Know Your Breakfast: Potatoes

I’m often asked…”which are better, hash browns or home fries”?

To me, breakfast is never quite complete without some sort of breakfast potatoes. Maybe it’s because I was raised in Ohio, where we eat potatoes with just about everything, but especially our eggs.

But breakfast potatoes are so much more involved than just slicing up some goldens to fry.  It seems that there is a bit of confusion among a lot of us about the various styles of breakfast potatoes, and “which is better”. To me, they’re all good. It really just comes down to personal preference. There are several different styles of potatoes that are commonly available at most breakfast places. Many diners and restaurants offer just one style that they serve with every meal, while others give you choices. But one thing is for sure, just about everyone has a favorite.

With this Know Your Breakfast post, I hope to encourage you to try something different next time you go out to breakfast, and you decide which ones you like the best.

 

Home Fries

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Home fries themselves are not fancy. Traditionally, home fries are potatoes that have been diced into small, bite-sized chunks and cooked until tender or soft. Most of the time, these are cooked using a little bit of butter, bacon grease or other fat to add an element which will help steam and soften the potatoes on the inside, and brown them on the outside. Home fries can be seasoned with a simple shake of the salt & pepper mill….

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….or occasionally are seasoned with garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and other spices to jazz them up a bit.

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Home fries are also commonly used in other breakfast dishes like skillets or hashes. They are mostly used because they’re filling, and they don’t outshine the star of the dish.

 

Hash Browns

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Hash browns are generally shredded potatoes that have been cooked in oil or butter in order to get a nice, even, brown crisp on the outside, while still maintaining the integrity of the potato on the inside. As in all styles of breakfast potatoes, many people have their preference on how to best cook these – some like them light and tender, and some like them dark and crispy all the way through. I prefer an even balance of both.

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Like the home fries, hash browns are often times used in a variety of different “breakfast bakes”, casseroles, and skillets. Just Google “breakfast casserole” to see what I mean.

 

Hash Brown Patty

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Ok, here’s where it gets a bit confusing, because a lot of places (especially fast food shops) refer to the hash brown patty as simply a “hash brown”. Now, I’m not going to knock these, because Lord knows I love ’em (I know you do too), but there is most definitely a difference. Most hash brown patties come pre-formed and frozen, and are cooked in a deep fryer. The result is a crispy, often greasy exterior with a steamy, soft inside. You can also cook these on the stove or on a flat-top griddle with a little oil for browning.

Fried Potatoes

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There’s always some debate about fried potatoes. I know some folks who think home fries are the same thing as fried potatoes, and vice versa. Well, let me assure you that they most certainly are not. Fried potatoes are very similar to home fries in that they are cooked in the same fashion, often with the same methods, and can be altered to taste. The difference is in the size and shape, and sometimes the texture. Unlike home fries, fried potatoes most often do not have a uniformed shape. Often times, you’ll find large chunks, bite-sized pieces and crumbles all in the same serving, because fried potatoes are just rebels. A lot of times, fried potatoes are cooked until very soft, resulting in a slightly mashed consistency, unlike home fries which usually have a slight firmness, or chunkiness to them. Some people don’t care for this, but again, it’s a preference thing. I happen to love them. In fact, aside from shredded hash browns, these are probably my next fave. And they’re even better when they have a nice, brown crust on them!!

 

Potatoes O’Brien

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Potatoes O’Brien are very simply home fries, fried potatoes, or even hash browns served with diced peppers and onions. Every once in a while, you’ll find this version of potatoes listed on a diner menu, but I’ve found that even if it’s not, most places will gladly add onions and peppers to your spuds if you ask for them. I recommend trying these. Depending on whether you add sweet peppers or hot peppers, these can definitely add a touch of sweetness or a bit of heat to your breakfast.

 

Latkes

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Latkes, or potato pancakes, are probably the most seldom seen on this list, but something I would love to see more of. They’re basically a patty made from shredded potatoes, formed with flour and egg, and often flavored with grated garlic or onion and seasoning. Latkes may be topped with a variety of condiments, ranging from the savory (such as sour cream or cottage cheese) to the sweet (such as apple sauce or sugar), or they may be served ungarnished. Potato pancakes are sometimes made from mashed potatoes to produce pancake-shaped croquettes.

The next time you breakfast or brunch around town, make sure you check out the different potatoes that are offered on the menu. If you’re adventurous, try something new. If not, that’s ok too. But at least now you know the difference.

