Biscuits and Gravy: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2014
The goal of Dish of the Month is to collectively try as many versions of biscuits and gravy as we can in the Bay Area.
To keep things lively, focus on places where you have not eaten biscuits and gravy before and report back. Bring pictures!
Serendipity. I was just @ Aunt Mary's in Temescal (Oakland), my favorite breakfast spot by a mile, and was eyeing the order of the woman sitting next to me (she must have thought me quite rude): biscuits and gravy. It looked amazing.
I was having a variant, just w/ more moving parts--
Bubble and Squeak, which includes biscuits and gravy, but also a sort of cake of greens and potatoes, over which the gravy is poured, plus eggs--breakfast heaven (I always say I'm going to try something else and can't bring myself to forego it).
But now in the service of the DOTM, I'm going back for the simpler biscuits and gravy. Stay tuned.
re: sundeck sue
The biscuits and gravy at Aunt Mary's is my go-to order there. I think the biscuits are very good -- flaky and flavorful. The gravy is good, but not my ideal -- I find the housemade sausage has a slight bitterness that feels out of place in the dish. Plus, I can't decide if the sausage has too much sage or not enough. Overall, I like it, but I always feel a little bad about the expense of calories afterward because it doesn't live up to what I think B&G should be.
re: sundeck sue
I had the B&G + Sausage at Aunt Mary's and came away disappointed.
The biscuits were pretty dense and the sage gravy much too sweet (for my tastes). Don't know if it was a mid-week anomaly. I would have liked it better with the Pot Likker gravy that comes with the Bubble & Squeak.
I added the chicken apple sausage instead of the pork one, which may have been a bad choice. You can choose to have it cooked and then crumbled into the gravy, which I did, and I could taste it had been overcooked and dry.
My go-to at AMC is their shrimp & grits + Benton's bacon
Although not eaten in July, I recently had the B&G at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. These had the opposite issue of Aunt Mary's -- the gravy, although a little light on the sausage and perhaps too cream-based, was rich and excellent. Almost my ideal (noting the caveats). The biscuits were a little too tough for my taste, but taken together, it was a very nice brunch. I did not have the egg on top - I am anti-egg and they don't belong on B&G anyway.
I can't resist posting about a long-standing favorite, the Garden Court Cafe n Glen Ellen (a bit north of the town of Sonoma). They have a great version, Grannie's Sausage Gravy with biscuits (plus optional eggs and potatoes or grits). They make their own sausage.
Doctor's Lounge, San Francisco
Twelve years ago, Rochelle McCune, a Texas ex-pat, posted here about her ideal biscuit and sausage gravy:
"...My ideal biscuit is light & tender but can stand up to the gravy. A lot of the biscuits I've had out here have been tough & overcooked. And yes, its a buttermilk biscuit. Size varies, some gramma's use opend tuna cans, some a little smaller, inheriting your gramma's biscuit cutter is an honor. I think every Southern biscuit recipe I have seen has at least some "vegetable oil" or "Crisco", I don't know the science but you can't go all butter.
Making a good gravy is even harder than making a good biscuit - too much sausage and its greasy, too much flour & its pasty, the sausage can't be too hot, because you need to be able to sprinkle the gravy with drops of Tabasco. (www.texascooking.com has an article called "The Art of Making Gravy.)
If there is a ton of sausage in the gravy, you don't also get sausage on the side. If its a pure white gravy (pan drippings, flour, milk, s&p), you get sausage on the side..."
In 2011, she opened Doctor's Lounge in the Excelsior that serves brunch on weekends.
While I've attended a pop-up dinner here, last week was my first meal during daylight. I was with a group of friends who had all met Rochelle when she was still part of the Chowhound community. I had been lured in by Saturday's special, Blackstone eggs benedict. But when I saw biscuits and gravy (with two eggs and potatoes), $10, I remembered the B&G spree Rochelle had inspired years ago and I had to try it for dish of the month.
The buttermilk biscuits were quite tender and airy. No crunchy crust nor flaky layers, these were about loft. Dense with sausage, the white gravy's made with half-and-half, to be a bit richer here than a homemade all-milk version.
The gravy isn't that thick. Other than that, this might be the closest to mmpojo's ideal that I've run across in ages.
The version at Box and Bells — with small, very crisp biscuits and sage-heavy sausage gravy — is excellent.
Front porch in Bernal Heights has biscuits and gravy on their weekend brunch menu for $7. Gravy came nearly to the height of the two biscuits, and at no point saturated them. The smooth gravy and bits of sausage clung to the biscuits. Gravy was spicy with a meaty flavor. The biscuits were firm and held together. Any buttery flavor or tang was offset by the gravy.
Fun place to nurse a hangover. Dark overall, with a red lamp overlooking the repurposed auto seats we sat on.
Having been shamed in the voting topic, I decided to try the B&G at Sam's Log Cabin in Albany. This version is pretty much what I remember about this dish (and why I don't seek it out): while the biscuits were flaky and tasty, the gravy was bland, with only a few bits of ham (not sausage or bacon) to liven it up. It was also thickened with a lot of flour, so it was kind of gloppy. Two scrambled eggs were oddly cold.
I'd like to try that Front Porch version sometime--it looks like it has some flavor.
Pop Art Bakeshop (2307 International) is closed on sunday, monday, tuesday. closed the other days by 3 or 4.
ramdom dropping in not productive
eats: classic biscuit with brown gravy(4.5)
-brown gravy seem average, nothing special
-huge biscuit dry,bland, with a buttery taste to it.
-mushroom & leek biscuit availalble,. +1
-though seldom eat biscuits, this seem slightly above average.
Went to Plow to check if biscuits and gravy were back on the menu. They are not, but the biscuit served warm with honey butter is pretty wonderful. I was told that the with gravy version is more likely to appear in colder weather.
Made it out to St. Francis Fountain on 24th St. for B&G today ($3.50). I've never tried upscale B&G before and these were no exception. Two mediocre & smallish fresh baked biscuits - medium density for biscuits I'd say. Sausage gravy had pepper and small bits of sausage mixed in, and tasted more of sage than I am used to. Nothing special here.