Neat

6 Wilton Rd. Westport, CT 06880(203) 557-8955 neatwestport.com

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Breakfast all day? All right! Damn, I love Westport. And as if I needed yet another reason to want to move there, they go ahead and open yet another great restaurant. Cute to the core and serving up the best chai latte I’ve ever had. More foamy than Cujo’s mouth, yet still piping hot and spiced to the brim with cinnamon, fennel, star anise, peppercorn, nutmeg and cloves. So good. As is their fresh squeezed OJ, enough so to make even a Florida boy like me happy.

Of the breakfast fare my favorite thing on the menu was the ciabatta BLT, which is also a nice go-to if you should want a more lunch-y option. The other dish I was digging was the trio of Egg soufflés, granted I would just go with three of the sundried tomato and burrata. Trust me. Skip the plain. And while the bacon would seem like it would be worth it, it’s not. If you want bacon then get the BLT.

The waffles are also solid if you’re craving something sweet. And if “kosher” is your thang, then the pretzel bagel with pastrami salmon has you covered. That said, I did find it to be a wannabe Pastrami Russ from Russ & Daughters, and while it’s definitely good, it falls very short of its mentor. Mostly because the bagel is pretty sub par. What is on par is the net, net. Worthy of a strong four.

4 teeth

 

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Gjelina

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291(310) 450-1429 • gjelina.com

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I’ve been here a few times- once before the hype and a couple after, and I have to say, I liked it a lot more before the hype. Not just because of the difficulty it now takes to get in, but more because of the pompous attitude that now comes along with it. Service is flat out terrible and unfortunately the food isn’t even worth the abuse. I say walk up the street to Tasting Kitchen for dinner or down to 3 Square for lunch or brunch. The food and service are better at both and the décor at Tasting Kitchen is every bit as cool, albeit different.

I would get into describing the food, but if you still want to go here I’m assuming it’s for reasons other than eating, for example you are a masochist.

2 teeth

Penny Lane

Camino Del Colegio S/N | Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas 23400, Mexico • Phone: 526241225560

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I love this place! So charming. Something you’d expect to find in Santa Monica, CA. Trendy, yet quaint, with its patio roofed by an open lattice of dark wood beams, adorned by an eclectic mix of lanterns.

The server was very warm and attentive.

And the food was stellar. A range of brunch usuals that you’d expect to find in virtually any place of its kind, but made with farm to table ingredients, so everything is delicious. Even the juices and smoothies are great. As is the complimentary blueberry muffin, which is the “bread.”

I had the eggs benny, which was solid. Served with a yummy potato salad that boasted a local spin on ingredients (black beans, cilantro, corn).

But my son had the winner- the French toast with vanilla caramelized bananas. Deadly.

4 teeth

 

The Ultimate Eggs Benny

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Of all the meal times, I think breakfast/brunch is probably my favorite. And of all the breakfast options I would have to say that Eggs Benny is probably right at the very tippy top. Sure I eat other breakfast foods more often, but that’s only because I don’t want to die. But if I could, I’d eat Eggs Benny at least 3 or 4 times a week. But enough about me. Let’s get down to brass tax. Here are the best Benny’s I’ve ever had:

Coast – Santa Monica, CA

This is a traditional Eggs Benny. No twists. Just perfectly done. Eggs are always nice and runny. Hollandaise isn’t too overbearing. And the consistency of preparation is remarkable. I mean, I’ve been getting this Eggs Benny for over 20 years and not once have they ever dropped the ball. That’s pretty impressive.

Joseph Leonard – New York, NY

It’s actually a Salmon Benny, but wow is it something special. For starters, they skip the Hollandaise and use a scallion crème fraiche, which is so much lighter, yet every bit as decadent somehow. Even the scone beneath the salmon and egg was a nice surprise, bringing a complexity of texture to the dish, while still letting the smokiness of the salmon shine. Not to mention the perfectly cooked eggs- oh yeah, them.

Boon Fly Café – Napa, CA

While the two above are truly sensational, this last one is perhaps my favorite of the lot. Mainly because I am a heat seeker, so anything with a little kick to it usually wins my heart. And this Benny definitely won every little piece of my heart now baby. The heat I speak of comes from their jalapeno Hollandaise, which is drizzled over the wonderfully poached eggs, which sit atop thick country ham so fresh I could swear I heard pig squeals as I bit into it. And then all of it rests on a homemade country bread foundation. But to truly put its awesomeness into context, it’s been 4 years since I ate there and I still dream about it.