 

Blog Lovin’: A Few Of My Favorite Blogs

I love breakfast blogging. Simply stated. It gives me a creative outlet in which to express, in words and photos, my passion for tasting and cooking delicious foods. But let’s be honest, there are many, many food bloggers out there who do a terrific job. There are a ton of other blogs that I enjoy keeping up with on a regular basis, and having just moved from Columbus, I have many favorites from my hometown. But now that I’m a Philly area chap, I have also discovered some really great food-centric local blogs here as well. And yet still, others from cities I have never even been to.

I thought I’d take this opportunity, before we get started back up here at TBGG full-time with lots of awesome local bfast reviews and other great stuff (GIVEAWAYS are returning!!) to share with you some of my favorite local (and otherwise) food-centric blogs. Check these guys out! They do a great job!!

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Philly Blogs

Belly of the Pig

John has been blogging since 2011, and his blog was actually one of the first Philadelphia-based food blogs that I stared reading. I found Belly of the Pig a couple of years ago while still in Cbus and started following it so that I would have some ideas of places to eat at when visiting my family in Philly. John blogs mainly about dinners at higher-end restaurants, but there are also the occasional pizza joints thrown in. This blog also regularly features meals from his travels to Chicago, NYC, Atlantic City, and more.

Philly Phoodie

Thad does an excellent job on this Philly-based blog that centers around his favorite sandwich shops and pizza joints in the city and surrounding area. Philly Phoodie is what I refer to as a “regular guy” blog, in that he usually blogs about generally inexpensive, easily accessible restaurants and bars that anybody can afford to eat at. The humor and smartassness (is that a word?) are one of my favorite parts of his writing, and his photos are great!

Philly Food Girl

I love this blog. Philly Food Girl always seems so happy and cheerful, and it shows in her writing. Her Italian background often comes shining through when she blogs about cooking, and her recipes are great! She also regularly features reviews of a meal out, or simply highlights a specific menu item. Lots of personal pics give this blog character and warmth.

Foobooz

Philadelphia Magazine’s food blog is one of the blogs I go to to find out what’s happening food-wise around the city. There’s everything from “Best of” lists to the latest restaurant news and reviews. This blog is jam-packed with info and can feel be a bit crammed sometimes, but I usually go through article by article and find the flow manageable that way.

Philly Grub

In the same style as Foobooz, Philly Grub is another blog I check frequently for all of the latest Philly food news. There’s great up-to-date info on lots of food related events, and even a blogger guide, too!!

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 Columbus Blogs

CMH Gourmand

Penned by local food guru Jim Ellison, CMH Gourmand is one of the oldest Columbus food blogs around (9 + years!!). Jim is basically an expert on everything from beer (He co-owns and leads tours for Columbus Brew Adventures), pizza, BBQ, and much more. His blog is just as varied, with posts including such subjects as restaurant reviews, eating/dining tips, Columbus culinary history, and opinion pieces. His posts are plainly written, easy to read, and always entertaining.

Breakfast with Nick

Honestly, Breakfast with Nick has been my go-to blog since moving away from Cbus. This guy loves breakfast as much as I do!! He’s been blogging since 2007, and has reviewed just about every breakfast/brunch spot in town! I’ve worked with Nick on a number of occasions and he’s a superstar when it comes to local food knowledge. He leads a breakfast and brunch tour for Columbus Food Adventures (if you get the chance, take it!). His blog covers primarily breakfast, with the occasional reach outside of the morning meal. His writing and photos are both great, and flow really well. Also watch for recipes from his wife, and other special posts!

The 614orty-Niner

Joe has been writing his blog for a couple of years now, but somehow still feels like a relative newcomer to the Columbus blog scene. He blogs about everything from travel (he’s originally from San Francisco) to ice cream to beer. He often combines two or three reviews into one blog post, which can somtimes lead to a rather lengthy read, but his writings are always well thought out and always worth the time.

Wander and Whine

Written by a pair of awesome ladies, Alexis and Alicia, the tag-team style of this blog is entertaining in its own right. I enjoy this blog because these girls bring it, in a down-to-earth style that is simply charming. They often blog about their local food and drink adventures, travel, books, and more. Their photography is enjoyable and the flow of the blog is smooth.

Hummusapien

Alexis Joseph is a registered dietitian and whole foods enthusiast. Her blog is used to further her desire to bring healthy alternatives to Columbus. She co-owns Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe, and is truly an ambassador of good health to the city. At Hummusapien, she writes about and photographs her favorite healthy eats, recipes, and more!!

