In some countries brioche, an enriched French pastry bread, is eaten as a dessert or served with tea. But this is America -- and we want sugar for breakfast. In fact, we want it dipped in milk and eggs, fried, then smothered in butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
Yes, we're talking about the fanciest of all toast forms: Brioche French Toast.
Originally invented as a way to use up stale bread, French toast has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Thanks to the dedication of countless breakfast lovers, the world now offers a plethora of French toast variations -- everything from sweet tiramisu French toast, to ultra savory versions resembling something like bruschetta.
So where in the Valley should you head to satisfy your sudden craving for some buttery, maple goodness?
Find out after the jump.
In One Corner: Butters Pancakes and Café
8390 E. Via De Ventura, Scottsdale (480) 629-4333
The Set Up: This joint makes breakfast-goers feel almost as comfy as if they were sitting in their own grandma's kitchen on Sunday morning. The French toast options are classic brioche and whole wheat (both with the option to add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas) as well as strawberry cheesecake, apple cinnamon, banana nut, and pumpkin. To keep things simple we went with classic, no fruit.
Pros: The fluffy, buttery bread made for a perfectly golden colored dish. It was full-flavored and well balanced with neither too much cinnamon nor too much egg.
Cons: Perhaps because of the thickness of the bread, the dish left a little "toastiness" to be desired.
Suggestion: A little more time on the stovetop might have achieved the perfect harmony of richness and texture.
(As a side note, the orange juice we ordered to wash it all down with? Tasted like you died and went to citrus heaven.)
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In The Other Corner: Over Easy
4730 E. Indian School Road #123, Phoenix (602) 468-3447
The Set Up: You may have seen this place on Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins, in which case you may also be familiar with their caramelized banana and pecan brioche French toast. For a fair comparison we got an order of the regular stuff.
Pros: It really is the little things that count, and the perfect exterior of crisp, buttery bread contrasted by the fluffy, eggy interior truly made for a memorable French toast-perience.
Cons: Watching the other diners devour plates of the caramelized banana and pecan version made the scrumptiousness of our meal pale in comparison. Guess we'll just have to go back.
The Verdict: You're in for a treat if you go to either place, but if we have to choose it's gotta be Over Easy. With such a simple dish, the littlest things can sway the vote. Butters comes in a close second and had we been able to factor in that incredible juice...well, who knows.