31 March 2007

the morning hustle: a five day Breakfast sandwich extravaganza

last week we got a glimpse of how morgan spurlock felt while he was making his documentary super size me as we embarked on a mission to eat breakfast sandwiches five days in a row. ten pounds heavier and burnt out on eggs, we suffered through it for the good of the column. we're happy to bring you the scoop on the morning hustle.

dining date: 03.26.07
west end grocery on spring st
pricing category:
pretty pricey for breakfast
guest critic:
sporty spice
flavah grade:
hustle factor:
coffee: B
tea: C
(maybe if they would actually open one of the honey jars they have for sale so you can use it in the hot beverages, they would have been better than "average")
the lowdown:
we were all fans of the cook, he was sassy and had a lot of personality. some of us (the usual in particular) were disappointed that breakfast burritos were the only option. those of us that enjoy breakfast burritos were a little disappointed that the only choices for filling beyond the norm were beans and salsa. the beans and salsa added a good deal of flavor to an otherwise mediocre burrito, though you might want to pass on salsa in the morning if you have a weaker stomach. the egg and cheese were fine, nothing special. the burritos were pretty huge, with enough filling to keep you full for a while. the price was a little hefty for what we were given, basically the price of a lunch burrito. despite being friendly, the service wasn't all that fast, but the good news is that while you wait you can grocery shop and snack on dog biscuits.
from sporty spice:
i would say that i found the west end grocery breakfast experience to be a good one overall. when TBC and i ordered from the cook at the back of the market we were treated to some good-natured sass and a number of options for how we would like our burritos prepared: plain, wheat, or garlic & herb tortilla; bacon or sausage; cheese or no cheese, etc. i found this nice since i could get basically what i wanted without any trouble. the burrito itself was good. well seasoned with salt and pepper and plenty of cheese. the only complaint i have is that there was nowhere to sit and eat, so we had to eat upon the ledge of the building next door, although that had a charm of its own. all in all, i had a good experience: good food, reasonable price, friendly service and good speed.

dining date:
ohno cafe on brackett st
web: http://www.ohnocafe.com/
pricing category:
average, worth your dime all the time
flavah grade:
hustle factor:
coffee: A
tea: A+ (organic teas, self-serve hot water, and honey!)

the lowdown:we here at TBC like to refer to this eatery as the oh YEAH, as it ranked as our top review of the week. while an outstanding array of choices guided our way, we had the option to modify our orders as we pleased. the usual was pumped to find soy sausage on the menu, a rarity that turned out to be a wonderful edition to a plain egg and cheese. wild toast and benny girl ordered the same thing because they were so excited that avocado was an option. they both thought that the smoked turkey, avocado, gouda, eggwich was the bomb. this place is so great that we found a couple of our east end friends who trekked across town waiting in line for their morning fix when we got there. that's dedication. p.s. the ohno is closed on mondays.

dining date: 03.28.07
eatery: o'naturals on exchange st (no longer open)
pricing category: pricey but organic
guest critic: "the cheapskate" aka S2H
flavah grade: A/A-
hustle factor: A-
coffee: B+
A+ (organic teas, self-serve hot water, and honey!)
the lowdown:
this local stop offered an organic component to our week. the flair of flatbread gave the ohno cafe a run for its money, mixing up the usual egg and cheese on a bagel or english muffin. o'naturals also has a great selection of toppings for your sandwich, as well as some tasty specials. wild toast's selection of egg, cheese, spinach and sausage was good except for the odd rabbit turd sausage bits tucked in the cheese. the usual was impressed with the complete change of pace that her sandwich brought. being a bit of a health nut, benny girl appreciated the thick slices of tasty, organic bacon that accompanied the free range eggs and all-natural cheddar. the service was great and the sunny atmosphere was a good way to start a day.
"from the cheapskate" (S2H):
so, ordinarily i cringe at the thought of paying more than $3 for a breakfast sandwich. i mean, the ingredients can't cost more than a dollar, maybe a buck fifty, so naturally i winced at the $4.17 egg, cheese, and bacon on a panini. we are talking organic though, so the chickens aren't kept in cages the size of bowling ball bags, which is going to make it more expensive. all in all though, it was pretty good and filling - that's the big one. there's not too much flare you can add to a egg/cheese/bacon sandwich, so if you're gonna charge over 4 bucks, i'd better not wanna eat lunch (i'm cheap by the way). the panini was also a pleasant surprise. the service at o'naturals was delightful - it's not a waitress setting, but our chef anna was nice enough to bring our food to us. good jobs guys... keep fighting the good organic fight, just try not to tag our wallets in the crossfire. overall - a B/B+

dining date: 03.29.07
eatery: market street eats on market st
pricing category: medium/expensive
flavah grade: B+
hustle factor: B-
coffee: N/A
tea: incomplete
the lowdown:
the wrapping of eggs and other ingredients can be tricky, but jeff behind the counter at this joint made it happen with ease. market street eats does wraps exclusively, but has a wide selection of fillings to start off the day. another nice touch is that they're wrapped with delicious syrians, as opposed to the ever typical tortillas. we all chose wraps with veggies and avocado right alongside the egg and cheese. the experience might have been better if the cheese had been melted onto the eggs, or at least next to it in the line-up. unfortunately it was seperated by the multitude of other fillings, leaving the cheese a little solid. a perfect amount of "hots" was a nice touch for wild toast and benny girl's wraps. one slight complaint was that the eggs were a little rubbery / chewy, according to one TBC member. just a side note, no hot beverages in this place, so swing around to exchange street to grab a cup to go. friendly service and mellow atmosphere make this a unique stop in the morning hustle.

dining date: 03.30.07
eatery: vaughan street on vaughan st
pricing category: pretty average to inexpensive
flavah grade: C+/B-
hustle factor: B+
coffee: B-
tea: B+
the lowdown:
don't be fooled by the lack of a breakfast menu when you walk in this place in the a.m. they actually have a (small) variety of choices for breakfast samiches -- just ask when you order. we opted to go the simple route: egg and cheese. all of us chose the bulky roll option, as a fresh new twist on the otherwise tired out egg sandwich. in retrospect this was a terrible idea. lurking somewhere in the flavah zone, was a strange aftertaste that was hard to put a finger on. was it the roll? the cheese? or just a "vaughan street secret ingredient"? still not sure. our initial bites were promising, but our appreciation waned as we forged ahead into the smushy mess of bread, egg and cheese. and we should add that there was entirely too much egg on this sandwich. perhaps the whole thing would have been fine had we chosen the old standby -- english muffins. hard to say. the service here was decent and friendly and perhaps next time we'll go for lunch and try the falafel. as we learned the hard way, this place is cash only.

1 comment:

Adam Burk said...

Agreed, the OHNO Cafe, has the best egg sandwiches in town. Try the Number 2-egg, gouda, avocado and tomato with soy sausage instead of turkey and if your feeling extra funky add spinach for a total breakfast sandwich experience. The only place that truly gives the OHNO a run for its title as champ is in South Portland, The One Fifty Ate. Their bagel, egg and cheese with some veggies and hot sauce, is out of this world.