Clementine Breakfast Sandwich at Clementine, Los Angeles
Clementine's good old-fashioned buttermilk biscuit would be a pretty swell breakfast on its own, hitting that perfect balance of a flaky, buttery interior and crisp, savory top. But when stuffed with a masterfully poached egg (runny, gooey, light), melty cheddar cheese, and creamy, proscuitto-like Tennessee country ham, the already sublime biscuit achieves pure AM heaven.
The Cathead from Big Bad Breakfast
Venerable food writer John T. Edge once told us we couldn't leave Oxford without stopping by Big Bad Breakfast—and boy, are we glad we listened to him. Chef John Currence is a great cook with a lot of soul and his modest, cheerful storefront lights up the generic shopping center where it's located. Picking just one dish from the menu is nearly impossible, but don't leave without a Cathead: that'd be a made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuit, helium-light with crispy nooks and crannies, piled with delicious sage-y sausage or sweet, salty ham, plus Cheddar cheese, all served with grits or hash browns.
Breakfast Sandwich at Devil's Teeth Baking Company, San Francisco
It all starts with the biscuit: freshly baked, buttery, flaky, and supersized without having that bad-biscuit pasty consistency. Even better, it manages to hold together the sandwich. This is impressive, considering it's topped with a large pile of fluffy scrambled eggs, complete with molten cheddar cheese oozing from the bottom, top, and middle of the egg's folds. A couple of strips of chewy bacon add an excellent smokey flavor. It's one of our favorite breakfast sandwiches in the city, especially when combined with a cup of Blue Bottle and a stroll on Ocean Beach.
Hominy Grill: Charleston, SC
Chef Robert Stehling's artfully spartan but homey Charleston cafe has a way of making Southern classics just the tiniest bit better--no surprise, from a James Beard Award-winning talent. In the mornings, when light streams in through the front windows, opt for the Big Nasty Biscuit ($7.25), a huge, buttery biscuit with a tender crumble and a soft, moist crumb, smothered in smoky sausage gravy and sandwiching a superb fried chicken breast.
207 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC 29403 (map); 843-37-0930
Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen: Chapel Hill, NC
It's a small drive-though-only joint—you can't miss the line of cars snaking around it. But don't fret, the line moves quickly. We were nervous the biscuits might be cold once we pulled up to the window, but they were just right--tall, tender, buttery golden, and still warm.
We tried four of the biscuit sandwiches: chicken ($3.19), country ham ($1.89), sausage ($1.89), and egg-and-cheese ($2.14). Encasing an expertly fried and well-seasoned piece of boneless white chicken meat, the chicken biscuit was our favorite. The country ham biscuit, not too salty and with the right amount of chew and porky goodness, came in a close second.
1305 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill NC 27514 (map); 919-933-1324