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Mar 2, 2009 06:44 AM

Non-sweet, non-baked breakfasts, NELA/Pasadena?

My partner-in-crime and I like SAVORY breakfasts: omelettes, scrambles, bacon and eggs. We are also sticklers for high-quality ingredients - thick-sliced bacon, choices of cheese other than that standard-issue orange stuff, etc. We don't care for sweet first thing in the morning, so we don't do bakeries, waffles, and so forth.

Given those parameters, we found ourselves struggling to come up with a decent place for breakfast yesterday in the Northeast LA/Pasadena/South Pas region. We ended up at Whole Foods, which was surprisingly good, but would like some other options.

Here's where we've been recently, in order from good to bad:

My Taco - we both love the chorizo and eggs. Would have gone here if we hadn't just been there for dinner the night before.

Coffee Table, Eagle Rock - I loved the three-meat omelette. Partner-in-crime (a bacon and eggs man) hated everything about the place.

Auntie Em's - food was decent, but portions small. Too much emphasis on baked goods - if, like me, you choose your carbs judiciously, not enough left to eat after skipping the bread which most of their breakfasts are built upon.

Mike and Ann's - very little bacon in the bacon and cheese omelette. Food and service were good, but where's the bacon? I expect more for my money.

Heirloom - again, emphasis is on the sweet and the baked. Partner said bacon and eggs wasn't very good. The omelettes I've had there have been OK. I want to love this place - nice people and a nice space - but I don't think I'm their target market, as I prefer protein to cupcakes.

Wild Thyme - mediocre-at-best scrambles.

Shakers - that ubiquitous orange cheese with the Velveeta texture. Can't do it.

Gus's - hands down, worst breakfast in recent memory. I posted about this a couple weeks ago. Granted, it was opening day for breakfast, but *still* - first impressions should be good.

For the record, our gold standard for breakfast was long the late, lamented Pines Cafe out in Pearblossom. More local options we've enjoyed have been Nickel Diner and Blue Star.

We'd like to expand our options, and are also willing to travel toward Altadena or East Pasadena. I'd love to hear suggestions from the Hounds as to where to get good, savory breakfasts. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Somebody just did a report on chicken fried steak in Vernon, do a search or scroll down a week or so. It looked good and I am gonna giive it a try.

    2 Replies
      1. re: Vaya Con Carne

        Go check it out and report back.........LOL

    1. I've gone to Larkin's for brunch twice in the past month - the biscuits and gravy are incredible, salmon cakes are also very good. My SO really liked their grits. We haven't tried their eggs, so I can't give you an opinion on those, but based on everything else I've had, I imagine they're quite good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: patz

        Thanks for the suggestion. I'd completely forgotten about Larkin's because of the long, long waits. But now that I'm an earlier riser, it might be worth a return visit - the aforementioned partner-in-crime would definitely be interested in good B&G!

        1. re: Vaya Con Carne

          unfortunately, they don't open until 11 - but it's been pretty empty when I've been, I've never had to wait

          1. re: patz

            Oh, my mistake! I was confused for a minute there - the place I was thinking of was Marston's :)

      2. I haven't been in a long time, but Russell's used to have fine breakfasts -- outstanding hash-browns, especially, and with good bacon.

        patz, can you describe those Larkin's biscuits? Are they like Pann's -- crusty on the outside, alternately flaky and tender (but not bready) on the inside? Thanks.

        30 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

        1 Reply
        1. re: sbritchky

          sbritchky, I've never had Pann's biscuits so I can't compare, but the Larkins ones are very flaky and tender on the inside - the outside is a little crustier, but not much

        2. I had brunch at Cafe Verde on Green Street over the weekend and they have a number of savory options

          2 Replies
          1. re: crystaw

            Thank you - another one for me to try. I hadn't even heard of Cafe Verde before.

            1. re: Vaya Con Carne

              My favorite breakfast place (actually, my favorite overall restaurant) in Pasadena.

              Consider also Central Park (in Pasadena), which has decent breakfasts. It is a step up from Shaker's & Wild Thyme (which would itself be a lot better if Ana from Big Love were really waiting tables there).

              For something more casual yet still satisfying, try Armon's coffee shop in Eagle Rock.

              Also, a fairly new entry into our Pasadena breakfast rotation is the Novel Cafe, on Colorado almost across the street from PCC. Service can be a bit obtuse (in 4 weekend morning visits, we've never seen the same waitstaff twice) but the food is good. Lots of savory options, my favorite being a darned fine breakfast sandwich (eggs, cheese, bacon, etc.) served on a croissant.

          2. You might want to try Amy's Patio Cafe in Altadena (900 E Altadena Dr). I haven't been there in awhile, but enjoyed their savory breakfast options. Very small cafe with quirky parking lot, but a lovely staff.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pasadena8696

              Good to know - thanks! I've long wondered about that place but can never seem to remember it when I'm hungry.