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Breakfast: Is It Worth The Bother?

Breakfast: Is It Worth The Bother?
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  • Breakfast: Is It Worth The Bother?

    Post #1 - October 2nd, 2004, 2:37 pm
    Post #1 - October 2nd, 2004, 2:37 pm Post #1 - October 2nd, 2004, 2:37 pm
    I decided to take the boys out for breakfast this morning, which just raised the eternal conundrum: how do you find a good breakfast on the weekend that isn't a long, uncomfortable wait to get into?

    No other meal has this problem. Yet breakfast is famous for it. Name any well-known good breakfast spot, from traditional spots like Walker Bros., Lou Mitchell's or Nookie's to trendoid hangs like the Bongo Room, Flo or Orange, and on Saturday and Sunday morning they will all have lines going out the door. Indeed, the crowd at a famous breakfast place can often support TWO restaurants, the one the people came for and the place they try, a few doors down, when the line just seems too much for them. (For instance, does anyone come directly to Brett's for her-- perfectly likable by the way-- brunch and basket of breads, or is all her breakfast business supplied by people who set out to eat at Kitsch'n and Victory's Banner?)

    Conversely, who would dare eat at a breakfast place that wasn't packed to the gills on Sunday? Wouldn't you suspect that the locals all know that the chef just went to jail for grinding his ex-wife into the Jimmy Dean sausage or something, and that's why they aren't there? The few times I've tried it-- as at Corner Grille a few weeks ago-- the other problems, like inattentive service, quickly validated the wisdom of the initial judgement. (Actually, that was for lunch, but still-- I assume noon in Andersonville is the break of day for a lot of locals, and the strangely underpopulated restaurant on a busy hipster strip should have been a sign.)

    And yet, what are we talking about when we wait in line for hours? We are, too often, talking about the Nissan Sentra of meals, a practical, utilitarian feast whose highest high and lowest low are just not that far apart on the culinary scale. No Trotter or Achatz has reinvented breakfast with dazzling combinations or feats of technique or fresh ingredients; toss some ratatouille and a dab of goat cheese inside an omelet, as they did at Bistro Campagne last Sunday for brunch, and you win the prize for exoticism, for pushing the envelope. (It was really good, by the way-- maybe the best thing I've had there.) Of course, one reason for this is that breakfast hasn't been mucked with as much as other meals. No Alice Waters is needed to bring fresh ingredients back to a meal consisting of two eggs over easy and some fried potatoes, with a slice of canteloupe on the side. (Though McDonald's' new McGriddles, in which a muffin or whatever is genetically modified to have a maple flavor, suggest a hideous dystopian future for breakfast's simplicity.)

    The reality is, many of the so-called great breakfast places are just competent, even some of the very good ones-- like GWiv's beloved Edgebrook Diner-- impress more for refusing to screw the standards up than for achieving something eyeopening. I have trouble thinking of very many breakfasts I've had that genuinely impressed me with novelty and imagination-- that omelet at Bistro Campagne, the corn cakes with red pepper sauce at Wishbone, unusually sprightly eggs benedict with spinach in them at Flo come to mind, but not much else. Yet any place with even a decent reputation packs them in like French Laundry.

    Take where we ended up this morning. Sweet Maple Cafe, on Taylor Street, a place that used to get a lot of mention on that other board but not much here as yet. I suspected it would be a popular hangout and so we were there not long after 8; even so we waited a half hour, and by the time we were seated they were quoting an hour. The boys shared big, malt-y tasting pancakes, very satisfying to judge by the bite I stole; I had biscuits and gravy, and was impressed by the big fluffy biscuit but deeply unimpressed by the too-spicy but almost flavorless gravy, which I took as a badly failed experiment in yuppification by removing what belongs in the gravy (sausageness) and adding what doesn't (a faux Cajun spiciness). Oh, and pretty good home fries, almost indistinguishable from Wishbone's.

    Despite the fact that my main dish was an almost total waste of the carbs, I can see that this is a pretty good place with a ramshackle college-town charm you don't see much of in Chicago. But look at the price-- shlepping to little Italy, standing in a cold drafty foyer for half an hour or more waiting for a table like a hawk, sitting at a table for half an hour under the hawklike gaze of others as a cold draft chills my food-- and it is hard to see any logic (other than the LTHForum try-everything-once logic, I guess) by which it was worth going there for what we had. It would have made more sense by far to simply whip up breakfast myself; for one thing I'd have been finished with it a good hour earlier than I was. So again, I must ask the question: Is breakfast worth the bother?

