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Going out for breakfast -- Never again!

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I got dragged out to breakfast yesterday by my in-laws, and sometime between our arrival at the restaurant we originally intended to go to (which turned out to be closed) and getting served maybe an hour later at another restaurant, I remembered something I should have thought of earlier: I hate going out for breakfast.

It always takes longer than you think it will, especially on weekends.

The food is rarely worth it. Most breakfast menus don't include anything that I couldn't make better and faster at home. I like home fries when they're done well, but they usually aren't.

Portions seem to be particularly gigantic, and by the time I get my food I'm so hungry that I start wolfing it down, eat more than I really want, and feel logy for hours.

If you order coffee, they bring it to you long before the food arrives. I find it hard not to drink it, even though I know that drinking coffee on an empty stomach isn't good for either my stomach or my mood.

Most of the things on a breakfast menu are not foods I want to eat for breakfast. Not a big fan of pancakes, waffles, or anything sweet (except fruit) for breakfast. Don't like eggs any way except scrambled or in an omelet. Don't trust oatmeal in restaurants, because it's usually gloopy and overcooked (and if you ask "is your oatmeal gloopy and overcooked?" you usually don't get an honest answer).

My New Year's Resolution: Don't get suckered into going out for breakfast!

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  1. I agree with you. I know many people are "breakfast" people but I can't get enthused about typical breakfast foods. I especially don't understand waiting two hours to get into some of the popular brunch places, especially to get foods like eggs and waffles. Waste of time, in my opinion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PegS

      Going out for breakfast is great IF it means getting something good that we don't do at home -- menudo, pozole, dim sum, fried chicken and waffles with real maple syrup, chicken fried steak with cream gravy, abelskivers with ligonberry preserves.

      1. re: Stephanie Wong

        I like your take on breakfast!

    2. Poor you :( Breakfast is our favorite meal to eat out! Different strokes. 100% of the time we split a meal which is the perfect amount. 99% of the time we don't get coffee as we've already had the obligatory one cup at home. I'm VERY specific when I order, i.e., well done toast or muffin, extra crispy potatoes, if scrambled eggs I'll say "soft" which usually turns out to be just about right. Like you I like none of the pancake, waffle, etc. And I've never understood ordering oatmeal when going out for something special. It's not on my long list of favorite foods. We're also usually at breakfast well before 9am so no wait. I hadn't thought about it til you posted, but I guess we've developed a recipe for success. Again, poor you.

      30 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Far be it for me to diminish your pleasure in going out for breakfast, but I don't see the point in going out for a meal like toast and eggs I can cook at home in less time than it takes to go to the restaurant (especially if I'm already in the kitchen making coffee). IMHO the only reason to go out for breakfast is for something special I wouldn't make at home: dim sum, chilaquiles, fancy brunch food, etc. But then, that's probably why I don't go out for breakfast/brunch very often (less than ten times a year).

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Going out to breakfast is almost always part of going out for other things. If I have only bacon in my house, I can get sausage or ham or ??? at the resto. I can get an English muffin rather my usual sourdough. And potatoes are something I never fix for breakfast. So that is "special" for me. As I mentioned below, I don't "do" brunch --- to me that's the biggest waste of my day. But I'd hate it if we all liked the same things. And imagine how long the lines would be then :)

          1. re: c oliver

            Around my parts....I can get two eggs. home fries, toast with jelly and coffee for $3 or less. Breakfast meat is an additional buck extra, if desired......and I don't have to wash the dishes, the fry pan, and I save on the cost of dish detergent, cost of gas and a trip to the market to purchase......sometimes it's a covenience.

            I prefer though, to make breakfast at home for myself on the weekends to avoid the crowds.

            1. re: fourunder

              I'm one of the minority who will never, ever clean my kitchen at night. So especially after a dinner party, the kitchen is destroyed and I just walk out the door and let someone else do the cooking. It will always be waiting for me (have YET to get the dogs or the cat trained to do anything, much less clean the kitchen).

              1. re: c oliver

                I'm guilty of the same when it comes to dinner parties.
                This is exactly why we need anthropomorphic robots.

              2. re: fourunder

                4Under -- Those prices are surreal! Where ever do you find a deal like that? At the senior center? At the workplace cafeteria? Around here, order a regular spread along with coffee and the bill is pushing $10.

                1. re: Sharuf

                  I see deals like that around Denver.

                  1. re: Sharuf

                    Sharuf

                    Actually, there are more than a few places that charge $1.99-2.49 for the plate, but will up the breakfast meat to $2.00....so it works out to be the same if you want meat. These type of places will give you 2-3 medium sized eggs for the egg portion...the standard egg size for all the luncheonettes. This deal is know as the Breakfast Special and is served from 6-11AM Monday-Friday.

                    I live in Northern New Jersey, home of the many small Greek owned luncheonettes/diners. A luncheonette around here is a small storefront with a counter that seats 12-15 people and a few booths or tables. The grill is behind the counter in full view, where the short order cook prepares almost everything and the counter waitress may or may not serve you.

                    In the larger diners, the price point would be more similar to the $10 you mention. On Sunday, when I go to the local driving range to practice, sometimes I have to wait for a stall to open up, so I will go to the diner in town. My standard
                    Ham & Cheese Omelet....$8.95
                    with sausage.........3.00
                    a toasted corn muffin......1.75
                    and coffee......1.75

                    is $15.75 +1.08 tax + 3.00 tip...a double saw buck.

                    With that said, arguably, the best quality breakfast to be had for $3.00 or less in Bergen County .... is a fresh baked croissant, hash brown potatoes, one scramble egg with two chicken sausage links or Swedish Pancakes with a hard boiled egg for $1.80........at IKEA. I have never been, but in the past, I had heard the same big breakfast was only $2. Maybe there was an increase for 2010. Now they are now serving a mini DIM SUM of sorts for the Vegetarian Folks......I will have to give it a try to see for myself.

                    http://www.ikea.com.sg/store_services...

                    1. re: fourunder

                      RE: IKEA link.......if you want dim sum you have to go to Singapore for the Dim Sum....Sorry I goofed.....but there is still the small and big breakfast available"

                      .99 for scrambles eggs, bacon and potatoes.

                      http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/param...

                    2. re: Sharuf

                      Central PA has prices like that.

                    3. re: fourunder

                      Haven't seen prices like that since the 1980's - I just ate in philly at one of the cheapest places, two pancakes, 1 sausage link and a hot tea was $ 5.25. And I thought that was a mega deal.

                      In LA a local chain that is running a 2+2+2 deal 2 eggs, 2 pancakes or slices of toast and 2 bacon or sausge for $2.99, coffee puts you back another $ 1.79 for $4.78 plus tax. And this place has lines out the door for this deal.

                      As another poster said surreal, I get excited if my bill is under $8.

                      1. re: RetiredChef

                        RC,

                        I think if I were to hit a breakfast stop in LA.....it would have to be for Huevos Rancheros or a Breakfast Burrito. In Philly, I'm surprised the breakfast didn't come with a pretzel.

                        1. re: RetiredChef

                          Here in Toronto, if you're not eating at a hotel, many local greasy spoons offer a breakfast special of two eggs, bacon, ham, or sausage, home fries, toast, and coffee for $3.99-$4.99. Place right around the corner from me is $5.25, but that's for 3 eggs.

                          Don't understand the OP's aversion to breakfast out. For me, it's nice to have someone else do the cooking while I read the paper and enjoy my coffee. When the food arrives, it's piping hot, and has things I don't usually have at home - ham or sausage, and I rarely have leftover boiled spuds to make real home fries. I only have whole wheat bread at home; a loaf of rye would go moldy before I could finish it. But it's nice to order rye toast when I'm out. Dollar for dollar, I'd say I get the most enjoyment out of a good breakfast out.

                    4. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I sort of see your point here, and a lot of people seem to feel this way. But, it's not a position I can really appreciate. Thomas Keller still goes out to eat, doesn't he? Honestly, unless I'm going to a Michelin starred sort of place, or for food from a cuisine I'm not familiar with, chances are I can make everything on the menu myself, just about as well as they can.
                      Sure, some meals will take me half a day (or more) to make, so it's way easier to go out for those. But for me, that would be half a day well spent. Maybe it's because I'm not a morning person, but killing an hour in the morning on cooking and cleaning up from cooking just isn't enjoyable. I could have spent that hour sitting in a diner booth, reading the paper or in conversation with my wife.

                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                        Actually, I realized one day when I was tired and hungry and contemplating going out or ordering Chinese, that for everyday meals, it's more hassle to go out than to cook, so I rarely do unless I'm going out for a specific reason or for a cuisine I'm not comfortable cooking. I can have a hot meal on the table 20 minutes after I walk in the door, which is quicker than any restaurant or even pizza delivery.

                        But my thinking was that breakfast foods are easy and use basic foods that most people who do any kind of cooking have in the house -- no special equipment, no trips to the market involved. Toast? How much effort and clean-up is involved in making toast? Ditto on the scrambled eggs. Pancakes are a tiny bit more involved, but the ingredients are pretty basic. I can scramble eggs, eat them, clean out the pan and put the dishes in the dishwasher in less time that it takes to go to a restaurant, order, and get my food.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Fair enough. I think a lot of it just comes down to wanting to go out.
                          Also, I'd never order just toast and eggs at a diner. That's not even really an option in this neck of the woods, as eggs automatically come with home fries. Just eggs, toast, and home fries requires some prep: washing potatoes (or peeling if that's your thing), and cutting up potatoes and onions. Add in frying pans, and that leaves me with knife, cutting board, two frying pans, two plates to wash, and silverware (no dishwasher here). That's assuming my wife and I want to eat the same thing. Not too much work, but that would be a $10 meal at a regular diner, with two coffees and tip. If she wants pancakes instead, a little more prep time, a mixing bowl and a wisk to wash (I'll save a little time and do the eggs in the same pan as the pancakes), and the same $10. I actually probably want corned beef hash or an omelette, and maybe my wife wants bacon with her pancakes, so add in some more prep time, another cutting board and frying pan to wash, and bump the check up to $15. Or maybe she wants french toast instead of pancakes. Then I've got to go buy challah or something similar, and then we've got 2/3 of a loaf of challah leftover that neither of us wants. Now one of us wants potato pancakes, or maybe eggs benedict, or one of the other dozens of option on the menu instead, potentially further complicating things, and really, chances are I don't have the ingredients on hand.
                          So yes, I totally appreciate that if you just want scrambled eggs and toast, cooking at home is your best option. But a more complicated breakfast and I know I at least can't get it ready and clean up as fast as I can get to a diner, eat, and get home. But it's not really even about the ease. It's about wanting to go out, be served, have a whole menu to pick from, and yes, also the ease. And that totally requires really liking the foods involved. If that's not your thing, I wouldn't suggest it should be. But I love breakfast, and I love to eat out, and a diner breakfast is way, way cheaper than any other kind of dining out I can think of. For me, that makes it a real pleasure to do from time to time.

