Monday, November 17, 2014

A carb-heavy breakfast during a board game convention ... In July

Breakfasts in Quebec in July!

Café Mason, San Francisco

Cafe Mason is one of the fun and funky diners that dot San Francisco. It has a full menu, is spacious inside, and has booths that look out onto the street.

I was trying to be good, and I ordered a frittata. However, they were out. I played that up. "I came all the way from Florida and you're out of frittatas?"

The waitress recommended the corned beef hash. "I'm a vegetarian, and I like the hash," she said.

So I had corned beef hash, poached eggs, home fries sourdough toast, and fresh fruit. The fruit was because I'm being healthy, right? 


It was delicious. The home fries were so good I didn't  need hot sauce or ketchup. And the hash was melt in your mouth good.

The price was higher than South Florida, but it's San Francisco. And it is well worth it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Random photos of breakfasts from past months...

You may have noticed we've been missing in action. We have still been eating breakfast occasionally, but not with quite the concerted effort we were before. Here are a few photos of breakfasts in Maine and Florida over the past few months.

Holy Donut, Portland Maine. These donuts are made with potato flour. Seriously good.

Hot Suppa in Portland Maine. Hipster, always crowded, but DAMNED good food.

Chocolate chip pancakes at home!

The sign says it all! A classic and a favorite of ours.

Cheese biscuits made at home! My son's other favorite.

Ooops, another photo from Hot Suppa above.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dune Deck's Mimosa Cafe, Boynton Beach, May 3, 2014

We love the Dune Deck. We've reviewed it twice before: February 9, 2014 and September 28, 2013. Dune Deck was a favorite breakfast spot long before we started this blog. Amazing view of the ocean and some pretty fine food.

Well, Dune Deck has expanded inland. With the naming, I suspect Dune Deck was hoping to capitalize on its well-earned reputation... and it worked! When my friend Susan suggested this place, which has been open a year unbeknownst to me, I jumped at the chance to go.

The view is of a parking lot -- pretty as parking lots go, but still a shopping center parking lot. The food is great though. And the service was efficient and friendly. Hi Ashley!

The name Mimosa got Susan and I thinking about that lovely morning drink... but we decided to forego this time around since we both had other plans later in the day and didn't want to end up napping.

The menu is different than the beachside Dune Deck, plus there's a bakery and deli along one side. The inside of the restaurant is much bigger than you'd expect from the parking lot, and is very tastefully decorated, which is good with no ocean view to appreciate.

A portion of the menu:

I took this photo because HELLO, here is a restaurant that thinks Florentine Benedict means Eggs Benedict with spinach along with the ham, not in place of the ham. I agree. (you may remember that I was not happy at Beachside in Melbourne which didn't put ham on its Florentine Benedict.)

You can also read the description of what my friend Susan ordered, the Tropical French Toast.

The plates were beautiful. Lots of garnish, but mostly edible. Wish they'd told me about the sliced tomatoes, because I would've told them to save them for someone who'd appreciate them. The Florentine Benedict was fabulous. Loved the sauce, the eggs were perfect, the english muffin was good (and I was able to cut it easily, take note, E.R. Bradley's), the ham was a perfect complement. The potatoes... were a little large for me. I like some crispiness and these were too big to get much crispy. But they were good.

Look how gorgeous this is:

Now with syrup: 

Despite all that sugar and syrup, Susan said it wasn't too sweet. I tried a bite myself, and she was right. The bread was quite light, and there was a lovely hint of cinnamon. Susan had to take home a third of it as leftovers.

And here's an idea of their specials and lunch options:

Dune Deck's Mimosa Cafe
10833 South Jog Road STE 200
Boynton Beach, Florida 32437
Telephone:  (561) 742-8005

Harry & the Natives, Hobe Sound, April 26, 2014

Love this place. I thought for sure this was going to be an old-Florida place of my friend Pam's childhood, with more focus on kitsch than food. Yes, it had abundant quantity of kitsch as expected, as well as fabulous food. For a place that's been around 73 years, that's quite an achievement.

Let me be clear: This place was totally worth the 45 minute drive for me. I highly recommend it.

While you wait for your food, or for your friend Pam who's running late, Harry's provides tons of punny and humorous signs to keep you giggling and groaning. Here are two near the door, with dozens more inside on the large covered patio where we ate.

We will start the review with the most boring meal: my daughter ordered one pancake with a side of bacon. She'd eaten most of the bacon before I got a photo of her plate. She  rarely orders pancakes, but she wasn't feeling it for anything else on the menu. She went with what she knew, and said, she was pleasantly surprised. She liked it! She said she was fueled up for a morning of tennis.

I ordered two things, one being a standby test for me: biscuits and gravy. Let me tell you, this was possibly the best biscuits and gravy I've had in South Florida since we started this blog adventure. The gravy was peppery, but not overly so. It was not dull. It was thick, but not cloying. It was delicious. And the biscuits underneath were heavenly. Honestly I'd go back just for this.

Look how thick that gravy is. Barely moved off the biscuits. Mmmm Mmmm.

But I actually liked the quiche even more. This quiche was AWESOME. It was a square slice, so clearly they make it casserole style and not pie style. It was a freakin' work of art. And delicious. This was spinach and bacon quiche. Again, the biscuits were fabulous.

Check out that cool stratification of layers. The egg layer was light and terrific, the bacon was not overwhelming. The spinach made me think maybe I wasn't quite clogging my arteries nearly as fast. The crust was flaky.