    Sweet Maple Cafe
    1339 W. Taylor, Chicago
    (312) 243-8908
    Last edited by Mike G on October 2nd, 2004, 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Post #2 - October 2nd, 2004, 2:55 pm
    Post #2 - October 2nd, 2004, 2:55 pm Post #2 - October 2nd, 2004, 2:55 pm
    I went to Edgebrook Diner this morning, as I do most Saturday mornings, for a breakfast consisting of the Saturday special chorizo omelette, little pancakes and hash browns GWiv style. MMMMM it was delicious. (homemade biscuits & gravy are also on the menu on Saturdays). Although this place is small by any standard (seating is at a counter that holds, at the most, 20 people), it's a small neighborhood spot where "everytbody knows your name" ala Cheers and the crowd moves quickly enough that the wait is never longer than about 10 minutes (if any). I'm not sure I would recommend the Edgebrook Diner to anyone going as a family because of the limited seating possibilities (although there are many families that wait around long enough to sit together), but if you are going by yourself or as a couple, it sure beats waiting in line at Walker Bros.

    Edgebrook Diner
    6322 N. Central
    773-792-1433
    Open for Breakfast and Lunch Only
    Closed on Sunday
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - October 2nd, 2004, 5:05 pm
    Post #3 - October 2nd, 2004, 5:05 pm Post #3 - October 2nd, 2004, 5:05 pm
    Mike,

    Excellent post. You have captured many of my thoughts and feelings about weekend breakfast/brunch.

    I, for one, am not interested in standard American expressions of breakfast food. Eggs, pancakes, and hashbrowns can be tasty, as they are at Sweet Maple and some others, but never really excite me to the point that I'm willing to wait in line. I am notorious in my household for eschewing restaurant breakfast/brunch. In the cases where I am forced to join a group for brunch, I usually angle for someplace that is unlikely to have a line, and likely to offer me something besides an omelette.

    When it comes to breakfast food, I think they've got it right in the Middle East. On a 3-week trip through Israel and Jordan many years ago, I nearly jumped out of bed every morning for breakfast. When I was in a hotel, I could be assured of a spread of fish (smoked or just chilled), cheese, bread, and fresh vegetables. These breakfasts always reminded me of eating at home. To my European-born father, a proper breakfast consisted of sardines (or a smoked chub), rye bread, mild cheese, and some sliced veggies. That's a breakfast I'll stand in line for.

    Best,
    EC
  • Post #4 - October 2nd, 2004, 5:55 pm
    Post #4 - October 2nd, 2004, 5:55 pm Post #4 - October 2nd, 2004, 5:55 pm
    Dining with family, especially children, adds an extra layer of complication I don't have to deal with so my experiences are different. For me it's a quick and easy no-brainer to Diner Grill on Irving with hardly ever any wait.

    For the 'destination' breakfast spots my wife almost always has a jones for Walker Bro's on Green Bay in Wilmette. I find if you get there before 8 you will have zero wait. Get there at 9 or later and, yeah, the line's out the door.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #5 - October 2nd, 2004, 8:24 pm
    Post #5 - October 2nd, 2004, 8:24 pm Post #5 - October 2nd, 2004, 8:24 pm
    I don't eat breakfast out very often, especially on the weekends, as I can prepare a healthier and more tasty breakfast at home than I can find. Yes, been to Richard Walkers and a half dozen others.
  • Post #6 - October 2nd, 2004, 9:13 pm
    Post #6 - October 2nd, 2004, 9:13 pm Post #6 - October 2nd, 2004, 9:13 pm
    I think about this a lot as well, in no small part because I'm a late sleeper. It's an effort to get to a restaurant knowing I'm gonna stand in line for a while. (No lie: one early winter Sunday, some years ago, I actually left a brunch spot as sunset was approaching.) And I love making breakfast; when I was visiting my sister outside Boston last week, she mentioned on Saturday night that she'd make pancakes the next morning if she could find the recipe, and I quoted one to her with a few variations for flavors and add-ins. But then, I do a few things very well and so I need the variety -- there aren't many good breakfast cookbooks, and so you need to get out to expose yourself to other ideas and techniques.

