Brunch Lesson #32: Fry It and Put It on a Waffle

You know you've taken gluttony to a new level when your waitress calls you a fatty. She said it in the kindest, most familial way possible but at its core her comment stung with the icy saber of truth. And yet, I feel my order-logic was sound: If a waffle can be topped with chicken-fried steak or chicken-fried bacon, can it not be topped with both?

More on my dance with gluttony later. First, the restaurant. Angela's at the Crosswalk is located on 6th Street in Plano. Their breakfast menu is served all day and features the usual suspects: biscuits and gravy, flapjacks, omelets, quiche and so on. Sometimes, an acoustic guitar player serenades diners. The people who eat here seem very nice and content to eat their flapjacks and listen to Mr. Acoustic's rendition of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." In short, Angela's is a sensible place in a sensible town where sensible people go for a sensible meal. But don't be fooled -- there's a darker side to Angela's. It is the kind of darkness usually accompanied by a side of gravy. Which brings me, as life always does, back to waffles.

Chicken and waffles became de rigueur brunch fair as soon as white people Christopher Columbus-ed soul food. And if it's chicken and waffles you're craving, Angela's has you covered. For those looking to give Pilgrim's Pride the day off, however, the menu also offers waffles with either chicken-fried steak or chicken-fried bacon. Or you can be like me and get both. Don't worry about that article that said Americans' meat consumption is unsustainable and environmentally, ethically and socially irresponsible. There's definitely a chicken-fried steak/bacon waffle loophole in there between all the science and condemnation.

Fifteen impunity-filled minutes after placing my order, the plate arrived. Piled high with carbs and dead animals, it looked like the Machu Picchu of brunch. And with my mountain before me, I did what any adventurer would: dig in. The whisper-sweet waffle acted as the perfect delivery system for the steak and bacon. People take their chicken-fried steak very seriously in Texas, and Angela's version did not disappoint. The steak was tender but still retained enough chew to reassure your jaw that you were in Texas, dammit, where steaks can't be pussies. The batter was just right -- fried until shatteringly crispy without being oily. The bacon, unlike the steak, couldn't quite hold its own against the sea of crunch. The bacon strips weren't bad, exactly, they just weren't bursting with smoky, meaty goodness. Think ruler-shaped conveyors of fried batter with bacon essence.

But truly, to break this dish into its components is to do it a disservice, for it is more than a waffle with steak and bacon. What this dish really calls for is the Gestalt approach. By corralling a bit of everything onto your fork before drizzling on some white gravy and syrup, you are not only creating a bite that is greater than the sum of its parts, but you are putting yourself on the path to brunch enlightenment.

And heart disease.

Angela's at the Crosswalk 1010 E. 15th St., Plano

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