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Other Blogs

The Hunger James

This NYC blog is just plain old fun to read. As you probably guessed, a lot of the content is based off of The Hunger Games movie series, but the blog itself is very nicely composed and easy to read. I especially love the randomness of the “Cheezits” rating system.

The Red Headed Traveler

Julie writes one of my all-time favorite blogs. Her philosophy in life is simple: “When you can, travel, when you’re not traveling, eat something delicious, and when you’re not eating something delicious, cook something even more delicious.” The photography on her blog is simply beautiful – both travel and cuisine.

There are, of course, so many more great blogs that I didn’t have room to mention (sorry). Did I miss your favorites? Which local and non-local blogs do you read??

 

Technical Difficulties

I just wanted to thank you all for your continued support of this blog! More awesome, local breakfast reviews will be coming your way very soon!! We’re currently working out some technical bugs that the site is having uploading new photos and media. I hope to get this issue fixed quickly, because I can’t wait to share more breakfast goodness with you!!

Stay tuned!!

Know Your Breakfast: Steel-cut, Rolled, and Instant Oats

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As we move into the colder months of the year, it becomes more apparent than ever that oatmeal is king of the breakfast table. It’s warm, satisfying, and hearty enough to carry us through to lunchtime. Beyond a hot bowl at breakfast, oats show up in pancakes, muffins, cookies, granola bars, and so much more.

All oats start off as oat groats — the whole, unbroken grains. Before being processed into any other variety of oat, groats are usually roasted at a very low temperature. This not only gives the oats their nice toasty flavor, but the heat also inactivates the enzyme that causes oats to go rancid, making them more shelf-stable.

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The Difference Between Steel-Cut, Rolled, & Instant Oats

The difference between steel-cut, rolled, and instant oats is simply how much the oat groat has been processed. This also results in each variety having a distinct texture and varying cook times.

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Steel-Cut Oats

Also referred to as Irish or Scottish oats, this variety is made when the whole groat is cut into several pieces, rather than rolled. Steel-cut oats look almost like rice that’s been cut into pieces. This variety takes the longest to cook, and has a toothsome, chewy texture that retains much of its shape even after cooking.

In addition to being used for porridge, steel-cut oats can also be used to make meatloaf and savory congee (a nice alternative to rice), or add texture to stuffing.

Because of its toothsome texture, rolled or instant oats don’t make a good substitute for steel-cut oats.

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Rolled Oats

Also called old-fashioned or whole oats, rolled oats look like flat, irregularly round, slightly textured discs. When processed, the whole grains of oats are first steamed to make them soft and pliable, then pressed to flatten them.

Rolled oats cook faster than steel-cut oats, absorb more liquid, and hold their shape relatively well during cooking. In addition to be heated for a warm breakfast bowl, rolled oats are commonly used in granola bars, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods.

Instant oats can be used in place of rolled oats, although the cook time will be much less, and the final dish will not have as much texture.

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Instant Oats

Also referred to as quick oats, instant oats are the most processed of the three oat varieties. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They cook more quickly than steel-cut or rolled oats, but retain less of their texture, and often cook up mushy.

Rolled oats can be used in place of instant oats, although it will require more cook time, and the final dish will have more texture.

One Surprising Thing These Oats Have in Common

While these varieties have undergone a different level of processing, resulting in different textures and cook times, there is one thing they all have in common: nutritional value. Steel-cut, rolled, and instant oats all have the same nutritional profile since they’re all made from whole oat groats.

Unfortunately, oats don’t get the respect they deserve, in my opinion, in today’s modern breakfast culture. They’re almost looked at as something dull, lame, “un-cool”, or whatever the word is these days. Something only our grandparents used to eat. But there is no denying that oats are one of the most healthy breakfasts you can eat, and they’re downright delicious. So the next time you’re planning to eat something good for you in the morning – or just something hot and filling – be sure to seek out the big bowl of oatmeal on your diner menu!!

Santangelo’s Cafe – Norristown, PA

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A big part of writing a restaurant review blog is the fun and excitement of finding the places that people might not notice on their own. Or, they may have noticed, but they just don’t know enough about the place to warrant a visit. Showing you guys just how great a lot of these places actually are is where I come in. And every once in a while, when stumbling upon one of these places, I have the kind of breakfast experience that I just can’t wait to write about. I’m still pretty new to the area, and these kinds of local joints really excite me even more so than usual these days, because I’m still discovering many them for the first time myself! It’s the kind of thing where you say to yourself, “Holy crap, that was great!! We’ve got to come back here again!” In fact, I believe those were my words exactly after my family and I recently had breakfast at Santangelo’s Cafe in Norristown.