    Realistically, if I'm going to go out for breakfast, it's either a social occasion or a necessity because I ran out of something. And at that point, delays and the other frustrations just become The Price You Pay.

    I do wonder if you miss the forest for the trees, Mike, when you say no one's reinvented breakfast and then shrug off the fast-food inventions -- no less surreal than grape foams or raw "cuisine" or any of the other postmodern attempts to deconstruct foods. If the latter are attempts at art and the former is born in a lab, they're equal products of technology and equally far from anything people actually eat.
  • Post #7 - October 2nd, 2004, 9:51 pm
    Post #7 - October 2nd, 2004, 9:51 pm Post #7 - October 2nd, 2004, 9:51 pm
    HI,

    I have mixed emotions about breaking-the-fast. I recognize it is something I need to do for my personal physiology; it begins the revving up of your metabolism. By eating regularly meals, rather than overly prolonged fasts when you skip breakfast, keeps your body from dipping into a feast-or-famine mode causing fat (energy) build up. I know all this intellectually but I generally loathe breakfast and it's traditional foods.

    Steak and eggs looks grand for dinner. Bacon just overwhelms me in the morning. Now biscuits and gravy, somehow being off the beaten breakfast path in my personal tradition, is something I just cannot get enough of. I will eat leftovers or toast with butter and cheese. If I am droopy, then I might have some Coke rather than coffee, though more often milk or orange juice. I guess it takes very little to understand why my really early breakfasts are at Indo-Paki Cabbie joints, 24-Hour Korean or Jim's Original Polish, because it just isn't your traditional breakfast foods.

    This morning I had to drive out to Barrington to drop a friend at a mushroom foray. This was a big time favor, because I was pretty tired and had a pretty tight schedule for the entire weekend. I was also hungry because I had a light dinner of a single-jumbo-egg omelette with Gouda for dinner around 9 PM. Since I like to live on the edge of just-in-time-or-a-little-bit-late, I met him at the train station having only gotten out of bed 10 minutes before. Only good manners got my teeth brushed before I left the house, my hair was taken care of in the car. So I figured a good breakfast would sooth my emotional beast, which was teetering on grumpy.

    After a few minutes of searching my internal rolodex, I decided Mitsuwa food court would be my only opportunity to eat non-traditional breakfast foods. Mitsuwa opens at 9 AM with three food venues open and the other two closed until 11 AM. The three venues which were open was a bubble tea/dim sum venue, a mostly Korean venue with a nod to Japanese and the ice cream/crepe dessert venue. The other two closed Japanese options included the place with the large griddle up front. I had wanted to try a curry dish JoelF recommended from there.

    My only real option was the Korean-Japanese venue which had those glorious imitation food displays to fuel your mental tummy. I settled on a combination of soup noodles with bean sprouts, seaweed and sliced pork tenderloin with a small dish of sticky rice with curried beef and vegetables for $7.99 plus a medium Coke chaser bringing the tab just short of $10.

    Once I had my food, I wasn't quite sure where to begin: eat the soup while it is hot or my curried rice for the same reasons. A moment where dining a la Russe with individually presented courses makes sense. I tried to knock off the soup first, then abandoned it fast when the stock was too hot. Instead, I ate my curried sticky rice while watching a man watch a Japanese news magazine show. I had no idea what was occuring nor I could gauge the seriousness of the issue, but I enjoyed just trying to read into his blank expression. Later, I returned to the soup which had cooled enough to eat without wincing. The first bite of pork revealed it to be half cold and half warm. So I reversed all my pork pieces to allow them to thoroughly warm through. The broth had a smokey, dark flavor to it which I enjoyed. I tackled the noodles, bean sprouts and seaweed with bites of the already warmed pork. Since my (Vietnamese) soup noodle education from Erik a few weeks ago, after I pulled out all the solid bits, I could leave the broth behind without any guilt. I used to feel I was disrespectful leaving the broth behind until I learned it was accepted and expected.

    I was very pleased to have my favored breakfast of anything but traditional breakfast foods. My only wait was for my food to be freshly prepared, which was less than 5 minutes. Otherwise in the food court of Mitsuwa, I was one of maybe 4 or 5 customers. Anyway, thoroughly fueled, my emotions lifted, I was prepared to take on the day.

