Category Archives: Breakfast

Rustic Mountain-Town Treasure

Meadow Mountain Café in Allenspark fills up with regulars — and newbies like us.

I can hardly believe that I knew nothing about the Meadow Mountain Café on the business loop of the Peak to Peak Highway. The hamlet of Allenspark’s summer homes and rental cabins draw Texans, Oklahomans, Kansans and other flatlanders, and the café also attracts regulars from Longmont, Lyons and Berthoud. Locals said they come up a few times a year. Judging from the social media comments, it seems that breakfast or lunch at the Meadow Mountain Café is one of the things that draws these vacationers to town.

Walk up a few steps with buttons embedded in the mortar between the stones, pass a forest of birdhouses to a porch that I’m sure is delightful when it’s a tad warmer than it was yesterday morning. Enter the funky, rustic café with about a handful of tables and friendly, efficient service. There was a butt on every chair when we walked in, but happily, one party vacated a right-size table for our party of five. Sharing a table with others is actually OK too.

A miscellany in random frames hang on knotty pine walls. Above are two shelves of mostly figural salt-and-pepper shakers. We expected to see corned beef hash on the “specials” blackboard because our friend told us they were always served the morning of St. Patrick’s Day — but alas, no more.
Santa and Mrs. Claus, a jolly pair at the center of the table along with sugar, hot sauce and flimsy flatware and paper napkins in a holder occupy the center of the table.

Peruse the laminated menu. It lists the items — nothing exotic, but everything served in generous portions on random heavy-duty plates. The coffee comes in random heavy-duty mugs. I didn’t ask for cappuccino!

Heuvos rancheros with a choice of red or green chile, an egg and a folded tortilla.
Exceptional breakfast burrito is plump and fully loaded.
By contrast, the powdered sugar-topped whole wheat waffles with pecan add-on seems positively spartan.

Price check: Eggs, $7.50-$8.95; 4-egg omelets, $8.95-$10.95 (2-egg versions also available); Pancakes, French Toast & Waffles,  $4.25-$9.50 (1, 2 or 3 pancakes per order); sides, 75¢-$3.50.

441 Business Highway 7, Allenspark; 303-747-2541.

Meadow Mountain Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Snooze Poised to Grow

Denver-born breakfast restaurant group gets New York investor.

snooze-logoA decade ago, when Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood was beginning to take off, brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel established Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. In fact, it was born April 2, 2006, and became an instand hit, sparking a movement toward creative, breakfast-oriented restaurants. It became known for its “atomic age’ mid-20th-century décor, energetic atmosphere and friendly service — and of course, it’s great breakfast items.

There are now 17 Snoozes in Arizona, Texas and California as well as Colorado. The capital and managerial infusion comes from York’s Stripes Group. The big name, food industry-wise, is David Swinghamer, former CEO of Shake Shack. He and two other Stripes Group partners are said to be joining Snooze’s board of directors. Will this corporatize Snooze? Will there still be lines spilling onto the sidewalk? Will it loose its Ballpark soul?

Break-festes Park

Mountain Home Cafe’s breakfast & lunch eats.

070Five things I like about Mountain Home Café in Estes Park’s Upper Stanley Village café: 1) It was not too noisy; 2) The food was scratch-made; 3) service was attentive; 4) breakfast dishes are available any time the café is open; 5) it appears to be a generous business, supporting local and health causes.

Simple café keeps the volume down with acoustic tile on the ceiling and carpet on the floors -- not a modern look but easy on the eardrums.
Simple café keeps the volume down with acoustic tile on the ceiling and carpet on the floors — not a modern look but easy on the eardrums.
Pink ribbon for the battle against beast cancer on the end of booth seats; Other seats are adorned with red ribbons for the fight against drug- and alcohol-related violence.
Pink ribbon for the battle against beast cancer on the end of booth seats; Other seats are adorned with red ribbons for the fight against drug- and alcohol-related violence.

Continue reading Break-festes Park

Topflight Brunch at Under the Sun

Chef-driven menu elevates comfort food & pub fare.

001The Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries has grown from a single microbrewery in downtown Boulder to a tight trio of locations that includes the popular Southern Sun in South Boulder’s Table Mesa Shopping Center and Denver’s Vine Street Pub. The South Boulder location is a two-fer, with the original pub (and large sunny patio) on the upper level and the newer and cleverly named Under the Sun below.

013I’ve been to Mountain Sun any number of times and to Southern Sun’s upstairs brewpub for after-hike or after-ski refreshment and downstairs for happy hour. I didn’t even realize that Under the Sun served brunch, but 3½ years after it opened, Southern Sun has hired a real, classically trained executive chef, Nick Swanson. His credentials are sterling — Boulder’s Bácaro Venetian Taverna and PastaVino (both now gone), a stage at Michelin-starred Relais Villa D’Amelia in Italy’s Piemonte region. Then New York’s French Culinary Institute, graduating with honors. A resume sprinkled with glamour names in the food world: Chefs Fabbio Bocchi and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, cooking for big-name celebs (Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Calvin Klein.

But enough dropped names. What counts here and now is his position as executive chef of Under the Sun, where he has moved toward seasonality and reasonable price points while putting out creative cheffy takes on classics. I’m not wild about most “comfort food,” but Samson’s spin has me rethinking my preconceptions, and a sampling of the new brunch dishes convinced me that he’s one of the best in town.

