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Good Eats, Far From Home: Pine State Biscuits

December 28, 2013
Have you met my buddy Reggie? This is "The Reggie." Fried chicken breast, with gravy, bacon and cheese, bracketed by halves of a biscuit. The photo may make the biscuit look small, but it's only perspective. This is a serious chunk of food.

Have you met my buddy Reggie? This is “The Reggie.” Fried chicken breast, with gravy, bacon and cheese, bracketed by halves of a biscuit. The photo may make the biscuit look small, but it’s only perspective. This is a serious chunk of food.

I should know better than to seek out southern food in the Pacific Northwest. At Amy’s insistence, we laced up our walking shoes and hiked more than four miles from our downtown Portland hotel to the Alberta neighborhood, turning down public transit in favor of burning calories. Where we were headed, we’d need all the calorie surplus we could get.

A couple of years ago, three North Carolinians headed west with a kick-ass biscuit recipe, and a dream to establish a center of southern food and hospitality in the northwest. Welcome, friends, to Pine State Biscuits. Step in, place your order and grab a seat at the end of the bar, where you can gaze down the grill and assembly lines. What your eyes feast upon, your mouth will quickly also enjoy.

At Pine State, you’ll find the same kind of biscuits I fell in love with at Tupelo Honey Cafe, in Asheville, and I’ve made a decent copy of them at home. There is no shortening-the fat comes from frozen, grated butter, and I think their biscuit cutter was fashioned from a cafeteria sized soup can.

But even though these biscuits are pretty big around, they’re disproportionately tall.

Think edible skyscraper. Start with a Sabre-toothed cat-head biscuit, split it and put a goodly-sized fried chicken breast on it, about what you’d get on a Chick-fil-a sandwich. In the spirit of remembering that this is breakfast, two strips of bacon go on that. Wait, the girl is still throwing stuff on top! Here comes a fried egg and a slice of cheese, before she throws it under the broiler. Once the cheese melts, out comes this tower of southern breakfast goodness. Honestly, I can’t remember the total order of operations here, but if my geology class taught me about how to tell which sedimentary layers came first, the gravy went on my biscuit before it went in the broiler as well.

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After a considerable hike, my bride had worked up an appreciable appetite. So had I. We found the right place to fix that problem!

Meanwhile, Amy ordered a much more reasonable breakfast: two eggs, bacon, toast, a biscuit with apple butter, and hash browns. The hash browns covered a plate the size of a cafeteria tray. As is our custom, we both ordered something the other liked, ate a bit and swapped plates at halftime. I cut my biscuit in half and laid my half its side, trying to decide how to eat it. A fork and knife seemed proper, but without a pitchfork, there was no way to shoehorn all the elements into a single bite.

So, in a very Man-Versus-Food moment, I cowboy’ed up and grabbed my half in a death grip, determined to get a bite with everything included. I found myself quite like a dog who caught the car he chased-I didn’t know what to do with my catch, so rather than put it down and have to regroup, I kept eating on it.

This biscuit looked like the object of a you-can’t-eat-all-that challenge, but it was great! I ploughed through my half and came out with a grin.

Want a conventional breakfast that spreads across the plate? Pine State has that covered as well. By covered, I mean, it covers the plate completely.

Want a conventional breakfast that spreads across the plate? Pine State has that covered as well. By covered, I mean, it covers the plate completely.

The girl behind the counter latched onto Amy’s accent. “I grew up in Charlotte,” she said once we identified ourselves at Atlantans. I wanted to march behind the counter and give Miss Charlotte a hug before we left. Amy’s half of the meal was great, and we walked out full as ticks, grateful for the long walk before we ate.

The location downtown is closed for a move; soon we will have to walk past one location to justify our gluttony at the other location when we come back to Portland.

Done.

Done.

Oh yeah, we will do this one again.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David Martin permalink
    December 28, 2013 12:46 PM

    I too have stuffed one of those towers of goodness down my pie whole and it did not disappoint. Long live Pinestate!

  2. Nick permalink
    December 30, 2013 12:07 PM

    Great Read Jeremy!

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