    Mitsuwa Corporation
    100 East Algonquin Road
    Arlington Heights, IL 60005
    847-956-6699

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #8 - October 3rd, 2004, 12:19 am
    Post #8 - October 3rd, 2004, 12:19 am Post #8 - October 3rd, 2004, 12:19 am
    Just fyi Cathy2, if you are in the area (and it's noon) I highly reccomend Kitakata noodle house on the corner of Golf and Algonquin. The ramen is spectacular - tastes very much like the ramen I ate while in Yokohama, Tokyo and Kyoto (although not 100% like it of course). Also of note is the homemade gyoza - steamed to perfection then pan-fried on one side to make it half crispy and half soft.

    I usually get the kenko ramen + gyoza with a almond tofu dessert.. Very tasty!

    Kitakata
    20 E Golf Road
    Arlington Heights Illinois 60005
    847-364-7544

    http://www.kitakatarestaurant.com
  • Post #9 - October 3rd, 2004, 9:58 am
    Post #9 - October 3rd, 2004, 9:58 am Post #9 - October 3rd, 2004, 9:58 am
    Breakfast can be a rather bland meal. I rarely order out of the ordinary, usually, eggs, bacon, potatoes; biscuits and gravy; or occasionally pancakes or waffles. Otherwise the choice is limited. I do favor the small quick diner breakfasts over any long wait. In general, I refuse to wait for breakfast. When I'm hungry in the morning, I need food now!

    However, Mabel's in Traverse City, MI served my wife and I several of the best breakfast's we have ever had. We have only been in the Traverse City area once and that was on our honeymoon 11 years ago. The breakfast menu and choices were great. The food and breads outstanding. We still mention the breakfasts we ate during our time there. Frankly, the only other memorable meal was at a very high end restaurant and while the meal was memorable I can never remember the name.

    Mabel's
    472 Munson Ave.
    Traverse City, MI 49686
    Phone (616) 947-0252
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #10 - October 4th, 2004, 9:15 am
    Post #10 - October 4th, 2004, 9:15 am Post #10 - October 4th, 2004, 9:15 am
    Cathy2's post brings up one of my frequent food complaints - that we rarely see breakfast foods from other cultures served in restaurants. Eating Japanese, Pakistani, or Korean lunch or dinner foods for breakfast can sometimes be just the unusual charge that one needs, but I would love to be able to sample traditional Indian, Pakistani, Korean, Thai, Spanish, Italian, whatever breakfast foods. I frequently wake up craving the breakfasts I had in Japan - sushi or the traditional breakfasts of some miso, rice, pickles, and a small piece of fish. I do realize that some cultures make less of a distinction between breakfast and other meals but almost all make some distinction, most quite distinct. It seems that soups are quite common, often thick and porridge-like but not always. Historically, particularly in rural or agricultural areas, it seems that breakfast is comprised of altered/manipulated leftovers ... broth reheated with extenders such as potatoes or heals of stale bread at the bottom of the bowl.

    So, why don't more restaurants serve breakfast? Well, maybe their patrons prefer to eat at home ... or maybe they have to be at work and can't spare the time. But is this situational or cultural? Do people in, say, Thailand eat breakfast at restaurants in their home county? If this is true of most countries, what is it that makes breakfast in America more of an event rather than something utilitarian? Even though it seems to be a simple case of variations on a theme - savory or sweet, eggy or bready, etc - are "American" breakfast foods more diverse than those of most other cultures or less diverse? For example, I don't imagine that Spain has much of a breakfast food tradition - it doesn't seem to mesh with the late-night dining or the long siesta.

    After that ramble, perhaps the most crucial question: what places, if any, serve authentic non-American breakfast foods?

    rien
  • Post #11 - October 4th, 2004, 10:14 am
    Post #11 - October 4th, 2004, 10:14 am Post #11 - October 4th, 2004, 10:14 am
    Hi,

    Mexican restaurants often offer breakfast plates; even if they are lunch and dinner establishments. I am aware but haven't been yet to Seven Wives in Chinatown offers breakfast foods. Congee is available at many Chinese restaurants, which is definitely classic breakfast food.

    Chief O'Neil's offers an Irish breakfast plate, though they are not open for breakfast. I have almost never seen English style breakfasts offered here of stewed tomatoes, baked beans, toast, eggs and sausages.

