Biscuits at Branch Water Tavern

On a recent visit to Branch Water Tavern, I enjoyed the chicken fried oysters, seasonal cocktails and perfectly cooked rare cheeseburger. Truly bloody meat can be, ahem, bloody hard to find in Houston restaurants.

My favorite part of the meal, however, was a dish I didn't have to pay for or even request: the biscuits.

These flaky, buttery two-by-one squares were served prompt and piping-hot just after the waitress took our drink orders. Too busy nursing my martini, I neglected to try my biscuit until the appetizers arrived. (Husband had already devoured his portion.) Just a nibble was enough to distract me from the oysters. The biscuit's interior was all warm squishy dough; the exterior, all brown, buttery crust.

A biscuit like that doesn't need butter, let alone other fancy condiments, but indulging isn't really about what you need, is it?

I halved the remaining biscuit and spread both sides with whipped butter and red pepper jelly. It now strangely resembled a pizza; its taste, however, reminded me far more of the Saturday-morning breakfasts of my childhood than of my trip to Rome. A more decadent version of buttered toast with strawberry jam (my morning meal of choice as a child), the combination of spice and sugar and savory cream was absolutely divine.

I could have feasted on those biscuits all night but there was beef and gnocchi and white wine to be had, so I let the server clear my bread plate. I continued with the rest of my meal, all the while glancing covetously at the platters of fresh biscuits being delivered to new patrons. Lucky bastards.

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