Hangover Heaven - Victory Garden Cafe
It's about as Eastern Shore as you can get for a breakfast around town. Not only that, but after a hard night out with your friends — participating in general debauchery — you'll sure be thankful for it the next morning.
The Eastern Shore Benedict at Victory Garden Cafe at 124 S. Aurora St. in Easton features a split English muffin topped with scrapple, poached eggs, fried oysters, hollandaise sauce, and a side of house-made breakfast potatoes. It's basically a hungry, hungover Shoreman's dream. Top that with Victory Garden's bottomless Bloody Mary and mimosa bar on Saturdays and Sundays, and you've got one hell of a hair of the dog.
“It's indulgent. It's got fried, it's got runny eggs, buttery hollandaise sauce — It's perfect for a hangover,” Victory Garden owner, head chef, and general manager Angela Thomas said. “It's got all the stick-to-your-ribs kind of stuff that you need when you've been indulging all night long.”
Victory Garden opened in 2014 with a creed from the get-go to provide a comfortable atmosphere no matter the age, and get some good food, made from scratch.
“That's kind of the niche we've always tried to carve,” Thomas said, “is a neighborhood cafe.”
Thomas started at the front of the house and found she lost some control over her business by not being in the kitchen. So that's where she since has gravitated and stayed.
Along with being a self-trained chef, Thomas learned a lot from her husband, who was trained as a professional chef. She has had a 20-year career in the restaurant business, doing just about every job in the front of the house that there is.
Thomas said when Victory Garden first opened and wasn't very busy, she had a lot of time to experiment with new homemade foods. The results of that is evident looking at the Bloody Mary bar, where nearly everything on it is homemade and available to be added to the beverage; pickled baby beets, curried pickled cauliflower, prosciutto and provolone stuffed peppers, spicy pickled Brussels sprouts, pickled baby corn, just your regular run-of-the-mill pickles, and much more.
“I try to make everything as homemade as possible,” Thomas said. “From day one, that's what we've always wanted to do and strived to do.
“I always tell the cooks that work with me that I have a case of cooking ADD (attention deficit disorder). I get tired of cooking the same things over and over again, so, you know, that's the fun of cooking, is coming up with new things,” she said.
With the Eastern Shore Benedict, Thomas, who is an Oklahoma native but has spent the past 20 years on the Eastern Shore, said she “just took two of the Eastern Shore people's favorite things and put them together — scrapple and oysters.”
“We have tourists come every single day, and they want to know what scrapple is because they're not from around here. They want local food, and that is the epitome of local food. It's local Eastern Shore cuisine,” she said.
You don't have to get up early in the day to enjoy this breakfast — another perk when you simply can't do that after being out the night before.
Victory Garden serves breakfast and lunch from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, meaning people can come early and get a burger, or come late and get an Eastern Shore Benedict, or vice versa. Dinner is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Editor's note: Our “Be Well” section this month is having a little fun with our theme for the January issue, and we chose Victory Garden as the best place to get breakfast when hungover to embrace that theme.