    My friend who grew up in the Philippines would eat leftover rice sauteed with garlic, possibly some sauteed dried fish or those red sweet sausages, whose name I cannot remember.

    When visiting relatives in Germany, when you order milk to drink or for your cereal, it is always hot. They often have sausages, cheese and bread.

    When I have had breakfast at 24-hour Korean, the menu was not directed toward breakfast. I would guess if we were knowledgeable of what a Korean breakfast was, they would probably offer it. It is a secret menu-ish type situation where breaking through their expectations of what they think we want is challenging. I guess to obtain these types of breakfasts, we need to learn on their own what they may be. Once we appear knowlegdeable, then we may find embedded in these menus some of these foods. We just don't have enough information yet to recognize it.

    So if anyone can relay their knowledge of breakfast in foreign countries, this will help considerably.

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #12 - October 4th, 2004, 10:38 am
    Post #12 - October 4th, 2004, 10:38 am Post #12 - October 4th, 2004, 10:38 am
    Re Spain, Italy: cup of coffee/chocolate and maybe some toast and a Marlboro Light.

    (Grand, starred hotels might offer some mortadella, cheese, fruit and hard rolls for the North Americans and Northern Europeans.)
  • Post #13 - October 4th, 2004, 11:40 am
    Post #13 - October 4th, 2004, 11:40 am Post #13 - October 4th, 2004, 11:40 am
    On a weekend about the only safe option for good, no-wait breakfast is Mexican. After eating a good, quick breakfast I must admit it is kind of fun to drive by Orange and places like that watching the sheep stand in line for hours.
  • Post #14 - October 4th, 2004, 4:06 pm
    Post #14 - October 4th, 2004, 4:06 pm Post #14 - October 4th, 2004, 4:06 pm
    I just have to say, far better than my breakfast has been watching how rapidly this thread covered ground I never imagined when I started it. Ramen noodles in Schaumburg, breakfast in Italy and Mexico-- and all perfectly logically arrived at.
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  • Post #15 - October 4th, 2004, 4:10 pm
    Post #15 - October 4th, 2004, 4:10 pm Post #15 - October 4th, 2004, 4:10 pm
    Hi,

    It's like last week's Hammond's post on cauliflower drifting into pork cooking safety and all because I mentioned raccoon. I guess we do have too much time on our hands. ;-)
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #16 - October 5th, 2004, 6:26 am
    Post #16 - October 5th, 2004, 6:26 am Post #16 - October 5th, 2004, 6:26 am
    Mike,

    I'm boring when it comes to breakfast, having eaten pretty much the same breakfast for 10-years, pound of bacon, 6-eggs and a couple of liters of Jolt Cola, though when I eat breakfast out I tend to lean towards straight ahead diners, my two favorites being Edgebrook Diner and The Diner Grill.

    I'm also quite fond of Nuevo Leon's chilaquiles with added chorizo and fresh diced serrano pepper paired with a small bowl of menudo, but that is most often when Mr. Jack Daniel and I have been chatting the evening before. :)

    Every once in a great while we go for big-puffy-apple-pancakes, my wife calls them Dutch Baby's, but I truly hate to wait 45-minutes for something covered in powdered sugar, and once every couple of months we hit Tre Kronor. We, like Mike and Sweet Maple, occasionally try well know spots, such as our ok, but uninspired brunch a few weeks ago at Flo. Slightly more often it's dim sum, and a couple of times a year one of the luxurious hotel brunches such as the Peninsula.

    This past Saturday I solved the breakfast/brunch dilemma quite nicely by having both. ;) A 7:45 post Evanston Farmer's Market breakfast at Le Peep with MAG, TPA and Thor and brunch at 11:30 at home with my wife. After a reliable, if mildly uninspired breakfast at Le Peep, though I do like the wheat germ pancakes, which have a distinctive crunch, I stopped at Viet Hoa on Argyle Street for ingredients to make a fresh batch of chili oil, Thai grilled chicken and Thai fried chicken.

    Just as I was passing Viet Hoa's seafood section they put out a box of fresh lively, incredibly feisty blue crabs. A crowd instantly gathered, only way I was able to get in was to shoulder block a 95-lb grandmother, I sure hope she's ok, and I picked out 4 real beauties, though retrospectively I should have bought 8.
    Image

    I did a simple boil with kosher salt, a healthy does of my homemade BBQ rub and halved lemons, made for a wonderful brunch. I guess that's the secret, eat both breakfast and brunch. :)
    Image

    Oh, by the way, Mike, thanks for the head up on Sweet Maple, it goes back down towards the bottom of my 'try' list.

