Tag Archives: Breakfast

Breakfast at 5 Spot and Hiking Crystal Peak

27 Aug

5 Spot
1502 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle

So much has been going on that I’ve only just gotten around to posting about stuff we did a couple of months ago!

Luke and Madeline invited us to hike Crystal Peak. We started the morning off at 5 Spot – a super popular diner in Queen Anne. This was the line 5 minutes before it opened for breakfast:

5 Spot is famous for rotating its decor and menu five times a year based on different US cities. When we visited it was San Francisco:

Since it was our first time James and I just ordered off the regular menu. I think James ordered the Ranch Hand Eggs ($10.50) – flour tortillas, oaxaca and pepper jack cheese served over black beans topped with chile sauce and topped with eggs, salsa and sour cream. Though I’m pretty sure he omitted the cheese and sour cream.

I ordered Hair of the Dog-wich ($10.75) – a fried egg sandwich with bacon and cheddar on panino with fried red potatoes and fruit.

James’ was better than mine. I think my fried egg sandwich suffered because the bacon was quite bland, though the fried potatoes were nice and crispy. The prices were very cheap but I didn’t think either dish was particularly memorable.

I still maintain that Seattle doesn’t do breakfast very well. Breakfast places here that have consistently long lines – Portage Bay, Macrina Bakery and 5 Spot are at best second tier breakfast places in Melbourne. Or maybe I’m looking back with rose-coloured glasses? At any rate I’ve found breakfast/brunch in Seattle ranges from mediocre to good. I think 5 Spot is good but nothing mindblowing – though it’s so cheap I’d definitely go back to try something else.

But anyway, after that carby breakfast we drove to Crystal Peak (near Crystal Mountain where we go snowboarding in winter). The hike began in the forest and was a little steeper than normal. The views weren’t very exciting until we got out of the forest.

The path was narrow like that pretty much the whole way. Unfortunately there weren’t any scrambles to do but it was nice walking with Rainier in the background.

Apparently at some parts of the year there are berries everywhere but we were too late for berry season. We got to see a bunch of wildflowers though which was nice.

I can’t remember how long the hike took – maybe 3 hours in total? We saw a few people along the trail but most people were heading to the lake instead of the peak.

Here we are at the top!

That cloud over Rainier stayed there all afternoon so we never got an unobstructed shot. =(

We stayed at the top for awhile, taking in the views, eating and drinking.

In one direction we could see the lake where the original trail split off to. There’s also some snow towards the right, which I still marvel at. Snow in summer? Madness!

It was a pretty dusty hike: behold my formerly-black Vibrams!

I swapped them out for runners soon after we headed down because the webbing of my toes kept jamming uncomfortably against the ends. James didn’t have that problem with his shoes so maybe mine are slightly too big? At any rate the runners fixed the problem.

I’m used to trotting part of the way back down – because you’re going with gravity it’s almost easier than going down slowly. We didn’t do that this time and even though the hike wasn’t difficult, James and I were both really sore the next day. Coincidence? I think not! Seriously, next time you go downhill try trotting – faster and easier.

This was a creek maybe 5-10 minutes from the end (and the beginning I guess).

Afterwards we headed to Puyallup to visit Mike, had burgers for dinner, then headed home. It was a fun afternoon of hiking but man I was sooo glad to shower afterwards!

5 Spot on Urbanspoon

Local 360

27 Oct

Local 360
2234 1st Avenue, Seattle

For AJ’s birthday a bunch of us had brunch at Local 360 in Belltown. According to their website their name comes from their philosophy of locally sourcing their food – the majority of it comes from within a 360 mile radius of Seattle.

I checked out their menu the night before and already had my eye on the fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup ($11). It just seemed so … American that I had to try it. Of course those experiments didn’t go so well with deep fried candy bars and Red Vines, but I had faith.

Which was rewarded! Score one for Team USA. I think they must have used breast because the chicken was a tad tough, but it was not bad for breast. Still, I will always prefer thigh because you really have to work to overcook it. But liberal dollops of butter and maple syrup took care of that minor problem. The chicken was herby and crunchy (and not greasy at all – until I buttered it I guess), the waffles were nice and crispy, and the maple syrup on the chicken totally worked.

Unfortunately James didn’t fare so well with his choice of the farmer’s breakfast with biscuits and sausage gravy and eggs ($10). I know it’s a little blurry, but does that not look like vomit?

Even James, who normally doesn’t notice this kind of stuff, was a bit taken aback at the presentation. Which could have been forgiven if it had tasted great but he said that his eggs arrived cold. Cold eggs at a brunch place? Come on, that’s pretty unimpressive.

