Tag: breakfasts

Nantucket Breeze Restaurant for breakfasts

Nantucket Breeze Restaurant for breakfasts

With the sudden non-opening of Black-eyed Susan’s, the number of downtown restaurants serving breakfast has dwindled to the Counter on Main Street (for takeout), and the Born and Bread bakery. So, you might want to consider a short walk over to the Nantucket Hotel and Resort on Easton St. Their Breeze Restaurant is open to the public, and serves breakfast daily from 7:30-10:00 am, and Sunday Brunch from 11-2. We stayed at the hotel last week and had most of our breakfasts there.

Their menu is limited, however: there are no Danish, croissants, or muffins available, but they offer eggs any way, omelets, 4 variations on Eggs Benedict, pancakes and French toast. They also have granola and Scottish oatmeal.

Eggs over easy

Our first day, we ordered 2 eggs over easy, and they were quite good, although mine seems to have had one of the yolks broken. We enjoyed them in any case. The toast was a single thick slice, unbuttered, but they did provide some wrapped butter pats.

French toast
Scotch oatmeal

We also enjoyed the French toast served with fresh berries and whipped cream, and the Scotch Oatmeal served with blueberries. Both very satisfying and well-presented and served.


But the day we got Buttermilk pancakes, we were kind of disappointed, because the three pancakes in a stack were so flat they couldn’t have been more than ¾ inch high. Clearly, they were using a mix whose leavening had expired.

On the right, you will see the buttermilk pancakes I make nearly every Sunday, to show how much they should have risen. Since the actual recipe has only 6 ingredients, it is silly to be using a mix. And if they aren’t, they should have seen that their baking powder was DOA.  Their pancakes came without the promised “whipped butter,” but the server quickly brought me some wrapped butter when I asked.

The sausage they offer is chicken sausage, and it isn’t really very sausagey: needs more spices.

Eggs Benedict

There are four varieties of Eggs Benedict on the menu: Regular ($20), Salmon and Kale ($23), Crab Cake Benedict ($26) and Lobster Eggs Benedict ($30). All of them are served on a tough, uncuttable “Portuguese muffin.”

Breeze’s Eggs Benedict
Our Eggs Benedict

If you look at their Eggs Benedict, shown on the left, you see perfectly round eggs covered with hollandaise. We call these “Industrial Poached Eggs,” because they are cooked by steaming in a round mold, which produces little “egg pucks.”

Since poaching means cooking eggs in gently simmering water, these really don’t qualify: not only is the texture different, they don’t cook uniformly. In fact, the whites of their eggs were not fully cooked, while this never happens in traditional poached eggs. These were served with a “lemon hollandaise,” meaning that they added a lot more lemon juice, nearly enough to curl your hair. Here is our recipe for making Eggs Benedict, shown on the right. Theirs were OK, but we’d probably skip them in the future.

You can get a good breakfast at the Breeze restaurant if you skip the pancakes and Eggs Benedict. And, if you want to walk  a little farther, the White Elephant serves breakfast, too, 8-11am.

Pancake ‘toad-in-the-hole’

Pancake ‘toad-in-the-hole’

Toad in the hole is a classic British dish, made up of sausages embedded in a Yorkshire pudding batter and baked. The name comes from the ends of the sausages peeking out of the baked batter. In the U.S., the name has been used to describe eggs cooked inside bread or toast as well as sausages. That version is sometimes called “egg with a hat” to describe the little circle of bread you cut out for the egg.  In fact, the beavers at Myrecipes.com found that there are 66 different names for this dish.

So, with that in mind, we decided to make one more. Suppose you are making pancakes, as we often do on Sundays. Why not add an egg into those pancakes and make a Pancake Toad in the Hole?

So to try this, we made buttermilk pancakes using this heirloom family recipe (which is much like everyone else’s.) 

Then we cooked one side of a pancake with a little melted butter on the griddle for flavor, and then turned out over. 

About 1 minute later, we used a biscuit cutter to cut a hole on the pancake. The pancake will still be doughy in the middle, but you can cook that little “hat” while you make the main event.

