Biscuits Are Trending

by Fredrica Duke
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buttermilkbiscuitEveryone is always moving on to the next big thing. What is up with you people? That cupcake fad sure took off. I knew why, and I was on it so fast. I’m still on it in case anyone asks. Like someone will. In the same way that I always came home from a trip to London, Paris or even New York sporting a new fashion trend, I was carting back boxes of Magnolia cupcakes from the bakery’s West Village location as gifts for friends. Turning them all on to my addiction.

I’m not fickle. In fact I’m the opposite, loyal through and through. All y’all have moved on to pies or those fancy small French macaroons. I’m sticking by the cupcake. Oh, yes I am.

So, how come it took you so long to get into the biscuit craze? Can I toot my own horn here and tell you how long I’ve been a fan of the biscuit? Jumping in to answer before you say no. A long-ass time. My whole life, in fact. My southern grandmother, we called her Granny, made them for me. Pretty sure she dunked them in some bacon fat before they went into the oven. Those buttery, flakey biscuits came out perfect. Served piping hot, butter melting everywhere, dripping onto the plate for my first unforgettable bite. There is nothing quite like it. Until now.

There are restaurants in Los Angeles serving piping hot, perfect biscuits. My friend Andrea called yesterday to update me: “Yet another place serving biscuits, a great review today AND it’s on Abbott Kinney.” “Let’s go right now,” I said after jumping up and down. And we did.

biscuits-from-hart--hunterWhat I really wanted was to venture to Hollywood where my favorite restaurant that serves biscuits is located. Wonderful butter biscuits with pimento cheese, honey butter and black berries on the side. I will get back to The Hart & the Hunter, named after the Aesop’s Fable in a minute. I’m so friggin’ excited about biscuits finally being in vogue that I really must try all the places offering them. I was thrilled when I got to the place in Venice. But not so thrilled when they asked us to stand (12 minutes, I counted) in the bar area, then seated other people that walked in after us. Furthermore, the restaurant was empty, so the wait was annoying and unnecessary. Not a good sign but I held out for the rumored great food.

Just have to be honest, nothing, including the biscuit they served, impressed me very much. Our beet salad with Burrata cheese was tasteless. And the few other dishes, amnesia, no memory. I looked to the table to the left of us and struck up a conversation. I’m known for this. Don’t go out to eat with me if you hate sit and chat moments with the diners at the next table. Get it? Larry David’s “stop and chats?“ I knew you got it! I asked about their pork chop. The guy gave me this whole elaborate response, describing in detail the smoky flavor, the moistness and the reduction sauce.

I don’t even know this dude and I said, “WOW, look at YOU.” And I did say that sarcastically which I guess was a bit chummy. He laughed at himself for being such a pretentious expert. His wife commented that he’s a foodie and a really great cook. Then she added, “I love the Brussels sprouts. Have you noticed they are serving them in just about every restaurant?” “Why, yes” I answered with supreme authority, “Brussels sprouts are the new asparagus.” They both laughed, and I like an audience -- so that was more pleasing than the whole meal. Then, to the table on the right, “How is that pan roasted chicken?” They gave it a thumbs-up.

At some point during the meal, a man walked up to me and asked if I was Fredde. He pointed back at his wife, Karen Bell, and said you two know each other through Joy Horowitz. “Yes!!!” I screamed. I love a hello. Quick detour to Disneyland. (You know you love Disneyland.) One time as a child while cruising around Adventureland, my dad barked, “Not one hello. The whole day here and not one hello.” It irked him and I get it. He was upset that he didn’t run into one person he knew. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were in Orange County, you know. We’re not in Kansas, dad. Disneyland might look like a back lot to my movie producer father, but it’s not a real studio.

I’m not outing the name of the restaurant in Venice. The old, if you’ve got nothing nice to say… But please, biscuits need to be served hot, very hot. The butter was a whipped burnt orange honey butter, which is fine, but the biscuit wasn’t hot enough to make the butter melt and that is just so wrong. And, it was a very large biscuit so it kind of makes you feel like a fatty. I think I prefer smaller ones, though I then eat two, so call me a fatty. And now let me take you to my absolute favorite piping-hot-biscuit-serving-restaurant in L.A. – The Hart & the Hunter at the Pali Hotel, on Melrose in West Hollywood.

harthunter chickencracklinI already gave it a rave review when it was a pop-up restaurant on Abbott Kinney called Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. And now that Jonathan Gold has given The Hart & the Hunter (it’s new permanent name) a rave review, they don’t need any more cheerleading. So, let me tell you the few dishes I love, crave and drive all the way there for. Fried Chicken Skins. Yes, I’m not making this up. Best thing, ever. Do you do what I do with fried chicken -- just pull that tasty skin off and eat it first?