                          1. re: danieljdwyer

                            I think you're right that a lot of it has to do with wanting (or not wanting) to go out. For some reason, I just don't like to go to restaurants in the morning -- it feels like more effort than staying at home.

                            P.S. Day or two old challah makes excellent bread pudding. I make a savory bread pudding that takes about 10 minutes to put together and is the definition of comfort food.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Do you have the same feeling about going out to dinner? In know you are a good cook. I KNOW IT. Do you only go to places that offer things you do not or cannot make at home?

                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                          Actually, for the most part, yeah. I usually only go out for "ethnic" food (they make it better and cheaper than I can), or more high-end food that's a special occasion or a restaurant I specifically want to try. But if I'm just hungry, it's so much easier and cheaper to throw something together at home than to go out.

                      3. re: c oliver

                        Well, it wasn't a tragedy. :-) You're right that it would have been a lot better if we'd gone early, but we were wrangling two little girls and a household of people with a variety of sleep habits.

                        I was spending the weekend with my husband's family, and I had already used up my quota of anti-social introverted behavior for the weekend, so if I hadn't gone it would have been rude. I should probably just have eaten something when I got up, and then ordered something nominal at the restaurant.

                        1. re: jlafler

                          Ah yes. Children. A friend recently spent a couple of nights with us. The second morning the two teen girls didn't get up til something 1030 or 1100. I wound up MWing some leftover risotto. We were in SF so got to have great Chinese food for lunch to make up. And I SO know about the quota thing. I've used that with my MIL more than a time or two.

                          1. re: jlafler

                            Next time you'll know to make breakfast for everyone when you get up -- annoying, but not as annoying as dealing with the going-out-to-breakfast hassle, especially if you're prepared to do that from the start. At least you know you'll never have to cook breakfast for me -- I should have noted that another reason I don't go out for breakfast very often is that I rarely eat a cooked breakfast at all, even on the weekends. I'm perfectly happy with a carton of yogurt (or a pastry, when I'm being self-indulgent) to get me to lunch.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I think light breakfasts are in the Lafler DNA, as well as being a family custom.

                              1. re: jlafler

                                Hey -- you two Laflers must be related?

                                1. re: Sharuf

                                  Sisters. It's not a common name, so chances are any Lafler you see is a relative of ours!

                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                    I thought all the chowhound regulars knew we were sisters -- it's more obvious than the fact that susancinsf and janetofreno are not only sisters but twins!

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      it shows up in writing styles. have to admit for quite a while i didn't even see the difference in the two lafler names....shame shame shame

                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                        I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the writing style being distinctive, since we also have very similar voices, speech patterns, and inflections. We don't look all that much alike, but we're often told that we sound alike.

                                        1. re: jlafler

                                          Now we all want to see pictures.

                            2. re: c oliver

                              I agree. I LOVE going out for breakfast and lingering over the newspaper. It really doesn't have to be costly either if you are careful. We have been getting the early bird special which runs $2.99 for each of us. It's a luxury that we enjoy on the weekends.

                            3. There's a good deal of truth in what you say. However, I'm always happy to go out for breakfast burritos or biscuits and gravy. Those may be my favorite breakfast foods and I know of places that know how to do them right.

                              1. Most of the things on a breakfast menu are not foods I want to eat for breakfast.
                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                What exactly do you want to eat for breakfast?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: fourunder

                                  At home I usually have fruit, toast, tea, and cottage cheese or sometimes a scrambled egg. If I have more time, sometimes I'll make rice pudding or oatmeal. This is not frugality or a diet, it's just what I prefer to eat in the morning. You can get this kind of thing in a restaurant, either by ordering a "diet plate" or a la carte, but it seems kind of silly.

                                  1. re: jlafler

                                    I don't think it is silly to get what you want for breakfast; if everyone else wants to go out and get what they want, why shouldn't you?

                                2. There are two kinds of breakfasts "out:"

                                  - a meal taken at a busy diner with superb food and fast service; the kind most people who eat out during the week enjoy, and

                                  - the brunch/weekend breakfast that involves schlepping the family to an upscale restaurant that serves brunch or a glorified diner where the waiting time for a table approaches two hours.

                                  The former is a delightful way to start one's day. I grew up in New York City, but there are diner denizens all over the country who delight in having breakfast served to them. During the week. I feel bad that the OP hasn't had the opportunity to enjoy a great meal in a diner that cooks fresh, attractive, relatively greaseless food.

                                  I know it's tough going somewhere for food you can make better and far cheaper at home. When I'm traveling and I get a really nasty breakfast, it angers me as much as you were angered by your recent breakfast out.

                                  The kind of breakfast you were subjected to: waiting lines, un-appealing brunch combinations, horribly-cooked food; it's what they serve up at all too many places these days, for much too much money.

                                  There's a restaurant in our area that became famous for its brunch many years ago. Every Sunday, the line's at least 10 deep for a table. The cost is $35 per person, if you're having a drink with brunch. Well, the last time I went (4 years ago) the poached eggs were hard, the "signature" red flannel hash had been incinerated, and even the toasted brioche was burnt. And they served this blackened mess to me. I was eating at the bar, and looked at the bartender and he looked at me and said "I know you want to send that back, but that's how *everyone's* entree looks." I didn't bother sending it back, and didn't eat it. Now you know why my last visit was years ago.

                                  Restaurant personnel, particularly in dinner-only places that open up on Sundays at 1:00 for brunch, *hate* to serve brunch. Their table $$ is low compared to dinner-time orders, so they make less money. And they're probably hung over from the night before (I know, not our problem -- theirs). There are all sorts of reasons why owners want to serve brunch, but I can assure you that staff isn't going to be okay with it, but will go along, begrudgingly, if given no alternative.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: shaogo

                                    That's interesting about the economics of serving brunch. Presumably the tips are lower at brunch because there's usually less (or no) alcohol adding to the tab. I knew a restaurant-owner here in the Bay Area who said that brunch was her big money-maker, but I guess that's the difference between the owner's bottom line and the staff.

                                    It's not that I've never had a good breakfast out, but it's probably where I've had the most disappointments.

                                    1. re: jlafler

                                      Re your last sentence, I think that's the definite potential. It's one of those meals where everything needs to come out at the same time, properly cooked and hot. It's not a job I've ever aspired to - breakfast cook.

                                      1. re: jlafler

                                        Perhaps the restaurateur you mention in the Bay Area sells a lot of high-profit (egg) dishes at brunch. Even when you give away a drink with brunch, it's worth it, because then the customer orders another more often than not.

                                        Servers make less on lower ticket prices, of course. But in a brunch situation, there are servers who're automatons whose customers go about eating in hushed tones; and there are servers who, without being intrusive, create a party atmosphere. Serving champagne or attractively-garnished drinks with a flourish often impels other tables to purchase the same things. Servers who fail to sell product suffer financially.

                                        I agree with you, jlafler. Breakfast is often screwed up by places that serve it every day and nearly always screwed up by brunch places that do it only once a week. Little wonder you've been so disappointed by your breakfast experiences in restaurants.

                                        1. re: jlafler

                                          for me, alcohol of some sort is the attraction of brunch...mimosa. kir royale,bloody mary, etc.

                                      2. This is why when I go out for breakfast I go out for pho.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: babette feasts

                                          Good point. My favorite breakfast is dim sum but I can't get that where I live.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            And I also usually go out for breakfast around 11 am when taquerias and other options are available : )

                                            A few weeks ago I met up with some friends from high school and was reminded about the bad brunch phenomenon. Maybe sometimes its best to stick with a bloody mary and not pretend the food is going to be any good!

                                            1. re: babette feasts

                                              I do either breakfast or lunch. I don't DO brunch. If friends want that, then they do it without me. And I like menudo about 8am also.

                                          2. re: babette feasts

                                            That sounds good, but I basically don't go out for breakfast unless I'm going out with other people, and usually they want the big "American breakfast."

                                            1. re: babette feasts

                                              Exactly. the only time I go out for breakfast anymore, it's to a Pho spot in town that opens at 9 a.m.

                                            2. As long as it's not Waffle House. I've been driving by them for 40 years and finally stopped about 6 months ago. Yeeech!

                                              1. I'm with you, jlafler. First, I just don't have an appetite first thing in the morning, so if I am required somehow to eat a big breakfast it makes me feel yucky all day.

                                                Second, brunch menus are so much more interesting than breakfast menus, and the few things that I do like that are often considered breakfast foods are usually on brunch menus too: biscuits and gravy, housemade English muffins, etc. It's very rare that something sweet, like fancy pancakes, sounds good to me, but even those are usually available as late as 11 or noon.

                                                I just can't get worked up about scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                  I wake up ravenous. There have been times I've been dreaming about bacon and eggs just before I woke up. My strongest childhood memories are of waking up to the smell of coffee and bacon, and those are what I most enjoy smelling when I come into a cafe, plus that frying smell indigenous to the short-order grill. One of my greatest pleasures when travelling is the fact that I KNOW I will eat breakfast that someone else cooked, even though it's also my favorite meal to cook. And, to top it off, my favorite phrase to see printed on any menu is BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME.

