Man, do I loooove me some pancakes in the morning. Wait, better than that: I loooove me some blueberry pancakes eaten poolside in the morning, while the sun is still climbing the sky and the breeze from the bay is rolling in and I’m on vacation. Man, do I love those pancakes.
Those were precisely the ones I had last Friday when I woke up at The Standard Hotel in Miami, threw on a bathing suit and sauntered over to the pool to enjoy a deliciously lazy morning.
Sure, my fluffy buttermilk pancakes oozing with juicy, fat blueberries were delicious (especially after my thick, generous pour of maple syrup) but really it was the view across the water, the quiet of the early morning, and the wonderful and rare feeling of not having a single other thing to worry about at the moment that made them so wonderful.
Oh to be back in that moment with those pancakes and that view.
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.
Little nuggets of deliciousness
It doesn’t get more diabolically delicious than fat little chunks of juicy pork belly, battered and deep fried and topped off with Maker’s Mark infused maple syrup. I mean really. Really! Did you process that? Pork belly donuts, people. Pork belly freakin’ donuts. It’s almost wrong how gluttonously awesome I think this is. Almost.
These tender mouthfuls of pork belly, moist and fluffy in their little coats of batter and syrup, were courtesy of The Sycamore, a funky, laid-back bar in the Mission (where thanks to food like this I now regret not living in). To sell these at a place that focuses on alcohol is just pure evil genius. I’d have a hard time turning these down sober, but put so much as one drink in me and chances are I’m gonna be wolfing these down by the dozen.
Lucky for them they come in orders of six and I was splitting them with two other people. But next time, pork belly donuts? I don’t think you’ll be so lucky.
I was starting to think I’d never try them. Back in New York, every time I brought up the idea of going to Harlem to get chicken and waffles, something came up. Either no one felt like going, no one was available, it was too far, other brunch plans came up, there wasn’t enough time. Always something.
Little Skillet: just a little walk-up window
But then I moved to San Francisco and found out that one of the 100 things I had to try here before dying was chicken and waffles at a place called Little Skillet. The food gods were in my favor, or so I thought, because it was just a few blocks away from work. I’d easily be able to pop over during my lunch break and finally basque in the delicious, fried, wonderfulness that is chicken and waffles.
But then, on two separate occasions, I went and came back chicken-and-waffleless. The first time it was at the hands of my ol’ nemesis, the “cash only” sign. I rarely have cash but I looked anyway and found a two-dollar bill and some euro cents. I left, empty stomached and dejected. Then the second time, with fresh-out-of-the-atm bills in my wallet, I went over during a lunch break with one of my coworkers… just to find out it had closed 15 minutes earlier, at 2. I won’t even get into how ludicrous I think it is to close a lunch place at 2pm, but just know that I’m not ok with it.
I wanted to give up but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to wait till I got back to New York (still about another month away) and I didn’t want to look up other places in the city. I wanted chicken and waffles dammit, and I wanted them from Little Skillet. So, for the third time, I went. I had cash and left early, and thankfully, the food gods rewarded my commitment to the cause. I had my chicken and waffles.