Monday, June 30, 2014

Heat brunch - San Diego (Hillcrest)

The Heat Is On
One of the things I miss most about Jersey - the diners. A place to grab a simple plate of bacon and eggs. I’d struggled in San Diego for the last decade to find a regular breakfast haunt, but I finally felt like I was getting warmer when I discovered Heat, where brunch meant bottomless mimosas with a personal bottle of bubbly on the table, and a menu that offered the standard staples like pancakes and eggs, while upping the ante with homemade sauces, gravies, and baked goods.

They should have named this Air instead of Heat because a natural breezeway formed within the flow of a dining room fitted with wide, open windows and a basic beige background. Fabric umbrellas covered the outside patio and spread their orange wings over table tops tiled with shimmery, mosaic squares.

$10 bottomless mimosa (with an entrée) = the entire bottle* and a mini carafe of OJ

*It’s Wycliff brut champagne (9.5% alcohol content vs 12% in Korbel brut), so it’s a little lower in alcohol content, but still ended up being a good deal.


Leek and truffle quiche $13
The resounding trumpet of truffles filled my mouth without being overwhelming - simply decadent. The eggs: fluffed and creamy. Leeks: mild and tender. The crust: buttery and flaky. The only change I would have made was to choose the fresh fruit instead of the side salad that featured beets, a cauliflower crown and minimal vinaigrette.

Country sausage gravy with an over easy egg on a jalapeno cheddar biscuit $12
Heat knew how to put the “sausage” in sausage gravy…literally!! There have been so many times I’ve been served white, flour-filled paste with little gray lumps of meat trying to pass itself off as sausage gravy. But at Heat, this came mounded with hunks of sausage in rich, flavorful gravy, whose thickness had no identifiable traces of any floury origins. The biscuit was laid open like an oyster shell, speckled with jalapeno and melted cheddar, and in the center lay a glistening over easy egg shining like a beautiful, yolk-filled pearl.

Country chicken fried steak with sausage gravy, a jalapeno cheddar biscuit and breakfast potatoes $14
This was the next step up when it came to the sausage gravy options. Instead of an egg, this came like an open-faced sandwich with a narrow plank of deep fried, battered meat that had been pounded out thinly and laid like a crisp sheet atop the flaky pillow of a biscuit beneath. To top it off, the home fries had clearly spend a little time in the deep fryer and were crispy on the outside and squishy on the inside.

Heat Repeat
I could get used to this place. They always offered a couple specials, which in the past included options like homemade corned beef hash with béarnaise sauce and pork chilaquiles (chicken chilaquiles is a regular menu item). The waitresses were super friendly in a genuine way that gave Heat a happy air and made me long for Jersey breakfasts a little less.

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