The nutrition do-gooders have been telling us for decades that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree, for reasons having nothing to do with my riboflavin levels.
Breakfast looms so large, I submit, because it frames your day. Start out with a plate that does more than just fill your tank, one that demolishes your longing for sweet or savory, and the rest of the day’s issues tend to shrink into manageable size.
Every day, in Western New York restaurants, you can begin your day with a meal that goes beyond the mundane.
Here’s some plates that offer distinctive touches you can’t find just anywhere, or definitive versions of classics. Chances are if a place makes you happy in the morning, there’s more you’d like to explore elsewhere on the menu.
Savorys serves a Southwest Eggs Benedict with two eggs -- any style -- on top of cornbread with bacon, black beans, tomatoes, cheddarjack cheese and basted with a chipotle hollandaise sauce. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)
Southwest Benny: Every ambitious breakfast place offers a spin on Eggs Benedict. This breakfast specialist heads for the Mexican border, with black beans, corn, cheddar, bacon and poached eggs on a cornbread base, draped with chipotle hollandaise sauce.
$8.99 with a side, including fresh fruit or potatoes.
Savory's, 5564 Camp Road, Hamburg, 648-0044
Ham and redeye gravy: Ham cured and smoked in-house with applewood and mesquite, sliced thin, served with multigrain toast, three eggs, home fries and the kicker: redeye gravy.
The stuff starts with a smoked pork broth made from smoked pork bones, ham trimmings and vegetables, bolstered with a jolt of coffee brewed double-strength. $12.
Lake Effect Diner, 3165 Main St., 833-1952
Peanut Butter Jammin' Waffle: This place makes ingredients other places get from a jar, including fruit jams like the blackberry version on this peanut butter and blackberry jam waffle.
Owner James Vaughn uses fresh berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar to produce a powerfully fruity flavor. The fluffy waffle may be Belgian, but the treatment is all-American. $7.99.
Poked Yolk, 3100 Transit Road, West Seneca, 656-9655
Roo-Ben omelet: Cooks have long combined scrambled eggs with other meals, but here’s a sandwich-as-breakfast that succeeds.
It’s corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, with the Thousand Island dressing and rye bread on the side, as toast. The seared corned beef exterior signals that this is no ordinary omelet. $10.99 with home fries. [CORRECTION: An earlier version, and the print edition, listed the wrong price.]
Howling Rooster, 299 Kenmore Ave., Tonawanda, 838-4440
Butterscotch apple baked French toast: This all-day restaurant bakes its own breakfast pastries, including danishes. The ones they don’t sell that day get soaked in eggy custard and turned into baked French toast, a bread-pudding-like concoction. It’s served with powdered sugar and maple syrup from Springville. $6.50.
Dick & Jenny’s, 1270 Baseline Road, Grand Island, 775-5047
Banana Nutella crepe: Plain pancakes are plenty satisfying, but crepes are an everyday celebration.
A crispy-edged crepe filled with sliced banana and Nutella, the hazelnut chocolate spread, gets chocolate syrup and whipped cream and more bananas before its crowning touch: a Ferrero-Rochet chocolate hazelnut candy. $6.75.
Break’n Eggs Creperie, 5235 Main St., Williamsville, 634-3447
Tofu hash: Since 2004, Betty’s has become an Allentown fixture, building its fanbase with a broad menu that takes care of everybody. Since the beginning, vegetarians have been able to enjoy chunks of tofu sautéed with caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers and black beans.
Swap the grilled cornbread for pita, and it’s vegan. $10.
Betty’s, 370 Virginia St., 362-0633
Chicken souvlaki breakfast: This place gets the Buffalo Greek diner classic right. Chicken tenders, marinated in oregano, garlic and other spices, are griddled until golden but still moist inside.
Well-browned home fries, griddled pita bread eggs your way, and tzatziki seals the deal. It comes with a fresh fruit skewer and applesauce, if you feel like dessert. $10.99.
Eggsperience Vasilis, 2878 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, 873-3447
[Check out the full gallery of these breakfast places, by News photographer Sharon Cantillon, here.]
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