Break an egg into a cup and pour it into the hole you just cut.

Let the pancake/egg cook until the egg is cloudy, and then flip it. This may take two spatulas (spatulae?) to keep the uncooked egg from weeping out.  Cook the egg for 30 seconds or more and flip the pancake back over. Serve the “Pancake toad” right away with the little hat alongside.

Cut open

This sweet/savory combination could have syrup added, or your could just eat it the way it is, using the pancake to sop up the egg.

Pancake benedict?

One variation we tried was to cook a small slice of ham in a little butter, and then put it in the hole of a pancake, and then add the egg. Again, cook until the egg is cloudy, flip it, cook 30 seconds, flip it back and serve.

Pancake Benedict?

In this case, syrup might be overkill. We suppose you might add hollandaise instead, but that might be ever more overkill.

You could also add a slice of sausage, but make sure it is a thin slice, or there may not be room for the egg. 

A delicious breakfast addition to impress your family and friends!

Where to have breakfast in Wilton

Where to have breakfast in Wilton

While our kitchen was being remodeled, we had ample opportunity to try various breakfast spots on the area, and all of them have things to recommend them.


Of course, Orem’s would be on our list since it is a well-regarded diner, recommended in Jane (and Michael) Stern’s Road Food. We have been going there for years, and have had quite a number of their breakfast items, from eggs, to pancakes, to French toast to omelets, and just about everything has been well prepared and served amazingly quickly. The wait staff is unfailingly friendly and soon recognizes you when you return. These photos show eggs and sausage, and blueberry pancakes.

Village Luncheonette

We had forgotten what a gem the Village Luncheonette is. It’s right there on Old Ridgefield Rd in Wilton Center, just across the driveway from Village Market. The staff is friendly and the food excellent. Our eggs were perfectly prepared, although they accidentally made us 3 instead of two and of course we had to eat all 3 because they were delicious. We liked the fact that they split the link sausages in half so they heated through. We’ll certainly go back more frequently. But beware: they don’t take credit cards.

Connecticut Coffee

bagel ct coffee

Connecticut Coffee and Grill does a brisk takeout business for their bagels and breakfast sandwiches, and they both conventional coffee and about 8 specialty coffees on tap all the time. Jimmy and his staff work quickly to hand you your order, and if it is the same every time, they may already have it for you in a bag when you walk in the door. We think their bagels are top-notch, and when we went there for a sit-down breakfast, we ordered them, buttered with cream cheese, and they were amazing. The French Toast the people at the next table had also looked fantastic. Their menu is extensive.  You can order breakfast sandwiches, eggs and pancakes and an huge array of lunchtime sandwiches. The place always seems busy, and has been for all of the 15 years they’ve been in Old Post Office Square, 16 Center St.

Uncle Leo’s

Uncle Leo’s Coffee and Donuts opened in Wilton (17 Danbury Rd) just a few weeks ago, and already has a substantial following. “Uncle Leo” is Leo Spinelli and the nephew is making excellent donuts and bagels using his recipes. The bagels are comparable to the ones at Connecticut Coffee but the donuts are far superior to anything else in the area. They have around a dozen tables where you can eat your breakfast, and their menu is the same as in the Georgetown shop, with breakfast sandwiches, Danish, muffins, turnovers, giant breakfast plates, omelets, eggs, toast and home fries. They also have a substantial lunch hot and cold sandwich menu.  Beware of their Boston Crème donut which is so full of custard you’ll need a spoon to manage it. But it is delicious!


Fog Island: a breakfast favorite

Fog Island: a breakfast favorite

signRight downtown is one of the best breakfasts you can get: at Fog Island on South Water Street. Popular with both locals and visitors, this reasonably priced restaurant serves breakfast (7 till noon) and lunch (11 to 2) to really delighted customers. They also feature takeout rolls and breakfast sandwiches.

Run by Mark and Anne Dawson since 1993, this fine example simple, but elegant cuisine is a Nantucket landmark.