                                                  I love brunch, too, if that's what you want to call a midday breakfast buffet, though I deeply enjoyed getting up at 6:30 in our Hong Kong hotel and diving into the wonderful multinational spread they offered there, from British/American bacon, mixed grill, oatmeal, potatoes, pancakes and eggs, through European fruit, yogurt and muesli, to Asian congee and assorted steamed dumplings. Before Hurricane Iniki, the Waohai Hotel on Kauai had a huge open-sided dining pavilion with stations for any sort of food a bruncher might want, from ordinary breakfast fare through fresh seafood, sushi and sashimi; an omelet station of course, but also a roast meats carving station.

                                                  Since I have such an appetite even before hitting the floor, you might assume that I do not "feel yucky all day" afterwards. I feel fed, and that's it. Different peoples' systems work different ways, I know; I am humbly grateful that mine works as it does.

                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                    Hear, hear—I feel lucky too, b/c if I ate as much in the morning as I do the rest of the day, I'd be enormous!

                                                    However, I agree with others that congee, dumplings, and sushi would be my kind of breakfast—first thing in the morning or not.

                                                  2. re: tatamagouche

                                                    I'm not a big morning eater, and I am not one to get excited about bacon, eggs, or pancakes either. I love a good omelet with shredded hash browns or biscuits and sausage gravy though, and I make the best at home.

                                                  3. you can hardly blame the restaurant for your overeating.

                                                    i love going out for breakfast, even though i am quite capable of cooking a fine egg at home. I rarely eat a big breakfast, but once in a while i want an omelette or a waffle and don't care to do it myself. the only downside for me is the coffee, as i never get coffee out as good as my superautomatic pumps out at home.

                                                    don't want a big meal? order an english muffin w/ cream cheese and tomato. or a bialy w/ butter and lox.

                                                    i'm w/ shaogo. a simple breakfast at a good diner is a lovely thing when i don;t feel like cooking for myself in the morning.

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: thew

                                                      I might have ordered one of the things you suggest, had they been on the menu. They were not. The word "bialy" would probably have produced a look of confused suspicion on the server's face.

                                                      I'm not blaming the restaurant; my point is that for me, given what I like to eat for breakfast, going out for breakfast isn't the treat it seems to be for many people.

                                                      1. re: thew

                                                        "Bialy"? I've never seen one, and never even seen it on a menu. Must be an East Coast thing. I live in the Bay Area.

                                                        1. re: Sharuf

                                                          Yes, it's an East Coast thing, but I can't imagine you can't find a bialy in SF!

                                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                                            You can find bialy in SF, but they aren't common, and they'd only be found in a bagel shop, and definitely not on a breakfast joint-type menu.

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              I've seen them, don't think I've ever eaten one. This weekend we were in a small town near Bear Valley, up in the Sierras. I don't think they even had bagels on the menu, and if they did they were probably frozen bagel-shaped bread products.

                                                              1. re: jlafler

                                                                I should also add that the food was not bad. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their food. My omelet was a perfectly good omelet. But it was not (to me) worth the wait and the hassle.

                                                                1. re: jlafler

                                                                  We won't eat non-NYC bagels (or bialys). Whether it's the water or what, they're just not the same. We bring back a couple of dozen and freeze them.

                                                            2. re: Sharuf

                                                              so have lox on an english muffin instead.....

                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                I hate to burst your bubble, but I don't think they had lox, either. This was the kind of place that serves steak and eggs.

                                                                1. re: jlafler

                                                                  NYers are very spoiled :) Dang it.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Yep. It's easy to find smoked salmon here, but true lox is a little harder to find. I cured some salmon for our special Christmas Eve dinner this year. (This is a dinner for me and my husband -- we take turns cooking, and this year was my turn; I should probably post a report.) Curing it myself was pretty easy (basic recipe: annoint salmon fillet with salt, spices, sugar, and a little alcohol; wrap, weight with a brick, and put in the fridge for 24-48 hours; rinse, slice, and serve), so maybe I'll do it again. It was a lot saltier than what I'm used to, though.

                                                                    1. re: jlafler

                                                                      As a variation, get a bunch of fresh dill and make gravlax. ETA - Egads! Just realized the post/thread is nearly 1 year old.

                                                          2. My wife and I rarely go out for breakfast, since we each have different a.m. idiosyncrasies, but when entertaining guests we are lucky enough to have several great brunch establishments nearby.

                                                            I do share your distaste for fast food breakfasts. When my mother was alive, each time we visited, it seemed we had to take her and her friends to Bob Evans, since that was their favorite restaurant. Much of the time I finessed by making that a breakfast or lunch occasion, and taking her to a nicer place for dinner. I endured B.E. for her sake --chose a different selection every time but never was quite satisfied.

                                                            1. I guess I am in the minority. I love going out for breakfast on occasion. I love pancakes, waffles, french toast, bacon, sausages, toast, etc. I don't much like eggs, I don't drink milk or cook with it much, I don't bake enough to keep baking powder or soda in the house, so making any of these breakfast foods is not an option for me. I simply don't have the ingredients in the house. If I had bacon around for some reason it would disappear into a sandwich or baked beans long before it made it to breakfast, and since I never cook breakfast, I don't have breakfast sausages in the fridge or freezer either. I am also not much of a fan of kitchen clean up, and lots of these "simple" foods take almost as much clean up as a big dinner. Keep me on the "out for breakfast" list.

                                                              So what do i eat for breakfast? Often nothing. A couple of pieces of toast with butter or jelly, maybe some fruit... but most likely if i decide i want something for breakfast, you will find me perusing the leftovers for some leftover spaghetti or beef stew from earlier in the week.

                                                              1. I don't care to go out for breakfast either. I find that I'm generally not satisfied with the selection. If I go at a traditional breakfast hour, I'm typically not hungry enough to be able to stomach a huge meal, and the smaller dishes are far too overpriced to make it worth it. I love eggs, but would rather cook them the way I like at home. I'm usually disappointed when I order them at a restaurant. It seems like half the time they're cold and half the time they're soggy, so the chance of getting a hot, non-soggy version is pretty low.

                                                                I do love breakfast sandwiches, so often times I find I'm just as happy at a fast food restaurant getting a $1.50 breakfast sandwich than I would be spending $7 at a sit-down place. I do make them occasionally at home but I usually don't add sausage/bacon to them so it's a nice treat.

                                                                1. Interesting. I'm glad you had the aftersight to mention the kids and the MIL antisocialism factors later on...I'm absolutely sure that these had an adverse effect on your view.

                                                                  Myself, I'm a fairly limited breakfast person. I could be happy as a clam with cereal and milk, or bacon and eggs. For really fancy fixings, you could throw in a piece of fried catfish with the B&E, and I'd be very happy to take care of it for you. For the most part, though, breakfast foods annoy me. The *only* pancakes I've ever had that were worth eating (and they were absolutely fantastic) were at the Pancake Pantry in Nashville, and they were the sweet potato pancakes at that, served with an alternate syrup. Otherwise, there isn't one breakfast food that one might naturally add maple syrup to that I want: no pancakes, no waffles, no french toast...none of that garbage. That's not what I want to have for any meal, much less breakfast.

                                                                  I've tried to be more breakfast adventurous in recent years, though: I've found that not all omelettes are lousy, frittatas can be absolutely magnificent, the catfish component can be surprisingly wonderful when done right...but for the most part, breakfast isn't what I want to eat, unless it fits the bill of what I deem "breakfast food". Oatmeal will *never* be part of that list, no matter how good it is, or who makes it.

                                                                  A proper B&E with good hash browns and dry wheat or white toast, with strawberry jam, though? Oh yes...that can be so satisfying. It may not be gourmet, but just like most anything else: when it's done right, it's a great thing. The fact that it's usually inexpensive doesn't hurt, either.

                                                                  Breakfast under your family-intensified stress, though? I don't see that being a pleasant experience even if the food had been fit for a king.

                                                                  1. One of the things I miss about living down south was going out to breakfast - we did not do it regularly, but it was a nice treat. That was the only time we'd get biscuits & gravy, or splurge on lots of bacon and such - things that we don't ususally cook at home. When we lived in NY, it seemed no one really went to breakfast, it was most often out for bagels (and they were good!). Now that we are back in New England, we rarely go out for breakfast, but that is probably also due to having kids and husband watching his weight closely (bike racer - every calorie counts!).

                                                                    1. Most of the time when we want a cooked breakfast I do it myself at home. I've never seen the point in going out for bacon and eggs... and the toast is ALWAYS stone cold before I get to eat it. But there are some breakfast foods which are yummy and too much hassle, mess, or time-consuming to make at home (especially at nine o'clock in the morning!) Sometimes it's nice to go out and have biscuits and gravy, or pancakes and poached eggs, or my favourite - eggs benedict. Or I'll look for something that sounds interesting but a bit out of my usual cooking range, like a Tex-mex omelette.

                                                                      But it can be very annoying to go out to 'breakfast' with relatives who aren't actually ready to leave the house until after 11 - I was up three hours ago! The lesson I learned the first time was to eat my bowl of cereal when I get up, and then count the 'breakfast' out as lunch.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                                        "But it can be very annoying to go out to 'breakfast' with relatives who aren't actually ready to leave the house until after 11 - I was up three hours ago!"

                                                                        I agree SO completely with you!

                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                          I agree with this too!! If you don't go until late in the morning, the restaurants are packed. I like going before 8:00. Not so busy and some of the places I go to have early bird specials. And I have to say if your breakfast isn't good where you go, you're going to the wrong place. I have rarely gone for breakfast and had it be bad.

                                                                          Yes, I am capable of cooking most of those things on a breakfast menu (and DH has done a lot of time as a breakfast cook), but then, I can cook most of the things I go out to eat. Why should that be a factor?

