The only thing South Beach Wine & Food Festival founder Lee Brian Schrager likes more than throwing a grand fete is getting up in the morning. Most people dread the call of the rooster and the rise of the sun, but Schrager thinks of only one thing: breakfast.
Miami's resident culinary maven loves the morning meal so much he literally wrote the book on it. His America's Best Breakfasts: Favorite Local Recipes From Coast to Coast (co-authored with Adeena Sussman) follows Schrager's nationwide search for the fluffiest pancakes, the most savory eggs, and the crispest bacon. Schrager sagely reminds us that breakfast is so wonderful because it's the only meal that works any time of the day. Anyone who ever took delight in a dinner of waffles and sausage links or sat in front of the TV set with a bowl of Cheerios knows this is the gospel truth.
To celebrate his book, Schrager agreed to stop by New Times' office to try some of the breakfasts that America truly loves — namely the fast-food kind. The breakfast aficionado then confided a shocking secret: He had never eaten any fast-food breakfast items — not even an Egg McMuffin on the way to the airport!
With that gauntlet thrown down, New Times made several food runs, stopping at Burger King, McDonald's, and Taco Bell to provide Schrager with an array of treats to sample.
What did Miami's king of breakfast think? He was surprisingly impressed with many of the items, so much so that for a moment he thought his reputation of having a discerning palate was at stake. "We're going to be out of business," he quipped between bites of a Croissan'wich.
So if you're at Taco Bell picking up a meal and you see a man in dark glasses at the counter, it just might be Lee Schrager jonesing for another breakfast burrito.
Schrager, by the way, will host Brunch, presented by America's Best Breakfasts, this Sunday, April 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Magic City Casino. Nearly 40 of his favorite South Florida food trucks and restaurants (none of them Burger King, by the way) will serve sweet and savory breakfast treats.
Tickets for this 21-and-older event cost $64.20 per person and include unlimited food and drink tastings (such as bloody marys from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and mimosas courtesy of Cavicchioli 1928, along with java from Panther Coffee and 3:05 Cafecito) and a copy of America's Best Breakfasts. A special couples ticket costs $117.70 and includes admission for two and one copy of the book. Purchase tickets through eventbrite.com.
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Here's the rundown of what Schrager sampled:
Bacon Egg & Cheese McGriddle - 550 calories, 31g fat, 1320mg sodium
Egg McMuffin - 300 calories, 13g fat, 750mg sodium
Fully Loaded Croissan'wich - 570 calories, 37g fat, 1650 mg sodium
Hash Brown Burrito - 380 calories, 23g fat, 920mg sodium
French Toast Sticks (five-piece) - 380 calories, 18g fat, 430mg sodium
Mini Skillet Bowl - 180 calories, 11g fat, 430mg sodium
Grilled Bacon Breakfast Burrito - 350 calories, 17g fat, 900mg sodium
Mountain Dew Kickstart - 80 calories, 70mg sodium