Fresh juice and pancakes



I've always thought going out to breakfast is an eminently civilized thing to do. It's such a departure from my usual Cheerios, shredded wheat or oatmeal, and going out for breakfast or brunch seems to say you've got all the time in the world, not to mention money to burn.

So I was pleased when an alert reader recommended the Breakfast Club, open since last January (keep those suggestions e-mailing in, folks). You can get a good meal there in all the traditional breakfast categories: eggs (omelets and quiche); carbs (pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes); potatoes (jacket-stuffed, hash brown and potato pancakes with sour cream); meats (sausage, bacon, corned beef hash); fruit (fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit salad); even "Scottish porridge." (I believe it's safe to assume that the latter is my old friend, oatmeal.)

Besides that, there's a lunch menu (the Club is open 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m.), with a bunch of salads, desserts and sandwiches (the grilled chicken on focaccia with provolone is agreeable).

The very best thing I ate at the Breakfast Club was actually none of the above, but a butternut squash soup. It was creamy, a beautiful, peachy beige, dessertlike without being too sweet. I ordered it in a bowl made of dill bread, which was a mistake, as it kept the quantity of soup down. Thinking back over past reviews, I find frequent raves over soups made from fall vegetables, so I believe that nature must have intended pumpkins and squash to be mixed with dairy products.

The Breakfast Club also does a good job on its waffles and pancakes. The syrup is half the game, and theirs has an excellent burnt-maple flavor. Gingerbread pancakes, a special, are not so gingery as to compete with the maple. The thick Belgian waffles taste of crunchy brown sugar.

I found in my apple-pecan-cream cheese crepes, however, that the delicate crepes were overwhelmed with the overpowering taste of sweetened apples.

My co-diner found his ham and cheddar omelet "standard" – which is pretty much the definition of a ham and cheddar omelet. Other omelet choices are country, which puts your hash browns and sausage inside the eggs; spinach and feta; Western; mushroom; chili and cheddar (the robusto); and a vegetarian with steamed Chinese veggies.

The menu boasts that the potato pancakes and corned beef hash are house-made, which makes me want to try them. I always feel sad when I read "house-made," implying (admitting?) that made-on-the-premises is the exception in some restaurants. One of the virtues of omelets is that you can be sure they're made to order! As you squeeze through the kitchen to get to the Breakfast Club restroom, you notice boxes and boxes of those yummy Belgian waffles.

The Breakfast Club does lots of things right: Fresh orange juice and fresh daisies on the tables, quick service, a kids menu. It's a small place, with only eight tables and four stools at the counter, and it's usually close to full, but the wait, if any, is brief.

There's a fenced patio in front, with white wrought-iron tables, which ought to be a delightful place to indulge come summer. They even bring you chocolate-dipped strawberries with your check.

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