In case you had trouble getting past the Clive Owen cover of this month's Esquire Magazine (not saying that I personally had a problem...), here's recommending you go ahead and flip to page 107 and drink in the heady food porn that is Esquire's All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast.
Beginning with a drool-inducing photo of Banana Bread French Toast dripping in vanilla bean infused maple syrup and capped with a quivering crown of lemon sour cream, this special section proceeds to persuade the reader through essays, recipes and restaurant listings of the absolute indispensability of the modern American morning meal. Divided into two parts - dining in and dining out - you'll first enjoy eight pages of how-to's from chefs around the country interspersed with witticisms and observations on the subject at hand. A case in point, from Scott Raab's Love, Or Scrambled Eggs: "Breakfast is breakfast. No metaphor, no symbol - save maybe in the sense that any social custom mirrors every other social custom, which is to say that either everything is a metaphor or symbol, or that nothing, especially not so fine and free a thing as breakfast, is. Breakfast is too good to screw it up with meaning." And that, my friends, is why I love Esquire.
Also contained in the first section is a recipe for Jalepeno and Ancho Oatmeal from Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville. Combining such divergent ingredients as dried cherries, Hungarian paprika, coconut milk and (you guessed it) jalepeno peppers, it may just be the most peculiar recipe I've ever read. The photo of another offering, Pulled Baby-Back Ribs Benedict from Chef Raymond Chen of the Inn at West View Farm in Dorset, Vermont, actually forced me to lay my head between my legs and count slowly to ten, lest I faint from overwhelming desire. (Sorry, Clive.)
The dining out section that follows provides an "unranked, incomplete, and unimpeachable list of the best breakfasts across America." I'm sorry to report that Dallas is not represented, however the list makes for great reading nonetheless. Who knew that Minneapolis loves a little bison-sausage bread in the morning? Waffle House also gets a shout-out in this second half, and New Orleans is named "America's Best Breakfast City". Anyone who has ever felt a beignet from Cafe du Monde melt on his tongue under a hot blanket of cafe au lait will absolutely agree with that honor.
And that's not the half of it - I've only scratched the surface here, people. Pick up a copy for yourself, and while you're at it, help me come up with a few North Texas suggestions for the next time around: Where's the best breakfast in the Metroplex?