Breakfasts of Champions

The best places in the county to indulge in a sumptuous morning meal.


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Breakfasts of Champions

 

The best places in the county to indulge in a sumptuous morning meal.

 

13 Reasons to Rise and Shine.

 

Ease into a great day by letting someone else cook your breakfast.

 

By Judith Hausman

 

The “most important meal of the day” isn’t usually the most anticipated. For one thing, there’s that unpleasant business of waking up. Then, unless the breakfast fairy happened to pay an unscheduled visit to your refrigerator, there are
the same old uninspiring choices of cereal, toast, and coffee—hardly an epicurean’s delight. So why not indulge yourself or your family by eating breakfast out?

 

There’s no easier way to change your morning outlook than to settle down to the irresistible smell of good coffee brewing and of bacon turning extra-crisp. Should you have the homey granola with fresh berries or bright yellow eggs, done just the way you like them? Ah, the simple luxury of choice! And you don’t even have to make reservations or get dressed up. This is life as it should be. Here’s where to go to experience it.

 

Pound Ridge’s Blind Charlie's Café is a casual eatery and (homemade) ice cream parlor that takes you back in time. It’s not old, but it’s as quaint as the hamlet of Scotts Corners, with its high-school-girl waitresses behind the counter and its humble generic decor. Stroll down the town’s one and only main street and then stop for breakfast. Greet your neighbors over eggs over easy, crisp bacon, crunchy hash browns (about $3.50), and a constant supply of coffee, served with a smile. Bring along the kids and the whole Sunday Times, if you like.

Blind Charlie's Café, 74 Westchester Ave., Pound Ridge (914) 764–8000. Breakfast served 7-11 am, Mon.-Sat.; 7 am-1 pm, Sun.

 

What to have for breakfast at Jean-Jacques’ Culinary Creations in Pleasantville may be a tough decision. The sparkling bakery cases hold so many treats. Will you choose a tea cake ($4.75) and will it be carrot-raisin or banana-almond? What about a flaky and buttery chocolate croissant ($1.95)? If you choose the almond croissant ($2.25), be forewarned: it will fill you up for lunch, too—not only is it huge, it is filled with lusciously sweet almond paste and dozens and dozens of toasted almond slivers. Delicious!

 

Not enough of a “real” breakfast? There are more substantial (and cooked) options, too: quiche Lorraine ($3.75), omelet with pâté ($4.75), or brioche French toast ($4.75). Take your choice to one of the small tables and pick up a cup of rich, creamy café au lait (dunking allowed). Jean-Jacques’ is an informal, sunny, unpretentious kind of place from which you'll probably leave not only happy and sated, but with a pre-packaged lunch. Try the Israeli cous cous (yum) or grab a sweet for a midday pick-me-up. I'd recommend a slice of that moist, cream cheese-frosted carrot cake.

Jean-Jacques’ Culinary Creations, 468 Bedford Rd., Pleasantville (914) 747-8191, www.jean-jacques.com. Breakfast served all day, every day from 7 am.

 

The Armonk Country Kitchen is a three-year-old local favorite. Small tables face the deli/prepared-food case and locals stream in and out, ordering and chatting. Settle in for eggs (any style), home fries, toast, and meat ($6); breakfast burritos, rolled up with eggs, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and onions ($4.50); or banana-chocolate-chip pancakes ($8). Or just grab coffee and apple-cranberry muffins, fruit, or yogurt ($3.50) after a tennis date. ‑‑

Armonk Country Kitchen, 397 Main St., Armonk (914) 273-0150; Breakfast served 6:30-11 am, Mon.-Sat.; 8 am-noon, Sun.

 

The Katonah Restaurant is literally in the center of town and the sidewalk tables are its hub at breakfast, especially on sunny mornings. Before opening his shop one morning, the local cobbler was having his oatmeal with brown sugar (cup $2.75, bowl $3), but  the insurance agent was having his eggs over easy with bacon, potatoes, and rye toast ($6). Dick Anderson, a Katonah resident since 1968, just wanted “toasted English” with butter. “It’s been here forever. The food is great and the staff is, too,” says Anderson. He eats breakfast here several times a week. The house-made bran, corn, and blueberry muffins in the counter case look good too. On weekends, kids come along for a short stack of chocolate-chip pancakes ($4.75).

