Wake & Bake: Barbaro, Cured and Taps y Tapas share morning faves

For me, rolling out of bed on Sunday is a struggle—the sheets are nice and cool, I may or may not be recovering from the previous night’s debauchery and it’s the one day when I’m not entirely obliged to work (usually). The only thing that will get me up and at ’em faster than you can say “French-pressed coffee” is the promise of a hearty brunch.

What’s not to love about fluffy pancakes, crisp waffles, house-made sausage and all the bacon and eggs money can buy? Without delving into Bubba Blue territory, you can enjoy the yolky goodness in several ways. And, of course, there’s the booze—any chance to day drink.

I’m not the only brunch hound around these parts if the lines at Feast, Cured, The Monterey and yes, Guenther House are to be believed. Hundreds of SA’s breakfast fiends scour the city searching for the perfect combination of Eggs Benny meets a cure-all Bloody.

In case you’re not a morning person, or you’re not willing to brave the masses and wait times customary to brunch, the Current is hooking you up with three recipes from some of our favorite spots.


Barbaro’s Skillet Pancake
2720 McCullough, (210) 320-2261
10am-3pm Sundays

I consider Barbaro to be one of the city’s best-kept brunch secrets. Wait times are nil and there’s plenty to choose from including buttery grits, Bakery Lorraine goodies and this not-so-little number. Chef Mark Martinez usually goes through 15 quarts of batter on Sundays.

“We wanted to take it a bit bigger with the skillet pancake,” said Martinez. The nearly one-pound flapjack comes in two iterations–a sweet version with seasonal fruit compote (currently raspberry) and the more-popular savory take with Steen’s pure cane syrup, whipped goat cheese and bits of Benton’s bacon. It’s meant for sharing, but we’re not judging if you take one down solo.

Instant Pancake Mix
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1 egg, separated
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2tablespoons melted butter
1 cup instant pancake mix
1 tablespoon olive oil
For pancake mix: Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar and sift thoroughly. Place in an airtight container. Mix is good up to three months.

For batter: Separate egg into two medium bowls. Whisk the white with the buttermilk in one bowl, and yolk with melted butter in the other. Combine wet mixes with dry mix, and whisk the batter until brought together, making sure to leave small clumps.

To cook: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Martinez and his cooks at Barbaro usually use a 10-in cast iron French pan to attain the nice browning, but any heavy-bottom pan will do. Heat pan gently and add oil, not butter or else pancake will burn. Pan is ready when oil shimmers in the light. Add 5 ounces by volume (just over half a cup) of pancake batter to the pan, spread evenly and place pan in the pre-heated oven. Cook the pancake about 70 percent of the way on one side. Once you see the edges start to firm up it should be safe to flip. After about 3 minutes check the pancake with a cake tester or butter knife. If the tester comes out clean, it’s good to go. Place on a plate (or pizza pan as Barbaro does) and serve with your choice of toppings.

Cured’s Chicken and Doughnuts
306 Pearl Pkwy, (210) 314-3929
10am-3pm Saturdays

My love affair with Cured continued once I sampled the eatery’s take on chicken and waffles. Sure, the Cured breakfast with praline bacon has its merits and the chef’s breakfast with fried green tomatoes and obligatory can of Pearl beer are impressive, but hear me out. The doughnuts are cakey and sweet, but the highlight was the flavorful, spicy and tender chicken drizzled with jalapeño syrup. While the doughnuts are made in-house, chef/owner Steve McHugh and his wife prefer to use Krispy Kreme when making this at home. And let’s face it, no one’s rushing off to make doughnuts. I suggest a trip to The Original Donut Shop (3307 Fredericksburg, (210) 734-5661, cash only) for yours.

Makes 6 servings

Jalapeño Syrup
3/4 cup cider vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
1 pinch turmeric
1 pinch celery seeds
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne
1 pound jalapenos, sliced into rings

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup Crystal hot sauce
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Peanut oil, for frying

For syrup: Place vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seeds, garlic and cayenne into a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the jalapeños and bring back to a simmer and then remove from heat. Place jalapeño mixture in a container and refrigerate until needed.

For chicken: Combine chicken, buttermilk and hot sauce and allow to sit, covered in the fridge, overnight. When ready to cook, heat the peanut oil to 360 degrees in a skillet. Combine the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, salt and pepper in a sheet pan. Remove chicken from marinade and dredge in flour mixture. Cook two thighs at a time to not crowd the pan. Fry the chicken until completely cooked through (chicken should reach 165-degree internal temperature). Serve the fried chicken with any cake-style doughnut of your choice. Drizzle with jalapeño syrup and enjoy.

Taps y Tapas’ Biscuits and Gravy
1012 N Flores, (210) 277-7174
10am-1pm Sunday

Fans of Candlelight’s brunch offerings might enjoy a stop at Taps y Tapas. They have a great patio, solid food and yes, bottomless mimosas. Chef Luciano Valadez cranks out a menu that includes takes on Southern and Mexican classics, like the pork carnitas sope topped with a fried egg or these fluffy cotija cheese biscuits and savory gravy with a Mexican twist. Pair them with $12 “somewhat” bottomless mimosas of fresh OJ and a hint of pineapple juice.

Makes 9 biscuits

Cotija Cheese Biscuits
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cup to 2 cups buttermilk, plus additional for brushing
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese

Chorizo Habanero Gravy
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, Mexican-style
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika, optional
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 habanero, diced

For biscuits: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add 1 cup buttermilk. Using your hands, quickly fold the dry ingredients and cotija cheese into the buttermilk until a sticky dough forms. You may need to add more buttermilk.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Gently fold the dough over itself 3 or 4 times to create layers. Press the dough out to 1 1/2-inches thick and cut with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter. Lay the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with buttermilk. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until risen and golden brown.

For gravy: In a medium saucepan, heat milk over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it–don’t let it boil. Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted then add chorizo. Crumble and cook until well browned and no longer pink. Sprinkle flour over the sausage and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add warm milk and diced habanero and cook, stirring until thickened and bubbly. Turn the heat all the way down, add paprika (if using), and season well with salt and pepper, stirring and tasting frequently until the flavor is to your liking. Turn off the heat. Gravy will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve over warm biscuits.

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