    Enjoy,
    Gary (who does not really have bacon, jolt cola and eggs for breakfast :) )
  • Post #17 - October 5th, 2004, 8:03 am
    Post #17 - October 5th, 2004, 8:03 am Post #17 - October 5th, 2004, 8:03 am
    Well, now, I wasn't trying to diss Sweet Maple, I'm sure if on a Tuesday when you were near Taylor St., you had a hankering for something other than misbegotten biscuits and gravy, it'd be just fine. Or perhaps if you wanted their biscuits, which looked very good, and happened to be carrying sausage gravy of your own at the time.
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  • Post #18 - October 5th, 2004, 4:51 pm
    Post #18 - October 5th, 2004, 4:51 pm Post #18 - October 5th, 2004, 4:51 pm
    If it saves me from making three breakfasts and washing the dishes.I like my eggs over easy with toast or rice to sop up the yolk.Another wants scrambled.The third one will not eat eggs or egg casseroles but will eat French toast or hash browns and toast.
  • Post #19 - October 7th, 2004, 2:13 am
    Post #19 - October 7th, 2004, 2:13 am Post #19 - October 7th, 2004, 2:13 am
    Edgebrook Diner makes my current favorite breakfast. Eggs, link sausage, rye toast and hash browns extra crisp w/giardiniera and onion added. This combined with the friendly, efficient service from lawyer turned short order cook Dimitri and his pretty, and personable, wife Christina make for a just about perfect morning stop.

    A couple of other places I always enjoy for breakfast are............

    Chiu Quon Bakery for doughy, yet somehow crisp, looks awful, but tastes good pot sticker and pan fried turnip cake.

    Nuevo Leon for chilaquiles with added chorizo and fresh diced serrano pepper and, if I am really hungry, a chico menudo.

    Diner Grill for ham off the bone, hash browns, ask for extra crisp with onions, eggs and 100% Chicago diner ambiance. Diner Grill is also the home of ReneG's favorite late night snack, The Slinger, don't ask, just eat.

    Manny's for corned beef hash and eggs.

    The Phoenix for pan fried turnip cake, congee, chow fun with fresh shrimp and steamed items. Be advised that the Phoenix has a very limited dim sum menu until after 10am.

    Chicago is a great breakfast town.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Edgebrook Coffee Shop and Diner
    6322 N Central Ave (Devon and Central)
    Chicago, IL 60646
    773-792-1433
    M-F 6:30am to 3pm
    Saturday 6:30am to 2pm
    Closed Sunday

    Chiu Quon Bakery
    1127 W Argyle St
    Chicago,IL 60640
    773- 907-8888

    Nuevo Leon
    1515 W 18th St
    Chicago, IL 60608
    312- 421-1517

    Diner Grill
    1635 W Irving Park Rd
    Chicago, IL 60613
    773-248-2030
    24/7

    Manny's
    1141 S Jefferson
    Chicago, IL
    312-939-2855

    The Phoenix
    2131 S. Archer Ave.
    Chicago, IL
  • Post #20 - December 4th, 2004, 11:35 pm
    Post #20 - December 4th, 2004, 11:35 pm Post #20 - December 4th, 2004, 11:35 pm
    Hi,

    Sometime ago I suggested there are probably hidden breakfast foods in some ethnic restaurant menus. Our limitation is simply our not being aware what these foods may be.

    I corresponded with someone who used to live in Kuala Lumpur. I inquired if he found any restaurants here to satisfy any lingering urges for food from this region. In his response, which I had hoped he would have posted himself, he offered:

    My favorite food item was my daily breakfast of Roti Telur with the curry dips provided with it. Roti is a bread type "pancake" with egg (Telur) mixed in. The dips were Curry Ikan (fish curry) and a dahl (Indian lentil). I have had it here at Penang in Chinatown and also a restaurant called My Place also in China town. Pretty tasty but just not quite the same (but it never is).


    Ah ha! Hidden breakfast foods buried deep in the menu. Perhaps a new dimension to our hidden menu quests?