At this morning’s visit, we went for the French toast and Buttermilk pancakes for a change. The elegant French Toast presentation is featured above. And the pancakes are so capacious you can hardly photograph them! These are plate filling pancakes so large that you don’t need to order the full stack. Really. You don’t. In fact, the sausage was served on a separate plate because there was no room.

We also appreciated the Tazo tea served in an actual teapot. We’re already looking forward to another visit!

Pancake breakfast sandwiches

Pancake breakfast sandwiches

Why not make a breakfast sandwich using pancakes instead of a roll? Then it is all hot and delicious, right off the grill. All you need is bacon, eggs, sausage, cheese, butter and buttermilk pancake batter.

We never actually have used a pancake mix, because this old family recipe is so quick:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • Buttermilk (a bit more than 2 cups)

mix batter

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, break in the 2 eggs and add the buttermilk to make a thickish batter.

  • 2 Tb softened butter
  • 1 Tb maple syrup
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 sausage patties
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices cheese
  • Butter as needed

  1. Mix the maple syrup with the butter, adding more syrup if needed to get a buttery/mapley tasting spread.
  2. Place the strips of bacon and the sausage patties on a 350° F griddle, and allow to cook slowly.

bacon sausage butter

  1. When the bacon and sausages are cooked, put them aside and keep warm.
  2. Melt 1-2 Tb butter on the griddle and drop 4 ¼ cup measures of patter onto the griddle.

  1. When one side of the pancakes are almost done (judging by bubbles forming on top) break the eggs onto the griddle and allow them to cook slowly.
  2. Flip the pancakes and let them cook.

  1. Place a sausage patty and cheese slice on two of the pancakes.
  2. When the eggs appear nearly done, flip them for 10 seconds to cook the tops, and then place them face up on top of the cheese.

butter pancakes

  1. Add two half-slices of bacon over each egg.
  2. Butter the bottom side of the remaining two pancakes with the maple butter, and top the sandwich with the butter side inside.

one sandwich

Serve right away. You can eat them with or without syrup, and with a knife and fork or in hand like a sandwich. Delicious and satisfying, and while rich, it is way less food than a classic “big breakfast.” So there!

The trick to doing the eggs right, is to cook them until they are fairly opaque and then flip them only briefly, so that the yolks stay runny.

Stay hungry!

Poaching eggs in an Instant Pot

Put some water in the Instant Pot and add the little trivet. You ought to be able to poach eggs in some container above the trivet. Right? Right. We went through a dozen or more eggs, eggs-perimenting with this, and tell you that the answer, like all social science is “It depends,” because there are a lot of variables.

Our first trial was to put an egg into each of two little glass ramekins that we had sprayed with cooking spray, and set them on the trivet over 1 cup of water. We closed the pot and the steam vent and pressed the Manual button for 3 minutes. Since it take the pot almost 6 minutes to heat up the water and come to pressure, this actually takes 9 minutes to cook the 2 eggs. We released the pressure quickly (30 seconds) and lifted out the two ramekins on the trivet.

It took a bit of time to unmold the eggs: we ran a thin spatula knife around the edge of each dish to loosen them. And even this wasn’t that quick, because the ramekins were so hot that we had to wait a bit before we could handle them. And unmolding the eggs is delicate enough that using hot pads or gloves just won’t cut it.

But we did get the eggs out and onto toast in about 11.5 minutes. They looked fairly nice, although weird because they are actually upside down: the yolk, which would normally by on top is inverted and is now on the bottom. However, when we cut the eggs open, they were a bit overdone. The yolk was more cooked than we would like for a classic poached egg.  Moreover,  the whites were distinctly tough and rubbery.

Rubbery whites were something we saw in cooking hard-cooked eggs under pressure. It vanished if you cooked the eggs at low pressure.

3-minlp-broken-openSo we tried cooking the eggs at low pressure, reducing the time to 2 minutes. They weren’t sufficiently cooked, so we repeated the experiment at 3 minutes and low pressure. These were actually pretty nice, but again, it was hard to unmold them, and the ramekins were just as hot, so it took some time. Again, the elapsed time was at least 11.5 minutes or more, and while the eggs were cooked well, it was hard not to break them while unmolding them.

