to sample their popular Eggs Benedict. But the fact is, it's hard to find a good breakfast spot that 1. serves breakfast late in the day (seriously, we writers are often still sleeping when other people are already having lunch) and 2. doesn't feel like a greasy spoon or my grandma's kitchen. Lace doilies and ceramic roosters? Ick.
DD now offers lunch, dinner and happy hour, but the place started as a breakfast spot, and that's where it's stayed in the minds of a lot of locals. Honestly, you'd probably see a lot of folks downing eggs and pancakes instead of steaks at 9 p.m. if DD didn't stop serving breakfast at 4. They've got seven varieties of Eggs Benedict, including one with crab cakes and a veggie version with roasted red peppers instead of ham. At the server's suggestion I ordered my Turkey Sausage Benedict "Daily Dose Style," with buttermilk biscuit and country gravy.
The two split halves of biscuit arrived piled high with a large sausage, a poached egg and tons of white gravy peppered with more sausage bites. I cut one open and the yolk began to bleed into the gravy. Unfortunately the whites did too. Runny egg whites are all too common at breakfast joints -- personally, I think that anything that looks like snot shouldn't be consumed until it's firm and opaque. Ah, well.
That was the only thing I disliked about this Eggs Benedict. The buttermilk biscuit wasn't dry, even without the gravy. It was moist but crumbly, with a rich, buttery texture and taste that likely migrated every calorie directly to my hips as it went down. A long sausage link was split lengthwise on each muffin, the crisp outer skin nicely browned. It was well-spiced, more for flavor than heat. The spicy sausage was a perfect contrast to the flour-based white gravy and biscuit. Combined with the savory sawmill gravy, my choice of sausage instead of ham was almost sausage overkill. Not everyone thought so.
"The combination of turkey sausage and sausage gravy is perfect here," said my tasting partner. "This way, the sausage doesn't have to compete with ham or red peppers or whatever. The gravy is delicious. Thick and meaty, just like my family used to make."
Fresh fruit and gently seasoned potatoes served on the side were also tasty. My companion scraped off the egg from his dish after a bite and I gagged a little every time I bit into a bite of gelatinous egg white. But if the egg were cooked just a little more, this would've been one of the best Eggs Benedict dishes I've ever had.
In the Other Corner: Scramble
9832 N. 7th St. in Phoenix
|These eggs pack heat, baby (or is it baby heat?)|