Breakfast on the Shoreline
by e-list contributor Alix Boyle
Breakfast during the week for most of us is something quick and easy that can be consumed as we read the first emails of the day, or even in the car while commuting to work. It might be a yogurt, a container of dry cereal, nothing too exciting. But weekend breakfast, now you’re talking. Crepes. Gluten-free pancakes. Frittatas. With offerings this tasty, you won’t even mind waiting in line for a table. We checked out a few top spots.
The Tea Kettle, 1395 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook
Paleo adherents and gluten-free diners will love the menu at the Tea Kettle. They dish up all manner of creative morning feasts sans the forbidden carb. Order from their extensive menu of classic breakfast dishes, or go rogue with a la carte delicacies like chicken or turkey sausage, house-made Paleo French toast, or a side of sweet potato hash. The Crossfitter called out to me: a coconut and tapioca flour Paleo pancake served with real maple syrup, two perfectly scrambled eggs and a couple of turkey sausages. Took me right through til dinner. My mate indulged in the special of the day, a fluffy, plate-sized buttermilk pancake studded with an uncommon combination of candied walnuts and mango. Delish.
The Turtle Café, 4 Westbrook Place, Westbrook
At this tiny spot in the center of Westbrook, I was shocked to see crepes on the menu. The Magic Pan was the height of sophistication for tweens in my era, and the last time I had them. I couldn’t resist the Lover’s Crepe: two paper-thin babies stuffed with cream cheese, caramelized apples, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries topped with whipped cream and fruit compote. It was surprisingly light and not too sweet. My husband loved his Portuguese frittata with chorizo sausage, red pepper, feta, onion and spinach. The hash browns were divine.
J.A.M.S.S., 1522 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook
Customers are loving the new, larger location of J.A.M.S.S. in Old Saybrook. Signature dishes include the Crème Brulee French Toast (pictured) and Home on the Range, a beautiful mess of Texas toast, two eggs, bacon or sausage with hash browns smothered in a sausage gravy. Bring your appetite. Diners were clamoring for the “donut muffin.” Yup, looks like a muffin, tastes like a donut, due to a cinnamon/sugar/secret ingredient combo the owners won’t divulge. Get it sliced, grilled, and served with a heap of butter. J.A.M.S.S. is known for unusual menu offerings including salmon wrapped poached eggs with greens. Me, I’m heading back for the Happy Pig: Texas toast, home fries, two eggs, apple barbecue pulled pork, jalapeños and cheddar.
Mirsina’s, 162 Main Street, Old Saybrook
One of my guilty pleasures a few times a year is the Cinnabon. So you can imagine my delight when I found the Cinnabon pancake on the menu at Mirsina’s. Call me crazy but it tasted just like a Cinnabon and I didn’t have to drive on the Jersey Turnpike to get it. Equally delicious was my friend Robin’s Irish Eggs Benedict with corned beef hash substituted for the usual ham, topped with a light and lemony hollandaise. I was craving something simple and the Western omelet fit the bill, with ham, onions, peppers and American cheese. The hash browns here are a don’t miss. Kids love Mirsina’s because they offer all manner of sweets, including Oreos, Almond Joys and chocolate chips, folded into their pancakes.
Whistle Stop Café, 108 Main St. Deep River
Known for their variations on Eggs Benedict and a commitment to super friendly service, organic produce and farm fresh meats, it’s no wonder the Whistle Stop is a popular breakfast destination. While the outdoor covered patio doubles their size in summer, expect a bit of a wait the rest of the year. Cannes Eggs Benedict had my name on it—bacon, shallots, spinach and herb cheese on a pair of perfectly poached eggs, while my husband loved the Mountie omelet stuffed with sausage tomato, onion and Swiss cheese. A convivial crowd tucked into specialties like egg sandwiches on Fabled Foods bread and the Neptune Benedict: a crabmeat, cream cheese and cherry pepper concoction. Sticking to low carb? The friendly folks in the kitchen will swap out your home fries for sautéed veggies.