By: Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur, The New Orleans Advocate
When it comes to Southern-style brunch, we expect classics that we know and love, like warm biscuits covered in thick gravy.
But local chefs behind the modern Southern cuisine movement have taken these items up a notch, preparing them with local ingredients and contemporary culinary techniques. Their brunch menus are wide ranging, offering both simple à la carte treats and entrée size platters, and they are sure to leave early-afternoon diners pleasantly satisfied, for the rest of the day.
Willa Jean, the bright and airy CBD bakery, welcomes guests with a big “U need a biscuit” mural, painted on its exposed brick walls. And, of course, the heavenly aroma of fresh baked pastries and other southern-style breakfast items.
“Our approach at Willa Jean is to do a brunch that’s rooted in southern tradition, but on a lighter scale,” said Executive Pastry Chef Kelly Fields, a South Carolina native who collaborates with Pastry Chef Lisa White at Willa Jean.
Their version of the Eggs Benedict is a hot item and features a poached farm egg on a house-made English muffin, sautéed blue crabmeat, and whipped hollandaise sauce. Sandwiches, and smaller items like cornbread with Poirier’s cane syrup, are on the menu. And, diners can “build a biscuit” with country fried steak and sausage gravy, among other sweet and savory ingredients. Be sure to try one of Willa Jean’s invigorating, coffee-based cocktails.