The Katonah Restaurant, 63 Katonah Ave., Katonah, (914) 232-9241. Breakfast served 6 am-11 pm, Mon.-Sat.;
7 am-9 pm, Sun.

 

Although The Wobble Café in Ossining is only one year old, it is already a community institution, especially for parents and their kids, many of whom have contributed their art to decorate the walls. There’s a corner of squishy couches and a small plastic table with low chairs for the little ones. Breakfast has almost single-handedly made a name for Wobble. “Half of our customers are regulars,” says co-owner Rich Foshay. “We’re on a first-name basis and we start their order when they walk in. The other half are new faces that stop in because they’ve heard about us.” Foshay’s wife, Beylka Krupp, is the chef. “I’m just a good cook,” he says. Wobble’s menu is both modern and old-fashioned: thick, from-scratch brioche French toast ($7), fluffy, delicious pancakes ($6), individual breakfast strudels ($7), and the most popular breakfast, the Tex-Mex import called migas ($6.95). When you taste the crispy tortillas mixed into eggs and served on fat corn tortillas, you’ll know why Texans love them. Foshay and Krupp brought the dish north from Austin, where it’s on every menu. It may soon become your favorite first meal of the day.

Wobble Café, 21 Campwoods Rd., Ossining, (914) 762-3459. Breakfast served from 7 am-“11ish” Tues.-Fri.; Brunch Served 8 am-5 pm Sat.; 8 am-4 pm Sun.

 

L’Escale in Greenwich, Connecticut,
is a hotel dining room and host to many early-bird corporate meetings. “It’s guests and business people during the week and more families on the weekends,” says Manager Simona Abrao. “We even have table-hoppers who move from one table to the next for breakfast meetings.” Kids love the popular banana pancakes. House-made granola ($9), a continental breakfast with freshly squeezed OJ and croissants ($10),or eggs Benedict with smoked salmon ($15) will start the day elegantly for adults (full breakfasts average $25) in this stately white-and-red dining room with a view of Greenwich Harbor. Breakfast alfresco began May 1.

L’Escale, 500 Steamboat Rd, Greenwich, CT, (203) 661-4600. Breakfast served 7-10 am every day.

 

Chappaqua’s Le Jardin Du Roi is outfitted simply with bistro tables and chairs.Its charm is its Frenchified menu and its inviting patio out front, set up and away from the street and filled with umbrella-covered tables. Manager Wendy Egan sees business executives and nursery-school moms all week long. “A lot of people seem to do breakfast as lunch,” she observes. No problem, since breakfast is served all afternoon at Le Jardin. The signature ouef du roi, a poached egg on a goat cheese-potato cake and a side of ratatouille($10), is very popular, as is the pain perdu (what the French call our “French toast”), served with fresh fruit ($9).

Le Jardin Du Roi, 95 King St., Chappaqua, (914) 238-1368, www. lejardinchappaqua.com. Breakfast served 8 am-4 pm every day.

 

For a romantically formal breakfast, head to Equus, the restaurant at Tarrytown’s hilltop Castle on the Hudson. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself breakfasting in the hotel dining room surrounded by newlyweds; this is a favorite place of bridal-party members. It’s also popular with high-end corporate clientele, and for good reason: Equus is quite spectacular. Breakfast can be served on the terrace or in the glass-enclosed Garden Room, both of which afford the same striking view of the river and beyond. This might be just the place to seal that delicate deal; have the contract or the ring handy. Choose seasonal melon with lavender-honey yogurt, a continental breakfast that includes freshly squeezed juice and house-made sweet breads and pastries, or add berries and eggs any style for the Castle Breakfast ($22). The popular wake-up and chow-down signature breakfast is the Castle Egg Benedict: poached egg, grilled medallion of beef tenderloin, tomato confit on toasted brioche with sauce choron, a tomato hollandaise ($16).

Equus at The Castle, 400 Benedict Ave., Tarrytown, (914) 631-3646, www.castleonthehudson.com. Breakfast served 7-10:30 am every day.

 

Scarsdale Metro Restaurant, and its new
sister store in the Heathcote section, Metro Deli, outdo themselves at breakfast time. Each is tidy and sleeker than a diner but as busy and no-nonsense in the morning. Half Barney Greengrass and half standard diner with Greek spinach pie, homemade rice pudding, and club sandwiches, the Metros are where to go for a toasted bagel deluxe with sable, sturgeon, or gravlox, and chive or vegetable cream cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives, and capers ($12.95-$22.95). Order up cappuccinos and omelets of every type, from Western ($6.75) to lox and onions ($9.50)—yes, with whites only if you prefer.

