Friday, July 31

Birthday Breakfast at Shea's

Welp, I've moved. I'm back to being a Jersey boy, and if it's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that the best way to get to know new territory is to eat your way through it. Admittedly, South Jersey is no Brooklyn - there's a Carraba's, there's a Bonefish Grill. There's an Olive Garden and a Chili's. But for every chain, if you look hard enough, there's a little mom and pop joint lurking in the strip mall, itching to get a jump on your tastebuds.

Shea's is one of those places - a classic family restaurant, only open for breakfast and lunch, with a nice, simple menu to work from. Limitless coffee, tacky carpet, big honkin' muffins behind the register... the ordinary stops there. They take some of the simplest food out there - sandwiches, pancakes, eggs benedict - and knock 'em out of the park.

It was Courtney's birthday yesterday, and, like all good things in life, we celebrated with food. I, for one, ordered the Orleans Benedict: a pair of toasted English muffins topped with poached eggs, then covered in lump crabmeat, shrimp, and chopped tomatoes and scallions.

Look at that egg. It's perfectly poached. And don't get me started on their homemade Hollandaise. You know how you usually get some sort of gloppy, sad-looking yellow gunk with the consistency of Cracker Barrel sausage-semen gravy. Here, it's at perfect nappe - not nauseatingly thick, but certainly not runny. And buttery and rich without tasting like chazz. For those of you that don't know what chazz is, well. Count yourself lucky.

Of course, since it was Courtney's birthday, the Orleans Benedict wasn't quite decadent enough. Instead, she got the "Five Star Benedict", which is described as the Orleans Benedict with...

Oh yeah. That's a round of filet mignon under that poached egg. There's another one in there, too, buried underneath that heaping pile of delicious seafood.

Now, you'd think that after those two plates, especially with that stack of deliciously spicy homefries, we'd pack it up and call it a day. But birthdays only come around once a year, so we went with Lou (the owner)'s suggestion for dessert:

The cannoli pancake. Chocolate chips in, chocolate chips out, cannoli filling in little splorks around the center, and, of course, fresh whipped cream. Now, I was almost blind from the amount of seafood and egg yolk in my belly, but even with the sheer stuffedness of the two of us..

...that poor pancake didn't stand a chance.

Keep in mind that this meal was immediately followed by three hours on the couch, groaning softly to ourselves, followed by an hour and a half nap. And it was totally worth it.

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