Breakfast in Texas can mean several things, and kolaches are pretty high on the list.
The doughy pastries — a Czech-Texan hybrid — can be found all over the Lone Star State, and often are filled with jam or savory combinations, from spicy chorizo to crumbly breakfast sausage, brisket and cheese.
New Orleans is no stranger to the tasty dough pockets, and several bakeries experimenting with the item have emerged recently. Now there is The Kolache Kitchen, a grab-and-go hub dedicated to the pastry. It’s an outpost of the Baton Rouge flagship, which was started in 2013 by Will Edwards, a Houston ex-pat, and recently expanded to Uptown New Orleans. The Freret Street spot is a fast-casual concept where guests order their items at a counter and leave with a paper bag filled with warm kolaches.
The oblong-shaped pastries feature a lightly sweet and yeasty dough, with fillings such as bacon and cheese or versions oozing a sweet medley of blackberries and cream cheese.
The kolache inspiration may be Texan, but a boudin-filled version doesn’t do the South Louisiana staple justice, and even the spicier option, studded with jalapeno peppers, tastes bland in comparison to other versions. A kolache stuffed with Patton’s hot sausage and cheese, however, does the local favorite right.
Besides kolaches, the kitchen makes pastries in various shapes and sizes. For those wanting a breakfast fill-up, more substantial options include so-called rancheros stuffed with scrambled eggs and a variety of meat options, such as mildly spicy chorizo. Empanadas come in their characteristic crescent shape, and are filled with savory ingredients, including a Texas-leaning version packed with soft, shredded brisket, poblano peppers and provolone cheese. Also good is a Southwest-inspired shrimp and jalapeno version, a fiery treat that oozes cheddar cheese and would provide an adequate lunch or hearty mid-day snack.
In keeping with the Texas theme, a selection of breakfast tacos also is available. Fillings include scrambled eggs and a variety of add-ons wrapped in warm flour tortillas. The tacos are fine, but they pale in comparison with the bakery’s namesake item. New Orleans isn’t a breakfast taco town yet, and it won’t become one because of these.
Kolache Kitchen isn’t for the gluten-shy, but bread-lovers — and those simply hankering for a taste of Texas — will be satisfied. The casual spot serves as homage to the bready pastry in our backyard and makes our Texan neighbors feel that much closer.