This week's Patch Chowdown Showdown had me getting up early to try some of the area's favorite breakfast spots. Since menus can vary from place to place, the idea was to order the breakfast skillet that appealed to me most at each place and decide whose was tops. Our contestants were Blackberry in Tinley Park, Cafe Miele in Orland Park, and Kingsberry in Oak Forest.
Blackberry — Tinley Park
After looking over the menu, I decided on the Gypsy Skillet, which is essentially a meat-lover's delight. Sausage, bacon, and ham all coupled with cheddar cheese and hash browns, topped with two scrambled eggs. In other words, a lot of food. Though the skillet was pretty tasty, it was extremely heavy and salty. The eggs did well to balance this and at the same time not overwhelm the flavor. The hash browns could've been cooked a little longer because I love when they're a little crispy.
Thumbs Up: Solid overall flavor, good eggs.
Thumbs Down: A little too heavy and salty.
Cafe Miele — Orland Park
This menu had a few skillets marked as house specialties, so I figured I should go with one of those. I ordered the Country Skillet, which had sausage, green peppers, onions, and breakfast potatoes, all smothered in traditional country gravy and topped with two scrambled eggs. As you can see by the picture, the first thing I noticed was how much egg there was. It completely dominated the dish, to the point where I had to scoop some of it off. But what was underneath was extremely delicious. The breakfast potatoes (diced) were crispy and blended well with the gravy and the sausage, peppers, and onions added some extra kick.
Thumbs Up: Fantastic flavor; the gravy was a unique and delicious touch.
Thumbs Down: Didn't even need the egg, and actually tasted more like a dinner dish.
Kingsberry Waffle & Pancake House — Oak Forest
Of the three restaurants, this is the only one I'd been to before. After a quick scan of the menu I decided on the Virginia Skillet. A simpler dish, it featured breakfast potatoes, bacon, chives, and cheddar cheese topped with two scrambled eggs. It was smaller than the others, which actually meant it was a reasonable portion. Most of the potatoes were well-cooked and the bacon was crumbled into really small pieces. It wasn't overly salty like the other ones, and the chives added a nice zing. The eggs were a little much on top, but I guess I learned it comes with the territory.
Thumbs Up: Simple, delicious.
Thumbs Down: The eggs, and some of the potatoes seemed undercooked.
And the Golden Frying Pan Goes To ...
This was a tougher showdown to judge since I wasn't comparing the exact same dish, but what it really came down to for me was overall flavor and uniqueness. That's why I'm giving this week's title to Cafe Miele for their Country Skillet. The gravy was the MVP.
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