    It's all apparent once you know, isn't it?
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #21 - December 5th, 2004, 5:53 pm
    Post #21 - December 5th, 2004, 5:53 pm Post #21 - December 5th, 2004, 5:53 pm
    There is a thread at roadfood.com on Vietnamese brunch.
  • Post #22 - December 6th, 2004, 10:11 am
    Post #22 - December 6th, 2004, 10:11 am Post #22 - December 6th, 2004, 10:11 am
    In many non-wwestern countries, traditional breakfast is usually savory foods, not sweet. In Vietnam, there was always someone setting up on the sidewalk to serve Pho early in the morning or at the market. In Japan it's miso soup, (at home, it's whatever is left from dinner too), rice, fish, egg, pickles. And, sorry, no coffee. Nowadays, Japan is crazy for co-he (coffee), and they eat western breakfasts.
    There used to be a south-Indian restaurant on Devon east of Western that served a south Indian breakfast buffet, it had things like idli, uppama, etc.
    Furama has pretty ok dim sum on the weekends. During the week they don't have all the options and aren't cooking all the time.
  • Post #23 - December 7th, 2004, 1:48 am
    Post #23 - December 7th, 2004, 1:48 am Post #23 - December 7th, 2004, 1:48 am
    Great Wall BBQ restaurant in Chinatown has incredibly inexpensive breakfast specials (no dim sum). I stopped in for lunch around noon because I was craving wonton noodle soup with bbq pork. The breakfast portion (served until 1pm) is enormous, very tasty, and only $3.50 or so.
  • Post #24 - December 7th, 2004, 12:23 pm
    Post #24 - December 7th, 2004, 12:23 pm Post #24 - December 7th, 2004, 12:23 pm
    Nice thread.

    I am of the school that does not like eating out for breakfast much, because the food is so easy to make at home, making the crowd and expense not worth it. My two choices for "mainstream" breakfast are Healthy Foods in Bridgeport for the Buckwheat pancakes, and the Four Seasons brunch buffet, in large part because of the asian section where one can get a traditional Japanese breakfast. But, at $40 a head, or whatever it is, I recognize that is not quite a value outing.

    When I do eat out for breakfast, it is most often ethnic stuff. And I think the point has been made by all quite well that a world of ethnic breakfasts is out there to be found if one can just recognize them. I have had some wonderful Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mexican breakfasts here and there in the city. Any Pho place for Vietnamese (none has really bowled me over in Chicago..); Shui Wah, Mandarin Kitchen (limited but good menu) and Phoenix among many others for Chinese, and lots of different places for Mexican. In Mexico it seems to me there are two breakfasts - early morning sweet bread, maybe fruit, and coffee when one first awakes, followed by a hearty breakfast of stew or such around 10am. Not sure where chilaquiles and huevos fall in this schedule (I suspect they may be Northern Mexican breakfast dishes), or if it varies by region or county versus city, but that is what I have observed here and in Mexico.

    Anyone have more on the variations in Mexican breakfasts?

    GWIV, I need to get to Manny's for the Corned Beef and eggs.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #25 - December 7th, 2004, 12:29 pm
    Post #25 - December 7th, 2004, 12:29 pm Post #25 - December 7th, 2004, 12:29 pm
    Now I am curious.Is there a place that serves a good Polish breakfast,whatever that might be?In the North suburbs or Northside of Chicago.TIA.


    hattyn-nursing a fuzzy head and not a Fuzzy Navel
    Last edited by hattyn on December 8th, 2004, 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #26 - December 7th, 2004, 1:46 pm
    Post #26 - December 7th, 2004, 1:46 pm Post #26 - December 7th, 2004, 1:46 pm
    I have always considered bi bim bop a breakfast food - available at any hole in the wall Korean restaurant. Meets my tests of spicy, filling, reasonably healthy, and (for those feeling traditional about breakfast) includes a fried egg.
    -- fed
  • Post #27 - December 7th, 2004, 2:23 pm
    Post #27 - December 7th, 2004, 2:23 pm Post #27 - December 7th, 2004, 2:23 pm
    I always heard that any proper Korean meal includes at least a clove or two of raw garlic. Now, I do not know what a proper Korean breakfast is, but do you have raw garlic with it?

