Breakfast Quest I
(Trivium, Devildriver, After The Burial, Sylosis Leg 1 North American Tour, 3rd/4th Quarter 2013)
When I think back in the years, I don’t ever recall being a huge American breakfast fan. Since I always had the option of Japanese breakfast growing up, I don’t think I appreciated the greatness that is the American breakfast. Lately, Paolo and I’s thing has been nabbing up as much amazing breakfast in the USA as possible. America does several things very well in food, and breakfast (now that I am of the converted) in America is pretty damn amazing sometimes.
When it comes to narrowing specifics, anything in the range of the diner realm is something I gravitate towards. Whether it’s a greasy spoon, old school diner; or something like a New American diner doing familiar dishes with impeccably sourced local ingredients, having fun and taking liberties with adding in the unexpected – America has something darn fine going on (Canada does a good diner sometimes too).
This best-of-the-best list takes you to the spots I stuffed my face at first thing in the (touring band dudes’) morning (typically 11:45am/noon).
1. Albuquerque, NM. The Grove.
This is the cafe that Walter White in Breaking Bad frequented. This is where the Stevia packet was poured. This New American-style diner does modern and classic favorites alike; it has cookbooks and kitchen utensils and such for safe; the orders are done at the counters, and man is everything fantastic here. Paolo and I shared breakfast with Chris and John from Devildriver, I had: coffee, croque madame (toast with ham, cheese, and an egg on top), a side of thick back bacon, and macaroons. I am a sucker for French food, and The Grove nailed it. Best breakfast of the tour in a sacred location of television.
2. Asheville, NC. Early Girl Eatery.
Asheville’s Early Girl Eatery has the charm of an old diner, mixed in with being something run by cool local kids. We had lots of the Trivium band and crew in tow here for our feast. The meal included: Local sausage and sweet potato scramble, multigrain pancakes, and fried green tomatoes. The fried green tomatoes here are a show-stopper.
Little Goat is in my mental notes of the sort of place I would open if I ever owned a restaurant. A modern, sleekly, yet warmly designed spot with the traditional diner as the backbone and inspiration upon what is built up here. Little Goat in Chicago and Skillet in Seattle are my favorite vibes of the “modern” diner as I call ‘em. Chicago is a beast when it comes to having an endless supply of mind-blowing food, and Little Goat follows suit. I went for their corned beef hash and a coffee. It was familiar, but done in that New American way that I love so much in the USA.
4. Minneapolis, MN. Moose And Sadie’s.
Moose And Sadie’s like everything previously mentioned has become our tradition every time we hit the city. Moose And Sadie’s is setup like a local coffee shop with a counter you order at which slings out some really delicious stuff. I went for the huevos rancheros and a side of potatoes. Really impeccably done in it’s simplicity and freshness of ingredients.
5. Boise, ID. Goldy’ Breakfast Bistro.
Great local diner run by younger folks. Beautifully done diner classics. I went for the omelette with spinach and gruyere, Goldy’s peps potatoes, maple house-made sausage, and wheat toast.
6. Spokane, WA. Frank’s Diner.
Of the list, this is the first truly old school diner that is still hanging around sending out fantastically done breakfast and diner classics. I went for the hobo scramble here. I am a big fan of eggs, potatoes, cheese, and a meat all being paired up. As a kid, my dad would always mash all those components up in his breakfast and him and my sister would call it “mush”. It took me a few decade – but now all I want is “mush”.
7. Charlotte, NC. Mattie’s Diner.
8. Boston, MA. Eastern Standard.
Scrambled Eggs, French Toast.
9. Thunder Bay, Ontario. Niva’s.
The Big Finn
10. Denver, CO. Syrup.
11. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Poached Egg.
Toronto, Ontario. The Senator.
I had the senator omelette. It was vastly overpriced, the potatoes were sad and obviously from a frozen bag, the eggs were burnt, the waitress very rude to Paolo, Chris (Devildriver), and myself. I don’t normally pick out spots to call out – but we walked far as heck to get there, were treated badly, fed badly, and ripped off as far as I’m concerned. Don’t go there.