Millie’s Diner is arguably the best brunch spot in Richmond and everyone knows it. Millie’s starts serving brunch at 10AM on Saturday, and a line starts to wrap around the corner of the tiny beloved restaurant by 9:30 every Saturday morning. If you want to get a table on Saturday or Sunday morning, you either get there early and wait 30 minutes until they open or you get there later and wait up to an hour until a table opens up. Believe me, it’s worth the wait.
One of Millie’s signature dishes is the Devil’s Mess, and the restaurant offers a Veggie Mess for patrons who would rather skip the sausage. The dish is a mess of scrambled eggs mixed with vegetables, curry, and melted cheese. It comes in a massive portion that is best when accompanied by a bloody mary or mimosa. Because I love brunch for dinner, and because I have cut our restaurant dining budget in preparation for our super awesome anniversary vacation, I decided to make these at home one night. They turned out almost as good as the real thing.
Veggie Mess, a la Millie’s Diner
This will be another one of those walk-you-through-the-recipe recipes, because I made it up as I went along, while Kyle faithfully took meticulous notes.
What a guy. 🙂
Start with the following vegetables. Sauté these in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat:
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
Beyond this point, you can add whatever vegetables you want. I chose enough ingredients to make two huge heaping servings. Most people would say this recipe yields three entree size servings, but I was trying to be authentic. And at Millie’s, they pile on the veggies and eggs. When the onions, carrots, pepper and garlic are tender, remove them from the pan to a small bowl and mix in the other ingredients:
- 2-4 oz of marinated artichoke hearts (a small jar)
- 2 oz can of sliced black olives
- 1-2 handfuls of spinach
- (I would add diced tomatoes here if they were in season right now, which they’re not, and in my opinion it’s a worthless addition unless it’s summer.)
Now you’re going to start the scramble. Whisk together 6 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder. This is my Mom’s trick for making nice fluffy eggs. Divide the mixture in half, and pour one half into an oiled pan over low-medium heat. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan as you move the eggs around with a spatula. When they start to look like this. . .
. . . it’s time to add the vegetables back to the pan. Divide the vegetable mixture in half, and add the veggies to the pan. Continue to scramble the eggs while incorporating the other ingredients. Add to the egg-veggie mixture:
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (more or less depending on taste)
- salt and pepper
Cook for just a minute or two more and remove the mess to a foil-lined baking sheet. Preheat the broiler. Repeat the scramble for the other half of the eggs and half of the vegetable mixture. When you’re finished, sprinkle on top of each mess:
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack and I probably used more than 1/4 cup if we’re being honest here)
They should look like this. . .
A coworker of mine rarely sits at a table at Millie’s, opting instead for a seat at the bar so he can view the open kitchen. It turns out that sitting at the bar has its perks, like the ability to pick up little-known local restaurant trivia. My coworker let me know that at Millie’s, they finish every dish under the broiler for a minute or so. Every. Single. Dish. Including the Veggie Mess. Insider info, score!
So now you’re going to place this under the broiler for one minute, for the sake of authenticity. It will look melty and delicious like this. . .
Slide onto a plate and dig in!
Judging by the absence of patrons lining up outside la casa de vegology every Saturday morning, my version is not a Richmond classic just yet. Kyle stood in line for about 40 minutes for this dish though, so I’m calling it a success.
Recipe inspired by Millie’s Diner in the historic Church Hill neighborhood of downtown Richmond, VA.