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Santangelo’s Cafe is tucked away on the back side of the old Conte Luna industrial building in the heart of beautiful downtown Norristown, so it’s virtually unseen from the busy street. Thankfully, they have a bright new sign (which boasts “Voted Best Breakfast in Montgomery County”, by the way) directing hungry folks like me and my family around the side of the building toward the parking lot. Once you’ve made it around back, Santangelo’s entrance is easy to spot, but the place totally has that hidden gem feel to it.

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Inside, the cafe is small but cozy. The main dining area consists of 4-5 tables with chairs, and a counter that overlooks the exposed kitchen, where owner Mike Santangelo and his crew are busy cranking out some awesome eats (for my Columbus people, this place totally reminded me of Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner at the OSU Airport). There’s also a second floor dining room that is often used on weekends when the restaurant gets packed. Their “Best of Montco” banners are proudly displayed on the walls, and at this point I was feeling pretty confident that we were about to enjoy some serious grub.

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The kitchen is totally exposed, which I love for three reasons:

  1. The restaurant is showing you that they have nothing to hide. Having the ability to watch your food being prepared instills confidence when it comes to cleanliness and freshness.
  2. There’s just something I love about hearing the sizzle of breakfast meats cooking on the flat-top.
  3. There’s no barrier between you and the heavenly aroma of bacon!!

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Mrs. Grub Guy, Grub Boy and I grabbed a four-seater just inside the door, and were greeted right away. The guy who waited on us (I didn’t get his name) was super friendly. We ordered a round of coffee for us, and chocolate milk for the boy. Santangelo’s menu is fairly large, with a couple of pages dedicated to their lunch offerings (burgers, cheesesteaks, hoagies, salads, etc. with an Italian lean) and another whole page listed their breakfast fare. There were many of your standard diner breakfast foods like egg combos, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and sides, but the real money was in a small section on the opposite page, featured as “Gerri’s Specials”. Take a look at the line-up above and try telling me they don’t make you want to chow right now!!

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Our boy, who is a bit of a French Toast connoisseur, ordered first, and went with the Funnel Cake French Toast ($8.00).  Um, yeah….Funnel. Cake. French. Toast. You can imagine the size of his eyes (and ours), and his smile, when they brought this absolutely HUGE plate of deep fried goodness to our table.

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The plate consisted of three enormous, funnel cake-battered slices of french toast, sprinkled with powdered sugar. The aroma itself could have knocked me over, it was so amazing. Warm, slightly crispy, and sweet on the outside and pillowy soft and cakey on the inside.

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It held up very nicely under the maple syrup, too. I have to tell you, after trying a bite of this, the wife and I agreed that this is one of the best French Toast dishes we’ve had. Ever. And even after taking two slices home with him, the boy wants to know when we can go back so he can order it again. Go here. Get this.

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After nearly opting for the enormous-looking meat-lovers breakfast hoagie (a guy at the next table was tackling that monster), I actually decided on the Meatball Omelette w/ homefries ($8.00). The omelette itself was a huge 3-egger, and came with the aforementioned potatoes and my choice of toast. It’s a dish that you don’t see very often on the average breakfast menu, so I felt the urge to give it a fair shake.

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First, the potatoes were very good. I’m normally a shredded hashbrowns kind of guy, but the thick, diced chunks were cooked very well (soft but not mushy), hot, and seasoned nicely. I opted to add the delicious hot peppers and onions to my ‘taters (“What’s ‘taters, Precious??” in my best Gollum voice….nevermind) for a small upchagre, and I’m glad that I did, because they added another tremendous level of flavor. Apparently, you can add the peppers to most of Santangelo’s breakfast sides or entrees, and I definitely recommend that you do!!

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The omelette was filled with hearty, flavorful meatballs, a sweet marinara sauce, and loads of gooey provolone. Before I ate it, I wondered if it would work – meatballs, sauce & cheese inside of an egg blanket. But you know, it works really well. I’d order it again.

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The wife, who usually goes for the protein versus the sweet stuff, did a 180* and ordered the Caramel Apple French Toast ($7.00), with a beautiful side of bacon. As you can see, the dish consisted of three big slices of Texas-style cinnamon French Toast, topped with a warm apple pie filling, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and drizzled with caramel sauce.

