Sunday, December 2, 2012

Making a Hash of Breakfast

Saturday morning my daughter Jo & son-in-law Peter took me to breakfast at Hash House a Go Go—voted the best breakfast in Las Vegas multiple times.

What you see in the photo is me five minutes into my gargantuan serving of their signature dish: Andy's Sage Fried Chicken Benedict. Note the robust 12-inch sprig of rosemary whose Kundalini is rising right out of the middle.

While I was sorely tempted to also order the house bloody mary, I played it safe with strong coffee. Here it is 14 hours later and I'm still not hungry.

This over-the-top offering features boneless fried chicken breasts (that's right, plural) sitting atop scrambled eggs, balanced on a stout cross-hatch of thick bacon strips, nestled into a foundational base of biscuits and mashed potatoes. Interspersed in the middle are artfully placed slices of fresh tomato and pockets of raw spinach. After slathering the whole thing in a house recipe chipotle hollandaise sauce, they gild the lily by sprinkling this concoction with a handful of deep-fried angel hair pasta, fat wedges of cantaloupe and orange (which serve both as garnish and buttress), and the aforementioned rosemary flagpole. Going home hungry was not an option.

Jo & Peter were sure I needed this culinary experience (if nothing else, to cross it off my bucket list) and they were right. As it happens, this particular dish was featured on the Travel Channel's hit television program, Man Versus Food, where host Adam Richman made the same pass at Andy's extravaganza as I did. I'm telling you it was a monster—though thoroughly delicious.

I knew right off that the restaurant (a chain that's growing as steadily as the waistlines of its clientele) includes additional locations in Reno, San Diego, Chicago, and one about to open in Montville CT) must be special when we arrived for Saturday breakfast around 10:30 am and there were about 20 folks in line ahead of us. Amazingly, the wait list evaporated rapidly and we were seated less than 20 minutes after we arrived. Having been there before, Jo judiciously ordered "only" a side of biscuits & gravy, and was thus able to pick up a bit of the slack when I couldn't eat the whole thing (you have to wonder about anyone who can).

As a father/daughter duo that self-identifies as foodies, Jo & I try to be strategic when it comes to eating. Though I typically limit my consumption to a single meal a day when visiting Vegas, it tends to be a whopper (and I'm not referring to anything from Burger King). Today, for example, Jo & I will prepare a mult-course meal for about a dozen of her friends, and I'm determined to stick with a liquid diet until dinner is ready circa 5 pm. 

The menu we've crafted includes a crown roast of lamb (with homemade mint jelly on the side), scalloped potatoes, stir-fried green beans with crimini mushrooms and pearl onions, creamed spinach, pear strudel, and bananas foster. Craftily, we shopped for ingredients right after we went went to Hash House a Go Go, which helped suppress our natural impulse to buy buy. With any luck we'll have minimal leftovers and I won't be enticed to eat again until Wednesday.

Somewhere you have to draw the line—even if it's only one eye-popping meal a day.

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