Comfort Food in New York

New York City usually brings to mind the finest, most sophisticated restaurants in the world, with little thought to basic meals and home-cooking? I could be health conscious and enjoy a bowl of fruit and yogurt when visiting, but that’s something I can do at home (even though I rarely do). After years in Mexico, the land of hearty breakfasts, I feel compelled to go and explore the best the city has to offer in the way of simple, homey morning meals.

Good Enough to Eat on Amsterdam @ 83rd is one of the best places for perfect (affordable) eggs. Consistent beyond belief, this small, cozy establishment is bustling on the weekends when the brunch line weaves out on to the sidewalk. Simple wooden tables and farmhouse decor, with an emphasis on cows, provides a comforting environment for a bountiful breakfast. The owner, Carrie Levin, wrote her culinary thesis on the egg (90 pages, can you believe?), so obviously, it’s the specialty of the house. My personal favorite is the Wall Street omelet with baked ham and sharp cheddar cheese, served with homemade buttermilk biscuits and strawberry butter (the best in town and I’ve tried them all). Each time my plate arrives, I stick my fork into the eggs and marvel at their perfection: soft, light and fluffy. No rubbery, overcooked omelets here. Levin has her eggs shipped in directly from local farms and one savory bite emphasises her commitment to egg excellence. I stick to what I like, so I haven’t delved into the sweet side of the breakfast menu yet, but the pumpkin french toast with pear-cranberry compote and apple pancakes look and smell delightful as they pass by…and the coffee, delicious. A special blend, roasted specifically for the restaurant, it never fails to please. Even though it’s not traditional morning fare, try the sour cherry pie and/or carrot cake. You won’t be disappointed. If it’s too early for dessert, return in the afternoon, as I often do. for a little treat.

When not at Good Enough to Eat, I head down to 156 Chambers Street and the Kitchenette, another establishment serving comfort food. They are packed on Saturday and Sunday, so be prepared to wait. Their brunch menu is much more elaborate than their weekday options, so I would suggest waiting for the weekend. With a motif of country living, featuring old doors as tables and an old-fashion bar topped with glass domed cakes, the Kitchenette’s signature meal is breakfast. My current favorite is the Tex-Mex: scrambled eggs over toasted cornbread, topped with chili con carne and sour cream accompanied by a side of cheese grits. This obviously is not a dish for wimpy eaters. Their cinnamon swirl French toast is scrumptious, as is the sweet potato waffle with brown sugar pecans and apple butter. Dodging the dessert counter, filled with home-style pies, puddings, cupcakes and cookies is beyond difficult. Leaving without a sweet-filled bag in tow takes discipline, something I rarely possess when it comes to food.

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