I don’t think that I can count the number of times that I have tried to go to Highland Bakery for brunch, only to back down to fear. Yes, you heard that right: fear.
Having never been to Highland Bakery, I knew only two things:
1 – That their brunch is supposed to be fantastic and
2 – It is always PACKED on the weekends.
I made the mistake of allowing the horde of people milling around outside every Saturday and Sunday afternoon to scare me away. Finally, this weekend, I’d had enough. I didn’t care if I had to wait for 2 hours. I was getting the damn brunch at Highland Bakery if it killed me.
Of course, as soon as we crossed the Highland Ave bridge into Inman Park, I could see at least ten people standing in the parking lot, presumably waiting for a table. Not a good sign.
Inside was shoulder-to-shoulder with folks waiting to be seated. The hostess told us to expect a 45-minute wait, which honestly didn’t seem that bad considering the crowd. I walked in the door mentally prepared for a long wait, and I’d suggest that you bring the same attitude with you. Patience in these sorts of circumstances is relative. When I have a badass bakery with a wide selection of breakfast pastries, cupcakes, and the like, I don’t mind the wait.
I wish I had a picture of the look on my face when, before I could even take a bite of my mini pineapple upside-down cake, my name was called.
Well, color me pleasantly surprised.
Either our timing was fantastic or some other party of two got screwed. I’m still confused as to how my 45-minute wait became a meager 15, but I sure as hell didn’t complain about it.
I studied the take-out menu during the wait, and I was having some serious order-paralysis. I was torn between the Peanut Butter French Toast, the Cowboy Benedict, and the Burrito de Huevos, with no clear winner in sight. Unbeknownst to me, the take-out menu (much like the online menu) includes only the dishes that “you can count on”, leaving room for the rotation of specials.
Then I looked at the full menu after we were seated, and the words “Fried Chicken Benedict” reached out from behind the laminate and grabbed me by the face.
That would be two fried chicken patties resting on a toasted biscuit, topped with poached eggs and jalapeno cheese sauce. My goodness. This is a difficult dish to not love. The fried chicken patties are juicy and seasoned with a balanced mix of paprika and cayenne. The batter is very light, but crispy, and without any of the greasiness that you sometimes get with fried chicken.
The jalapeno cheese sauce is all flavor and little heat, which is appropriate because the cayenne on the chicken brings enough heat on its own. One forkful of the fried chicken and biscuit dripping with yolk and jalapeno cheese, and you will be hooked. But you’ll probably have to take a “brunch nap” after finishing this off. God knows I did.
My better half had the Cilantro Corn Pancakes.
This is a mountain of food. From bottom layer to top: Black beans, cilantro corn pancakes, two deliciously runny fried eggs, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. Though the flavors are familiar (think “open faced breakfast burrito”) the savory corn pancakes are a great twist. They add a wonderful layer of flavor to the dish. Though I focused most of my attention on the fried chicken benedict, these are definitely a safe bet.
My only regret is that we didn’t order either the Sweet Potato Pancakes or the Peanut Butter French Toast. They did savory so well; I can only imagine what their sweet breakfasts are like.
This was as good of a brunch as I have had since I started this series, and Highland Bakery is poised to take a spot in my Top 3, pending a re-visit.
In case you were wondering, we were in and out of there in one hour on a crowded Saturday at noon. Guinness World Records has been notified and I expect to hear back any day now.
And the pineapple upside-down cake was delicious.
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