                                                                        2. re: Kajikit

                                                                          That's why I now put out an assortment of baked goods and make a pot of coffee around 6AM (my latest wake up time) when I have company staying over. Usually one person will get up when they hear me moving around, then another one or two per hour as the morning goes on, and don't forget they all have to take showers before they head out for some darn reason. Can't imagine trying to coordinate a trip anywhere with all those logistics. I'll put out muffins, banana bread, soda bread etc, with butter, cream cheese, homemade jams and maybe some Nutella: definitely some fruit and yogurt with granola-y cereal, a carton of OJ and so on. Once it's out, they can help themselves and I can relax and socialize until they leave. If it's only one or two people, then they're in luck, I will cook whatever they want to order, because I love making breakfast at home myself. Hashbrowns and all. And definitely a diner meal is going to run $10 a person at least, so unless they want to treat.....

                                                                        3. wow! i'm the complete opposite. i will only eat breakfast if i go out. i just hate cooking and the clean up so early in the day.

                                                                          1. Jfood loves going out for breakfast.

                                                                            It means that he was able to convince a relative that he would normally have to go to dinner with into having breakfast leaving jfood's options open for a real meal at a real restaurant.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              Pure genius.

                                                                            2. Breakfast for me is feast or famine. I'd much rather have nothing than dumb old bacon and scrambled eggs with toast, whether at a restaurant or homemade. Mexican food (especially menudo in the wintertime), dim sum, now you might have my attention. I like oatmeal, but rarely have time to make it before work, and the gruel at the cafeteria at work is completely without flavor ( aka gloopy and overcooked). I don't even go in there any more before lunch, as I recently lost 20 pounds simply by NOT eating breakfast there because what they have that's good is chicken fried steak, SOS, quesadillas, corned beef hash, sausage links, etc.- better to stay the hell away because the alternative is unripe fruit and overpriced yogurt.

                                                                              I can't bear the thought of cereal, fruit, or godforbid granola in the morning. I like leftover pizza, though, a lot.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                Never ever EVER call bacon dumb.

                                                                                I wish I had a breakfast place offering menudo or dim sum or biyalies (biyaly(s)?). I would be the first one in line on the weekends.

                                                                                You people are spoiled! SPOILED I say!

                                                                              2. i don't "do" dessert in the morning... no pancakes, waffles, cupcakes (muffins), etc.

                                                                                if i go out, it's for brunch, but it's a social call. i meet friends, and it's a leisurely affair over which we catch up... i always get the same thing: egg white omelette dry with tomatoes, onions, and another veggie that's avail with some sliced tomatoes on the side and/or fruit. i like not having to do the clean-up; however, i hate they serve me a frittata with the veggies cooked *into* the eggs rather than the eggs folded around the filling.

                                                                                at home, i don't usually do breakfast, unless i'm hungry and then it's fruit and some de-fatted chewy almond butter; or occasionally some TVP or soy grits; and very rarely, some hard-boiled or scrambled egg whites and fruit.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                  I could never be vegetarian. Reading it depressed me. My husband would have to hide the sharps if I had to be consigned a life of TVP and soy grits. I admire your commitment. I wish I could do it because it would probably add years to my life. Sometimes I wish I did not have tastebuds or a sense of smell. CURSES!

                                                                                2. When I was a child, there was a period of a few years when a weekend brunch out (to one of several places that had good brunch food and weren't overpriced or plagued by crazy wait times) was a ritual for my mother, my brother, and me. This was before my own coffee-drinking time, but my mother was as particular as you, jlafler, about having coffee with her food. My brother and I used to tease her (as children will their parents) about the particular hand gesture she habitually made as she explained to the server that she wanted her coffee "with the meal, not before it." If you should find that circumstances conspire to make breakfast out an ever again occurrence rather than a never again one, I suggest that you use the same emphasis (with or without an emphatic wave of the hand) when you place your coffee order. At least that'll solve one facet of the problem.

                                                                                  P.S. Speaking of my mother, she has made the plum liqueur recipe you once linked to (the one with white wine) for the last two years using fruit from her tree, and loves it. So thanks.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                    I'm glad to hear that your mother likes that plum liqueur recipe!

                                                                                    You're right about requesting the coffee be served with the food. I should be more assertive.

                                                                                  2. I love eating breakfast out! I think it started as a child when we were on holiday in Ottawa- for the first time I had cheap, diner-style breakfasts. There was a place in the bottom of a downtown shopping center that opened early and served eggs, hash browns, toast and bacon for $2.99. Back home in Victoria, BC there are tons of cute little cafes that do great breakfasts- Blue Fox comes to mind (they're make your "home fries" extra-crispy if you ask!). There's another place in Victoria called Mo:Le where you can get "House Made Curry Spice with Sautéed Organic Green Cuisine Tofu, Julienne Peppers and Onion, Braised Greens & Fresh Diced Tomato Served with Pesto Hash Browns and Multigrain Toast". That is something I simply cannot make at home!

                                                                                    However, my love for eating breakfast out was solidified when I lived in Mexico. There was a menuderia down the street from my apartment that I'm quite sure had never seen a foreign customer before. I would go in two or three times a week for a breakfast of "huevos revueltos y frijoles refritos"! There would be a basket of warm tortillas on the table, plus all the salsa verde, crema and queso you could ever want (I was too wussy to eat the chili peppers!). One of my best breakfast memories ever is from a hole-in-the-wall restaurant across the street from the old bus station in Guadalajara, where I had the best chilaquiles of my life, served alongside frijoles that were not refritoed (I know that's not a word!) but were HUGE white beans in a spicy tomato sauce that was almost a broth. Oh, and then there are the huge breakfasts of sliced fruit (mango, papaya and pineapple were my favorite) topped with homemade yogurts... I wish I could hop down to Mexico every morning just for breakfast!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                      I'd be in heaven with a menuderia across the street. Oh yeah.

                                                                                    2. I'm with shaogo and thew on diners. For my money, nothing beats a good diner of the Southern New England - Eastern Mid Atlantic variety (which is not a knock on Southern diners, as they can also be great).
                                                                                      Omelettes, home fries, corned beef hash, pancakes, french toast: these aren't things I'm excited about cooking, and cleaning up after, when bleary eyed at 9am (or, more likely, at 2am). And bialys, bagels, croissants or other pastries: definitely not things I'm making myself, and also items that aren't fresh unless made the same day. I have to leave the house for a good bagel anyway, so I might as well sit down and enjoy it.
                                                                                      Since first moving to Boston about a decade ago, there's nothing I've missed more than diners. Even in my Podunk hometown, if I wanted corned beef hash at 2am, I had 4 different options all within a 15 minute drive.
                                                                                      Even on a Sunday morning just after all the local church services got done, I've never once had to wait more than 10 minutes to be seated. At $15 for a really good, fast, filling meal for two, including tip, what's not to love?

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                        Breakfast is my favorite meal. Literally beg the wife for pancakes and eggs for dinner sometimes.

                                                                                        Love to go to brunch for the things that we can't/don't make at home. In all my brunch-going years, the sweet spot is 10:30am. Plan to be pulling up to the brunch place at that time and you are almost guaranteed to have a good time. In Houston, the sweet spot is any time before 11am on Sunday (possibly because many folks are attending church). Same timing works for Costco as well... otherwise its a mad-house on the weekends with NASCAR wannabe's in the parking lot.

                                                                                        When we lived in the Midwest, breakfast casseroles seemed to be popular. I know friends who would make them a day or two ahead and then pop them in the oven the morning when the family was visiting and peole were waking up at different times.

                                                                                        1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                          Amen. One of my great pleasures in life is, when I'm in the US, eating breakfast in a good American diners. You guys rock at breakfast foods!

                                                                                        2. 100% agree with you, breakfast is the simplest meal in the world to cook and the cheapest. Food cost on breakfasts served in restaurants are obscenely low and it is the biggest money making segment of the day for restaurants that serve this. I personally get disgusted when I get a bill for $7-9 for items that cost usually less than a dollar and took no skill to prepare.

                                                                                          As a side note: In one of my restaurants when we tried brunch it became the largest money makers for the servers. Typical table turn times were under 40 minutes compared to 90 minutes at dinner. Per seat revenue was about 10% less per hour than during dinner but all of the servers made much higher percentage tips. Plus the work, while faster pace, was much easier for them. If you speak to servers in typical 24 hour restaurant/diners they AM shift is always the money maker both for the server in tips and profit for the restaurant.

                                                                                          1. I love breakfast foods, just not for breakfast.

                                                                                            Also, cleanup for a full on breakfast is a pain. One pot for grits, one pan for ham or bacon, and one pan for eggs.

                                                                                            Where I live, there are not a lot of good breakfast places, so on weekends the good places are overwhelmed by dawdlers, pajama party emigres, and weekend dads with their kids.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                                              I love breakfast out - making all of that stuff makes a big mess. It's nice to have what I want, and not what hubby and the kids want, once in awhile.

                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                Same here. I make a good breakfast for the kid during the weekdays (she's a little small, so I want her to have eggs and some meat rather than cold cereal), and it's nice to be able to sit down somewhere and order whatever I want, whether it's an eggs florentine, bisuits and gravy, lox on a bagel, or waffles with caramelized bananas and walnuts, and I don't have to clean up. Also, I'm NOT a morning person; consciousness comes slowly and reluctantly to me, so having to crawl out of bed and choreograph breakfast dishes (you want everything to be hot at the same time, yes?), and wash the dishes, too....no, I look forward to that once a week of hedonistic self-indulgence. To me, it's worth the wait.

                                                                                                1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                  I set my oven at 170 (the lowest I can do) so I can get the meat and toast done and in there before cooking the eggs. It has saved my sanity (well, at least THAT part.)

                                                                                              2. re: Scagnetti

                                                                                                I tend to be the designated chef at family gatherings, so for my, breakfast out is a lifesaver. It sucks when everyone else is chatting over coffee while I'm slaving over a hot stove.

