Thanks to the kitchen in our Meatpacking apartment almost always being stocked with fresh bagels, it wasn’t often that we went out for breakfast whilst staying in New York. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but eating out three times a day for five weeks became a little much. Sitting on the couch crunching into a toasted bagel smothered in butter & Vegemite or cream cheese was so much easier than going out, sometimes. And it didn’t require a tip!
Here’s a small bunch of places we did go to for breakfast. On the mornings when I could be bothered pulling the camera out to use, that is.
This is 11th St Cafe, a cafe we ended up walking to after leaving Bakehouse, a restaurant on our block that we wanted to try but wasn’t quite ready for customers when we arrived just before 9am. The croissants and pastries they offered weren’t substantial enough, and suggestion was made that we try their sister restaurant a couple of blocks away.
It’s your typically tiny New York cafe with cramped seating, friendly staff and a real neighbourhood atmosphere. Pastries and bagels are on counter display and up on the chalkboard are the eggy options; a selection of French-style omelettes and scrambled egg dishes that all sound pretty good. Scrambled eggs come served in a bowl and the one we received is the bacon, chive & cheddar (6.75). I go for an omelette with portobello mushroom & aged asiago. Both are tasty enough.
Over on West 12th Street is Cafe Cluny, another French-American establishment we sampled for brekkie. Every night we walked past this place it was gang-busters and we vowed to give the dinner menu a go. That never eventuated but at least we got to see it at a less frantic pace in the morning hours.
Oats, berries with yoghurt, eggs and French toast are on offer to the morning crowd. The other half wasn’t all that hungry and chooses the grapefruit brûlée (6). It’s exactly that. Half a grapefruit, scattered with sugar and torched. Juicy, sweet and sour.
My breakfast club sandwich (14) is a little more substantial. The usual club suspects of bacon, tomato, avocado and mayonnaise, with the addition of fried egg. French fries bulk up the plate as well; because fries at breakfast is just what we need, right?
Tucked away out of sight from any passers-by is Cafe Gitane, located up the steep stairs inside the Jane Hotel, a place that once housed sailors and survivors of the Titanic. The decor is a mish-mash of styles. A bit French, a bit Moroccan, and a bit nautical. Marble counter, wood finishes, chequered floor, even an alligator up of the wall.
Breakfast is decidedly French, which seems to be the unintentional theme in this post. Friand, brioche, croissants, and a very un-French condiment called Vegemite that you can choose to spread over your bread. Nice to see it’s Aussie-friendly in here, although, this pair of Aussies was struggling with the macchiato they were given. Not great at all.
It’s usually me that settles on waffles (9.5) for breakfast, but somebody beat me to it. Not that I really wanted them. Here at Gitane they’re spiked with orange blossom water, plus some fruit and maple syrup. It’s always a bit tricky with things like orange blossom. One or two drops too many and you’ve got soap-tasting food. Not today, however.
I went for the baked eggs (12), teamed with tomato, basil, cream and a couple of tasty little merguez sausages. Not the best merguez I’ve tried, but merguez nonetheless.
Heading to the Chelsea Market was an almost daily occurrence for us, thanks to staying in an apartment two blocks away. The fruit and veg shop saw us a lot, we went through several coffee cards at Ninth Street Espresso, and Friedman’s Lunch saw our faces after our previous visit two years ago. Great thing about visiting the market before 9am is that you can walk around freely without being stuck behind hundreds of dawdling tourists.
I don’t think the Friedman’s menu has changed in two years, which is fine, as the house-made granola (8) and pastrami hash (12) were just as good this time as they were two years prior. Not mind-blowing good, just standard good. The French toast (10) falls in the same category, served up with berry compote and Vermont maple syrup.
It was a bit of a long shot with Grounded, somewhere I thought might be good for a coffee or breakfast seeing we’d walked past it a million times. It’s cosy, it’s organic, it’s peaceful and it’s a great place to kick back with a book, your companion or your laptop. If it was dog friendly, the pooches would equal the number of people that visit the place. Everyone has a dog here!
Tea drinkers would rejoice at the quantity of teas they can choose. There’s a lot. Breakfast options are very limited. There’s oatmeal, wraps, bagels and a parfait. I couldn’t help myself in choosing the peanut butter & banana bagel (4.75). Despite its messiness, it’s actually quite good.
I can’t say much about the cortado and macchiato we received, other than the girl that made them needs a lot more training on the espresso machine. It may be organic fair trade coffee, but it was absolutely ruined with milk that had been boiled to oblivion. Nobody likes milk skin forming on their coffee, do they? It was much easier just leaving them virtually untouched than asking for replacements.