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She said that the toast itself was good, albeit pretty standard fare, but that the apples on top really helped to elevate the dish. They weren’t too tart, nor too sweet, and were perfectly soft. The whipped cream and caramel sauce added the perfect touch of sweetness to the whole thing. Her bacon was cooked well and had good flavor, and provided a nice balance of saltiness to the sweetness of her entree. After we left, the wife had an epiphany…take the apples from her meal, and put them on top of the Funnel Cake French Toast! How delicious would that be?? Something to ask about next time we visit!

As you might have gathered, my family and I seriously enjoyed this breakfast. Santangelo’s Cafe is the real deal, and it’s obvious that all of their “Best of” awards are very well deserved. I also have to comment again on their service. Everyone we talked with and who served us was very friendly, courteous and helpful. Top notch.

Seriously, when you go, explore some of the more unique items on Santangelo’s menu. You might just discover something new that will have you planning your next trip back.

Santangelo’s Cafe is located at 910 E. Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401 (MAP). They’re open Tuesday – Sunday, 7:00AM – 3:00PM, and they serve breakfast all day. For more info, check them out on Facebook or at their website.

Santangelo's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Devon Donut & Bagel Company – Devon, PA

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I’m always in the mood for good donuts. And when I say good donuts, I mean small shop – big flavor, old-fashioned donuts. I am not a fan of Dunkin’ Donuts, and although it seems there’s one on every street corner around here, I’d gladly pass up ten of them to find one good shop. Enter Devon Donut & Bagel Company. This cozy little shop is exactly what I’ve been looking for since moving to the Philly suburbs. And although it’s just a bit of a trip, it’s totally worth it.

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The first thing you notice when you walk in to DD&BC is the jumbo wall menu which is laid out nicely and is easy to read. Donuts and bagels are all priced both individually and by the dozen, and of course they have a variety of cream cheeses. There are also breakfast (egg, cheese & meats, wraps, etc.) and lunch (burgers, chicken, clubs, etc.) sandwiches too, which you can order on your choice of bagel, croissant, or roll.

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The front half of the space is used as a dining area with several tables and some sturdy chairs. It’s a nice spot to sit and relax with a donut and coffee, or to enjoy a quick bite to eat.

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The back half of the shop is where the order counter is found, with racks and racks of delicious donuts and bagels beyond that. There are some other featured items located along the counter such as specialty muffins, their fresh orange juicer and more. The staff was very friendly and helpful on the day we visited, and offered suggestions on our selection of goods.

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DD&BC makes all of their bagels and donuts fresh daily. They have a pretty decent selection of bagels, with a lot of the old favorites as well as some new (French toast!!).

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We tried one of their breakfast sandwiches while we were there – the Sausage, Egg & Cheese ($4.49), and selected an Everything bagel to hold it all together. It was a solid breakfast sandwich that was certainly easy to enjoy. The bagel was really fresh and had a nice amount of “everything” coating the top. The egg was fine, the sausage flavorful, and they used White American cheese, which I enjoyed. Certainly nothing extraordinarily amazing, but better than some breakfast bagels you’ll find out there.

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The donut selection is pretty impressive, and it seems as though DD&BC excels in the current candy bar donut topping trend. They had lots of different flavors I hadn’t seen done before – Snickers, Heath, Butterfinger – and some that I have – M&M, Reese’s, Oreos, etc. On the other hand, if you’re a donut traditionalist, they have you covered there, too. Overall, I believe I counted over 50 different kinds.

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I snagged a Mixed dozen ($10.99) with the help of Carey, who made suggestions and pointed out some of their best sellers. They rotate flavors and donut styles based on availability, and their current popular flavors seem to be the seasonal pumpkin and blueberry donuts filled with cream cheese icing.

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I did score one of the pumpkin/cream cheese beauties, and tried to sort of intermix my selections between the ridiculously sweet and traditional. I opted for a couple of chocolate-iced with vanilla cream in the center, a raspberry filled, an “old fashioned” (which was excellent!!), a Nutella-iced donut, and an apple fritter.

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I also chose a couple of salted caramel donuts, a hot chocolate donut, a Reese’s donut, and an M&M-covered iced devil’s food chocolate. Don’t worry, I didn’t plan to eat these all by myself. I shared with 4-5 other people in my family :)

I really liked Devon Donut & Bagel Company’s product. I’ve already told you about the bagel sandwich, but the donuts were even better. Some of them were way, way too sweet for me, but the kids loved them. You can just tell that these aren’t a production line, donut chain donut. And I think that’s what I liked most of all.

