Tag Archives: breakfast

Cafe Le Perche

Breakfast at this bakery-slash-restaurant joint was pretty fantastic.

I had an amazing lobster BLT sandwich that must have had a pound of good lobster claw meat on it.

My wife’s “little breakfast” was just $9 and had a ton of food on the plate.

The only downer was the side order of truffle fries. They were more like roasted potato wedges, not too crisp, and I think they were simply hit with some truffle oil to give it an aroma.

CAFE LE PERCHE
230 Warren St
Hudson, NY 12534

Bustan

Bustan means “garden” or “orchard” in Hebrew, Arabic and ancient Aramaic. The Upper West Side restaurant named as such boasts a pan-Mediterranean menu that features dishes from the shores of Southern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, which are home to those languages. Bustan stands out in New York City’s sea of Mediterranean restaurants with its multicultural approach to food and drink, where diners are encouraged to explore and ask questions about their diverse menu.

My wife and I came in for Sunday brunch at noon and the place was already almost full. But the restaurant is spacious, so you won’t have to throw elbows just to cut your food. You may want to make a reservation, though, because the people who live in this neighborhood obviously know how good the food is at this joint.

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We started with a pair of bloody marys that had Mediterranean spiced rims.

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We enjoyed these. They had the right amount of heat, and the mix was a nice, thick, tomato blend that they must have made in-house, because it was really fresh.

Since I’m on drinks, I may as well mention that they have a really interesting and unique cocktail menu that further highlights Mediterranean flavors. And the bar is a great place to sit and eat as well. There’s a beautiful wide grey marble topper and plenty of seating. They also have a pretty incredible whisky selection as well.

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We snacked on some homemade focaccia bread before our entrees came out. This was spiced with the same stuff from the bloody mary rims, along with some toasted and minced rosemary. Really delicious! And its served warm, with a bowl of olives.

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We also tried these burekahs, which are spiraled rolls of doughy pastry style bread with feta and minced kalamata olives inside. Super tasty!

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I ordered the green shakshouka for my entree.

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Shakshouka is a baked egg dish from the region, often made with tomatoes. This green version featured creamed spinach, artichoke, fior di latte and white truffle oil. It also comes with homemade pita.

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I was half expecting something heavy and salty, given the cheese and cream elements, but this was light and mild. I really loved it, and the addition of truffle oil really brought a wonderful earthiness to the dish. All you people looking for a healthy protein boost, this is the way to go! There had to be about four or five eggs in this baby. You get a lot of satisfying food for your money with this dish ($18).

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My wife went with the potato pancakes entree. A large white plate is covered with one huge, crispy potato pancake, and then topped with two eggs (cooked any style you’d like) and three rolls of really high quality smoked salmon.

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The best way to enjoy this dish is to eat a little bit of everything with each bite, so that the saltiness from the cured salmon seasons the pancake and egg with a its natural brine.

This dish also comes with labaneh, which is a thick, tart, creamy, yogurt-like cheese that almost mimics the cream cheese that us NYC locals might eat with lox or smoked/cured salmon. It is a perfect pairing for this dish.

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But one other savory item that’s a must try here is the hummus.

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This stuff has won awards. In fact, I might as well mention Bustan’s overall awards for best restaurant in the upper west side (2014) and diner’s choice top 100 neighborhood gems in America (2015). This place is no joke.

Anyway, this hummus is super creamy, and the addition of tahini sesame paste gives it a massive flavor boost. I actually recommend getting this as an app for the table to share before diving into those delicious entrees.

But you absolutely MUST save room for dessert, because this next thing is my favorite ice cream dessert that I’ve ever had.

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It’s two scoops of vanilla gelato on a bed of candied pistachio nuts, dates and crisped rice, which is then topped with shaved halvah!

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It’s called the Turkish sundae, and I get really excited when I see halvah used in anything, since I always loved eating it as a kid.

Clearly I loved that dessert, but I’ll be back in very soon to try the sticky toffee pudding, which consists of dates, walnuts, banana and tiramisu gelato. In fact several items on their dessert menu are really interesting, as are the entrees. Bustan is truly breaking the mold for Mediterranean fare and offering up lots of dishes that celebrate the entire region’s diverse food culture. Get up here ASAP and eat!

Note: I was invited to dine as a guest of this establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review; all opinions expressed are my own.

BUSTAN
487 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Burke & Wills

I’ve only ever been to two or three Australian joints in my day, so I jumped at the opportunity to check this place out with Jay from The Dishelin Guide. When he asked if I was interested in going with him for a press review, I was psyched. Aussie joints always offer the possibility of trying exotic meats, and, as you can imagine, the prospect of something like that gets my juices flowing.

