Brunch is my favorite meal on the planet, and the recipe I’m sharing today is hands-down everything I need brunch to be. My Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits with Country Ham and Local Honey are soft, buttery, cheesy and warm. The salty country ham is sliced thin and crisped up in my cast iron skillet. I drizzle sweet honey over the top, and everything is right with the world.
Mornings and I have been butting heads since 1983–the year I was born. That’s why brunch is quite possibly the best concept ever. I love everything about it. The idea that sleeping in is perfectly acceptable, the ease of drinking coffee near afternoon, the pleasure of indulging in breakfast and lunch foods simultaneously…it all feels a bit devious, but oh-so-good. When I roll to the big city of Atlanta, discovering new brunch spots is my tolerate-six-lane-traffic and fast-paced-people salvation. Upon my last visit, fate introduced me to Watershed on Peachtree. As if the complimentary valet parking wasn’t enough, the country ham biscuits served with peach marmalade, local honey and whipped butter almost sent me over the edge. It’s a Southern jewel with big presence, in a location where the competition is ravenous.
Recently named one of the Best New Restaurants in the American South by Conde Nast Traveler, the highfalutin’ eatery is an upscale farm-to-table experience I believe everyone in the free world should try at least once. I ordered the Bay Bloody Mary above, when I learned it was seasoned with Old Bay. Garnished with pickled green beans, pimento-stuffed olives and a juicy lime wedge, the souped-up cocktail and salted rim had me at hello.
Country ham is a rarity in restaurants anymore. To see it featured on the menu in its rightful place between two flaky, fall-apart-in-your-mouth buttermilk biscuits…what is life? Other Starters on the brunch menu include Pimento Cheese Toast, Wild Mushroom Toast, Sausage Gravy & Biscuit served with bacon jam and fine herbs, and Smoked Ham Wrapped Gulf Shrimp a la plancha (grilled).
I’m attracted to all things coastal, even more so when I feel landlocked. Naturally, I ordered the Coconut Pancakes served with coconut syrup and a side of bacon. The bacon was cooked to perfection without an ounce of fat…lean and crispy, the perfect crunch to the meal. At just $10, the pancake stack was sweet and satisfying, keeping me full late into the day.
We also tried the Huevos Rancheros and Chilaquiles featuring eggs any style, Heywood’s andouille sausage and salsa ranchero. My boyfriend ordered a side of fries because the table’s order next to us looked so appetizing. Potatoes rock. Offering a variety of sophisticated, yet recognizable dishes like Chicken Fried Poached Eggs, Seafood Melange and a Crabby Shrimp Burger, the brunch menu also boasts classics like the Southern Cobb and Wild Georgia Shrimp Salads. Prices range from $6.50 for Starters to $18.50 for Steak & Eggs.
Watershed on Peachtree has a beautiful, raw setting that’s bright and open with modern lighting. From the moment you set foot in the elegant entryway, the cheerful and clean atmosphere invites you to stay.
Our server, John had been waiting tables at the restaurant for just four months, but was very informative and most helpful. He told us all about the famous fried chicken served only on Wednesdays. In Southern Living magazine this month, Watershed on Peachtree is considered an upscale place to get The South’s Best Fried Chicken, noting it’s “always sold out by 8 p.m.” He also shared that Executive Chef Joe Truex, native Louisianian, couldn’t wait to begin serving up gumbo on Thursday nights.
Watershed on Peachtree has a commitment to seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Many of the cocktails are even organic! With an ever-changing menu, the restaurant’s cocktail napkins read, “creative and delicious Southern food enjoyed in comfort and community.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Palmer’s Village Cafe
St. Simons Island, Georgia
Breakfast on vacation. It’s probably my favorite meal. Whether you rise with the sun or sleep until 10 a.m., the food at Palmer’s Village Cafe on St. Simons Island will motivate you to get up and moving. They take pride in their ingredients and present plates with no detail undone. I’ve never been when there isn’t a crowd and that’s because, where there’s good food, you’ll find people.
I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the menu items. There aren’t many places you can go to find an omelet with crab meat and homemade pimento cheese garnished with grilled, pickled okra. The dishes are regional too, like the Coastal Delight: an open-faced whole egg omelet topped with goat cheese, sautéed shrimp, spiced pecans and arugula. The breakfast items range from $3.95 to about $12.
Smack dab between the Island hardware store and a small real estate company on Mallery Street, locals and vacationers fill the seats at Palmer’s. It’s my favorite place to start the day on the Island.
I ordered the Challah Bread French Toast served with Palmer’s Village Cafe signature maple syrup. You won’t find Aunt Jemima here. The Fresh Fruit side dish had juicy orange segments, sliced bananas and red strawberries.
Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday – Sunday from 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., you’ll feel welcome from the moment you step inside the creaking front door. No matter how busy Palmer’s may be, the staff members will make sure your coffee cup is full and you’ve always got everything you need.