Do You Do "Big Breakfasts"?


[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

I'm not a big breakfast eater—indeed, most days I skip it entirely.* But finding myself in the fancy-pants Houstonian Hotel in the heart of big-plate-of-food-and-would-you-like-an-extra-soda-to-go? country, I couldn't very well skip the most important meal of the day at Olivette, the hotel's fine restaurant.

*Before you get all health-nut, that's-bad-for-you scold-y on me, bear in mind that as someone who eats professionally and whose first meal of the day often comes in the form of a tasting of a dozen flavors of ice cream at 10:30 a.m. followed up by pizza or perhaps bottled ranch dressings, the normal nutritional rules don't apply.

When I'm on a "research" trip, I'm a taste-and-go sort of eater. I institute a strict two bite policy on most dishes (the first to make the initial get-to-know-you formal introductions, the second to taste in earnest). This makes it easier to order more food than any reasonable person should ever eat.

What I didn't realize that morning, however, was that even one breakfast dish at the Houstonian is more than any reasonable person should ever eat.

The Huevos Rancheros ($12) was an impressive affair on its own—a big ol' pile of beans, a couple of fried eggs, a great smoked salsa, and a shower of cotija cheese—but it paled in comparison to the Olivette "Scrambler" ($14), a monstrously large concoction of two butter-packed biscuits, two fried sausage patties, three eggs' worth of scramble, a ladleful of sausage cream gravy (yes, that's sausage sauced with more sausage), and a pile of home fries.


I took my requisite two bites, then looked back down at the plate, realizing that I hadn't made a dent in it. The waiter could have picked the plate up and served it to the next guest who ordered it, and nobody would have been the wiser.

Delicious as it was, all I could think to myself was, "my god, when was the last time a person actually finished this thing?" Am I alone here? Any big breakfast eaters out there? Tell us about the biggest breakfast you've ever had!