    Bi Bim Bop does seems a pleasant breakfast choice.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #28 - December 7th, 2004, 2:33 pm
    Post #28 - December 7th, 2004, 2:33 pm Post #28 - December 7th, 2004, 2:33 pm
    Hi Well Fed,

    I like Bibimbop, I can understand why you would consider it a breakfast food. Just for my edification, I did a quick google what a Korean would consider for breakfast. Immediately, I found information by Bruce Kraig, a friend as well as President of Culinary Historians of Chicago, who created a program for PBS called Hidden Korea.

    Hidden Korea wrote:A traditional Korean breakfast, for instance is not a bowl of leftover rice gruel, as in China, but a rich soup made of either beef ribs or pork intestines (tripe).


    When Psychchef and I went for Korean, we didn't get much direction from the waitress. I guess I know a little more for the future.

    I tend not to eat breakfast out unless it is something special, which I consider eating outside of my culture. I also don't always want American traditional breakfast food in the morning. On my own I will likely eat leftovers from the night before. As for waiting in line for breakfast, forget it.

    In Chinatown, the earliest one can get breakfast is maybe 6:45 at one of the bakery/dim sum houses which officially open at 7 AM. Seven Wives does not open until 7:30 AM. The other places ddickson mentions are probably opening much later making them suitable for weekends.

    Last night at 11 PM, I found myself at Seven Treasures for BBQ Pork Congee with a side plate of Chinese Broccoli -- all for $4.95. Congee is a classic Chinese breakfast served simple or with sliced fish, meats (including organ meats) or whatever you desire. You usually dress it at the table with slivered ginger, green onions, sesame oil and soy sauce to taste; which was absent when my bowl came. Well, they were in the soup already, I just wanted more, which they cooperated by bringing it swiftly.

    When I arrived, I was quite tired and hungry. I was dickering with just going home, skipping dinner and going to sleep. Dinner won, though it revived my energy level enough I could not get to sleep until past 1:30 AM. As late closing as Chinese restaurants can be, I just wished there were a few in the early morning. I can only guess there is not a tradition of eating breakfast out, so there is little market.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #29 - December 9th, 2004, 3:45 pm
    Post #29 - December 9th, 2004, 3:45 pm Post #29 - December 9th, 2004, 3:45 pm
    I grew up in Fresno, California, my best friend's family were from Mexico (but I don't know what part) and owned two Mexican restaurants. Her step-dad Kino often made us chorizo and eggs tucked into homemade, small flour tortillas, we would eat them "on the go" in the back seat of his big blue Caddilac. Rust colored oil dripping from the corner of the tortilla. No beans no sour cream no cheese no salsa just eggs and chorizo. On the weekends it was definitely time for menudo. I loved the broth and the big pieces of hominy but struggled with the slipperyness of the tripe, before I even knew what tripe was.

    It seems like here in Chicago, many Mexicans enjoy an on the go breakfast of champurrada and a sweet tamale.

    And to add to the discussion of what other cultures eat, I lived in Australia for a year, they're very much of the British-savory approach to breakfast, basically you take whatever you had for dinner the night before and warm it up and pile it on top of a piece of toast. It was not considered strange to have spaghetti on toast or baked beans on toast. However, my friends thought it was "vile" that we eat sweet things in the morning--they would cringe at images of folks putting doughnuts in their mouths at such an early time and pancakes and waffles are something they eat strictly for dessert. Ditto with things such as scones.

    A french chef put it really well in a cookbook I've been reading, he said, Americans are so funny about breakfast, they think they're being healthy by eating muffins in the morning but muffins are basically little cakes without the icing. You might as well just enjoy a piece of chocolate cake . . . now I know that many folks raised in rural areas (like my mom) wouldn't bat an eye about having a big slice of apple pie for breakfast, throw in a slice of cheddar and there you go.

    hmmmm. very interesting discussion.

    b
  • Post #30 - December 9th, 2004, 4:00 pm
    Post #30 - December 9th, 2004, 4:00 pm Post #30 - December 9th, 2004, 4:00 pm
    bjt wrote:... chorizo and eggs tucked into homemade, small flour tortillas... [r]ust colored oil dripping from the corner of the tortilla...On the weekends it was definitely time for menudo...

    ... a big slice of apple pie for breakfast, throw in a slice of cheddar and there you go...


    Nice post... too bad I already had lunch...
    :)
    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.

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