 

Metro Deli, 4 Palmer Ave., Scarsdale, (914) 472-4760. Breakfast served 6 am-8:45 pm, every day. Metro Restaurant, 878 Scarsdale Ave., Scarsdale (914) 713-0309 Breakfast served 7 am-10 pm, Mon.-Sat.; 7 am-9 pm, Sun.

 

The Patio lives two lives. In front, it’s
a typical coffee shop complete with counter stools and muffins on a covered stand. But at night, the pendant-lit booths in the back are the setting for tapas, a great wine list, and paella or Castilian rack of lamb. By day, the eighteen-year-old luncheonette tradition continues with warm blueberry pancakes ($5.50), rich eggs Benedict, or eggs Florentine ($6.95 each), and buttery
waffles ($5.10) with a choice of bananas, cantaloupe, or other fresh fruit ($2.50). It’s a family place, but “when the tablecloths come out, it looks totally different,” says owner Carlos Lavino. ‑‑

The Patio, 1133 Pleasantville Rd., Briarcliff Manor (914) 941-4414. Breakfast served 7 am-
9 pm, Sun.-Thurs.; 7 am-10 pm, Fri. and Sat.

 

As the name implies, Rich Bean Café in downtown Irvington is a coffeehouse-plus. That means casual tables and chairs, a neighborhood atmosphere, and strong coffee with your classic continental breakfast ($4.95). It includes a choice of Danish, muffin, croissant, scone, or bagel, which can also be the base of a breakfast sandwich of egg, ham, and cheese ($4.95). On weekends, when customers have more time to linger, garden omelets with plenty of veggies are healthy and popular, or start sweet with homemade pancakes and bacon. When it’s warm, moms and toddlers switch to fruit salad and frozen hot chocolate, cappuccino glace with
vanilla ice cream, or fruit-tea smoothies. As the morning edges towards lunchtime, yummy panini and sweet crêpes with ice cream make their entrance.

Rich Bean Café, 45 Main St., Irvington, (914) 591-7406. Breakfast served all day, every day from  7:30 am.

 

Was City Limits Diner the first in our area to figure out that diner food could be sublime? The Central Avenue location is jumping at breakfast time—you can smell eggs cooking and the coffee brewing (it doesn’t percolate here) the minute you walk through the doors. County pols especially dote on house-made granola with fruit, berries, and yogurt ($9.95) and house-smoked salmon on a bagel with the works ($10.75). Or will it be huevos rancheros or orange-lemon waffles with real maple syrup ($8.25)? It’s big but not deafening, so business meetings work here, too.The in-house bakery assures you’ll enjoy raisin-challah French toast or whole-grain slices with your eggs and house-smoked ham, not to mention pecan sticky buns and blueberry buttermilk scones.

City Limits Diner, 200 Central Ave., White Plains. (914) 686-9000, breakfast served 8 am-11 pm, Sun.-thurs.; 8 am-12 am Fri.-Sat. The Westchester, White Plains, (914) 761-1111; 135 Harvard Ave., Stamford, CT. (203) 348-7000 www.city limitsdiner.com. Hours vary by location.

 

On the ground floor of The Westchester Financial Center, Sassinoro is the place for an Italian-style coffee-break breakfast, not for eggs over easy. Opening daily around 9:30, the corner cafe, stacked with newspapers and decorated with images of Italy, fills with lawyers, business people, and opera music. It’s comfortable, like a neighborhood Italian coffee bar where regulars drop by and get their daily fortitude in a little white cup of espresso. No hot breakfasts are served, but the menu of Italian breakfast pastries, such as Grandma’s cake (lemon filling and pine nuts), wheatberry tart (an Easter-time specialty), mixed-berry tart, or panini and imported focaccia (around $3), suits the place. Of course, there is espresso and cappuccino but there’s also richly flavored Perugina hot chocolate.

Sassinoro, 50 Main St., White Plains (914) 217-6760. Breakfast served 9:30 am-6 pm, Mon.-Wed.; 9:30 am-12 am, Thurs.-Sat.; 9:30 am-5 pm, Sun. 

 

Two poached eggs on dry whole-wheat toast, no meat, but keep the coffee coming for Judith Hausman, food writer and frequent contributor. She lives in South Salem.

 

 

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