I have had more than my fair share of bad meals on the road to the point where I once packed enough Thai instant noodle bowls to cover a four day shoot in Iowa. As luck would have it Iowa City turned out to be a college town with decent food and better still, $3 beers in mugs as big as your head. (Too bad I didn’t have those Thai bowls handy for a subsequent shoot in Zanesville, Ohio when I really needed them.) In Atlanta however, you’d be hard-pressed to enter any establishment and leave without a full and happy stomach, a discovery I made two years ago when I worked on a show called Flip This House. At the time the housing market was crashing and instead of having two to three houses in the process of being renovated and flipped, our crew had just one house to film. We had so much spare time on our hands I taught my fellow producers how to knit on location. Needless to say lunchtime was the high point of our day.
Fellow producer and new friend, Rhiannon suggested we take a trip to Highland Bakery and after hearing her talk up the Peanut Butter French Toast I was intrigued.
We got ourselves a table at the Old 4th Ward location and ordered the French Toast to split between us. In New Zealand where I am from we are not familiar with Challah bread so when it landed french toast style on the table between us it was a sight to behold. Much like the $3 beers in Ohio the dish was the size of my head. Filled with peanut butter and dipped in a batter of bran flakes topped with caramelized bananas I felt moved by the spirit of Elvis, muscling his way in for a spot at our table.
In the time I’ve been away from Atlanta, Highland Bakery has opened a location in the city’s mid-town area, which is a too-close, five-minute walk from my new apartment. However it is not the French Toast that calls my name but the Cilantro Corn Pancakes.
Typically I am not one to mix my sweet with my savory but this combination is magic. The cilantro and corn are added to the batter and between the two cooked pancakes lies a layer of black beans. Topping things off: two eggs smothered in salsa, a sprinkling of cheese and a dollop of sour cream. By all rights this dish should be shared which is why I’ve got to start making some friends in Atlanta or else I’m going to leave here larger than when I arrived.