                                                                                                I personally think my homemade french toast is better than most of the ones I get out but if I'm cooking for more than me and my boyfriend, it's not worth the effort!

                                                                                              3. I have really always LOVED going out for breakfast. I think it's because it's the meal I eat out least frequently.

                                                                                                1. I love to go out to breakfast too.

                                                                                                  I seldom, if ever, go alone and I am sure that is part of the lure, the company.

                                                                                                  My only complaint is that I want my toast Toasted, not barely passed by the heating element.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: laliz

                                                                                                    Now THERE'S a pet peeve! These days, most places' idea of toast seems to be dried-out bread, with hardly a hint of brown! It's gotten to be a pleasant surprise when my toast is actually, you know, toasted....

                                                                                                    Actually, I usually consider the toast to be a throw-in, so I don't let it bug me too much.

                                                                                                  2. I get where you're coming from. I think breakfast is one of the most overrated meals. It's eggs (easy to make), or piles of starchy foods. Sometimes they're good, but if you gave me a choice between going out for breakfast or going out for a nice dinner, I'd take dinner.

                                                                                                    Granted, if I do go out for breakfast, I'm likely to indulge in foods I wouldn't have at home. I don't make very good pancakes from scratch. I don't own a waffle iron. I don't generally keep things like challah or other rich breads that make the best french toast. As my husband doesn't eat red meat, I'm not likely to have bacon or sausage in the house either.

                                                                                                    Occasionally it's nice to go out for breakfast and indulge in a few of these things, especially if the restaurant in questions does really nice specialty versions of pancakes, waffles, or french toast. I don't do this sort of thing often for the sake of my waistline.

                                                                                                    1. I must be spoiled in New England. I'm in a diner mecca, but also have a bunch of brunchier spots nearby. Last time I went for breakfast/brunch, I had a pesto-tofu scramble, which included kale, caramelized onions, oyster mushrooms, carrots and brussel sprouts, along with blue cheese and spinach hash and pumpernickel toast. There's no way I'm making that, bleary-eyed, first thing in the morning at home.

                                                                                                      1. I'm honestly surprised at some of the prices people are throwing out in this thread for what I consider to be a "standard" American breakfast: 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast. If I'm eating out for breakfast at a typical place around here (not gourmet, mind you), the cost for that will usually be about $3-4. If I pay $5 for that, I actually raise an eyebrow a bit. Many places will have that as a $2.99 breakfast special, and it's almost expected.

                                                                                                        Guess Detroit isn't all bad, necessarily. ;)

                                                                                                        1. I find breakfast boring. I cook for 2 and I will frequently try to change it up. And I do enjoy the occasional breakfast out. I like Panera for breakfast, actually. And I've had their oatmeal and I like it.

                                                                                                          I think with breakfast, you risk becoming a short order cook if you cook at home for guests, or you can actually talk with someone in the restaurant while waiting to be served.

                                                                                                          The absolute worst is breakfast on the road. We usually get a "Continental Breakfast" with our motel stay, and I cannot express how much I am sick of the offerings. If we go to breakfast outside the motel, I find offerings are overly sweet, caloric or greasy. (Can't anyone fry bacon properly?) Coffee is often like dishwater. The most convenient and predictable is MickeyDs, a place we never visit unless we are traveling.

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                            I've said it before, and I'm sure this won't be the last time: Many a roadtrip made by my family has had its success guaranteed by a Sausage McMuffin w/Egg, hash brown and perfectly ice cold orange juice from McDonald's.

                                                                                                            I'm a purist, though, and frown upon the McGriddle lover's in our car.

                                                                                                            1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                              Well, I'd delete the hash browns, but otherwise, yes! We also like the yogurt parfaits, which are so much easier to like if you don't think of them as real yogurt, but as sort of breakfast desserts. And their coffee has improved from dishwater to acceptable. So when we are on the road, we might eat light at the motel, and then an hour down the road, hit MickeyD's for more coffee and whatever.

                                                                                                            2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                              I / we enjoy breakfasts out on occasion. Yes, I can make almost everything at home. SO didn't order bacon w/ his breakfast this am stating that "Yours is better". But I also don't like the Continentals offered at motels. Stale white bread, donuts, overly sweet muffins w/ pats of oleo, cold cereal. Yuck! I need protein in the am before ingesting sugar and carbs. Only ONCE have I ever seen a pile of ( cold ) boiled eggs offered.

                                                                                                              1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                Ug, can't stand motel breakfasts! "Continental" my a**! And, if they serve eggs, the only non syrupy edible, they are gross, not cooked enough and the bottom of the "trough" is watery. EW!

                                                                                                                I used to book road trip motels at places offering continental breakfasts but finally realized it did not matter. I book what works and we go out and eat breakfast at a diner!

                                                                                                            3. All those logical reasons for not going are exactly my reasons for going. Yes, I can make most things at home. Yes, it takes much longer. Yes, it is more expensive. But that is why it is such a decadent treat.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ola

                                                                                                                At least one of the two weekend days find hubby and I eating breakfast out. We love it and look forward to it, often discussing the night before where we should go. In fact I tried hard to do it less often just because it's usually bacon and eggs and I would like to start eating healthier in 2010. Like someone said earlier, it's something we do in between our usual weekend errands.

                                                                                                                1. re: ola

                                                                                                                  Glad this thread was restarted, it's fun! Good point about the decadence Ola. And someone else said something about being able to talk with people instead of being a short order cook for guests. That struck a cord with me. I think I read that the OP was dining with two kids and that can be jarring if they are really energetic. Also it might not be much fun for the children anyway, if they have to sit around after they are done eating. As a child I got dragged to way too many eateries of all kinds.
                                                                                                                  The most enjoyable breakfasts out for me have been when there are no set plans for afterwards. My mom used to love to go out to breakfast alone on her days off and then go home and read in bed and take a nap. I like to visit a local diner with my friend on weekdays when we can swing it. If we go very early (six or seven am) it is very quiet and cozy. But if we go at ten am on weekdays oh my! This diner caters to old folks and the place is just bursting with happy energy. Tables of ten singing Happy Birthday to someone, a wonderful gentleman handing out pieces of candy, an old guy playfully pretending to steal my friend's slice of shoo fly pie! If it gets much rowdier in there they will have to have a security guard.
                                                                                                                  My other friend John and I tend to get breakfast after a night of playing cards, around three am, and that is really a blast too. But if John wants apple butter with his scrapple he will have to go to my favorite diner where the old folks get out of hand. If I can get him to wake up early enough. All night diners tend to avoid the whole apple butter issue.

                                                                                                                2. I'm very fond of going out for breakfast and love a good diner breakfast, any day of the week and have done so many, many times over the years. Brunch, not so much (as I was brunch "chef" too many times at too many jobs, the memories are painful) Now, in my later life, I prefer weekend breakfasts of my own making and then back to my bed with the newspaper, TV and the cats, all of which are about 15 feet from the kitchen. We have a set menu, take it or leave it. Dishes be damned, mrbushwick is in charge.

                                                                                                                  1. Do dim-sum instead.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Joishii

                                                                                                                      Good point. If I go out for breakfast it's usually dim sum. Another idea: after a recent trip to Europe when I woke up the first morning the only thing that appealed to me for breakfast was pho -- and more "authentic" pho places are open for breakfast.

                                                                                                                    2. Great thread.

                                                                                                                      For years I was a non-breakfast fancier. Seemed like there were two sorts of folks: Those who would take breakfast, any breakfast, if someone else cooked it, and those who were unwilling to tolerate mediocre food or any that was less than exactly what they wanted at that hour of the a.m.

                                                                                                                      And then an editor assigned me to write about nothing but morning food.

                                                                                                                      Long story short, it changed my life.I can't say I cook big breakfasts at home - calories more than preference - very often, but it's become my signature meal among my extended family. We live in a city where brunch is very big, so we have numerous options. Alas, few of my favorite restaurants serve the meal, though. It's harder, restaurateurs tell me, to get folks to work that shift. And after a remunerative late Saturday p.m., I can understand that. Another thing is that breakfast requires a specific set of skills that the CIA apparently doesn't teach. Poaching eggs and making hollandaise, yes. Being a fry cook, no.

                                                                                                                      Won't wait two hours for any meal, thanks.

                                                                                                                      1. I have never understood the going out for breakfast thing. First of all I rather like my bed and don't wish to be dragged out of it at some ungodly hour to eat with a bunch of scarily perky morning people. Secondly I rarely eat breakfast anyway - if I do eat I prefer to scavenge the leftovers from whatever I cooked the night before. And last of all, despite the fact I don't eat breakfast, I can cook a good breakfast myself, that is usually far nicer than the greasy slop plonked in front of my queasy early morning stomach. So unless a place can do a really good eggs benedict at a respectful hour that is better than what's on the lunch menu, I am not interested.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                                          LOL scarily perky morning people ...

                                                                                                                        2. I love to go out for dim sum, something I really couldn't make at home. I will also go out for brunch if I have a reservation or am going to a local cafe where I know I won't have to wait for a table. In either case, I will usually have a slice of toast or something else small at home, so I can enjoy the leisurely pace of eating out with friends and not just be a ravenous grump.

                                                                                                                          1. I used to be the same way. I hated eggs, the sweet stuff never gave me energy, I hated bacon and sausage so there was no way to get any protein if I ordered sweet stuff and when I did start trying eggs again, they were never cooked enough for me and my squeamishness. Others loved going out for breakfast but I just felt like I was being dragged along.

                                                                                                                            I've almost gotten over my egg-thing although if I find any egg-liquid or if an egg is cooked in an unattractive manner, the whole thing is off. We've got this place that we go to every Saturday and it works! Looks like you are in SF and this place is in CO but, wow, if you are ever in Boulder, this is the place to go for simple, quick and easy, even when there is a wait. We go to Walnut Cafe (hardly ever to the Southside one because the accustics are terrible and it is too much of a busy, loud place for poor accustics).

