By CHEF RENEE MORGAN
It was like the taste of sunshine kissed by liquid gold. No, I’m not talking about my husband’s Valentine’s gift. I’m talking about the Eggs Benedict at Dahlia Cafe. Ok, so I’m being a little melodramatic, but this was a seriously good breakfast.
I just love how the egg yolk mixes with the hollandaise and runs into the craggy surface of the english muffin to create the perfect bite. At Dahlia Cafe, the Benedict comes with a generous side of yummy golden and crispy hash browns.
Eggs benedict is always the test for me because a lot of folks don’t get it right. Let me just say, Dahlia’s gets it right!
The hardest part of Dahlia Cafe’s new breakfast menu was deciding what to order. With two pages of choices, you could dine there every morning and have something different. I was a happy girl, I can tell you!
Most everyone around here knows about Dahlia’s. All of us have visited with owners Debbie, Johnny and Brian, and probably Brian’s brother, sister-in-law, children and any other family member they can put to work. They’ve been faithfully serving lunch and dinner for several years. With the outdoor play area and dining, live music on the weekends, great food and family atmosphere, Dahlia Cafe has become THE hangout for folks in Liberty Hill, and even the surrounding towns.
Dahlia Cafe didn’t enter into this breakfast endeavor lightly. They had the lunch and dinner thing down to a science, but if they were going to do breakfast, they wanted to do it well. They knew they would need more staff and more space. So, Brian and head chef, Christian, who received his culinary degree from the prestigious Schoolcraft College of Culinary Arts in Michigan, put together a plan. After all, most important to them was maintaining their standards of quality.
Over the next year and a half, they began adding to their team of topnotch waitstaff and kitchen staff. Brian speaks proudly and affectionately of the staff, calling them “family.” Here’s the thing…a lot of people say that sort of thing, but as Brian told story after story about different members of his team, I could see how real it is with him. Like the story about Rigo, from Honduras, who had been cooking at Denny’s for 16 years before coming to Dahlia’s. Brian says after that kind of experience, nobody can do breakfast like Rigo. When the wildfires threatened Rigo’s home, it was Brian and his family who came out to help. The staff comes from all kinds of backgrounds. Some went to culinary school, some didn’t. Some have worked in restaurants for years, some haven’t. But they all have to have a couple of things in common to work at Dahlia’s. First, no prima donnas. Everybody works as a team, including owners and management. Second, the staff conveys that feeling of “family” right to the customers at the table.
To serve breakfast, they still had the space issue to tackle, so they built on an enormous outdoor dining deck and expanded the kitchen into a space that would be the envy of many a restaurant chef. Now, with plenty of room to work, they could set about the task of menu development. Everybody gave their ideas and suggestions. They created, tested, tasted, refined, tested again, and again, and again. So many tastings! Finally, they had it whittled down to the best of the best.
Dahlia Cafe has a strong commitment to local purveyors and most everything is made from scratch, so the choice of each item on the menu has been carefully thought out. Whether your taste leans toward an omelet (eight choices), french toast or pancakes, or a plate of breakfast burritos with poblano verde sauce, chicken and waffles, or my other favorite – biscuits and gravy, you’ll find it and find it well done at Dahlia Cafe.
What does the future hold for Dahlia’s? They plan to do some work on the interior acoustics for more comfortable conversation, cover the back patio and add onto the dining room area. In the meantime, go have some breakfast. Your tummy will thank you!