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Jan 27, 2013 05:58 AM

Breakfast @ Ellen's [Keego/DTW]

Ellen's Bakery & Cafe is more cafe, than bakery. Ever since MF&S
relocated to Portland, Ellen's has been my go-to place for soups.

In late 2012, Ellen's began opening for breakfast. Somehow, it never
entered into our weekend breakfast spot rotation. Based on this
morning's visit, Ellen's has earned a primary spot.

While I LOVE the flavors at Frittata (Clawson), Cafe Cafe Muse (RO)
and Recipes (Troy), they are not as near as I would like ... and the
nearby choices (Breakfast Club, Scrambler, Roberto's, etc) underachieve
when it comes to freshness and flavors.

Ellen's did a darned good job this morning with regard to fresh
ingredients and flavors. Their breakfast service is not (yet?) operating
at the same level as my favorites, but given time, they may indeed rise
to that level.

If you're in the area, consider Ellen's for breakfast.

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  1. Will do! By the way, what did you have, an omlette?

    1 Reply
    1. re: VTB

      Farmers omelette. Their house-made sourdough lacked the typical SFO bite; more of the usual "Midwest" recipe. My wife liked her eggs w/rye.

      At 8:45, only three tables were occupied. Our waitress says that they are slammed with customers betw 11-2.

    2. Tried Ellen's spicy sausage hash this morning. Wonderful. I
      cannot explain why it took so long to get to this menu item.

      1. RS: hast thou tried the corned beef hash there? Just wondering.

        4 Replies
        1. re: boagman

          I have not (yet) tried their CBH.

          1. re: boagman

            Finally made the drive to Ellen’s. Thanks for the tip Rainsux!

            Wife had a daily special of shrimp and cheesy grits. Also comes with poached eggs and crumbled bacon on top, for good measure. Aside from the bacon, the flavors were very subdued—mild cheese, benign shrimp, milky grits. Nice dish, but I would have preferred a little more pop; then again, grits aren’t known for “pop.”

            The kid had a half order (plenty) of chocolate chip pancakes. Yummy. Will order the same next time, even though I’d prefer he order one of the fresh fruit pancakes or French toasts.

            I had corned beef hash. Thought about one of the many interesting sounding omelets, but figured I’d do a bit of reporting for our favorite locksmith owner. The corned beef was of high quality, though the hash didn’t happen to be of my variety. The potatoes were diced very finely and I think stored under water to keep them from discoloring, such that the hash was a bit moist and too healthy for me. I lean more towards big, darkly fried chunks in my hash. Regardless, it was fine and the toasts were fantastic (the seeded levain, and the sunflower-oatmeal). Also, the eggs were perfectly poached—not any easy accomplishment during the peak rush period.

            All portions were very generous for the price, particularly given that the ingredients were far from the type of cheap, industrial junk offered up at most breakfast places. Because good breakfasts are hard to find, the crowds flock to Helen’s on the weekend, causing some major traffic issues inside. The tables are really squeezed together, and coffee is self-serve at one end (with the cream/sugar/stirrers at yet a slightly other location). So, numerous large people always are trying to snake between diners, bumping them and causing jams around which the waitresses and bussers frustratedly try to navigate.

            Also, many of the old locals obstruct the narrow passageways, standing to chat and network with acquaintances. Must get quite messy, once puffy winter coats and cold coughs are added to the mix. There are a couple big, long, nearly empty bread racks in the center of things which if moved or disassembled would provide a bit of relief. Just a thought. I’ll be back in any event!

            PS--Sorry for the lame photography skills. Maybe I got syrup on my lens. You may want to just go to the good pics on their website.

              1. re: VTB

                I've tried Ellen's CBH. I prefer:

                - A bit more CB; or, a bit less potato
                - A coarser chop.
                - Potatoes a bit crisper/done.

                Otherwise; the flavor was good.

                However; whenever I am in the mood for a breakfast hash,
                I will be ordering their spicy sausage hash. Yum!

            1. Ellen's has added duck confit hash to their Specials board. But
              not cheap. $13 buys the hash, two eggs and toast.

              Very good. Good duck flavor. When asked how I liked it, I
              suggested a bit of heat. The chef offered a couple of suggestions for next week's edition.

              1. Ellen's is expanding into the empty storefront next door. It will likely quadruple their space.

                When the new space opens (Nov/Dec 2014), they will begin dinner service.

                Glad that the duck confit hash is still on the menu. Pricey at $14, but is okay as an occasional splurge.