                                                                                                                            I get get my omelet cooked as well or overly cooked as I want it, the service is quick, they have lots of choices for sides including fruit--I usually get two sides of fruit since omelets come with two sides, they are not pricey and the food is consistent. I only once had to ask the waitress to ask the cook to cook my omelet more and she had even told me ahead of time that, although she asked him as usual, she thinks he forgot and it was easy for her to just bring it back. Only once and we go every Saturday!

                                                                                                                            When I was in SF, I'd get so tired of the creperies! Everyone always wanted to go stand in line, receive poor service and pay too much for what I considered a skillet plate on top of a crepe. Those aren't crepes!! My favourite breakfast spots there were Kate's Kitchen on Haight--no pretension, good food, better french toast than I made, not fancy but clean and a nice atmosphere.

                                                                                                                            My other SF favourites were Herb's in Noe Valley--talk about simple and not pricey and Art's Cafe in the Sunset, Irving and 9th. Arts is like the tiniest place ever but he made exactly what I wanted without any pretension or change. Eggs with cheese, hashed browns!!

                                                                                                                            I understand the lack of desire to pay for something you can make yourself! Does it not intrigue you to have someone do the work, someone serve you, someone refill your coffee for you and someone else wash the dishes? Hee, hee, I love that stuff!

                                                                                                                            I don't get to eat out because I'm not supposed to have sodium but my omelet without cheese and my two sides of fruit do not contain added salt so it is like my special treat. Breakfast is the easiest way for me to eat restaurant food without having to order a salad.

                                                                                                                            I think I'd normally agree with you but I'm right in the middle of a "good breakfast out" phase. Maybe you'll just convince others to go to lunch or dinner instead?

                                                                                                                            1. I love going out to breakfast! Most days I wake up starving and start thinking about breakfast or planning dinner while I'm still under the covers! Going out for breakfast on the weekends seems kind of vacation-ey. We're all early risers. The upside is that we're up, dressed, out the door, fed, and ready to go. Plus, I don't have to start the day washing frying pans. Yay!

                                                                                                                              1. I realize this is an old post, but it seems to me that the OP has more issues than the actual restaurant. While having a homecooked feast of eggs, bacon, home fries and corned beef hash is lovely, there is something quite soothing about sitting down and having someone else make it for you.

                                                                                                                                The last time I went out for breakfast I was in and out of the place in 35-40 minutes. My portion was large, but hardly gigantic. I did always have the option of not finishing. The food was as good as I could make it and the home fries were better. My coffee cup was never empty and the free bloody mary wasn't too bad either. If you don't like most breakfast foods....why on earth would you go out for breakfast?

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                                  One reason is because I've never been offered a bloody mary, free or otherwise!

                                                                                                                                2. You should go to a better restaurant. I love to go out for breakfast. It's true that there are lots of bad places with terrible breakfasts, but there are gems in every area. Find that one and refuse to go elsewhere. You could also eat slower, less and not drink too much coffee.

                                                                                                                                  EDIT: Read more of the thread and see you didn't have a choice in restaurant. I wonder if this had less to do with breakfast and more that you were eating in a resaurant you wouldn't have frequented with people you weren't thrilled about. Add to that you're not a morning eating person. Trubble.

                                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                                  1. What's wrong with IHOP???

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: flylice2x

                                                                                                                                      Hmm...what's right with it?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                        CB hash and eggs at IHOP is good and cheap(ish). And the coffee is usually okay. I hadn't been to breakfast at one in maybe 20 years, and thought my fond memories might have been distorted by time, but then when we were visiting friends in Santa Barbara we went out to one near their house. It was a Sunday and we had to wait almost an hour, but I was astonished at how well my food matched my memories.

                                                                                                                                        The other upside is that if you're married to someone who adores pancakes and you don't, you can both leave happy. Something to be said for that.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                          I don't like the atmosphere at IHOP but there's a Le Peep near my house that makes really good CB hash with two basted eggs on what they call "peasant potatoes". They serve it in a skillet. I ask them to hold the hollandaise and load it up with Tabasco. Okay. My first two posts on 2011 have been about Velveeta and Le Peep. it's gonna be a helluva year!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                            That's my favorite part about brunch. I can get one thing and my SO can get something completely different and we can each eat at the same time together.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                              Well, I'll give it this, speaking of memories. It used to be the only place open on Xmas Day in Albuquerque, and when my aged and rather dignified dad would order Rooty Tooty Fresh n Fruity, we'd both crack up.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                                I like IHOP's crepes. An order of Swedish crepes and a side of fruit makes a satisfying breakfast that won't weigh you down.

                                                                                                                                          2. i love breakfast, and will eat breakfast foods any time of day or night. we don't get up early so we don't go to "breakfast," more of a brunch on weekends. At our favorite diner we would go over about 11 on Sunday, just as the put out the day's soups. that way we could have a cup of chicken noodle soup (by far the best of their excellent soups) and an omlette.
                                                                                                                                            I love to cook breakfast, but i've never been successful at making good home fried potato - which is one of my most favorite foods. so, out we go! :)

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                              Lard. You're welcome.

                                                                                                                                              (Tell your arteries to chill, this isn't an everyday thing.)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                                                LOL @ the arteries comment!!
                                                                                                                                                thanks for the tip. :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                  My wife has pastrami hash and biscuts and gravey dailed.Thats all I need.

                                                                                                                                            2. I have to say, I adore the meal of breakfast. I enjoy cooking it as well as going out to eat. I have little patience when I'm really hungry though so I wouldn't be wanting to wait for a table at an iHop or Denny's. I would wait for a table for maybe 20 minutes tops at a place I love (there's a great independent joint near where I live that makes stuff like homemade banana bread french toast...and other amazing breakfast dishes).
                                                                                                                                              I could though, be JUST as satisfied making myself an egg sammich or omelet...or a strata at home too.
                                                                                                                                              Breakfast rocks.

                                                                                                                                              1. I have to strongly disagree with the OP. Going for breakfast out of the house is one of the highlights of my week! Granted, yes, I can make superior eggs and pancakes compared to the majority of diners I have been to in my life. No, I do not like crowds on busy Sundays. However, I LOVE eating in a large booth. I also LOVE the endless cups of decaf coffee (I wish I could drink regular but that's another issue). I do encounter the same problem you have with hash browns- which is why when I order them I always make a special request "Extra crispy, with extra onions and peppers". When encountering a new waiter they often will reply "But it already has onions" to which I then explain I want EXTRA and I have no problem paying for it. My local diner as a result makes some of the best hash browns I have ever had. The only real issue I have is that most breakfast plates are too heavy on the carbs; toast/bagel/muffin AND hashbrowns. I do wish more diners would offer fruit salad or something lighter as an alternative side.
                                                                                                                                                Finally, during slow times, I love to be able to linger over my decaf and eggs with a paper. For me, the experience of eating breakfast out is not just about the food, but the entire experience.

                                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                                  I don't think I've ever even heard of much less seen onions and/or peppers in hash browns. I would think having either of those ingredients in hash browns would make them extremely difficult to get crispy. But, again,, all the hash browns I've seen are just potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                  ETA: I was curious so googled. What you call hash browns seem to be home fries:

                                                                                                                                                  http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/pota...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                    When I was young, my father and I would go out for breakfast every Saturday. We ordered hashed browns with grilled onions, peppers and lots off shredded cheese on top. Then, we learned it would work if we asked for salsa too. SO delicious!

                                                                                                                                                    Home fries are larger pieces of potato rather than shredded potato, at least, that is how I understand it.

                                                                                                                                                    Some places will add the stuff you ask for happily. Those are the places I like to return to.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                                                                                      Is that it? I only know hash browns/home fries as browned chunks, the only shredded potatoes I've ever had here are pre-shredded in a factory somewhere. Like McDonalds? Must be a regional thing. Around here, shredded potatoes are call latkes!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                                                                                        Do you remember if they got "extra crispy"?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                          This is my problem with home fries out, when they are not burnt I get annoyed. A few times I was served what looked basically like boiled potatoes and I think that is around when I stopped going out for breakfast very often. Learned to make them myself the way I like them so I'm never disappointed. Must be the Irish in me.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                            @ Coll and C Oliver
                                                                                                                                                            I don't really know the difference but in California they call them hash browns or hashed browns if they have been through the industrial shredder (or the in-house shredder) and home fries if a knife was used to chop or dice them. But, as someone pointed out, there seems to be a thread dedicated to this topic so maybe I'll peak at it and see if it is just a California thing.

                                                                                                                                                            But, did they get extra crispy?? I don't know...This was in the eighties and early nineties. I know I used to ask for them crispy because, if I didn't, they would be a smooshy blob in the center and crispy on the outside only.

                                                                                                                                                            Oh, but so delicious! I have been able to get browns with onion and cheese at other places but this was the best. It was at Palisades Drug and Cafe. It was the old pharmacy/cafe that had been in town forever. The building they'd been in was remodeled to its original beauty and the rent went up. When they moved, it was sad because the customer base dropped off. But, they had a great cook and he made what the customers asked for. What was his name...Miguel!! We followed him when he started working at a diner in Santa Monica, too. Some line-cooks make food and dining out so much more enjoyable than others.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                          Home Fries vs hashbrowns has its own current thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7548...

                                                                                                                                                          Also, in my local diners, often if you ask them to hold the potatoes or toast, they oftern offer a fruit cup or apple sauce as a substitute (even in the place that has the "no substitutions" policy on its specials).

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                            I've often gotten sliced tomatoes or cottage cheese in place of potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, I had forgotten--lettuce and tomato or cottage cheese has also been offered as a substitute for the carbs. (I used to not eat the potatoes because I couldn't take the taste of the trans fats; now that they've been abolished, I actually like the taste of the really browned bits of potato.)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, same here. I can get one or two fruit cups depending on how hungry I am. I can't always eat two sides of bread and my low-sodium thing keeps me from ordering bacon or veggie sausage.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                I don't like potatoes, so I ask for them to be served either on a separate plate, or just piled on top of my SOs order of home fries or hash browns - whatever they're serving. I never thought about subbing a side, but usually the entree is more than enough for me.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                My mistake; I did mean home fries. In NY some diners use the words interchangably, even though you're right that hash browns should just be potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                                                  That's right, they call them either name, but they're always the chunky variety. Confusing for out of towners, I never realized.

                                                                                                                                                            3. Happily, I live in a neighborhood with at least four excellent choices for breakfast, and there are never any lines. Yes, I could make most of the things I love best at home, but that takes time and effort. A good restaurant breakfast is wonderful. Perfect eggs benedict, quality bacon/sausage/hash, artisan toast, fried potatoes and endless delicious coffee...mmm.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                                                                At my regular breakfast place they make the best homemade c.b. hash. their oatmeal is slow cook type and the fruit is freshly cut. Granted, I am proud of my breakfast making ability; but it is nice to know that a commercial breakfast spot is also something I look forward to going. Oh the staff there is the best...........maybe since they received their Christmas Cards from me,$$.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. I have 4 to 5 excellent choices close by that are good values for the food and have excellent service. It's nice to go out early on a Sunday, get a big table, split the Sunday paper with the BF and let someone else do the cooking and clean up.

                                                                                                                                                                2. I personally totally disagree. I enjoy nothing more than a leisurely sunday breakfast with family and friends. Everyone can always find something they like. I usually order something like steelcut oakmeal or egg white omelett. Others may order something sweet or savory as they prefer. Maybe I can cook most of these myself, but I can cook so many diverse dishes while having time to sit down and talk with people. And then who washes the dishes? I also can't make coffee, decaf, capucino, mocca, etc for each individual in my group.

                                                                                                                                                                  So my new year's resolution is to go out for breakfast with friends and family as often as I can.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. A burst of New Year's Day breakfast eaters, obviously, and in such good spirits! Breakfast at home, cooked by me? Yes. Breakfast out? Mostly yes, although I do find that early a.m. I have less patience with stuff that's poorly cooked or of lower quality. Blanket statements about "I'll never ____" often come back to bite folks - at least me - in the wazoo.

                                                                                                                                                                    Think I'll go have another cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Reading through this post inspired me to try making huevos rancheros. I've never had them (even though I'm a Texan) but I'm making a big old giant plate of them tomorrow with refried black beans and maybe some home fries with crumbled bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. We love to eat breakfast out. We love finding little places in the country and trying them. We are not above biscuits from Hardees or a breakfast sandwich from Mcdonalds either.

                                                                                                                                                                        Our favorite breakfast out involves a drive. There is an area not too far that is mainly accessible by ferry and so has changed very little over the years. It is a beautiful drive in all seasons through rolling hills to a small town and one of our favorite restaurants. You can get homemade bread for the toast and locally made sausage. The biscuits and gravy are good as are the home made cinnamon rolls. We often meet family members there, and everyone can get what they want. It sits on a river and you can watch the barges go by.

                                                                                                                                                                        In our town the best sit down breakfast is Cracker Barrel.

                                                                                                                                                                        I think cooking breakfast is a pain for restaurants-too many specifics to keep track of-
                                                                                                                                                                        "wheat toast, dark, no butter
                                                                                                                                                                        eggs over easy but make sure the white is done
                                                                                                                                                                        bacon crispy but not too done
                                                                                                                                                                        potatoes no onions but well done"
                                                                                                                                                                        all for $4.50--yikes

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wekick

                                                                                                                                                                          You make a good point. Our local restaurateurs tell me it's harder to get staffing for breakfast than other meals, too, and that cooking breakfast is a different skill set than many chefs either can't do or choose not to. I've often wondered if high-end cooking schools like the CIA even offer instruction in working a grill.

                                                                                                                                                                          The average check is low, people can be grumpy...it's difficult. All the more reason to be grateful for the spots that do it well.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                            I've found some of the servers in the breakfast or breakfast/lunch places the best you could ask for while doing a tough job. My bf and I used to go weekly on Sunday morning to the local chain outlet of Jimmy's Egg. Then the highway expansion caused them to close, so we ate elsewhere. About 6 to 8 months later, a new location opened close to us so we headed out on a Sunday morning to try it out. Little did we know, one of the great waitresses from the other location was hired on at this location as well and we were sitting in her section. Even that long without seeing us, she walked up to our table with an unsweetened ice tea and a diet coke before we even ordered. She knew her customers THAT well. I was pleased to see her. Little touches like that in a dificult working environment really make the morning dining experience nice.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. ............well jlafler, I found that post very amusing. and agree with your assessment as well.
                                                                                                                                                                          we go out to breakfast relatively often, maybe twice a month. I like the standard of eggs benedictine, husband like his usual country fried steak. I often get 2 eggs over medium, sourdough toast, bacon and hash browns, that is if I'm not in the mood for EB. I'm not the omelet person, as I am not that fond of them and can do better with my choice of ingredients at home anyway. home fries are good, but I make 'em all the time at home so no big deal to me. I prefer a well made hash brown and no matter how hard I try or how much I practice or what method I use, I can't get them just right like a chain has in the high dessert called Crazy Otto's. husband isn't much of a fan of theirs for the exact reasons you mentioned. we get there and then it's a hurry up and wait routine.

                                                                                                                                                                          my idea of going out to breakfast was from the olden days, way olden days.
                                                                                                                                                                          being raised in horse country, going to Roy and Dales house as a youngen,
                                                                                                                                                                          having eggs and toast and huge steaks and buttered peas and mashed potatoes and gravy
                                                                                                                                                                          then gettin on the horse for a good mountainous ride was the best out to breakfast experience ever.

                                                                                                                                                                          like your post, thanks for making me giggle

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Interesting topic... I like going out for breakfast, but it's much more for the social aspect of the meal than for the food. Breakfast/brunch is a great time to linger over food, coffee, mimosas, etc. and catch up.
                                                                                                                                                                            Even really great brunch food, just in and of itself, usually disappoints me a bit, since it's almost always something I could easily make at home for half the price. True, I'd have to cook it, and clean up -- but when I go out for breakfast, I usually end up standing line for a while, so that's a hassle, too.

                                                                                                                                                                            That's not to say that there aren't some great diners or brunch options around where I live -- just that even their "best" dishes generally aren't things I couldn't easily whip up by myself.

                                                                                                                                                                            Now, the one type of restaurant I LOVE for breakfast/brunch is a South Indian buffet where I can get things like idli and upma that I would *not* make well at home!

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: anakalia

                                                                                                                                                                              Try going to breakfast at 8AM and you won't have to stand in line.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                Haha, good point! Although a lot of the nicer breakfast/brunch places around here don't even open until 10 a.m.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: anakalia

                                                                                                                                                                                  Half my day is gone by then. Thinking about my nap :)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I notice folks talking about reading the Sunday papers over brunch eaten out. Most of our good brunch spots are so busy you'd get Looks if you dawdled over coffee reading the paper. How is it elsewhere?

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                And if the looks don't kill ya, your guilty conscience should :)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                  That's true. The last time I was able to linger and read a Sunday paper over breakfast was at a Village Inn in Wyoming... everywhere else, you'll get dirty looks :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's also impossible to dawdle and read the paper if your party includes small children, as ours did. Even well-behaved children require supervision, and even well-behaved children shouldn't be expected to sit quietly at the table for any longer than they generally do at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I used to have auditions at a studio right across from Balthazaar here in NYC. If the audition was early AM, I could catch Balthazaar before they started serving any hot food. You could sit for a long time with a croissant or chocolate bread and and amazing latte in a big bowl-like cup. They'd bring you several daily papers and you could read and linger while they stocked their raw bar for lunch and dinner later in the day. So nice and not expensive (around $7). Of course, once brunch hits and you start getting mimosas and lobster eggs benedict it's not such a great value. That's a breakfast I enjoyed very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I also hate cleaning breakfast dishes but I tried something recently that made it a lot easier. I started baking eggs in ramekins. Mark Bittman did a great piece about baked eggs recently. I usually throw in whatever leftovers I have from dinner the night before (cooked veggies, bits of meat, some firm cheese, even wilted salad greens) and throw them in the oven for 10 minutes or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                    You certainly have to soak or clean the ramekins but there's no frying pan, no greasy kitchen, and the dish is cooked and eaten in the same vessel. It's just easier and the eggs are usually done when the coffee has been french pressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                    For Dim Sum however, I will travel any distance, wait any amount of time, and get up at whatever hour is necessary. That's a good breakfast. : )

                                                                                                                                                                                    JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                    homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think Around My French Table has a recipe for something this. But you put a piece of pate' in the bottom on the ramekin and I believe some cream to almost but not quite cover the egg. I keep meaning to fix this. Thanks for the reminder.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow. That sounds like it might deserve an upgrade to dinner. : )
                                                                                                                                                                                        JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                        homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually I think it was an appetizer course. I'm not at home this week so can't check the exact recipe. But I sure did sound elegant and special!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. OP here. It's gratifying to see the longevity of this topic!

                                                                                                                                                                                      It seems that it all boils down to a couple of trade-offs.

