Doug and Lil’s Potato Patch (Deland, FL)

As I mentioned in my review of Smoke Shack, I always enjoy a trip to the South for some culinary treats, one of these being a classic Southern breakfast joint. We were visiting Daytona Beach, which doesn’t have the greatest selection of the breakfast joints, but on a previous trip, I had discovered Deland, FL. While driving out of town after a splendid dinner at De La Vega, I had spotted a rather charming little place on the south end of downtown Deland called “Doug and Lil’s Potato Patch”, and made a note to check it out on my next trip.

So, this time, I made it a point to go over there on my last day in town for breakfast, discovering that it is quite the popular joint, with the place packed solid at 8am on a weekday, which is always a good sign. The menu at Doug and Lil’s is basically “Southern Downhome cooking”, with a good variety of classic dishes: pork chops, fried chicken, meatloaf, omelets, eggs, biscuits and gravy…. You get the basic idea.

But one of the things that jumped out on the menu to me was…. Ham. It’s been a good long time since I’ve had a good country ham. Many of my readers are saying, “But Rich, you can get ham most anywhere!” and indeed, I can get city ham (wet-brined and smoked) most anywhere. But a good country ham, salt-cured and aged dry, is almost an entirely different thing altogether. I gained an appreciation of the classic “country ham and red-eye gravy” when I lived in the Southeast, and, unfortunately, that style doesn’t spread much outside of the Southeast. So when I saw that one of the breakfast offerings at Doug and Lil’s was “Country Ham: Salty and Tough, a taste of the Old South”, I couldn’t resist, ordering it up with eggs, hashbrowns, and a biscuit.

And, sure enough, about 10 minutes later the waitress emerged from the kitchen loaded down with plates, two of them being my breakfast: one plate was dedicated to the ham and red-eye gravy, the other holding the biscuit, hashbrowns, and eggs. And, indeed, the country ham was everything I was hoping for: a decently thick slab of bone-in ham, crisped up nicely on the grilled, and just oozing with the red-eye gravy made from coffee and pan drippings. Advertised as “salty and tough”, it was definitely one of those country ham slices you had to work at, but the very dense nature that makes it tough also makes it flavorful. Overall, a great breakfast, just not one to tell the cardiologist about.

The rest of the breakfast was no slouch, either; the biscuit was top-notch: rich, thick, fluffy, and just oozing with buttermilk flavor (unlike the leaden pucks I often seem to get back home). The eggs were nicely scrambled, and the hashbrowns were exactly how I like them: cooked soft inside, and with a nice, very crisp sear on the griddle.

My coworker did the same, also getting the ham, but he opted for grits (always good with eggs), biscuit, and fried eggs, but he was similarly pleased by his breakfast.

So, in this case, I’m more than glad that I finally got back to Deland to check out Doug and Lil’s. Seeing that they aren’t that far out of the way when I’m driving back to Orlando from Daytona Beach, they may be getting some more visits from me.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply