South­ern cui­sine starts with a great bis­cuit

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - DESTINATIONS -

would test eight bis­cuits be­fore the day was over) and set out. To be fair, we de­cided we would or­der a straightup bis­cuit (hop­ing for de­li­cious jam or honey) and bis­cuits and gravy, two re­gional, deeply loved bis­cuit prepa­ra­tions. Along the way, there were dev­as­tat­ing trav­es­ties of bis­cuit­ness. Bis­cuits that re­sem­bled those from Pop­pin’ Fresh. Sausage pat­ties like pucks re­tired from a re­cent hockey game. There were count­less pack­ets of food­ser­vice jam and only one place that served honey. Hon­estly, I won­dered whether my taste mem­ory was squir­relly. Af­ter a day of bis­cuit tast­ing, we agreed upon four truly great ones. The best bis­cuit came from Back in the Day Bak­ery, where the air is filled with the tan­ta­liz­ing scent of but­ter and more but­ter. The be­daz­zled pic­ture of Queen El­iz­a­beth hang­ing over the cash reg­is­ter con­firmed this was a bak­ery with a sense of hu­mour. Baked goods of all sorts were be­yond en­tic­ing, but the bis­cuit, $1.50 (all prices in U.S. dol­lars), was a shin­ing bea­con in the pas­try case. More sub­stan­tial and heav­ier than one might imag­ine a bis­cuit should be, these soft­ball-size but­ter-and-jam de­liv­ery sys­tems were di­vine. The bake shop’s epony­mous cook­book of­fers the bis­cuit recipe, as well as one for its sig­na­ture Bis­cone, a bis­cuit-scone mashup. Our concierge and dozens of on­line re­views pointed us to break­fast at B. Matthew’s Eatery, lo­cated across a tree-lined boule­vard from tour bus park­ing on River Street. The bis­cuit at B. Matthew’s ($1.50) sported a craggy, crunchy top that, though promis­ing, re­vealed a tex­ture more fluffy than flaky. The bis­cuits-and-gravy en­tree ($6.25) was gen­er­ously doused with creamy, pep­pery, sausage-speck­led gravy. The Collins Quar­ter is a stylish, high-ceilinged, white-tiled charmer with deep ban­quettes and a cosy Aus­tralian-style “brekkie” menu. Un­able to re­sist, we added Red Vel­vet Pan­cakes ($12) to our or­der of a bis­cuit served with jam and but­ter ($3) and bis­cuits and gravy ($14) with house­made chicken sausage, gravy with ba­con bits, a fen­nel-and-green-ap­ple slaw and two per­fectly poached eggs dashed with chili oil. The bis­cuit was lay­ered, light and shot through with the tang of but­ter­milk. This was a bis­cuit to tuck into, and the straw­berry jam served along­side it was sen­sa­tional.

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