                                                                                                                                                                                      One is the trade-off between the hassle of getting out of the house to the restaurant vs. the hassle of making breakfast. For me, the hassle of making breakfast is small because I don't usually want anything elaborate and I generally have the ingredients on hand. The hassle of getting out the door is significant because I have a five-year-old and because there aren't any really good breakfast restaurants within walking distance of our house; thus, going out means driving and finding parking.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The other trade-off is between the pleasure of eating out (being served, dawdling and relaxing in a semi-public setting, eating something that you can't or don't cook at home, etc.) vs. the pleasure of eating at home (eating when you want to, being in greater control of the experience, dawdling and relaxing in a private setting, etc.). As I've described, the pleasures of eating breakfast out are largely lost on me, since I don't like many of the foods that are on the typical breakfast menu and I don't enjoy facing the world before I've had anything to eat. (A partial solution to this problem is to have a small snack when I get up, just to tide me over, but obviously this is something I do only when forced by necessity to go out for breakfast.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      In any case, I certainly didn't mean to be prescriptive. It's been interesting seeing other people's thoughts on the subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                                                                                                        I could eat breakfast out 3 times a day, seven days a week. I agree that two eggs over easy, lousy hash browns and toasted Wonder bread is not worth my effort, but there's a universe of excellent options out there. My children are well past five but I always enjoyed the experience of introducing them to new foods and going to restaurants was part of that experience. They are now my regular breakfast partners. Sure, I can make the equivalent of lots of what's out there, holds true for more than 50% of what I eat out, but there's pleasure to be had in sitting in a nice environment and sharing a variety of dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's a rare Sunday when we don't eat breakfast out and I do my best to squeeze another day in wherever I can.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's all a matter of taste, isn't it? If you find eating breakfast in a restaurant pleasant and relaxing, it's not surprising that you think it's worth the effort. But, to reiterate, the issue for me isn't bad breakfast food, it's that the standard American breakfast menu, even if well-prepared, just doesn't do much for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                                                                                                            Living in Chicago i have several spectacular breakfast options well beyond "standard American breakfast" fare. So maybe it's just a matter of getting more adventurous.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't generally feel very adventurous until midday. Just not a morning person, including when it comes to food.

                                                                                                                                                                                              (Edited to be slightly less obnoxious.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I haven't read this entire thread so I apologize in advance if this has already been mentioned, but as a Midwestern gal currently residing in Minnesota, I had the opportunity to experience a Sunday breakfast at one of the many small diners in Nashville a few years ago. The menu was written on a chalkboard and the price was based upon the number of "meats" you wanted with your meal....$2.00 for each one. And these really were MEATS! Like country ham slabs or pile-o-bacon, etc. The other stuff (toast, eggs, etc), were automatically included at no additional charge (sort of like a dill pickle spear with a hamburger up here in MN). Was this an isolated thing, or is it a common breakfast practice in the south? (By the way - it was totally yummy....I'm not much of a breakfast fan either, so I enjoyed the option of having some other kind of protein besides eggs)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. There's a little restaurant here that does great breakfast dishes, notably eggs benedict, including a version with shortribs.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I've enjoyed going to brunches with friends because they do tend to be slow meals and it provides a nice amount of time to visit without anyone having to entertain at home. And it's generally less expensive than dinner out.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I appreciate the issues that the OP expresses. That being said, I love going out to breakfast, even if I do so very rarely. I rarely go the sweet / carb-laden route, whether I'm cooking at home or dining out, and I feel like I make most egg / potato / sausage or bacon / toast meals (which are my favorite) better than just about every local breakfast joint, but...

                                                                                                                                                                                            A lot of the time it is nice to have someone else make it for me. No fuss, no mess for me. And most of what I get around here is good enough for my tastes. Also, probably my favorite breakfast dish is eggs benedict, and it is just so much easier to have someone else make the hollandaise for me (because I have to make it fresh when cooking at home, and it religiously screws with my timing).

                                                                                                                                                                                            For me it really is a joy when I go on vacation for a week or long weekend and get to have breakfast out every morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The only thing I loathe about breakfast out around here is that I'm only truly able to go on the weekends, most times, and I am going to wait 30-45 minutes or more for a seat any time after 7am at any place worth my while. I simply am not going to wake up before 9am on the weekend, especially since I often don't go to bed Friday-Saturday before 4 or 5 in the morning. So I can only tolerate such a wait if they have a bar that serves up some tasty Bloody Mary's while I wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't partake of a normal breakfast most days, which is sad because traditional breakfast foods are some of my favorites. Accordingly, when my craving gets bad enough, I will cook breakfast for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. The only times we have breakfast at a restaurant is when we're traveling. A few tips we picked up over the years: Always order your toast "well browned with BUTTER ON THE SIDE please". That way you don't get soggy barely browned toast but more importantly you get those little individual packages of actual butter.......not something that maybe resembles butter or butter thats been whipped with some other oil. We never have coffee. We always ask for fresh orange juice. If it isn't real orange juice we leave it. We always look for a little restaurant which is VERY well maintained on the outside with newer than older cars/trucks parked outside. When we walk in if the customers appear unhappy and or we aren't quickly given a cheerful greeting and if the 'vibe' isn't positive we leave. If that means we don't have breakfast for another hundred miles we go hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yeah. The point about staffing problems is a good one. That's why we always look for your classic little spotless 'Ma and Pa' restaurant. Either Ma or Pa is working the grill and they've hired a couple of plain ordinary straight mostly women/girls to serve who have a 'work ethic' and aren't working because they must but because they enjoy the routine and the customers (mostly). Funny how the saying 'like attracts like' works with restaurants when it comes to which ones attract certain clientele. For instance when we drive past a run down crappy looking restaurant with a few beaten up rusty dirty pickups outside we just keep driving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is quite a discerning scouting process, especially driving through town. I must say we have used the "vibe" test ourselves. One of our favorite places- home made bread for toast, clean, country eggs, mom and pop, local sausages and their own smoker and bonus they have a water view and it is inexpensive ...BUT they do allow anyone to park in the lot which means some old beater usually and all the servers "have" to work. I think that would be really hard to tell who has to work or not. I've been on both sides of that myself. How many people who don't have to work want to bust their fanny waiting on people and all that goes with that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We are on the road a lot and especially in small towns, so we eat at a lot of Mom and Pops. Our biggest problem would be "smoke". We are so used to smoke free where we live. Even with that, we have had some great experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've had some of the best meals of my life in "run down" places with "beaten up" cars in the parking lot. That's what being a Chowhound is all about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some of the dining public go for the phoney plastic ambiance others go for the skill of the cooks. One of my most memorable meals was on a rundown, neglected beach on the coast of Western Cuba, strewn with trash, sitting on a 5 gallon bucket eating fresh caught Wahoo, seasoned and cooked perfectly by local boys, and downing somewhat cold beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      To each his/her own..................

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I certainly agree that excellent food can be had in/at some pretty bleak looking places around the globe. I'm just saying that that great place you ate at in Cuba if the exact same looking place was transported to neglected beach on lake Huron my guess is you wouldn't stop to eat there. It's all relative. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Went to a 'Mother's Day buffet brunch a few years ago at a 'fancy' restaurant. One of our relatives was attracted to those white puffy things made from sugar and egg whites which were here and there on the buffet tables. He decide to pile a bunch of them on his plate, I suspect to take them home in some napkins. He sat down with a dozen of these delicacies in front of him and took a big bite of one. His face turned red and he had to run to the restroom! The 'delicacies' turned out to be plaster of paris 'table props'. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                            love that Puffin3. sort of reminds me of the time i was making brownies at a friend's house. another of our friends stopped by and was excited by the smell of the baking treats. he went into the kitchen, then five seconds later came flying out coughing and gagging. i had put the bowl in the sink and washed it out. apparently, my friend (whose house it was) had washed out his coffee makers, and there were some of the residual coffee grinds in the bowl with a little water. eager beaver friend mistook the sludge for brownie batter... ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You guess wrong, in regard to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the most memorable things I have ever eaten was in a little restaurant in Arkansas. It was pie made in someone's home kitchen and brought in. The cars/trucks were all local and mine was probably the best one(and not all that great either). And yep, I have stopped at the shrimp shacks along the beach in very neglected areas. Everyone's comfort level is different though so it is great you have a system that works for you, Puffin3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wekick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                In 'less developed 'countries I've eaten excellent meals in, by Western standards, restaurants that wouldn't be allowed to be in business. No problems. (Mostly) LOL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                If I see a run down restaurant with a parking lot full of 'beaters' parked outside at lunch time I know the 'locals' like the food so I have no problem going in. OTOH, if I see a tidy little restaurant at lunch time with only one car (probably the restaurant's owner's) situated along a busy road I give it a pass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I tend to agree with the OP...I would much prefer to make breakfast at home than go out for the following reasons 1) I prefer organic fruits/eggs from the farmers market/nitrite free bacon/homemade bread, 2) I know that what I am cooking is in good oil/butter...I don't know what they are using at most restaurants, 3) I am able to cook breakfast to how we like it, not leave it up to the cook's interpretation of what over-easy eggs are, etc, 4) It's still cheaper to make it at home, even with ingredients that are a bit more expensive, 5) I save money on gas, tax, and tip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm basically with you. Most of the foods I like for breakfast I can make/have much better sourcing for at home. My mother raises free range chickens and turkeys so I always have an overabundance of amazing fresh eggs at home - I really have a hard time eating eggs out knowing how most factory farmed poultry is treated and tasting how inferior they are. Ditto pork/bacon/ham - I have about 10 lbs of bacon in my freezer from our family's pastured pork and just can't eat it out. I love seasonal fruit and veggies for breakfast too, but even here in South Jersey? Most of the diners serve generic imported fruits and vegetables vs. what's growing fresh in our own backyard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, I'd just rather eat my breakfast at home while comfy in my nightgown and underwear. Having to shower and dress and drive somewhere first? Uh, no thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Ok, the real reason I like going out to breakfast over getting at home? If I go to the right place, I can get bacon, sausage AND country ham. That is a real pain to cook all that at home in addition to eggs and or pancakes/waffles/french toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Plus the kids can have what they want and I can have what I want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still, we usually only eat breakfast out on vacation, and even then rarely since most hotels have a free breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I love going out for breakfast! To me its more of a social thing and plus one thing I rarely make is eggs bennie so I usually get that. Maybe you are eating at the wrong places or don't really enoy the company?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't get the idea that you can make it easier, faster, better at home. I could say that about most restaurant meals. Other than some complicated ethnic recipes where I don't have the tools or access to hard-to-find spices/ingredients I could make most of meals I eat out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Eating out (heck meals in general) are often more about the company than the food itself. I try to remind myself that when a group wants to go to place I don't love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. That's what I miss about my hometown, Reno NV. The breakfast buffets!! YUUMMM!!!