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Beignet Flights & Electric Kisses

by Jennie Tai on February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

This post will be an ode to the day I finally found one of my favorite love of foods cooked perfectly.

A mound of ground corn, cooked, and simmered for hours with patience (and if done the right way – lots of love ;D ) in milk, butter, and a few other magical ingredients – grits.

Unfortunately, if you’ve ever had that crunchy, watery, tasteless garbage that you get from a microwave, or a restaurant that makes it from one – then you’ve probably already been scared off, and won’t understand these first few paragraphs. But – if you’re lucky to have experienced it done correctly, then you’ll know that not every restaurant that serves breakfast does justice to a real bowl of grits; and that finding one that doesn’t lazily tip toe around the crucial steps – is a rarity.

Tasting a bowl of grits from a restaurant is like a first kiss. First impressions mean everything, and if it isn’t done properly, it gets sloppy, disgusting, and then you’re left wondering what the fuss was all about in the first place. However – when you find someone who knows what they’re doing – it can be magical. The buttery, soft, and lusciously creamy grits at Brenda’s in San Francisco, CA is the kiss that electrifies. Not the amateur garbage that you’ll find at a chain that thinks microwaving water and packaged corn meal will do the trick.

And before I move on – I’ll add this. As soon as this dish finally made its’ way to my table, I kid you not – I heard this tune play in the background (that I have listed below for you to enjoy), and I have to say – the first few words of this particular song couldn’t have sang the description of that moment more perfectly, and it was like absolute music to my mouth.

So here we are. I invite you to listen to that same song that I’ve listed below for you to enjoy; the same song that played at Brenda’s when my perfectly cooked grits came out for me to enjoy and write about for you. Go ahead, play it!

[ Beignet Flight | Watermelon Iced Tea | Crawfish Stuffed Beignet | Apple Stuffed Beignet | Chocolate Stuffed Beignet ]

It was pretty easy to choose Brenda’s French Soul Food for Brunch as I was surfing through yelp one morning. They are famous for some of their dishes such as the Chicken, Sausage & Okra Gumbo, their Cinnamon Battered Brioche French Toast, and of course, what hooked me in the first place – their Stuffed Beignet Flight.

If you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious fried Ozzie Roll from any of the Great American Restaurants such as Sweet Water, or Mike’s American – imagine it doubled in size, and stuffed with crawfish, scallions and cheddar. Then imagine another few mini fried donuts, one stuffed with molten Ghiradelli chocolate, one stuffed with apples, cinnamon and honey butter – and you’ve got the Beignet Flight.

[ Fried Shrimp Po-Boy ]

I’m always wary of eating fried seafood, just because I’d rather be eating the meat itself than the clumps of batter that it’s often hidden beneath. But here, the shrimp in this Battered Shrimp Po-Boy is lightly battered and served on a bed of fresh, chopped lettuce, sliced tomato, drizzled lightly with remoulade, and stacked together between a thinner slice of toasted bread to make sure that not only is your first bite light, and fresh – but that the shrimp is at absolute center stage.

[ Hangtown Fry w/ Grits | Biscuits and Strawberry Jam ]

The Hangtown Fry gathers together a few of my most favorite things – oysters, eggs, and bacon. What I appreciate most about this dish is the lightness and fluffiness in the eggs, even though it’s fried together with two other components that could easily make this a greasy mess. Instead, Brenda’s pairs this perfectly cooked combination with an even fluffier cream biscuit, and of course – a bowl of delicious, perfectly cooked grits that I could have honestly just eaten by itself for the rest of the day. As soon as you taste a spoonful, you’ll know what I mean; as you can easily tell that the grits were boiled and simmered for a long, long time to get those bits of corn soft, and creamy enough.

Ultimately – Brenda’s French Soul Food is a Creole Kitchen that brings flavors from New Orleans that are deliciously rich, yet resoundingly light. Enjoy their daily specials for Brunch from 8AM to 3PM, and if you’re from out of town – enjoy the Civic Center’s Parks and Museums right down the street afterwards.

Bon Appétit!

Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk Street
Cross: Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

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