Pro Tips:

  • Devon Donut & Bagel Comapny does a great carryout business. They even allow you to phone ahead to place your order, and they’ll have your sandwich or box of bagels/donuts ready for you when you get there.
  • Be sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page for their specials, list of daily flavors, and contests!!
  • They are often open on holidays!! There’s nothing better than NOT having to cook breakfast when you’ve been cooking and preparing a holiday meal. A big box of fresh bagels or donuts are perfect for these occasions!!

Devon Donut and Bagel Company is located at 6 Berkley Rd, Devon, PA 19333 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Sunday, 6:00AM – 1:30PM, but often sell out before. For more info, check them out on FB (link above) or Twitter.

Devon Donut & Bagel Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Know Your Breakfast: Basted Eggs

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How do you you usually order your eggs? 9 times out of 10, I go with “over easy” or “over medium”. It’s almost always a pretty safe bet that the eggs will be fried with a runny yolk, but still fully cooked whites. Every once in a while, I’ll opt for scrambled eggs if they are part of another dish, like a burrito or a “scramble” (imagine that!). And I will almost always pick a nice, silky poached egg to top a benedict or some really good corned beef hash.

But imagine sitting in your neighborhood diner, and your server asking “How do you want your eggs?”, and you respond ….”basted”.

Huh?? Basted??

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that a lot of servers wouldn’t have a clue what that means. But actually, I’ve discovered that basting is a pretty popular method of cooking eggs, and is preferred by a lot of folks. Now, honestly I’ve only had basted eggs a handful of times, but really, I enjoyed them just as much as any other way to cook them. Basting eggs generally means to simply liquid or steam cook an egg thoroughly (whites and yolk) without having to flip it. Many restaurants have started offering basted eggs as an alternative to flip-fried and poached eggs, because they’re relatively delicate, easier and quicker to cook, and they are aesthetically pleasing in a beautiful breakfast plate presentation.

So, I thought I’d show you guys the two most popular ways to cook basted eggs.  First up is the “glass lid” method…

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Start by cracking your egg into a small, lightly greased (or you can just use cooking spray like I do) skillet over medium heat.

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Now for this method, I take one half of the cracked egg shell and fill it with about a tablespoon of water. Add the water directly into the skillet with the egg. This will help produce the steam you’re going to need to cook your egg.

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Cover your skillet with a glass lid so that you can keep an eye on your egg. Yeah, this means watching it through a steamy, cloudy cover, but stop complaining….you’ll love the outcome. Let the egg steam for about a minute and a half to two minutes, or until the yolk has just slightly clouded over and takes on a light pink hue. Cooking it longer could mean an overcooked, hard yolk.

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Once clouded over, remove it from the pan and serve immediately. Simply beautiful. The egg white should be firm and your yolk a silky, flowing river of delish!

Alternatively, the second method of basting an egg is to cook it by repeatedly spooning hot oil or butter over the top of the egg. The act of scooping the oil/butter will cook the top of your egg fully, and will eliminate the need to flip it. Here we go…

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This time, we’re going to start with a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease, your choice of cooking oil, or a couple pats of butter.

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Once the butter melts and the temp is hot, add the egg into the skillet over medium heat.

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As soon as the egg hits the skillet, you’ll want to take a spoon and start scooping the fat/oil over the top of the egg repeatedly. The yolk will again start to become cloudy when the egg is cooked. It should only take maybe 90 seconds to cook your egg. Any longer and the edges of the egg white will start to brown and crisp up, and the yolk will harden.

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I prefer this method to the glass lid version, because I love the rich, nutty flavor that scooping the butter or bacon grease gives to the whole egg.

So there you go. Now you know what a basted egg is and how to cook them! If you give it a try, let me know how yours turn out!!

City Restaurant – Fairview Village, PA

So here it is…breakfast in Philadelphia. Well, technically the suburbs, but you know. We’re finally settled in (sort of) to our new digs here and life is starting to come around to something vaguely resembling normalcy, so I figured it was time jump on TBGG and get this breakfast blog going in high gear again!! Choosing a spot for my first Philly review was actually a tough decision. I wanted to introduce myself to my future Philadelphia readers in a way that would encompass the soul of the blog, but I kept wondering, “How do I do that??” Should I start someplace big, like Reading Terminal Market? With an upscale brunch? Or a trendy breakfast spot in the city? Maybe a donut shop? Or do I start by showcasing some of Philly’s coffee scene? But after plenty of contemplation, I decided to go with my gut…literally. Mom & Pop diners and restaurants are the backbone of this blog and always have been, and Southeastern PA, and the surrounding area, most definitely has no shortage of them. These are the shops I love – the neighborhood spots where you’ll find a dining room full of regular customers doing life. These are the places the locals eat. Of course I also love the fancy and trendy places where every dish is an Instagram hit, but the Mom & Pop shops are dear to my heart. So that is where I decided to start.

