My husband and I spent Christmas weekend in Asheville, North Carolina and enjoyed a number of meals in that city's very fine restaurants. But our favorites were probably the breakfasts since treating ourselves to a big, heart breakfast is something we don't normally do. Saturday morning we were off bright and early to dine at Tupelo Honey Cafe, specializing in "Southern favorites with a creative twist". Biscuits and honey are pretty straighforward, and their biscuits are mighty good. They bring a basket of steaming hot biscuits to your table, and even bring more when the basket's empty! My best choice of the morning proved to be the goat cheese grits. Divine! They were thick and creamy and full of rich goat cheese flavor. Tupelo Honey also has a wonderful-looking lunch and dinner menu, but we can't resist the breakfast and try to eat there every time we're in town.

Sunday morning we opted for even more grandeur and indulged in the breakfast buffet at The Grove Park Inn. I don't always love a breakfast buffet, but this one is top notch. The made-to-order omelets were fantastic, as was the view of the mountains from our table. There's just no better way to start the day.

Later in the morning we stopped in at the Early Girl Eatery for some coffee, but were tempted by the homemade banana bread on the menu. Oh, my! This was the best banana bread I have ever tasted, and I have spent a number of years tasting recipes in our Test Kitchens. There was nothing really different about this bread--it seemed to be a traditional banana bread. But it was warm and tender, with just the right amount of sweetness. We had to order some more to bring home. (photo above) They sell it by the loaf, but we resisted. This restaurant's claim to fame is it's emphasis on simplicity, quality, and local flavor, and after sampling only one item, I can vouch for the quality. We'll be back.

With full bellies and empty wallets, we headed home on Monday and stopped for breakfast at the Traveler's Restaurant in Traveler's Rest, South Carolina. I have a theory that the best (and usually the cheapest) home-style breakfasts are served in restaurants located in one-story brick buildings with a number of pick-up trucks in the parking lot. This theory has not failed us yet, and we were treated to a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits, grits and coffee for less than $10, including the tip. Just a tad cheaper than the Grove Park Inn! Let me know if you have favorite breakfast places or breakfast recipes. I'd love to hear about about them.