In the case of Burke & Wills, you can find a kangaroo meat burger on their daily lunch and dinner menus. Since we came in for brunch on the weekend, however, we were in for a different treat involving ‘roo meat: a traditional meat pie.

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Meat pies are pretty much street food and walking around food in Australia, but this version is served like a pot-pie, not hand food. It comes on a bed of English pea puree with mixed baby greens and a tomato jam. As for kangaroo meat, which is slightly gamey and very lean, it’s about as common on menus as venison here in the States.

Okay wait a second… before I get into more of the food I have to talk about the customizable Bloody Mary menu here.

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Our waitress recommended the exact combination that I was thinking of ordering, so I took that as a sign. This ended up being one of the best bloodies I’ve ever had. Kaffir-lime salted rim, Citadel gin, far east mix (sri racha for the spice element) and the deluxe skewer.

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Okay so where was I… Right; kangaroo meat. The brunch menu swaps out kangaroo in the burger for a standard beef burger, however there’s nothing else that’s standard about this particular burger other than the beef.

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It comes topped with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, onion, pineapple, pickled beets and a fried egg. It really is an amazing combination of flavors that I never expected to work well together. The meat is high quality, cooked nicely, and all the various toppings really make it a juicy and satisfying meal.

Aside from tasting good, this burger was really beautiful.

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For the reasonable cost of $16, this stack of breakfast food and beef also comes with triple fried “chips,” which are what other people from across the various ponds call French fries. What we call chips, here, are called “crisps” over there. Hey, I’m not judging… just informing you ignorant bastards out there.

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The fries (yes, I will continue to call them fries because I’m American and that’s what we do) are thick, almost like potato wedges. They’re blanched several times at various temperatures and then fried multiple times. The end result is a super crisp outside and a mashed-potato-esque interior. Really nice. And they come with a deliciously unique harissa-based dipping sauce to boot.

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Another feature of the brunch menu is the ever present and highly trendy “elevated toast” offering. This particular one, however, was not some dainty piece of bread smeared with a little bit of avocado and then topped with a slice of tomato. No. This was a nice thick slice of toasty grilled bread as a base, with a generous amount of avocado as the next layer, to serve as a bed for what was essentially an entire salad of micro greens, tomato, frisee and pickled onions on top. And there was a LOT of awesome feta cheese on there. In fact, that was the bulk of it! I think I might have changed my mind about this toast food trend because of this dish. It was filling and satisfying, yet also light. Perfect for brunch on the weekend, especially with a bloody beside it.

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For dessert, we had doughnuts and coffee.

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These hot and sweet babies come with two dipping sauces; dolce de leche and chocolate. Both are fantastic.

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I definitely recommend coming here for brunch in the back room, which is like a greenhouse:

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If you’re not into brunch, then you should at least come in and try a bloody at the bar up front.

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BURKE & WILLS
226 W 79th St
New York, NY 10024

Sarabeth’s

We visited the Key West location of this joint for brunch and liked it a lot. I had a poached salmon cobb salad with a side of duck bacon.

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The salad was on point – salmon was perfectly cooked, and all the components came together nicely. The duck bacon tasted a lot like turkey bacon, and it had a similar texture as well.

Slappy Cakes

Slappy Cakes 

This place is a chain that lets you cook your own pancakes at the table on a skillet.

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You order your batter – we chose lemon poppy, their seasonal batter – and then you start making shit.

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Some people get very creative. Check out this design!

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We also tried a funky item – chicken fried bacon. Thick cut bacon that has been battered and deep fried like chicken. What could go wrong? Well, it was a bit heavy. I’m not used to taking on breakfast too often anymore – I usually skip – so this was a bit much for me. I was full until dinner.

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I should also mention the cool drinks we had here. These were non-alcoholic, though they do offer alcohol drinks here as well. Really good lemon and fizz type drinks. All very fresh.

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Zippy’s

Zippy’s

My wife and I squeezed in a quick breakfast at Zippy’s before the long and treacherous drive to Hana.

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I had saimin, which is similar to ramen and Chinese soups. It consists of broth, wavy egg noodles, fish cake slices, some pork meat and veggies. The flavor profile was decidedly Chinese but the presentation was Japanese, if that makes sense. I’d say it was a chicken based shio/salt broth, like you’d expect in wanton soup. Pretty good!

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My wife had a breakfast bento box that came with rice, scrambled egg, Portuguese sausage and corned beef hash. Pretty basic. I have to say that the sausage and corned beef here were not as amazing as the sausage at Kula Lodge.