Kevin was the bravest of the group and ordered Gator Hash with poached eggs. He loved it. The waiter warned him that gator meat is lean and could be dry, so he should break up the eggs over the hash. Kevin did this and said it was good. I'll have to dig some more details out of him soon and add that here.

Kevin added: "He was correct that the strategy of breaking the two poached eggs into the hash was the correct strategy to add a moist binding agent. However, two poached eggs were not sufficient to cover the generous portion of hash. I recommend adding a third egg to get the right mix of gator & egg. I also like that the time from order to meals delivered hot to the table was pretty fast although that time observation may have been colored by the good breakfast company."

Pam finally arrived, and ordered something special not on the menu, and the waiter didn't bat an eye. She had her usual eggs over medium with english muffin and grape jelly. Her food choices are crazy, but she has recommended two of my favorite new South Florida breakfast eateries, this place and Nicks in West Palm Beach. So I will keep her!

Google review gives Harry & the Natives three $ for cost. Maybe that's for dinner.... because breakfast for four was about $35. No, not as cheap as Burger King, but a hell of a lot better value!

Go, you won't be sorry!

11910 SE Federal Hwy
Hobe Sound, FL 33455
(772) 546-3061

E.R. Bradley's, West Palm Beach, April 19, 2014

This isn't a full review because we were really at E.R. Bradley's for a wedding. It was suppose to be on the beach at dawn with brunch at Bradley's after, but a thunderstorm at 6 a.m. had the two brides scrambling, and the wedding ended up AT Bradley's.

Despite this big event, it was still an everyone-order-their-own-thing meal, so I guess this still counts as a review after all.

We stopped going to Bradley's a few years ago because though the location is fabulous -- at the end of Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, with a huge covered porch overlooking the intracoastal and the island of Palm Beach -- the food is mediocre at best. But for our friends' big day, we were happy to give Bradley's a try again.

Before I get too far, let me say the waiter did well despite the busy, seat-changing, guest-mingling event, and he was charming. The music over the sound system was terrific. Don't know if it was their own selection or a satellite station, but definitely good tunes set a good mood for a fun Saturday morning. And of course, Bradley's view is the best in downtown West Palm Beach.

So if you work at Bradley's or love it for some reason, you can stop reading now.

For those who wan to really know: the food is still meh.

Daughter's chocolate chip waffle was a big thick waffle with too many chocolate chips just piled on top. Yes, my kid said there were TOO MANY chocolate chips. She thought it was a rather lazy way of doing a chocolate chip waffle. She ate about half.

Note again, that this was a wedding reception and there were toasts and speeches and new people to talk to and we kinda forgot about photos until pretty far into the meal. 

Here's what's left of my Eggs Benedict. It was good, well except for two major flaws.  The biscuit was toasted so hard that it took effort to cut. And also, deli thin-sliced ham is not appropriate on Eggs Benedict. When you have to look to see if they remembered the ham, it's a disappointing meal. The home fries were dull. 

We had a vegan at our table, who, like us, was there for our mutual friends, and concerned about a good meal second. She had quite a struggle with the waiter finding something, anything that the Bradley's kitchen could put together for her. They finally decided on oatmeal and blueberries. She said it was good... except that it was about four meals worth of food. This photo is after she'd been eating for awhile. She took more than 2/3s home with her.

Ou other table mate went with an omelette. She liked it and the potatoes, so not everyone was disappointed.

My husband had creamed chipped beef, which many folks know by another name whose initials are S.O.S. He and I vaguely recalled that he'd liked this before off the Sunday buffet. But when my husband leaves this much food on his plate, he clearly didn't like it. Looking back, maybe his good memory of the S.O.S. was relative to other food offered at an Easter Sunday buffet years ago.

Hey, the important thing is our friends had a lovely wedding. Bradley's was accommodating for allowing the ceremony at the last minute (which was a smart move on their part since there were 45 breakfast customers involved). So if you have to plan a back-up place for an outdoor wedding in weather-crazy Florida, I do recommend Bradley's.

We will remember the day fondly. Here's Sean and our daughter:

E. R. Bradley's
104 Clematis St 
West Palm FL 33401 
561 833-3520

Nana's, West Palm Beach, April 12, 2014

Sean and I went to Nana's on a nice slow Saturday morning. This was the location of a former Denny's that I remember eating breakfast after midnight after dancing late at a bar called Country Nights ... about 20 years ago. The new owners clearly gutted it and started fresh; you probably wouldn't know it was a Denny's if you didn't have that memory.

We were attracted by the name, because Sean's mom is called Nana by her grandkids. But this Nana's diner is named after the owner's daughter!

Well-dressed waiters -- in fact, probably too well dressed for breakfast. It was a little disconcerting. 

Big menu, lots of options. Here's a small part of the menu:

Here's my artsy shot of the classic diner table landscape:

Ok, enough artsy, how was the food? Well, it was fine. It wasn't awful... even though at first glance I slightly appalled at the vision of slices of American cheese on my omelet. I special requested cheese in my spinach omelet, and I am guessing they forgot and threw the cheese on at the end? It tasted fine. The biscuit was good... I think.

The thing is we we got distracted and haven't written up our review for three weeks.... and well, we really can't remember much about the meal. It was fine. Not memorable. The location is convenient, restaurant is large and clean and well lit, the wait staff was courteous and helpful. The food ... was there. 

Sean took a picture of his meal, which he will have to upload. I can't even remember what he had.

Best part of the meal was by far the smoothie. We had something something with blueberries. It was delish. And fun to share.

Go. You won't be sorry. But no need to go out of your way.

1230 N Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
(561) 640-2922