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City Restaurant is about 5 minutes from my house and is a place that’s been racking up 4 – 5 star reviews on Yelp (which I’ll probably be relying on more than usual until I get more familiar with the breakfast scene here). So, hearing the beckoning call of bacon and eggs and all things breakfast, we headed out to check out this little neighborhood gem.

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Located right on Germantown Pike in Fairview Village, City Restaurant’s parking lot is roomy enough to accommodate plenty of visitors. We seemed to arrive right between the breakfast and lunch crowds, at around 10:30 AM, but the dining area was still half full of breakfast latecomers like us. The interior is clean and comfortable, with a mix of vinyl booths and tables. The servers greeted us immediately upon entering and invited us to find out own seats.

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We started by ordering a couple of mugs full of familiar diner brown coffee. It was warm and satisfying. albeit a bit weak. Our server was friendly and talkative, just as you’d expect at a small shop. She told us that over the past year and a half or so that they’ve been open, they’ve become known for their fairly wide selection of eggs benedict dishes, and the waffles. We decided that both options sounded good, but then the daily specials card caught my eye.

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The weekday specials are basically your diner standards: eggs, potatoes, meat & toast, and omelettes. I was pretty surprised that the bacon option was actually a dollar less than the others. At these prices, how can you pass that up??

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I ordered the 2 Eggs with Scrapple Special ($4.99). It had been years since I tried my hand at the scrapple game, and wanted to give it a go. I know I’m in Philly now and you guys know all about scrapple, but for those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a breakfast meat found in diners and restaurants mainly along the Eastern PA/New Jersey/Delaware/Maryland section of the East coast. It’s made of a combination of pork scraps, cornmeal, wheat flour and spices, which are processed and then formed into a congealed loaf, where slices are cut off and pan-fried. I’ve determined that, for me, it’s a food that takes some getting used to…meaning I might have to try it a few more times before I develop a fondness for it :) The eggs were cooked well – over medium with no runny whites, the potatoes were good (could have used some more seasoning), and the toast came buttered. Overall, pretty simple and tasty…and a steal at under 5 bucks!!

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Their American Waffle ($8.99) is a customer favorite, and it’s easy to see why. This big, fluffy Belgian waffle came out warm and yummy, piled with enough whipped cream and fruit to make adults and kids alike gaze across the room in amazement as it’s being brought to the table!

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This big, delicious dish was almost like a breakfast dessert. The toasty, cakey waffle had great flavor, and it cradled tons of fresh blueberries, strawberries and bananas, and had a nice dusting of powdered sugar to boot. If breakfast sweets are your thing, come here and order this! You won’t be sorry.

Overall, I really enjoyed breakfast at City Restaurant. It’s a charming little place with a great feel, and wonderful folks. The staff is super friendly and the servers are attentive. The food was seriously good – I can see now why they’re lighting up the online review sites with more stars than a clear, Summer’s night. I’m glad it’s just down the road from me, because this place might just become my regular go-to breakfast spot when I’m in a diner mood. I can’t wait to come back and try their benedicts and more of their other breakfast goodness!!

City Restaurant is located at 2974 W. Germantown Pike, Fairview Village, PA 19403. They’re open Monday – Sunday, 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM and breakfast is served all day. For more info, visit their Facebook page.

 

Know Your Breakfast: Goetta

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Welcome to a new feature here on The Breakfast Grub Guy: Know Your Breakfast!!

Know Your Breakfast will be a regular blog post that I will share with you guys every couple of weeks, in addition to my upcoming local breakfast reviews throughout the Philadelphia area. I want TBGG to be not only a source of awesome breakfast and brunch reviews and recommendations for you to use as a tool, but also a source of info on the wonderful world of breakfast.

Each week I will highlight a regionally-specific breakfast food, little knows breakfast facts and tips, a cultural or ethnic breakfast meal, unique cooking techniques, and more! The idea is to introduce you to things you may have never experienced, and to get you in the mood to explore new breakfast and brunch options. Our area is a hugely diversified, cultural mix, and there are all kinds of new foods to try and new ways to up your breakfast game all around you!!