Kula Lodge

Kula Lodge

By 7am we were at Kula Lodge for a nice warming meal before heading the rest of the way down the mountain. This joint actually had a fireplace going, and the well-manicured grounds boast trees, plants and shrubs that would easily qualify this spot as an arboretum. There was even an incredible outdoor cooking station that made me insanely fucking jealous.

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Breakfast was pretty simple but well executed. I had the “Haleakala Mountain of a Meal,” which was two eggs over easy, two pancakes and Portuguese sausage. Since I’m a fat guy deep down, I also added a side of corned beef hash browns. This shit hit the spot nicely. The hash was some of the greatest I’ve ever had. It contained large, juicy chunks of corned beef brisket with all the signature crispy fried bits that you expect from good hash. This was my first time eating Portuguese sausage – awesome. Slightly spicy, a little sweet, and tons of snappy flavor. One thing I particularly enjoyed about this place was the fresh coconut syrup. Fucking awesome on the pancakes and I don’t think I can ever eat them again without the shit. It’s more watery than regular maple syrup, but it has a nice mild, not-too-sweet coconut kick. Lovely.

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My wife had the French toast, which was massive and topped with loads of toasted macadamia nuts for good measure. Excellent cinnamon and nutmeg flavoring that warmed us after that chilly Haleakala mountain expedition. I also got to eat half of this as well. Haha!

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To make the meal even better, we were graced by an awesome full-arc rainbow over the scenic grounds, which was visible in all its glory right from our table, out the big lodge windows.

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Breakfast Fried Rice

My wife and I dreamed up this incredible concoction about a week ago. Last night we finally gave it a shot. It’s a pretty straight forward recipe, so no real instructional videos or any other complicated bullshit to show you.

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What The Fuck Do You Need?

  • Pre-cooked bacon (it’s just easier)
  • Eggs
  • Ham steak
  • Frozen breakfast sausage
  • Frozen spinach
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Chives
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Shredded cheese
  • Potato
  • Crispy fried shallots
  • Leftover rice from the fridge
  • Butter
  • Olive oil

How The Fuck Do You Make It?

The first thing you’ll want to do is some basic prep. Dice up your ham steak, potato, onion and jalapeño. Mince your garlic, and slice your chives, bacon and sausage. These will be more like “toppings” for your rice, so as not to moisten the rice while cooking together.

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Fry some shit off in olive oil and butter. I did the potato, pepper, onion and garlic together to form a hash, and then I put it aside in a bowl lined with paper towels to get rid of some of the grease and excess moisture.

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Since we used frozen spinach (you can use fresh), we threw that in a pan by itself to dry it out and remove all the excess water.

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We gave a little fry to the bacon and sausage too. Here are some of the components before adding to the rice:

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Grab your rice and throw it into a hot buttery wok or pan.

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Once its all hot, you can mix in your scrambled egg, which you should first cook in a separate pan:

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Once you get some snap, crackle and pop going, and some crispy browned rice forming at the bottom of the pan/wok, you can lower the heat and fry off the other egg separately for the top of the rice:

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Fill a bowl with rice and start to assemble your dish by adding the toppings. Don’t forget the cheese!

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Here’s a jerkworthy shot of the finished product:

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Dive in and eat. I like to mix it all around, break the yolk, fold the spinach in, etc. Then I get a little bit of everything in each bite.

Flame

My wife and I popped in here for a quick breakfast and we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food, and the cheapness ($4.65 for two eggs any style with toast and hash browns). My lumberjack meal (pictured) was only $7.45 for two eggs any style, ham, bacon or sausage, and pancakes. It is standard diner fare, but the poached eggs were perfect. I had a small shell bit right on top, but other than that it was perfect.

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Pancakes were good too.

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Looking forward to trying their burger next.

UPDATE MAY 2015

So I finally got back in to try the burger. It’s very basic, nothing too crazy to write about. The bun is toasted, which I hate, and I think the burger patty was probably frozen. But at $9.75 for the deluxe, which comes with battered fries, lettuce and tomato, its not a bad buy.

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FLAME
893 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10019

Vive La Crepe

UPDATE – THIS JOINT IS NOW CLOSED!

This little crepe spot just opened around the corner from my place, on 7th Avenue at 58th Street. They serve both sweet and savory crepes, with stuff that’s suitable for everything from breakfast to lunch to dessert.

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My wife and I came for the dessert varietals. I got a butter and sugar crepe with bananas, and my wife got dolce de leche with strawberries and raspberries.

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Pretty great! Light batter, airy and crisp. I have to come back and try the savory offerings.

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VIVE LA CREPE
912 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10019