Some people have recommended poaching eggs in little silicone cups. We picked up a couple of Poach Pod cups at our local Cook’s Nook.  Some people have also tried other similar egg poacher cups like these from Zenda Home.

poach-pod-broken-openWe sprayed them with cooking spray as they recommended and cooked 2 eggs for 3 minutes at low pressure. They weren’t done, so we returned them to the pot for one more minute. These were done and looked pretty nice in their silicone cups. But, while the pods weren’t as hot as the glass ramekins, they were very difficult to get the eggs out of. In fact, even though we carefully ran the spatula knife around them, one of them broke.  Further, they were hard to center over the toast. While the eggs were cooked properly, getting them out was far too difficult, and we don’t recommend them. This took nearly 12 minutes.

Finally, for comparison, we poached two eggs in a saucepan as we have described before. It takes 3 minutes to bring a quart of water to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan, then we turn the heat down so the water is barely bubbling, swirl it with wire whisk and crack the eggs one at a time into the swirls. The eggs are done in 2-3 minutes. The total time was 6 minutes, including lifting the eggs out onto the toast. And there are many fewer dirty dishes!

So, we conclude that while it is certainly possible to poach eggs in the Instant Pot, it takes twice as long as in a saucepan, and since the cooking time is so brief, you have to watch the pot timer like a hawk so they don’t overcook. This takes away the “set it and forget it” advantages of the Instant Pot that you get for longer cooking stews or rice.

Nantucket: The Island Kitchen

Nantucket: The Island Kitchen

We first visited “The Island Kitchen” when it opened in 2013. Chef Patrick Ridge and his hard working staff have turned this into a marvelous and wildly popular breakfast place, as well as serving lunch and dinner. Sundays, when we visited are limited to brunch service, ending at 2 pm, but they serve breakfast daily 7 am – 2 pm, lunch from 11 am to 2 pm and dinner from 5:30 pm to 9 pm.

The menu is organized around some creative turns on the standard breakfast fare, the lunch menu includes “fried clucker,” which is a fried chicken breast sandwich with Franks Red Hot sauce and blue cheese dressing. The dinner menu has the convention steak and burgers, but has the very interesting Grilled Asparagus and Brie sandwich.

But we want to rave about the breakfasts! A recent newspaper survey rated the Island Kitchen as having Nantucket’s best breakfasts, and we can see why, just from two orders.

omeletOur asparagus, mushroom and cheese omelet ($12.50) was outstanding, with the eggs properly cooked but in no way tough or dry. And the asparagus had just the right amount of crunch. We rarely get an omelet that good anywhere.

And finally, their breakfast special called “Animal” ($14.50) was a culinary tour de force. It was “two panko crusted eggs, sausage, bacon and hollandaise on a brioche bun.” In fact, it looked like the cooked poached egg was rolled in the panko breadcrumbs and then quickly deep fried to hold the crust on the eggs, which were still perfectly cooked. While filling, this is an amazing breakfast offering if you are that hungry.

animal open

The Island Kitchen is at 1 Chin’s way, essentially across Pleasant Street from Stop and Shop, and somewhat recessed. There is ample parking and you are sure to have a great meal. They serve both indoors and outdoors in warm weather, and while they are likely to be busy, they are very accommodating.  Currently, they are reworking the roof over the outdoor dining and the sign is missing. Just follow the crowd.

Outdoor dining


Buttermilk biscuits in 15 minutes

Buttermilk biscuits in 15 minutes

There’s really not much to making buttermilk biscuits, and they make a great breakfast by themselves or with eggs. You probably have all the ingredient on hand. If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make your own in 5 minutes using milk and lemon juice or vinegar, as they show here.

To make your biscuits, heat your oven to 450° F, and mix up the dough while the oven heats.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl.


