Culinary Quest: Why is Breakfast so Great?

I was thinking about why I tend to favour breakfast as the preferred opportunity to gorge myself. Regardless of maxims extolling that it is, in fact, “the best meal of the day”, I genuinely love a breakfast meal without reservation.

For some, food is fellowship – a congregation of hungry bodies and souls, satiated by good conversation as much as decent food. For others, dining is utilitarian, while others ascend to tastebud nirvana daily, as food becomes almost a religious experience. You’ll find me somewhere in between; for me, food is rapturous.

While I consistently swallow food without savouring because I’m usually ravenous, I do respect culinary creativity and its results. Yet, for all the fine dining I have done, for all the delicious quick lunches, and rich spreads, the event hors d’oeuvres and the light munches, it’s breakfast that always stays memorable to me.

Max Bagels

The perks of loving breakfast are plentiful: It means that I can have the meal for all the required 3 square meals of the day – it’s flexible like that – the dishes are ideal in their preparation and consumption time, and breakfast can become brunch wherever you are in the world – quality time coveted for its libations, good company, and neat treats.

“Brunch: It’s everyone’s favorite weekend activity. Few things beat a languorous mid-day meal…so fun is the range of foods you can try if you commit to making brunch part of your globe-trotting experiences.”

Krista Simmons, Travel + Leisure

Are you a fan of the greasy fry-up?

Do you favour grand fast-breakings filled with silverwear and dining protocol?

Does breakfast come with sweet finishes, charcuterie-based dishes, or do you think oatmeal wholesomeness is best?

There is such opportunity in a breakfast menu, to be healthy and indulgent – I like that!

The pantries of some of the greatest places I have enjoyed Eggs Benedict or a Buttie from, often have straightforward ingredients housed there, with the occasional indulgences of organic produce and rare fine dining finds like Truffles. There has also been the gradual push for more sustainable sourcing, which has begun differentiating eateries the world over, if their themed food menus don’t.

For me, it is what is plated that differentiates the ranks of the best, and less too whether they are in the Italian or French fare, nor whether they are a market stall, Michelin-rated restaurant, or bustling street-side cafe.

Also, its not all pricey avocado toast and other such trendy hipster dining choices for the best breakfast. Thrillest NYC Editor Tae Yoon, said that he encountered “a roasted chicken dish — the Pollo Nanni il Valetto — from Mark’s Off Madison that I still think about often. It comes with this roux/gravy that is absolutely divine, I could do shots of it for breakfast.”

I am seldom looking for ‘mothers cooking’ when I eat beyond the bounds of home.

I like smelling slow-roasted tomatoes when I enter a place, seeing the plating of salmon on a golden bagel shmeared, or noticing a patron trying choices like plantain fritters for breakfast. Yeah, people-watching is an intrinsic part of most of my public dining experiences too, and I enjoy it thoroughly. It is nice to find someplace new, or retry an old haunt; to see hungover friends share a jug of Bloody Mary, or patrons shopping the components of their meals amid shelves of artisan bread and seasonal produce.

Clarke’s Dining Image courtesy of Cape Town Burger Quest

And if I am not in public, I really love settling in for fluffy and well-garnished (I’m talking berries, cream, chocolate and more) buttermilk pancakes in bed, enjoying the splendour of a great patio with a hearty breakfast, or working while munching on an almost tapas-style selection, with forest fruit compote to spare. Sometimes it’s not all orange juice and streaky bacon too. There are days that breakfast goes down well with some prosecco or a chilled bottle of Methode Cap Classique.

Breakfast available for Victoria & Alfred Hotel guests

On what else I love about breakfast, is: how well many beverages work with the meal itself. I am pedantic about my teas, and not so much my coffees. I understand that some places want to educate visitors on the perfect roast, and I like a good bean, but I won’t savour the cuppa as much as I do perfectly-steeped Earl Grey tea.

Cocktails are everything! If the day doesn’t seem to call for a warm drink, I will gladly grab for the alcohol menu, and choose from a rather exciting selection of refreshing cocktails.

So, yeah! I’m a fan of breakfast, and there is still a world of flavours to try.

I haven’t even tasted Korean brunch specials or even Spanish patatas bravas. By any name, I’ll always like the classic English Breakfast and its eggs & bacon combo, but I have a breakfast bucket list far longer than my foodie list for dinners. I can’t wait till the world opens up safely once more, and I can introduce my palate to breakfast choices the likes of: pork sausage patties, breakfast martini, zucchini blossom quesadillas, concha’s, kimchi fried rice bowls, Pernod Absinthe, chorizo and egg casserole, amandine fruit taste, and the list goes on…

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