Breakfast of (gluttonous) champions

Behold: the French toast bagel. Cue the choir of angels.

Behold: the French toast bagel. Cue the choir of angels.

Some people incorrectly believe that I live off a diet of pizza and Cadbury eggs. And hey, listen, I get it. I see how my endless blabbering would make anyone think I eat only the most unhealthy of foods, but those are really just a small (ok fine, medium) part of my diet. The other parts just aren’t as exciting, so I don’t talk about them much. Who really wants to hear about my spinach smoothies and undying love for steamed Brussels sprouts? No one.

But who wants to hear about the insanity of deliciousness, the monstrosity of gluttony, and the several thousand calories of over-the-top breakfast ridiculousness I ate this weekend in the form of a french toast bagel with maple bacon cream cheese from The Bagel Store around the corner from my place? Well, way more of you than want to read about green smoothies, I’m sure.

Let me repeat that so you can take it in again: a french toast bagel, stuffed no, oooooozing with thick globs of maple bacon cream cheese. A true beast of a breakfast. But so, so delicious.

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What you might call the antithesis of a healthy breakfast

The bagel itself was a big, round, doughy affair, slightly more yellow than the average bagel, and with a sweeter flavor, like the love child between a plain bagel and challah bread. Dusted on the golden-brown top crust was a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, and inside was an admittedly obscene amount of cream cheese, probably enough for at least one whole other bagel to be properly smeared with.

Just when you thought cream cheese couldn't get better. Bam! BACON.

Just when you thought cream cheese couldn’t get better. Bam! BACON.

So, let’s talk about this maple bacon cream cheese. It wasn’t bacon flavored, or speckled with crummy bacon bits. Oh no, this cream cheese had generous strips, huge chunks of actual bacon, what someone clearly cut very generously and threw into the mix. Was it a bit excessive? Yes. Did I care? Nope, ate every last bit of it, in fact.

But I followed it up with a green juice later in the day. I swear.

The Bagel Store on Urbanspoon

No bacon, eggs or cheese here but it’s OK

With the exception of New Year’s Day, when I woke up with an outrageous, crippling hangover and wanted nothing more than to eat all of the bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches in New York City, being a vegan hasn’t been that bad.

I’m on day twelve of my month long challenge  and not once in those twelve days have I cheated, fantasized about dairy (that much), or directed malicious thoughts toward people eating non-vegan things. (Although, confession time: having to order vegetarian meatloaf at a chicken-and-waffles joint sucked… especially when my friend’s fried chicken smelled like God himself.)
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Just as great tasting as it is looking, I swear

One of the good things about living in New York though, and more specifically Brooklyn, is that being vegan doesn’t have to suck. I mean, it’s not ideal (life without bacon cheeseburgers just can’t be ideal), but it’s not the worst thing ever, either. A couple mornings ago, for example, I found myself at Brooklyn Standard, my favorite Greenpoint deli, looking for a big breakfast to hunker down in bed with while binge watching Downton Abbey. (It was my day off and the weather was rating pretty high on the shitty winter weather scale, so yea, those were my plans.)
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What a beaut.

And that’s when I saw it: the Cali Bagel with the magic v word in parenthesis: tofu cream cheese, tempeh sausage, oven-dried cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, and basil. Slap all that on an everything bagel and you’re looking at a pretty happy fake vegan.

First of all, let me say this: I was ready to hate tofu cream cheese. As a serious lover of real cream cheese, I didn’t think I had it in me to love an imposter, but I did. I loved how creamy and smooth it was, and how it just melted and oozed all over my toasted bagel. The tempeh sausage, while not as delicious as the real deal, was good and had a nice, sausagey consistency and flavor. The cherry tomatoes were juicy and bright and the jalapeños added a perfect hint of tangy spiciness.

Being a vegan for another 20 or so days shouldn’t be too hard if I have this bad boy just down the block.

Smitten with a breakfast burger

My wah-wah-wah-I-miss-Italy pity party is OVER. You hear me? O-VER. Because who has time for all that misty eyed reminiscing, all that longing for meals past, all that pining away for something an ocean away when there are things like the breakfast burger at Mile End Sandwich to be had right here and now in New York City where I am oh-so-lucky to find myself? (Those of you not in the city, sorry, you should probably book a ticket.)

Mile End’s breakfast burger: it might be love

Seriously, Italy who? I have a new love, and with its unabashed, carefree sloppiness and finger-licking deliciousness (totally not just a phrase but an actual truth in this situation), the Mile End breakfast burger just snaked its way into my heart, leaving behind a trail of egg yolk and English muffin crumbs. And happiness.

It’s sloppy, but really. WHO. CARES?

Served every day but only until 4pm (which is a shame cause I would eat this bad boy for dinner ANY day), the breakfast burger is a handsome, juicy veal sausage patty, topped with an over easy egg and further perfected with melted Quebec cheddar, warm apple butter and the sweet touch of maple syrup, all of that— yes, ALL of that— between two soft, perfectly crumbly English muffin halves. There’s no way to eat this without ending up a complete gooey, sticky, crumby mess, but it’s worth it. So worth it.

I mean really,  you and me, breakfast burger, we could have a good thing here.

Breakfast buns

Decisions, decisions...

I’ve been cutting through Chinatown to get to work in the morning the past few days. Sometimes, when I find myself stuck in a sea of 3-foot-tall, ancient looking Chinese women, my New-Yorker-in-a-hurry powerwalk slowed to a near stop, I curse under my breath. “[Expletive]! This was a terrible idea. I’m never gonna get there in time. Am I the only one trying to get somewhere right now? Ugh.”

Today was different though. For one thing, I left 10 minutes earlier. But it wasn’t because I was factoring in the time it would take to elbow my way through the clogged sidewalks. No, I left earlier because I was making a stop along the way. A breakfast stop at a Chinatown bakery. Continue reading

Weirdest non-edible food item of the weekend

I don't know what my dentist would say about this.

While perusing the large assortment of sometimes cool, sometimes weird, sometimes just plain out-there Asian merchandise at SoHo’s Pearl River Mart I saw this unappetizing spin on the ol’ dental chore of flossing. Even I think this is too much but hey, if it gets people flossing then so be it, right? As much as I love breakfast foods, I think I’ll stick to my plain old mint flavored floss.

Breakfast: It’s what’s for dinner

It's always a good time for breakfast!

My mornings are pretty rushed. Between going to the gym, getting dressed, running back home to drop off sweaty clothes and smelly shoes, and grabbing last minute things to take to work, I don’t usually have time for a proper breakfast. Most days I gulp down some green tea and eat something simple and fast—instant oatmeal, instant grits, anything instant basically.

But I love breakfast and I hate that it’s become the casualty of my frenzied mornings. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, biscuits, hashbrowns, waffles, all of it. I love it but just don’t have the time for it most days.

So this week, we found a solution to that: we had it for dinner. Eggs, hashbrowns, and mini crescent rolls (the Pillsbury kind that come in the tube you have to peel open until it pops and makes me jump every time). Next time we’ll honor the sweets like waffles, pancakes and toast with cream cheese and jelly (one of my favorite combos).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this crackpot city it’s that you can’t say you’re too busy for the things you enjoy. If you really love something, you make time for it, and for breakfast, that time is dinnertime.