Guess what else? The ubiquitous and, oh-so popular Brussels sprouts, but shaved as a salad, tossed with peanuts, aged cheddar, with bacon sherry vinaigrette. They also serve roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon. And if you are a health nut -- and face it, most of you are – they have the best kale salad in all of Los Angeles, with apples, dates, Sheep’s milk cheese, and glazed pecans. Make yourself happy and head to The Hart & the Hunter. I might be there. Be sure to give me a hello. I’m the chick scarfing down the biscuits.

P.S. I lost my Granny’s recipe and I’m dying for a good, buttery flaky one. If you have a great recipe, please share. Or, maybe you know of other restaurants that serve amazing biscuits?

 

Fredrica Duke shares how she discovered her love of food while growing up in Los Angeles on her blog Channeling the Food Critic in Me.    

Comments   

#10 Babette 2013-05-29 18:48
I love biscuits too, more than cupcakes. I recently ate at MB Post a wonderful restaurant in Manhattan Beach and they had the most amazing biscuits that they are famous for, it is well worth the drive for you WLA and valley people. The other things on the menu are also great including their Brussels sprouts. There is a company that sells great biscuit and scone mixes that are fantastic. All you have to do is add cream. Rich but great. Available in many flavors at Iveta.com. I found them at the Pasadena design house
#9 Fredrica Duke 2013-05-17 00:54
Thanks everyone!!! I can't wait to try your recipe Lynn!!! And, Grant!! I really appreciate that you shared it with me/us!!!
#8 Lynn McBride 2013-05-17 00:36
Biscuits are trending? Hmm...well they've been cool only for a couple of hundred years in the south. But then, the country is always a little slow to catch up. You asked for the perfect recipe, so here is one from this Charleston girl: http://www.southernfriedfrench.com/blog/2010/12/les-biscuits-gone-south.html. Ironically, the secret to making the best old-fashioned biskits is to use a food processor. Loved your post.
#7 jennifer dudley arbs 2013-05-16 12:47
The Beverly hills, nyc, Greenwich ct, Chappaqua lady didn't know a REAL biscuit til a move to Cincinnati. BOB EVANS ROCKS THE PLANET with warm, fattening to the touch biscuits. Alas, I cannot bring myself to pour thick brown gravy all over it. I will never and I say never be a true mid-westerner and that is fine by me... another great piece Fred. Jenn back in Charlevoix MI
#6 Augie Duke 2013-05-15 14:44
Love it
#5 LAReader 2013-05-14 18:39
John O'Groats has really good biscuits.
And Neiman Marcus has really good popovers. I know a little off topic but in the same family.
#4 Grant Onnie 2013-05-14 06:34
It's about time that someone on this website talked about Buiscuts. Whomever was clever enough to cut butter into flower for a baked bread should be given the Nobel prize. Cooking like life is all about relationships and recipes. People need to know when is too much and what is too little and everyone but everyone is looking for that formula, that recipe, what combines with what to make a good relationship. So here ais the drop biscuit ratios for a quick side that goes with any stew, breakfast eggs or whatever and you won't need butter for this either. For every cup of flour, add a generous tablespoon of baking powder and then cut in a quarter pound of salted butter an mash that into something like BBs. Then add milk or half and half until the batter is just less than too gooey, you'll know, too dry or too wet is a touchy feely thing that you'll figure out on your own. Bake on a tray in a 450 degree pre-heated oven until the peaks of the biscuits are browned. Use a parchment paper on the pan to keep the bottoms of the biscuits from over crisping if you wish. I personally don't butter them, but dip them into the food I eat with them. Add chedder of other cheese or even poppy seeds if your a so called foodie or just in the mood for cheese. No need or time to roll out the doe for that layers in the buiscuts that we normally encounter. Just mix drop bake and eat. This is a modified version from a Betty Crocker cookbook that My wife bought back in the 60s when American food was American food. xox Grant
#3 Hoov 2013-05-13 21:55
Love biscuits I still make them from scratch. Way cool wakko.
#2 libbie lane 2013-05-13 18:47
As Andy said "good read"! I however was drooling and laughing at the same time.
#1 Kitty Kaufman 2013-05-13 10:50
Hello, hello!
I'm all for cupcakes but I'm more for biscuits.
Long-ass time, fine. Big-ass not so much so I'll be picking my biscuit spots. And so long as no one's serving Brussels mit kale, we're fine.

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