Forager’s Table

233 8th AveNew York, NY 10011 • (212) 243-8888 • foragersmarket.com/restaurant

Swooned by many a Yelper and blog, Forager seems to make everyone’s top spots for brunch. So, when in Rome, and Chelsea, we grabbed brunch. And as much as I love hatin’ on the Yelpers, I gots to admit, they called this right as rain.* Oh, the asterisk? Well, there was a pretty egregious miss, but will get to that after some lovin’.  

First up, an Ultimate in the pancake category, their orange blossom ricotta pancakes (pictured) are fluffier than a newborn chick after a blowout. Light and brilliant and I’m so glad I don’t live or work closer to this place or I’d become the opposite of light and fluffy. Also in the sweet camp, their Belgian waffles are quite strong as well.

On the savory front, wifey had the salmon tartine and it too was a crowd-pleaser. Said crowd being her teeth and mine. And albeit a simple dish, the ingredients are terrific (like dill creme fraiche) and the balance is nailed.

Not-so nailed is the “steak” egg wrap, which sounds incredible by its description on the menu- so much so that I came dangerously close to order it over the pancakes. Well, phew! Dodged that bullet! But sadly, it hit my father in-law square in the puss. An culinary insult to its brethren dishes, it disappoints on virtually every metric, the first of which being that it is NOT steak. It is ground meat. Granted it might’ve been steak at one point, but that would be like serving up chicken and calling them eggs. Speaking of eggs, they must’ve made them with milk as opposed to crème fraiche, because the wrap was soggier than a toddler’s bed at 2:00am. MOM!!!!!

I don’t want to end on a sour note, however, because the truth is, it was a pretty sweet meal, even down to their fresh juices. But shhh! Don’t tell my father in-law or he’ll disown me.

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Café Paris

Rathausstr. 4 – 20095 HamburgGermany • +49 40 32527777 • cafeparis.net
 
 If it weren’t for the weather, Hamburg would easily be the Paris (or Venice) of Germany. It’s absolutely stunning with its lakes and canals and bridges everywhere. The architecture and the steeples strewn across its skyline. And clinching the deal are charming little haunts such as this, stolen virtually right off the streets of Paris and plopped squarely in the heart of town.

 

The ceiling alone will make you smile (pictured) and the vibe lives up to the name quite faithfully. As do the baguette and croissants. The cappuccino and oj are solid too. But should you veer too far from the French fare, the wheels quickly start coming off.

 

The English Breakfast is made with relatively bland eggs, bacon and beans and is just okay. Worse still is the American, which is a chewy pancake served with syrup and peanut butter. It’s inedible. But it stands to reason, since Parisians probably think this is what most Americans actually eat. Well shame on you Pierre, because it just cost you a knife. And not because I’m exacting revenge as a petty American. It’s because I’m exacting revenge for punitive damages on my mouth.

 

Also shame on me, I suppose, because when in Paris, one should order like a Parisian. Do so and you’ll do magnifique!

B Grill

1 World Way • Terminal 7 • Los Angeles, CA 90045 • (310) 646-5252

boa-steakhouse-petite-filet-mignon

Oh airport food, why do you mock me so? Giving me glimmers of hope here and there, only to smack my wishful thinking back to Earth again and again with your edible insults. And I just don’t understand why. Why do airports think that the moment you pack a bag, you are suddenly no longer discerning about what you stick in your mouth? Has not a traveler taste buds? If you feed a traveler, do they not say “mmm?”

Shame on you B Grill, you poor excuse for a BOA Steakhouse spin-off. Shame on you for your traveling bigotry. Serving crap OJ instead of fresh squeezed when you are clearly based in an orange yielding state. Double shame for using frozen blueberries in your blueberry pancakes. Triple shame on you for how chewy the pancakes were. Quadruple shame for putting a strip of bacon on the plate that was so shriveled up it looked like it had arthritis. And Quintuple shame for the albino fruit salad next to it.

But maybe they just suck at breakfast and they’re amazing at lunch and dinner. I mean judging from that picture above, it would certainly seem that way. Then again, pictures of food are like pictures of real estate, always looking so much better than the real thing.

1 tooth

The Egg & I

1601 Q St. Ste A Lincoln, NE 68508 • (402) 476-3444 • theeggandirestaurants.com

bacon-cheddar-waffle

I’m guessing this place does well with the college kids, because it’s like a Denny’s, but without the chain stigma or the racism. Granted I didn’t actually witness them serving any African Americans, so perhaps this is an unfair assumption. That said, my waitress was so incredibly friendly I can’t imagine her harboring such demons. But then again, she was suspiciously nice, which leads me to believe she is hiding something.

Located in a strip mall down the street from Nebraska U, the Egg & I reads like your typical small-town diner and it tastes like it too. And even though I appreciated inventive attempts like their apple cinnamon granola pancake, the execution fell just short of the mark, the granola coming out soggy, more like oatmeal, as opposed to crunchy, which would’ve made for a nice textural contrast. On the flip side, they probably should’ve skinned the apples, because that was a textural element that wasn’t so ideal. The flavor of it was good though, so no complaints there.

And no complaints on the side of bacon and eggs either, both cooked just the way I like them- Okay so there’s one tiny complaint, the eggs were in dire need of salt, so make sure the shaker at your table is full, because the chef is definitely in the do-it-yourself camp.

My biggest gripe, however, was with the orange juice. Being a Florida boy in my formative years, OJ was practically a religion down there, so anything less than fresh squeezed is blasphemy. Even Odwalla. Sorry, but what are we, animals?

I can’t say I’d recommend The Egg & I to anyone passing through, but if you’re a student on a budget, still hung over from fraternal hazing rituals, than I say, what’ve you got to lose? But if you’re aiming higher, aim elsewhere.

2 teeth

Upland

345 Park Ave S. New York, NY 10010 • (212) 686-1006uplandnyc.com

13-upland-eggs-in-hell.w750.h560.2x

Once upon a time this place used to be called Manzanilla, a terrific restaurant that for some reason caught the venom of the New York Times food critic, and had to close its doors less than a year after a brutal and undeserving one star review. Which brings me to my next point- Manza-who? Just one bite of Upland’s porchetta and egg sandwich and I completely forgot all about what’s its face. Served up with a nice helping of hot peppers and placed on a wonderful mini ciabatta- it’s yabba dabba delicious!

But if the sandwich was hog heaven, the Eggs in Hell (pictured) can only be described as hedonistic. Fried and floating in a spicy marinara sauce that is bread-sopping bodacious. Such an inventive twist on huevos rancheros I almost find it hard to categorize it as such.

On the less inventive front, the pancakes are also quite good, but not quite as interesting as the other dishes. And lastly, the citrus salad with olive oil and bitter chocolate shavings was a little too simple for my tastes. Not that it wasn’t good, but it was a little too simple for even me, and I like simple. Just not so simple that I could make it at home, just as well, in less than five minutes. It is nice and refreshing though, especially next to the heavier plates.

Such a great meal I can’t wait to come back for lunch and dinner, because everything else on the menu looked pretty ridic as well. So glad this new tenet is as good as the old. Guess this space just has good restaurant juju?

4 teeth