Breakfast Sandwich 101

Once, many eons ago, when tweets and clouds were still part of nature, when “kindle” meant to build a fire and men knew not of their brethren’s minute-by-minute status, there was the Egg McMuffin. The prototypical breakfast sandwich, the one that started it all.

French toast bacon breakfast sandwich

In reality, there have probably been breakfast sandwiches for as long as there has been two slices of bread and an egg to put between them. More

A Maui Morning Breakfast

On family trips to Maui as a kid, one of the things I always looked the most forward to was macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup. Now I visit the islands with my own kids, and one of the things they look most forward to is my King’s Hawaiian Bread french toast with coconut syrup and Portuguese sausage (another staple of the Hawaiian diet). Served with a big cup on Kona or Kauai coffee and a pile of fresh tropical fruit, there’s no better way to start the day.

King’s Hawaiian Bread French toast with macadamia nuts, coconut syrup and Portuguese sausage

There is a certain let down to eating Hawaiian food on the Mainland. My famous Ono island ribs, for example, just don’t taste quite the same without the plumeria-scented trade winds, crashing waves and gently shh-shing palm trees. More

Chilaquiles

I’ve never been one for pancakes and omelets. I’m a fan of cultural breakfasts. I remember eating a traditional Japanese breakfast at a hotel overlooking a zen garden in Tokyo. And then the next day, eating sashimi with beer for breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market. (When in Tokyo…) In Athens I dispatched of great heaping piles of yogurt with honey, while in Alaska I’d relish smoked salmon on Russian rye toast. But the exotic breakfast that makes the most appearances at our own house has to be chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles Casa Colgin

While not as well known a breakfast dish in Mexico as, say, huevos rancheros or chocolate con leche y pan, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying dish on a Saturday morning — especially when you introduce a couple of farm fresh fried eggs on top! If you happen to be a bit hungover, as I often am on a weekend morning, it’s said that the dish is a recognized cure — “recognized” by whom, I’m not sure. But the spicy kick and the supple greasy undernote of pork chorizo will do you a world of good. More

The Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever. Plus, Tacos de Papa!

Breakfast potatoes — hash browns, if you prefer — have forever been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve always been able to make passable potatoes, better if I added a bit of duck fat or lard. But that was kind of cheating. And they were still never as good as those little oblong potato pucks at McDonalds.

But try enough different things and every once in a while you stumble on something really good by accident. That’s how I came to discover the best breakfast potatoes ever. (Note: If you have leftover potatoes, this preparation also works beautifully for the traditional tacos de papa — potato tacos — of Mexico City. I’ve included a recipe for these below the potato recipe.) More

Sonoma Market Breakfast

One sparkling winter Sunday morning in Sonoma County, as mist rose from frozen fields through the bare leaves of apple trees, with my wife and kids, my mom and the Wine Guerrilla and miscellaneous sisters, we went to a favorite spot for breakfast. Willow Wood Market Café in the tiny one-horse town of Graton. If you’re ever hungry and meandering along the Gravenstein Highway north of Sebastopol some morning, I suggest you hang a left on Graton Road and do the same.

Unraveling scarves and jackets as we settled around a large table, the comforting scent of sausage and coffee filled the sunlit room. Browsing the menu, my eyes gravitated toward the usual suspects: steak and eggs, smoked salmon, french toast and sausage. And then I spotted an interesting choice: the “market plate breakfast”. Warm polenta, a farm fresh egg, spinach cooked with coppa, roasted tomatoes and camboloza toast. It was a surprisingly harmonious symphony of morning flavors — even the things you wouldn’t expect on a breakfast menu like spinach and blue cheese.

Your kids might screw their noses up at this breakfast, as mine did. That’s just fine… give them Eggos, and save this gem for the grown ups. Did I mention it’s the perfect brunch, particularly when served to friends with a good, spicy Bloody Mary? Cheers.

*   *   *

Sonoma Market Breakfast
Note: for my version, I like two eggs per and use pancetta instead of coppa

for each breakfast:

2 eggs
1/4 cup dried fine polenta
1/2 cup spinach
1 slice pancetta
5 or 6 heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 slice crusty bread
1 slice (or 1 tbsp crumbled) blue cheese such as cambozola or gorgonzola
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Cook the polenta first: use 2x the water of the dried polenta you are cooking. Heat the water to a boil and add polenta, lowering heat to medium-low. Cook polenta, stirring every few minutes and adding water as it cooks away, for 20 minutes until thick. Cover and set aside.

While the polenta is cooking, roast the tomatoes. Make a little pan out of foil, add the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the spinach, cut each slice of pancetta into a few pieces, and saute until rendered and crisp in a tbsp or so of olive oil. Add spinach and cook briefly until wilted. Toast your bread slices and top with a little blue cheese while still hot.

Lastly, cook your eggs. They served poached eggs at Willow Wood, I like to fry them in a pan with a single flip. To compose your Market Breakfast, place some polenta on a plate with the tomatoes and cooking oil drizzled over the polenta. Put the spinach and pancetta next to the polenta, and the eggs next to that. Put a slice of toast on each plate, sprinkle some good sea salt and pepper over the top, and serve.

Next Newer Entries