The Captain's French Toast, a bizarre-sounding but actually yummy dish made of Captain Crunch-coated challah bread with Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries.
The Captain’s French Toast, a bizarre-sounding but actually yummy dish made of Captain Crunch-coated challah bread with Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries.

Continue reading Topflight Brunch at Under the Sun

Cafe Pasqual’s in the Morning

Santa Fe favorite creates breakfast entrées.

P1090156On previous visits to Santa Fe, lunch or dinner at Cafe Pasqual ‘s has been on the food docket. I always enjoy this cheery eatery a couple of short blocks from The Plaza. The breakfast items are unusual, with flavorful versions of popular New Mexican favorites plus items I’ve never seen before.

Mexican cut paper flags and ristras hang from the high ceiling.
Mexican cut paper flags (a folk art form called papa piccada) and ristras of dried chiles hang from the high ceiling. They’ve been there long enough so that some are a bit tattered — the papa piccada, not the ristras.
Well-foamed cappuccino comes in a large, handle-free bowl.
Well-foamed cappuccino comes in a large, handle-free bowl.
Breakfast tortilla is a griddled whole wheat tortilla, melted Jack cheese, guacamole, eggs and salsa. This is a single. Doubles are also available.
Breakfast tortilla is a griddled whole wheat tortilla, melted Jack cheese, guacamole, eggs and salsa. This is a single. Doubles are also available.
Julia's wild salmon gravlax, a Scandinavian salmon dish. Line-caught, Cognac-cured salmon, Gruyére potato cake, watercress, chives and créme fraîche.
Julia’s wild salmon gravlax, a Scandinavian salmon dish. Line-caught, Cognac-cured salmon, Gruyére potato cake, watercress, chives and créme fraîche.

Price check, breakfast entrées, $9.75-$17.75.

121 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe; 505-983-9340.

Cafe Pasqual's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

‘Brekkie’ in Australia

White bread, “the big brekkie” & fine bakeries.

AustralianFlagAfter two weeks in Australia, I have concluded that there several discernible constants.

“Damper,”  a rough rustic bread is an iconic Australian bread that is traditionally cooked over a campfire. That’s not what you’re likely to find in a B&B. There, thin slices of square white bread prevail. The host typically leaves a carafe of juice, an electric tea kettle and a toaster plus makings for tea and coffee and some sliced bread plus butter and jam. Fortunately, good bakeries are scattered about that landscape, even in fairly small towns.Banjo's Bakery in Campbell Town, Tasmania turned out to be one of some 40 in the country.

Banjo’s Bakery Cafe in Campbell Town, Tasmania turned out to be one of some 40 in the country.

Greek-inspired spinach pie was a good breakfast offering.

Greek-inspired spinach pie was a good breakfast offering.

And so was this berry and cream tart.
And so was this berry and cream tart.

When there is a standard breakfast menu, you’ll usually find a choice of eggs (including Benedicts), pancakes and the
big brekkie.

The big brekkie in the beach town of Bronte beach. It has the typical eggs, toast, bacon (more like our Canadian bacon than strip bacon), tomatoes and as a bonus, a couple of asparagus spears.
The big brekkie in the beach town of Bronte beach. It has the typical eggs, toast (here, rye), bacon (more like our Canadian bacon than strip bacon), tomatoes and as a bonus, a couple of asparagus spears.

Polish Pierogis in a Package

 

Denver’s Bistro Charlotte makes these filled treats.

BC-sealOnce upon a time, there was a cafe in Boulder that made divine pierogis, filled dumplings that could bring gustatory sunshine to a rare Colorado gloomy day. I wrote about them here, but that now is a nostalgic essay rather than a description, because the Eggcredible Cafe is no more.

I just received a heads-up message from Charlotte Pistek, whose frozen pierogis are available in high-end markets around the metro area. Preparing them takes less time than driving across town. Three flavors (traditional Potatoes and Cheese with Sautéed Onions, Kraut & Sautéed Mushroom Potato and the Colorado-inspired Cheddar with Roasted Jalapeño) are sold under the Bistro Charlotte label, though there appears to be no brick-and-mortar bistro.  Amanda Faison of 5280 Magazine has tried them and recommended them, so that’s good enough for me. She wrote:

Look to most any corner of the world and you’ll find a dumpling. Japan has the gyoza, Nepal the momo, Italy the ravioli, and Russia the pelmeni. But to many, the ultimate dumpling is the supremely comforting pierogi. The Polish finger food is usually stuffed with a starchy combo of mashed potato and cheese or potato and sauerkraut. A good pierogi is worth hunting for, especially as winter weather blasts us with cold and snow.

Enter Bistro Charlotte, Denverite Anna Postek’s boutique pierogi company. Postek began making and selling her own dumplings when she couldn’t find the quality she was looking for in the market. “Everything is so processed now,” Postek says. She looked in old books and pestered her Polish mother and family members and friends’ family members until she came up with a pierogi recipe that “is something like what used to be made.”

Postek works every batch from scratch using organic eggs and flour, and the results yield excellent chewy dough stuffed with creamy, satisfying fillings. She sells her Bistro Charlotte pierogi (there are three varieties: potatoes and cheese with sautéed onions, kraut and sautéed mushroom, and potato and cheddar with roasted jalapeño) at Marczyk Fine Foods, Whole Foods, and Sawa Meat & Sausage. The pierogi are so good, we keep a box or two in the freezer for a quick lunch, dinner, or anytime snack.

At Home Tip: We like serving the potato and cheese pierogi with balsamic-red onion jam.