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Dec 28, 2006 05:45 AM

American breakfast - the meal still stuck in diners?

We have so many more potential options for breakfast. Yet why do I only see a handful of the usual at hotels?

Breakfast resists change. And we adore our diners.

Actually, it is changing, whether we like it or not. Chorizo and salsa paved the way. And there are times when I do fantasize about more breakfast choices at a beautiful poolside setting.

Turkish yogurt, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, cheese, hard-boiled eggs
Ripe juicy salted papaya
Kaya toast
A hot bowl of congee
Blini with sour cream, caviar or smoked fish
Nasi dagang

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  1. MAN, I wish I could go to Paris and get a thick stack of pancakes and a t-bone steak for breakfast.

    Oh wait, I can't.

    American eateries serve American-style breakfast. If you want pho in the morning, go to a Vietnamese restaurant. I loved staying over my Filipina friend's house where we'd eat fried rice with bacon for breakfast, but I know better than to expect it in a typical restaurant.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Covert Ops

      Why can't you have a thick stack of pancakes and a t-bone steak for breakfast in Paris?

      You can't, or you won't?

      1. re: grocerytrekker

        Most cafes/restaurants in Paris do not serve such meals for breakfast--at least not the times I've been there. It's difficult enough to get an iced coffee in Paris and other European cities and a FREE glass of water, constantly refilled, let alone an American breakfast, when I'm overseas.

        I agree with you that diversity can be wonderful, and that's one of the joys of living in NYC. But man, no matter where I am around the world, there has been at least one morning when my husband and I wake up, look at one another, and say, "We would love to have a good old-fashioned 'American' breakfast now."

        1. re: gloriousfood

          You are right about NYC. I loved it when I lived there. I miss it a lot, but I currently like California better. I do try to visit the big city as often as I can.

          I like what Anonimo said about Mexico. "You can also get eggs and bacon or hot cakes with syrup, next to the arrachera or chilaquiles on the menus in tourist-catering restaurants."

          There were enough such restaurants in Paris when I was there. There was one near Pont Marie and Rue de Rivoli, for instance.

          1. re: grocerytrekker

            "I like what Anonimo said about Mexico. "You can also get eggs and bacon or hot cakes with syrup, next to the arrachera or chilaquiles on the menus in tourist-catering restaurants."

            Oh you get those outside the touristy areas as well. Hot Cakes with thinned Cajeta (Goat Milk Caramel), Faux Maple Syrup, Piloncillo Syrup, Mango Puree, Honey, etc., are found in most small non-touristy cities around Mexico.

            1. re: grocerytrekker

              Café Parisien (15 Rue d'Assas just off Jardin du Luxembourg) serves excellent American and English breakfast.

          2. re: grocerytrekker

            To get a thick stack of pancakes in Paris, or a T-Bone steak, one would have to dine in an American restaurant.

            French people do not eat American breakfasts, even though eating cereal and milk is becoming more widespread for children. French people have a cafe au lait and a roll or croissant for breakfast.

            I love French food, and loved living in Paris for 12 years, and love it when I go back there. But I love my American breakfasts when I'm here.

            Nothing better than Corned Beef Hash and Eggs, a stack of Hotcakes and Bacon, or plain Bacon and Eggs with White Toast (butter on the side, if you please).

            It has become fashionable in "foodie" and "hound" circles to diss everything American, including Breakfast, in favor of 3rd world food.

            1. re: Fleur

              Tu a raison - (sorry, vous avez raison.)
              I know that very well. You do have to know where to go. That's why I mentioned the one near Pont Marie and Rue de Rivoli. "American Breakfast", perhaps?

              btw, I think the rigidity is part of the reason French food may not stay on top of the game. My all-time favorite restaurant used to be Taillevent. As for service, I don't think it can ever be beat. However, I'm afraid the time may have come for the French cuisine to bow out slowly, unless it participates in the "competition". I am shocked to hear myself say London has better fine dining places than Paris. And I am an admitted Francophile.

              Asia may become richer than anyone else in the not too distant future. If we are not careful, it's quite possible they'll call US 3rd world. What's happening in Shanghai is frightening. And you'd better not be calling Singapore 3rd world.