2. Add the shortening and cut in with a pastry blender or two forks.

3. Add the buttermilk and mix briefly with a fork.

4. Combine the down better using your hands.

5. Roll out the down about ¾ inch thick.

cut  out dough6. Cut into biscuits using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass.

7. Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes at 450° F.

Remove from the oven and serve hot, with plenty of butter.

open buttered

Sour cream coffeecake for breakfast

Sour cream coffeecake for breakfast


You can make this delicious coffee cake in about 8 minutes work time and 30 minutes baking. The result is great just a few minutes out of the oven. Warm coffeecake with a slightly melted brown sugar topping. Add the nuts or not as you like.

The coffeecake

  • 1 ½ cups sifted flour (Easier to weigh out 189 grams.)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Brown sugar topping
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Weigh out 189 g of flour: no need to sift it. ( A cup of sifted flour weighs 126g, so 1 ½ cups weighs 189 g)flour weighing
  3. Mix the baking powder, soda and salt into the flour and stir it a bit.
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power.
  5. In a mixing bowl, add the egg, melted butter and sugar and mix with a whiskegg sugar
  6. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix.
  7. Add the flour mixture and mix until uniform.
  8. Spray a 9” square pan with cooking spray and pour in the batter.batter in pan
  9. Decorate with topping and nuts.
  10. topped in panBake at 375° F for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Allow the coffeecake to cool for 5 minutes, and then cut into 9 squares. Lift out and serve.
  12. baked

Brown sugar topping

  • 2 Tb softened butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tb flour
  • 1//2 tsp cinnamon

butter brown sugarMix the butter into the sugar and flour using a pastry blender or a couple of forks, until more or less uniform. It can still be lumpy.

blending toppingSprinkle over the top of the batter.


This recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd. It’s great for a quick company or holiday breackfast!

Taco Bell’s cage free eggs scam

more eggsTaco Bell announced this week that by the end of next year, they will be serving only cage free eggs in their breakfast menu items.  This sounds like an excuse to raise prices, since cage free eggs command a premium price. Both McDonalds and Burger King have announced longer term plans to achieve this same goal. As we will see, this is basically a marketing decision.

While many people believe that cage free housing results in better animal welfare, actual scientific studies show this isn’t true. As we described earlier, there has been some significant research on this topic, by researchers from UC Davis, Michigan State, Iowa State and the USDA. They set up 3 housing trials: conventional cages (CC), expanded cages (EC) and cage free aviaries (AV), and carried out 3 parallel studies using one flock divided into 3 parts. They then repeated the entire experiment the next year with a new flock. The experiments and data collection took about 3 years, and resulted in eight papers in the journal Poultry Science. You can read the summary of the results here.

The designs of the three systems are shown in the housing system paper. The aviary system is a large new barn. “Hens were distributed in 6 colony rows with each row divided by wire mesh screens into 10 pens along the building length. Hens had access to 10.19 cm (4.01 in) of feeder space, 15.24 cm (6 in) of perch space, and 86.32 cm2 (13.38 in2) of nest space area.”

In general, the conventionally caged birds did the best in the experiment and the cage free aviaries the worst. The aviary birds cost about $1.85 more per pullet, and showed 5% lower productivity. The aviary hens had higher mortality (13.3%) compared to 4.8% in the conventional caged system. Aviary productivity fell to 10% below the conventional cages by the end of the cycle.

On the other hand, the hens in the aviary were found to have stronger bones and thus less broken bones than the CC and EC hens, and showed more hen-like behaviors. AV and EC hens cost a great deal more than CC hens did, AV was worse for worker health and safety, and AV was worse for emissions, and EC the best for ammonia emissions.

So, it depends on what measurements are important to you, but the higher mortality of AV hens and lower worker health and safety are certainly negative indicators. You can find an interactive chart of the results here.

Our conclusion is that for animal welfare, the conventional cage systems are actually better despite popular impressions to the contrary.

We were going to illustrate this article with photos of the Taco Bell breakfast items, but there is no nearby Taco Bell  (within 20 miles) that serves breakfast. However, the reviews of these items have not been very good.