In my last blog entry, I spoke of possible tour mvps. One such candidate was that first meal of the day: breakfast. On many days I don’t eat breakfast, which is odd since it’s my favorite meal; in fact, I haven’t once eaten before noon since we finished our tour. Until this morning, that is. I woke up way too early today, after far less sleep than necessary. It wasn’t my intention to do so, but the moon, while beautiful, was just too doggone bright, dagnabit. Anyhow, breakfast ensued, and while nothing to write home about in and of itself, certainly got me thinking about Miss Fairchild’s favorite breakfast joints. We always do a top six around here, since that’s my particular number (do you remember that little tidbit about OLLSS’s tracklisting?)and well, I’m the one writing this blog, so I’ll certainly list six places. In fact, though, this is really a top five with one honorable mention. You’ll see why shortly.
No, not the song, silly! I’m talking about Nicks On Broadway in Providence, Rhode Island. Actually, I’m not sure if there is an apostrophe or not in Nick’s. It would seem that there ought to be, but too much literature, even some hanging on the walls of the restaurant, doesn’t have the apostrophe. Perhaps they are talking about a little cuts rather than someone named Nick. I am fairly certain that the chef/owner is not named Nick, after all. (I think his name is Derek…)
Nicks has always been on Broadway, believe it or not, somehow managing to move a number of months ago without having to change the restaurant name in the process. It used to be on the corner of Broadway and America and for that reason, was not only the best breakfast we knew, but also the nearest. You see, in those days, Miss Fairchild was based on America Street, as two of us lived there. Yep, some of that music that you enjoy with your eggs and dancefloor was created just on the West Side of Providence, across from an elementary school.
As for Nicks, it’s just the best, plain and simple (and sometimes a little complex). They make a fantastic frittata. (Just ask Daddy Wrall, who has finished not a few of them, despite their decided largeness.) They make one of the best huevos rancheros you’ll ever have, even if you are a traditionalist and don’t generally go for the multi-colored grilled tortillas and avocado sour cream. For this, you can ask Samuel P. Nice, who is a traditionalist, but will concede that these huevos are off the charts. I, myself, having had them once, found it near impossible to try anything else for close to a dozen trips hence.
But then came the tuna tartare benedict, the rabbit sausage, the cinnamon coffee cake muffin, the egg sandwich, the special soups, the fresh juice, the excellent espresso. They succeed where many have failed in the hashbrowns, adding sweet potato without venturing into the land of mushy. (People who want to eat breakfast in the land of mushy order oatmeal or cream of wheat.) I could list all of the memorable food, but it would take too long. Trust me, some weekday (weekends are too crowded and the wait is too long), get in your car and drive to Providence early enough to eat a breakfast at Nicks. It doesn’t have to be too early, I don’t think, because they keep the eggs coming until the middle of the day.
It would have to be Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis, right? I’ve already written about this place, but it bears repeating: this place rivals Nicks. I have too special a place in my heart to let any place bump Nicks from this list: the food came a little too quickly for me (I like to think every little thing is prepared to order, you know?) and there is so much more space that Nicks has, but this place is quite special. The homemade peanut butter is a huge selling point, even for someone like me who doesn’t looove the stuff. (Daddy Wrall would have to step in here; he knows his peanut butter.) The point is, it only gets a little better than this, and even that is debatable.
The Bongo Room in Wicker Park in Chicago is a fantastic breakfast and one certainly worthy of a spot on this list. In our many trips to Chicago, we’ve have almost always made it a point to eat at this particular spot, recommended to us first by our friend and yours JedSed of Chicago hip-hop fame. Not only did he show us how to get there and make us order a single pancake to share in addition to our more savory complete meals, he also warned us that the juice sizes are remarkable similar (so don’t bother with a large). At least I think he showed us that; else, I discovered that myself when one of us ordered a small and one a large. You’ll forgive my slipping memory. Point is, the eggs are fantastic, as are the sandwiches (breakfast and otherwise) and the burritos (breakfast only), but definitely don’t go alone and definitely do order that pancake. (We recommend the one with white chocolate if they have it.
We’ll go with Black Eyed Susan’s here. Now, I’m positive that this place does, correctly, use an apostrophe, which really contributes to my being able to sleep well at night. (Except last night, of course.) I have to apologize to the Centre Street Bistro, another great place to get breakfast on Nantucket, and one we’ve often embraced, but Black Eyed’s still takes the cake. Traditionally, I think we all go with the Thai or Portuguese Scramble here. It’s pretty special, too, that you can choose between cheese grits, black eyed peas or potatoes with your meal. The fresh juice is much larger than the Bongo Room, in case you were curious. And no, I don’t believe that Black-Eyed Susans actually have any relationship with Black-Eyed Peas, even these ones.
Relish, in Brooklyn, is another Fairchild favorite. They always have seating and something that we all want. I admit, I usually get something lunch-y here, but everyone else gets breakfast, so you’ll have to forgive me. We’d actually been here a few times before we found out this was filmed there:
The place is right across from a motorcycle shop and always a welcome stroll from wherever we find ourselves in Brooklyn (generally speaking). They also have outdoor seating, a summertime plus.
Six: Honorable Mention, that is
The only reason that Simon’s Coffee Shop only gets honorable mention is that it’s not really a breakfast spot. Yes, they have amazing scones, by the Danish Pastry House (baked at Simon’s every morning). And they have the absolute best coffee we’ve ever tasted. It’s just not a breakfast place in the same way these other places are. We recommend it, though, for breakfast or anytime. We even have a facebook group in tribute, if you’re into that kind of thing.
So there you have it, folks: breakfast, the Fairchild way. You will join us sometime, won’t you?