              I adore our American diners. I just don't like having the same thing over and over. I like a little variety.

              1. re: grocerytrekker

                "Breakfast in America" diner is on rue Mahler near the Saint-Paul metro, 4eme arrondissement.

                1. re: grocerytrekker

                  I ate at Breakfast in America 2 months before that was written, an dI am here to tell you, you'd have to be gone from the US a long time to find their breakfasts satisfying. Nowhere near what an American would hope for.

        2. Everybody knows that the true breakfast is cold pizza and warm beer.

          Actually, Covert Ops is right. Most places serve the typical "American breakfast" because that is what folks here want. I have no problem getting other things for breakfast, I just go to the appropriate ethnic restaurant.

          1. Because you're in America. If you want Chinese breakfast, go to a Chinese place. I wouldn't trust a place that had bacon and eggs, congee, pho, laksa and Turkish breakfast on the menu -- places that try to be everything end up being nothing.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Not everything all at once, of course!
              I was just listing examples. Theoretically, however much a chef can handle at dinner, he should be able to do the same for breakfast. I don't see why not. It would be an entirely different shift.

              1. re: grocerytrekker

                But I wouldn't expect decent pho or jerk chicken or sushi at a hotel restaurant for dinner either. Even a specialty place in a hotel that serves great dim sum (we have one in Toronto) isn't expected to also serve great vietnamese.
                I have to admit a liking for familiar breakfast, even in Asia I preferred the tourist food for that one meal. Often at home I eat the same breakfast for months/years at a time! I'm willing to try anything but nothing exotic sticks at breakfast. Unless a Jamaican beef pattie counts as exotic!

              2. re: Das Ubergeek

                Ubergeek, about fifteen years ago the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Kowloon had a breakfast buffet with full American breakfast, British breakfast, European breakfast (of the muesli/fruit/yogurt kind), plus two kinds of congee and assorted dim sum. We were actually in town for the food, on a trip led by Martin Yan, but that buffet at 6:30 every morning started the day off right. Papa was paying for it, and he rolled his eyes and whimpered whenever he got the check, but he was right there chowing down with us. And it was all very good. To this day one of our favorite home breakfasts is steamed dumplings with dipping sauce and scrambled eggs.

              3. GT, I agree with you. Wouldn't it be nice to have a place that specialized in breakfast pizza? This past weekend I made fried chicken and waffels for breakfast. (A great combo.) And Pat Conroy's cookbook features shrimp with grits and bacon that has become a weekend staple as well. In Seattle we have a Greek restaurant that serves grilled octopus with crispy pork belly and egg which is quite tasty.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Leper

                  I had breakfast pizza for the first time in San Francisco at Rose's. Amazing.

                2. "That is what folks here want."

                  Well said. I believe it, too. But that's exactly what they used to say about dinners here, and that is my point. Once we created the demand, look at what developed.

                  Positively no, I don't want to drag myself to a dingy restaurant in the morning when I am lounging. That sounds like a compromise to me.

                  I love dingy restaurants, but I have to be in the right mood.

                  As I said, it is a fantasy, but sometimes fantasies do come true.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: grocerytrekker

                    Why do you equate "dingy" (whatever that means) with ethnic?

                    1. re: JMF

                      Name a non-"dingy" good pho or congee place.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          I knew you were going to say that. You have me there. But it's not quite the atmosphere I look for sometimes (you've seen the curse - a wonderful scenic spot at the hotel overlooking the lake, and no decent food). And I've so far found the congee at dim sum places, as a rule, not as satisfying compared to the rest of their offerings. So naturally I was thinking of those little hole-in-the-wall ("dingy", wouldn't you say?) places with far superior food.

                          1. re: grocerytrekker

                            yes i have to agree, the best ethnic food i've had is usually in a dingy place.

                        2. re: grocerytrekker

                          "Name a non-"dingy" good pho or congee place:"

                          Ngon Bistro, St. Paul MN--fantastic pho, bright and sunny and airy and not at all dingy.