Many years ago, a group of friends went fishing. It was trout season at the Trestles. They had just lost one of their best fishing buddies and this trip was in honor of him. Most of the guys had work during the day, so they had to launch at night. They fished all night, trying every technique in their bag. They trolled Rattletraps, tossed Deadly Dudleys, and drifted live shrimp. The guys were about to give up as they neared Bayou Bonfouca near Slidell. As the sun was rising above the horizon, a man on the shoreline called out, "Catch anything?"
"Nope. Tough night," said one of the guys in the boat.
"Aight, well try over there," the man said, pointing to a spot the guys had neglected. "I have a feeling there over that way."
The guys in the boat thought, "Well, we've tried everything else. Why not?" And they listened to the stranger on the shore.
No sooner did they begin catching big 'ol yellow mouths cast after cast. And these guys weren't skinny. They were consistent four pound slabs. By the end of the hour, the boat was full. Each man had his limit. The boat was all high-fives and laughter now.
As the guys were getting ready to head in, the mysterious man on the shore, who by this time had a fire going, called out, "Come and have breakfast." Right then and there the disciples knew who the man was: it was Jesus, raised from the grave. This Jesus had a message for them: "If you love me, feed my sheep
. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
I find it particularly interesting that Jesus used breakfast as the meal through which he would teach his disciples to feed the world. Why breakfast and not another meal? Perhaps it is because at breakfast, we are at our most vulnerable and our most compliant, our most eager time to listen. It is when we feel the pangs of hunger the most and when we rejoice most sincerely that God has provided us with the blessing of food.
Today, the most likely meal Christians share is breakfast. Prayer breakfasts and pancake fundraisers are the norm for many a church. But it hasn't always been that way. In the Middle Ages, most Europeans were permitted only two meals: lunch, the larger, and a late supper. Children and the sick were allowed a breakfast. I suspect the reason for the general absence of breakfast during this time was spiritually driven. Many monastics found that God was present in their yearning and desire. Avoiding breakfast meant for those morning hours, they depended on God for their strength and nourishment.
The Reformation changed the way Europe looked at breakfast. Breakfast became an individual's choice, and many individuals chose to eat breakfast. In America, a nation founded by Protestants, breakfast became an essential element of life. Early on, most only ate cornmeal, but by the 19th century, as wealth expanded in America, more rounded and diverse breakfasts became the norm. We cannot forget the importance that religious communities had in shaping our breakfast diet. It was largely the Quakers in the 19th century who spread the oat, thus, Quaker oatmeal. Shortly after that, Keith Kellogg, a Seventh-Day Adventist, invented cereal because of his faith's focus on bodily health.
In New Orleans, a predominantly Catholic city, breakfast played a smaller role in the lives of most dwellers during the early years. But the wealthy no doubt had their fill of some of the finer Revolutionist French breakfast foods. However, it was not until the Protestant influx of the early 19th century that breakfast became a larger part of the average New Orleans diet. As breakfast became an entrenched American vestige, the Creoles followed suit with their beignets. "Anything the Americans can do, we can do better," was their way of saying it.
The debate on whether beignets are a breakfast food rages on, but the origins of the beignet in New Orleans distinctly suggest that the beignet forefathers and foremothers saw the beignet as a breakfast food. But I digress. What are the ten best breakfast restaurants in New Orleans? Here is one person's list. As always, you are invited to make your own comments and list.
10) City Diner
- Located in an old and rundown Denny's, City Diner is famous for their huge 20" pancakes, but don't be fooled. This place has some of the best Creole breakfast dishes in town and for a price that makes the expensive, old restaurants ashamed. The reason it's not higher is some of the dishes are not good. But a few are excellent.
9) Russell's Marina Grill
- Want the pulse of Lakeview? Go to Russell's, where a traditional American breakfast is done well. Nothing will knock you out of your socks, but everything is done to satisfaction.
8) Broken Egg Cafe
- I don't often go to the north shore, but if I am there in the morning, come find me at the original Broken Egg. You wouldn't believe how many of these places there are in Florida. It's solid Denny's style breakfast done Creole style.
7) Magazine Po-Boys
- They have truly perfected the egg and cheese po-boy. Danny & Clyde's does a nice one as well, but not nearly as well as Magazine.
- A great view and some of the best tasting breakfast items in town. My only complaint is the price. You can easily spend $20 for a person here on breakfast.
(West Esplanade) - Not only are the donuts some of the best in the city, this Tastee also boasts a great grill with delicious eggs.
4) The Buttermilk Drop Bakery
- Similar to Tastees, but much better.
3) Sammy's Deli
- Sammy's does everything with true New Orleans flavor and grit. Breakfast is no different and it's probably the best deal in town for breakfast.
2) New Orleans Cake Cafe and Bakery
- Probably the best omelet in New Orleans. The place has great character and the French toast is to die for.
- Tartine has some of the best fresh breads in town, but they are masters at egg fiddling. Seriously, the eggs in brioche is the best breakfast dish in America.
This post was edited on 2/10 at 8:42 am