Sunday, July 22, 2007

Big Al's Top Five Breakfasts

Occasionally, someone asks me where to eat breakfast in town. Not everyone knows that this blog exists, so they don't all know to just look here for my recommendations. Besides, there are so many reviews here, how can you tell at a glance what the best five restaurants are? OK, here they are: my personal top five places to eat breakfast in the Twin Cities.
  1. Barbette. It's always good, and I almost always get the Eggs Florentine. It comes with some fresh field greens, so you don't even have to feel bloated after breakfast. The atmosphere is comfortable, and we've been there often enough that we get slight nods of recognition from the wait staff.
  2. Town Talk. How can you argue with a restaurant that's only two miles from home, and has steak and eggs so good they make you want to cry? How can you fight the charms of the owners who want you to have a good time and the bartenders who will mix you a special drink? Maybe you can, but I can't.
  3. Maria's Cafe. She's the only one who makes that corn pancake, and the corn pancake is the only breakfast in town I literally crave if I haven't had one in a while. I can't write any more details, because it's been weeks, and I hate trying to wipe drool off of my keyboard.
  4. Day By Day Cafe. For traditional breakfast, it can't really be beat. Hash browns are unreliable, but you can't have everything, can you?
  5. A Baker's Wife. It's an upset, because it's just a bakery with no eggs, but there are certainly days when I just have pastry and coffee for breakfast, and on such days, I'm lucky if they come from A Baker's Wife.
Now, what about the rest of you? What are your top-five breakfasts in the Cities?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You Snooze - You Win!

We here at Twin Cities Breakfast Club interrupt this blog with some good news and some bad news. The good news first, of course, because we are such fans of good things early in the morning. Beau and Rachael are getting hitched! I mean, it's not really a surprise, since they've been engaged for-freaking-ever, and they've been meant for each other since day one, but it's good news nonetheless. Now for the bad news. Right after the wedding (like within days), Beau is up and moving to Denver, CO. Even this news has some good to it. He's going to graduate school to study what he wants to do, and it will probably lead to a happy and successful career for him involving very few refrigerated baked goods.

Anyway, along with this good/bad news comes a necessary split in the Breakfast Club. Beau will continue to eat breakfast, so he will continue to be a member, but his breakfasts will take place in Denver, while ours here at Breakfast Club East will continue to occur in these Twin Cities. Rachael will belong to both clubs, because she will be staying here and visiting there. We expect many great posts from Rachael as a result.

And now, for our first Denver review. This breakfast was attended by Jimmy, Beau and me. We were looking for apartments for Beau. Yes, we found one. Yes, it has hardwood floors. And, yes, a gas stove. Not to mention plenty of room for a certain lawfully wedded wife to visit.

Snooze (an A.M. Eatery)
2262 Larimer
Denver, CO
303.297.0700

The menu at Snooze reads like a trip through Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory. There's vanilla almond oatmeal brulee and pineapple upside down pancakes and snicker's pancakes and molten chocolate French toast. I prefer my breakfast savory, so, for me, anyway, all of the sweets turned the menu into a mine field, forcing me to dodge and weave as I tried to find something suitably substantial that wouldn't beat me over the head with its sweetness. I finally settled on the Huevos Rancheros, but not before lingering a bit over the possibility of steak and eggs benedict. Clearly this is not a low-fat A.M. eatery. I might have taken the plunge and ordered steak and eggs benedict, if only it came with just two eggs. No, man. Three eggs were standard throughout the menu. Apparently, Denverians must exercise their asses off, because they all look slender and athletic, and there's no way to be slender and eat three eggs, steak and hollandaise sauce, unless you're also running up mountains every day.

Jimmy, who was on vacation from his weight training diet, did order the steak and eggs. He loved it. He said that it was one of the best steaks he'd ever had at a restaurant for breakfast. I had to hide my jealousy behind my Tres Huevos. Actually, with three eggs, black beans, and corn tortillas in front of me, I wasn't really hungry for steak anyway, not even really good steak smothered in hollandaise sauce.

Beau had the breakfast burrito. He said that he wanted to report back to Fern how breakfast burritos in Denver stacked up against her beloved Minneapolis treat. It was a successful experiment. The burrito was crammed full of goodness including black beans, cheddar and jack cheese and real chorizo. He declared the burrito delicious. Both he and I agreed that our spicier breakfast options were served with a bit more fire than Minneapolis restaurants would dare serve to Minnesota customers with their delicate Scandinavian palates. Judy wasn't there, but she would have declared both meals "too spicy". Beau and I were happy, though, even if I did wish I had some delicious steak.

The atmosphere at Snooze was also enjoyable. It was retro and hip at the same time. We sat in a round booth, which felt a little bit Jetsons and a little bit Tilt-a-Whirl. The waiters and waitresses wore Snooze t-shirts over their perfect bodies, and they smiled with that outdoorsy charm of the young in Denver. I just hope we didn't spoil Beau for all other breakfasts in town. It's no good to have your first breakfast fulfill your entire breakfast quest in a new town. What will you do on a Saturday morning if not seek out the perfect meal? Eat it comfortably at Snooze week after week?