As a celebration after completing our Washington, DC Death March (10 hours walking, 22.9 miles), we decided that a celebratory brunch was in order the next morning. It’s not particularly easy to score brunch reservations for a large party, but one of our Marchers, Jeff, recommended LIA’s in Chevy Chase. Part of the Chef Geoff group of restaurants, LIA’s is one of the places focusing on “Posh American” cuisine: American classic dishes done up with quality ingredients and with interesting twists. But, most importantly, they were easily able to hand a group of 12 with last minute reservations, so we found ourselves traveling up to Chevy Chase for brunch.
For our DC “Death March”, we ended up walking around 23 miles through the DC area, basically walking from Takoma Park, MD to Arlington, VA, via, well, almost all of the tourist sites. A walk like that requires a good, hearty breakfast, so we decided to convene our walk just a block outside of DC at Mark’s Kitchen in Takoma Park. Walking in, Mark’s looks like your standard American “breakfast restaurant”, and indeed, the menu has all of your standard American breakfast fare: omelets, pancakes, French toast, and the like. But if you dig a bit further into the menu, you notice a lot of items that aren’t on your usual breakfast menu. Ginger scrambled eggs. Seaweed omelets. Kimchi omelets. Bibimbab scrambles. Smoked salmon pancakes. In fact, a single trip back past the kitchen as you wind up the (distinctly not accessible) stairs to the restroom, the rice cookers, jumbo bottles of sesame oil, and various Asian greens being prepped in the kitchen tell you a nice little secret: Mark’s Kitchen is also a Korean place.
While most mornings in Hawaii we either ate breakfast in our condo, or picked up something on the fly, we did decide one morning to go out and get a full, righteous breakfast. Both of us were craving pancakes, and after reviewing the various options of the North Shore, ended up driving down to Kailua to check out one of the local favorites, Moke’s Bread and Breakfast.
So, one of my former coworkers invited me to his wedding in Waikiki, and we decided it would be a good opportunity to go explore Oahu and its sights and cuisine. However, that means getting there from NH. There aren’t a lot of great ways to do that, with most every option involving either a long layover, multiple hops, or red-eye flights. Or a combination of these. Between that, and an actual snowstorm in Seattle (requiring us to wait almost an hour for what is apparently just the one deicing truck at SEA), we pulled into HNL at almost midnight. Luckily, we had known that our flight would be getting in relatively late, so that we decided that the easiest way to handle things would be to get a hotel room near the airport. However, the area around the airport is not exactly a culinary hotbed of activity (and, quite frankly, most anything else, unless you have access to the nearby military bases). And that entire area seems to be filled with former restaurants all boarded up. But amongst the few options available, we did find one gem of a place: Joe’s Grill Express.
A few weeks ago, we wanted to take advantage of the fresh snowfall and go cross country skiing at Windblown Cross Country in New Ipswich, NH. We figured it would also be a good opportunity to finally try one place on our hit list, Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason, NH. There was just one problem…. Parker’s hasn’t opened for the 2014 season yet, so we had to find someplace else in that area for a good breakfast. That’s where My Sister’s Kitchen in Milford comes in.
About five years ago, I was exploring the area around MIT before one of my many meetings, and while ducking down Brookline Street, passed by an unassuming little storefront on the side of a fairly industiral-looking building. But looking inside, it was a little diner, absolutely filled with students having breakfast. It looked interesting enough that I vowed to come back and try it sometime. There was just one one little detail. Brookline Lunch isn’t open on Tuesdays. And, somehow, that seems to be when the majority of my visits to MIT are. So for about two years, Brookline Lunch has been on my hit list, but it wasn’t until I had a visit to MIT on a recent very cold Monday morning that I finally had a chance to check them out.
Well, it was just a few weeks ago that I did my review of Worthy Kitchen, but already I’ve got a good reason to do a re-review. In short, Worthy Kitchen does brunch on weekends, and I thought a quick re-review was in order. Last weekend, Carol and I were feeling a bit too lazy to make breakfast, and wanted to head over in the vague direction of Norwich, and we decided that a minor detour to check out Worthy Kitchen’s brunch menu was in order. On weekends, they open at 10am, and in addition to their normal bar, they also serve up Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and all sorts of other breakfast cocktails, and have a pretty decent brunch menu ranging from the basics (eggs), to the inventive (house-made hash), to the lunch-end of the spectrum (they still offer up their fried chicken, although with a biscuit and cream gravy).
As I mentioned in the previous review, we’re always doing the drive between Grantham and Manchester, or from Grantham to Boston, so we’re always looking for new places to eat. Another place that recently showed up on my radar was the School House Cafe in Warner. The School House Cafe has been around since August of 2011, when two former waitresses from The Foothills (Warner’s other major breakfast spot) converted the old school house on Route 103 in the Davisville Village part of Warner (Exit 7, for you NH folks) into a catering kitchen, and they converted the rest of the space into a small restaurant that’s open for breakfast and lunch. The result is a menu of “down home” cooking, focusing on omelets, pancakes (big, honking thick plate-size pancakes, like the Foothills), and breakfast combos.
Seeing that we live, well, in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire, we’re always driving South for the day, either to the Manchester area, or to Boston. Often, we’re stopping for breakfast, and we do have some regular favorites, like the Foothills in Warner (which, wow, still haven’t reviewed them…), or the Red Arrow. But after a while we do tire of the same places all the time, so I’m always keeping my eye open for new places along the I-89/I-293/I-93 drive. One place that recently landed on our radar was the Purple Finch Cafe in Hooksett, since the Hippo listed them in a recent article on the Top 25 Local Breakfast Restaurants. so on our way to Boston two weekends ago, we decided to stop and try them out.
Back in April, Seven Days, the alternative paper for the Burlington area, ran an interesting piece about the extensive Handy Family and the positive effect this group of Lebanese immigrants has had on Vermont (see Handyland). One of the places featured prominently in the article is one of Burlington’s older and more iconic breakfast establishments, Handy’s Lunch, which has been on my hit list for rather a long time as a breakfast joint (quite frankly, I don’t often have the opportunity to have breakfast in Burlington that often, I’m mostly a dinner diner in that city). But my recent trip up to the Canadian border had me spending the night in Burlington, so I got to finally check the place out. Located in a modest little building on the corner of Maple and South Champlain in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood near the waterfront. Walking in the door, it’s like walking into another era. Specifically, 1958, since that’s when Handy’s installed their current dining area, with a horseshoe shaped Formica counter.