So without further ado….

goetta

This is goetta.

Similar to what we know as scrapple here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Goetta (pronounced Get-uh) is made of ground pork scraps, or sometimes pork and beef, and is primarily eaten in the Cincinnati area. It’s a combination of the ground meat, pin-head oats (also called Steel-cut oats), and spices, and is then usually formed into a loaf or roll, and congealed. The typical cooking method is to simply slice and pan fry.

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It’s considered a sausage mush and is of German inspiration. Goetta was originally a peasant dish meant to stretch out servings of meat over several meals to conserve money.

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Today, most people enjoy goetta as a side meat to their breakfast, just as you would bacon, sausage, ham or scrapple.

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Glier’s Goetta is the largest commercial producer of the breakfast meat. They produce more than 1 Million pounds annually, around 99% of which is consumed locally in Greater Cincinnati.

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Folks in that area love goetta so much, that every year Glier’s hosts Goettafest. It’s a weekend event, usually held in August, where goetta is used in all sorts of foods – goetta pizza, goetta desserts, and even goetta cheesesteaks!!

Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with any restaurant that currently serves goetta in our area. If you do ever see it on a breakfast menu around town, be sure to try it, and let us know too!!

Goodbye, Columbus.

Well, guys…the time has come. Today is my last day in Columbus, and tomorrow I will call Philadelphia my new home.

I’m sad to go, because I will miss my city. I love Columbus. I love the people, I love the community, I love the Buckeyes…and I love the breakfasts. I’ve eaten at some of the best Columbus has to offer, but there were many, many more that I never reviewed. I’ll certainly be targeting those places upon my future visits home.

As my last post in Cbus, and before beginning TBGG: Philly Edition, I wanted to look back at just a few of my favorite photos of breakfasting and blogging over the last three years.

Enjoy…..

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The Cuban Scramble @ Starliner Diner

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Tatoheads’ Chorizo Fries

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The famous Dagwood from Ohio Deli

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Saturday morning Pancake breakfast @ Hills Market Downtown

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A trio of tacos from El Camioncito Sel Sabor Taqueria

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Amazingly spicy Greek Fire Feta Dip @ King Gyro

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Iced Chai @ Impero Coffee

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A hungry crowd at the Columbus Food Truck Fastival

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One of my favorite diner signs in Cbus!!

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Jerk Chicken @ Island Vibes

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A sampling of donuts from Resch’s Bakery

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The delicious Italian Beef sandwich @ Tristano’s

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The ULTIMATE diner photo at German Village Coffee Shop

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A Southwest Bacon & Egg Sammie at Spinelli’s Deli

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A sampling of poutine @ Skillet

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Columbus’ meat master, Albert Thurn, breaking down the meat anatomy of a freshly butchered pig.

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North Market Coffee Roast

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Lots of One Line Coffee’s Slow Drip Cold Brew

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Babybacks @ Ray Ray’s Hog Pit

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Sampling Mya’s Fried Chicken goodness

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Breakfast at home

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The Juggernaut breakfast sandwich @ Superchef’s

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Coffee Granola from Birdhouse Bakery

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101 Beer Kitchen’s Short Rib Hash

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The Polar Blast @ Colin’s

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Delicious Biscuits & Chorizo Gravy at Ethyl & Tank

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Freah seafood from Giant Eagle Market District Grandview

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Yummy gelato @ Market District Grandview

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Woonsen Sen Nam Sei @ Bangkok Grocery & Restaurant

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The awesome Undertaker sandwich from Neighbor’s Deli

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Bronuts @ Cravings Carryout Cafe

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The delicious Breakfast Sandwich & a cappuccino @ Fox in the Snow

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Desserts @ Fox in the Snow

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The AMAZING Pancake Balls ans Sweet & Spicy Bacon @ Katalina’s

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A table full of breakfast love @ Katalina’s

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The best donuts ever @ DK Diner

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake Donuts @ Hudson 29

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Pour overs @ Boston Stoker

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The flavorful Breakfast Hot Brown @ Grand Day Cafe

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The brisket sandwich and mac & cheese at Ray Ray’s is SOOO good!!

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A wonderful breakfast of Challah French Toast @ Zoe Cafe

 

Thank you so much, Columbus, for all of your support and love. I’ll miss you all. Remember to continue to taste and explore all of the wonderful breakfast and brunch places this awesome city offers you.

Be sure to follow along with my breakfasting adventures in the City of Brotherly Love.

Peace.