“Miami has a great breakfast scene and a thriving brunch audience with so many beautiful outdoor settings,” says Lee Brian Schrager, founder and director of the South Beach and New York City Wine and Food Festivals. He’s not just rooting for his hometown – Schrager and food writer Adeena Sussman spent a year eating breakfasts all across the U.S. The result is America’s Best Breakfasts: Favorite Local Recipes from Coast to Coast, a new cookbook and road trip guide. Like Fried and True, their previous collaboration on fried chicken, America’s Best Breakfasts showcases regional foods and the stories and images of the people behind them to paint a warm portrait of our country’s food culture.
Some restaurants featured in the book will be familiar to South Floridians, like tortilla de papas at Versailles and morning glory muffins made by Cindy Kruse for Panther Coffee. Other places caught Schrager’s fancy on his travels. “There’s a joint called Blacksmith in Houston where Chris Shepherd is whipping up these incredible biscuits with gravy laced with coffee, called redeye gravy, and a spot in St. Louis called Prasino making pretzel croissant French toast served with a perfectly satisfying duo of sauces,” he says. Savory dishes abound. “I love the Farmer’s Market Shakshuka from Barbounia in New York, Nancy Silverton’s breakfast pizza from Pizzeria Mozza in L.A. and Stephanie Izard’s breakfast spaghetti with clams and crab from Little Goat Diner in Chicago.”
But it’s not all fancy stuff. While Schrager counts many of the country’s top chefs as friends and colleagues, he says the most influential cook in his life has been his mother, Marlene, and includes her recipe called German Breakfast, a hearty skillet dish with bacon, potatoes, vegetables and eggs. Like any good breakfast dish, it doesn’t matter what time you make it. “The beauty of breakfast dishes is that you can eat them for any meal of the day, at any hour, and not feel guilty wearing a bathrobe while you enjoy it!” Schrager says.