Take back breakfast, the yummiest meal of the day.
We’ve heard about the importance of a daily breakfast so often that the joy has been sucked out of the meal altogether. The happy vision of fluffy pancakes or sunny fried eggs has faded; breakfast has become the dreaded spoonful of medicine, commanded by a wagging finger. It’s no wonder that most of us choose another hour’s sleep over the morning meal. This is tragic, because breakfast foods are so good, and good food really can change the course of your day (as well as your metabolism). We need to treat breakfast as an opportunity rather than a duty and start each day with the anticipation of something great to eat. It’s time to take breakfast back! Here are some goodies to try; we guarantee that you will feel good when you start the day, and it won’t be because the food police told you so.
85th Street Omelet
Keys Café & Bakery
Yes, yes, we admit it: this omelet sounds bizarre, but take our word for it: it’s one of the best ones we’ve ever had. First of all, it’s huge, positively groaning with slices and chunks of roasted turkey—the real, carved-from-the-bird kind that Keys does so well. The turkey is crowded into a tender shell of four eggs with steamed broccoli, silky sautéed onions, hash browns and melted Swiss cheese. You might want to call it the kitchen-sink omelet, but some savvy cook must have created this deliberately, because the ingredients work so well together. It’s scrumptious, filling and unforgettable. $11.25. 1750 Weir Drive; 651.731.5397.
Dorothy Ann Bakery & Cafe
There’s nothing like a buffet to make you feel like royalty and hey, it’s good to be king. The Saturday morning buffet at Dorothy Ann’s is a kaleidoscopic array of breakfast delights, all at your beck and call. There’s a panoply of fresh fruit, creative quiches, irresistible baked goods like doughnuts and muffins; piles of protein-rich eggs, and a rotating bevvy of other dishes, depending on the time of year and the whim of the chef. Like every great buffet, it’s all- you-can-eat (but no doggie bags!). Don’t miss the baked blueberry oatmeal, a clever fusion of super-healthy, fiber-rich cereal and a sweet blueberry muffin, which is pretty much just cake. $7.49/person. 710 Commerce Drive; 651.731.3323.
Sugar Love Bakery
The distinctive aroma of Cinnabon at every mall and airport keeps us in a perpetual state of craving; it’s important to periodically quell the cinnamon roll urge with the real thing. Sugar Love Bakery, bastion of all things heavenly, makes a few variations: caramel, pecan, but for us it’s all about the cinnamon brioche twist. Brioche is, you guessed it, a French invention, basically a roll with high butter and egg content that adds an airy sponginess, a flaky golden crust and a yellow interior; it’s just sweet enough to feel like a special treat but still falls short of the dessert menu. $2.50. 707 Bielenberg Drive; 651.340.1483.
Pancake Heaven, yup, that’s what’s printed on the Woodbury Café menu, right there in bold letters. Such a gutsy claim that makes us raise an eyebrow, but the hyperbole is warranted. The choices are heavenly enough: chocolate chip cookie dough, pumpkin pie pancakes, caramel apple crisp . . . we went with the pineapple upside-down pancakes because pineapple makes us think of Hawaii, a cheery image to carry us through the day. The buttermilk cakes are, dare we say, perfect: fluffy, deep golden-brown, a bit crispy around the edges. The rest is exactly as it sounds: caramelized brown sugar and pale gold chunks of pineapple; it’s tangy, sticky and sweet. $7.50 gets you two; $5 for a single. Don’t even peek at the waffle section, because you will most likely go insane with temptation and indecision. 803 Bielenberg Drive; 651.209.8081.
Ham, Pear and Chevre Crepe
Brix Coffee and Crepes
Crepes are perfect for breakfast, y’know: they’re essentially very thin pancakes that are amenable to all sorts of fillings, just like an omelet. Brix’s crepe creations are wonderful: case in point, the ham with fresh pear and chevre (goat cheese) is a knee-weakening trio of salty, creamy and fruity. A honey-infused raspberry glaze and walnuts are the perfect touch of intense fruity sweetness and crunch before it’s rolled up in the golden crepe. It comes with a spinach salad, a welcome balancing agent both flavor-wise and conscience-wise. $7.95. 572 Commons Drive; 651.730.7284.
Walleye and Eggs
Danny’s Bar and Grille
Pull up a chair before your golf game and savor some early morning state pride. Danny’s does the traditional steak-and-eggs protein fest one better with walleye and eggs. Walleye, Minnesota’s favorite fish, happens to be lovely at breakfast too, especially with a pair of sunny side up eggs. It’s a mellow fish, not too overpowering first thing in the morning. Danny’s pan fries a very generously sized, majorly-fresh filet and pairs it with hash browns and a couple of local farm eggs cooked to your liking. Wild rice toast adds an extra note of tasty Minnesotan pride. $9.95. 13600 N. Hudson Blvd., Stillwater; 651.436.2144.
Craft Beer & Kitchen
The brunch offered at Craft Beer & Kitchen on Sunday mornings is definitely enough incentive to get through your week. Amidst a wide array of choices, including fresh fruit and breads, smoked salmon, biscuits and gravy and pineapple glazed ham, is the ever-popular build-your-own omelet station, where you choose ingredients for your custom-made creation. Pair your personal omelet with hickory smoked bacon, sausage patties, French toast and reggiano potatoes, for a meal made in heaven. Brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Adults $15.95, children 5-12 $5.92, children under 5 free. 700 Commons Drive; 651.735.1997.
Rumchata French Toast
This is the place for a destination brunch: make it a leisurely outing and enjoy both food and scenery at Current at The Afton House Inn. There are special Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day holiday brunches, but you can get the outrageous “RumChata” French toast any old Sunday. What’s RumChata, you ask? It’s a cream liqueur made with, you got it, rum, and yes, it’s as yummy as it sounds. Three fat slices of baguette bathe in the spiked batter; the golden toasts are then topped with fruit compote and powdered sugar. It also comes with real maple syrup, the good stuff, from a tree nearby. $8.50. 3291 St. Croix Trail, Afton; 651.436.8883.