Way back in 2002 (years before this blog), a friend of mine from grad school went to Montreal, and recommended one particular place on Le Plateau for breakfast: L’Avenue. It’s a really funky place on Ave Du Mont-Royal Est, and several online resources and word of mouth have mentioned that it’s one of the best brunch places in Montreal. Well, our first visit to L’Avenue confirmed two things: they had a seriously good brunch, and that the word had gotten out, since the place had legendarily long lines (over an hour long on a Saturday morning). The long lines have led to us only returning once in the last few years, but my many visits to Montreal the last few years taught me another lesson: Les Quebecois tend not to be early risers. And noting that L’Avenue opens at 8am, we decided that when we were in town for Mondial, we’d simply rise early and head over to L’Avenue around opening time.
Prior to starting our 21.7 mile march through the various neighborhoods of Boston, we needed a place to have a breakfast, meet up with other hikers, and get a good start to the day. Luckily, only about 100 feet away from the Savin Hill T station is McKenna’s Cafe. A cozy little cafe (note to others: we showed up at 7am to a near-empty cafe, but those showing up later on a Saturday, I’d expect a wait, the place is pretty small), it fits well into the neighborhood. Savin Hill is a surprisingly quiet and mellow corner of Dorchester (and, indeed, even several of my Boston friends mentioned that it was one of those T stops they’ve never gotten off at), and this is the exact sort of cafe you expect in a neighborhood like this. Walk in, get greeted by the staff, and quickly get seated with some coffee to peruse the menu.
Back in February, we came to Kismet to check out a pop-up restaurant they host on Wednesday nights (you can read my review of Himitsu Sushi here). In addition to introducing us to the rather good sushi of Himitsu’s traveling restaurant, this gave us a decent introduction to Kismet as well. While waiting for our Himitsu sushi, we looked over the Kismet menu, and decided to come back and check them out sometime. Well, this Friday we were headed up to Burlington for an extended weekend, and it had us passing through Montpelier during the “late breakfast” period of the day. While we almost ended up going to our standard Montpelier breakfast destination, Coffee Corner, we decided that going over to Kismet and checking out their brunch menu would be a good idea.
This Christmas, we decided to visit Carol’s extended family in the Detroit area again, which meant for a long drive through Vermont (picturesque as Vermont is, it’s a terribly slow state to cross East-West. I’d be in favor of building an interstate crossing it), New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. To cross Vermont, we decided to cross along the southern part of the state at Highway 9, going through Bennington, for another try at The Blue Benn Diner.
You see, the Blue Benn has been on our hit list for, well, over a decade. It’s not that we’ve never tried to come her before, it has just never worked out. At least once we arrived just after they stopped serving. Another time, a kitchen fire had caused them to be closed. And yet another time, a power outage had them closed… and at that. this visit was a close call on that front, since several power lines were down in the area and detoured us around in our efforts to get there.
But this time we finally made it. Pulling into the Blue Benn around 12:30, we got there in time for a late breakfast with only a short wait in line in the cramped vestibule. Moving inside the restaurant, it’s a cozy diner (I originally thought it was a Worcester diner, but more careful research indicates it’s actually a Silk City diner) with the classic long counters and two sets of booths. Settling into a booth near the end of the diner, we selected our items and enjoyed our coffee while waiting and listening to the crowd, a nice mix of tourists and locals.
On December 9th, we traveled up to Burlington, VT to celebrate my birthday. En route, we took a short detour to Plainfield, VT, to check out Maple Valley Cafe, which had been strongly recommended by one of Carol’s coworkers.
Located on Route 2 just east of downtown Plainfield, Maple Valley is a slightly quirky place. It’s a café, take-out place and gift shop, all under one roof. But the back of the gift shop holds a surprisingly large dining area, and they’ve got a rather extensive menu of omelets, pancakes, fruit smoothies, and other breakfast treats.
Last weekend, we decided to spend a day down in SE New Hampshire, and this gave us a good opportunity to check out someplace new for breakfast. After a little bit of research, I decided to try a relative newcomer to the generally sparse Concord breakfast scene, The Newell Post, on Fisherville Road in north Concord (almost in Penacook). The Newell Post opened in April of 2012, and their goal is operating a “small, warm, and welcoming restaurant”, offering breakfast and lunch.
Settling in to a nice cozy booth, the waitstaff was very friendly and outgoing, telling us that their main chef was from the Carolinas, and that he was able to whip up good crab cakes and a good Hollandaise sauce. With those recommendations in hand (although I was mightily tempted by the corned beef hash omelet as well), our breakfast order was simple: I ordered the Eggs Benedict, while Carol went for the Crab Cake…
A week after getting back from Iceland, we found ourselves in a mood for Brunch. There aren’t really a lot of brunch options in the Upper Valley (although some of the inns, in particular, have decent ones). But looking over options, we realized that we had yet to try out Market Table in Hanover. Market Table is the relatively recent (if I recall correctly, they opened in May 2011) offshoot of the successful Allechante bakery in Norwich. Nestled in the building on the corner of Main and Lebanon (which I’ve already heard referred to as “The Starbucks building”, that didn’t take long), it’s in the basement space that used to be India Queen. It’s been heavily renovated, including the addition of a nice outdoor terrace, and a nice indoor seating area (as well as a takeout counter nearly identical to its cousin over in Norwich).
We took the red eye to Keyflavik (it’s hard not to, actually), which had us arriving all bleary-eyed at a time which was either 3:30 or 7:30, depending on which clock you are looking at. Attempting to get on local time, we wandering into downtown Reykjavik to find some coffee and breakfast, looking for a nice, solid breakfast to get us going.
We ended up finding a couple of good options (Prikið, in particular, looks like a place I need to check out on another visit), but we ended up finding exactly what we needed at the Grái Kötturinn (Gray Cat) in a basement just off of the harbor area…
We started day 2 of this year’s Burlington visit with a trip to Penny Cluse Cafe for breakfast. Looking over my notes, I was shocked that I haven’t written up Penny Cluse yet; I’ve been coming here pretty routinely since sometime in 2006, and have flickr photos of a half dozen breakfasts we’ve had here. So it’s not because of a lack of experience, or a lack of photos. I don’t know, sometimes these places just find a way to fall through the cracks. But this time I’ll address it.
Penny Cluse (named after the owner’s late beloved dog Penny, if you were wondering about the name) is on the relatively short list of places that seem to be go-to spots for the Burlington crowd. The regular places seem to be Sneakers (which I have reviewed), Magnolia Bistro (which I have yet to try), and Penny Cluse. Located at the corner of Cherry St and Winooski Ave, it’s just around the corner from Church Street, so getting in here for breakfast on a Saturday can be a bit of a wait. An hour, in our case, until I managed to sweet-talk the hostess into letting us squeeze in at the counter (we did, after all, have another beer festival to get to!).
For the first part of this trip to San Antonio, we were staying at the JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country. While it’s a rather nice resort (and indeed, has a really good water park and some nice bars), I didn’t find any of the breakfast options there appealing. Since the general area is well known for Tex Mex food, we ended up looking for a good Tex Mex breakfast place in Northeast San Antonio (since the JW Marriott resorts is rather far outside of downtown). We ended up finding one place that had a lot of good reviews: Grumpy’s Mexican Cafe on Farm-to-Market Road 2252.