He also wasn’t a fan of the biscuit (the closest Aussie equivalent seems to be scones) – which you can see hiding under a heap of sausage gravy on the right. That could be James’ issue because he has yet to meet a biscuit he likes. He said the sausage gravy was pretty good though. But their warm sausage gravy could not mask their cold, cold eggs! And you know what? You can order the sausage gravy on its own ($5).

I do think James made a rookie mistake in choosing his eggs to be scrambled. When I have a choice I always choose poached because it’s such a pain to do. Plus it’s an easy way to tell whether a brunch place is any good – most places overcook them (maybe because of the heat lamp?) so if you go somewhere and get perfect poached eggs you know they’ve got their shit down.

There was a variety of stuff ordered, including a rabbit pot pie (supposedly quite good) and pancakes (pretty bad – Amelia said they were “sad looking” – which they really were! – and that they weren’t nearly as good as just making your own batch at home). Everyone I checked in with said that the chicken and waffles were the best. I’m always very pleased when I choose the best food option.

The service was fine and they split the cheque which, given the size of our group was pretty handy. Incidentally that’s something I love about eating out in the US – cheque-splitting! Everyone just hands over their credit cards and the restaurant works everything out based on where people were sitting. It’s not a thing in Australia and it should be!

Also I think that if a brunch place in Melbourne offered fried chicken and waffles people would go nuts over it. It could just be a truck making waffles and frying up chicken and people would probably like … track it online and follow it around the city.

So overall the food at Local 360 was half-good, half-disappointing. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so maybe it’s a jack of all trades and master of none. And thinking about it some more, that’s actually one of my shortcut ways of pre-determining whether a food place is any good – only 5 things to choose from? It’s probably fabulous. Menu selections all over the place? Probably not as great.

The chicken and waffles were good, but not good enough that I’d return for them. Although given the averageness of the other meals I reckon I could probably find somewhere that does them better. Maybe somewhere that uses thigh.
Local 360 on Urbanspoon

Breakfast Pizza

9 May

Remember how I thought I could make a better breakfast pizza than Settebello?

Behold!

This was actually an impulse creation, but it was delicious. Turns out you can’t really mess up a breakfast pizza.

I fried up some bacon, chopped it into rough pieces, and put it on some dough, along with a mozzarella/parmesan mix. Then I cracked some eggs on top of the pizza (note: if your pizza doesn’t have a raised edge the egg will run over the sides) and put it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. When it came out I sprinkled some parsley over the top.

There was no recipe to speak of really. Next time I’d like to add some chives and shallots. It was a ridiculously satisfying meal.

Bacon and Egg Roll

16 Apr

This is my version of the bacon and egg roll, and it shits all over the Red Hill one. I didn’t even try to make it super fancy by adding stuff like sauce or fried onions, though I did add some avocado for colour. It cost around a quarter of the Red Hill one and tasted much better, and was ridiculously simple to make. I originally made it with 2 eggs, but that made it a bit eggy. 1 thick rasher of rindless bacon, 1 egg, some avocado, plus salt and pepper. Easy!

Poor James got food poisoning in Sydney (I was going to say “caught food poisoning” but it’s not contagious. Maybe I should have written “James was food poisoned “). We’re not entirely sure if it’s food poisoning or a stomach bug, not that it matters. James was a bit worried that if it was a stomach bug I might get it, but I have a crazy strong immune system. I haven’t been sick in about two and a half (maybe three?) years.

I’ve been taking care of James since Wednesday evening, and when I made this on Friday morning it was the first meal he ate with gusto. Actually, I lie. I’d bought him a borek from the Vic Market, and that was the first meal he ate with gusto. Then he said he was still hungry so I made him this roll after I saw him sneaking peeks at mine.

Bacon and eggs would have had a better macro breakdown, but there’s something about stuffing everything into a roll. Maybe cos you get to cradle it in your hands like a soft little hamburger.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 roll: 469 calories, 50% fat, 19% protein, 31% carbs 

Tom Phat

30 Mar

Tom Phat
184 Sydney Road Brunswick

James’ colleague from Optus, Hussam, and his family were visiting Melbourne for the Grand Prix, and wanted to have brunch with us. They were staying in Fawkner, so I suggested we go to Tom Phat on Sydney Rd, which has been on my to-do list for awhile.

Hussam and his wife were lovely, and they really really loved Melbourne. (James said that yesterday at work, Hussam was gushing about how awesome Melbourne was, and his boss got worried). They said they like the cafe culture of Melbourne, and how the houses are more affordable. They asked about house prices in the Fawkner area, and luckily Cat had been looking in North Coburg so I actually had some stats handy!

But anyway, to breakfast!

James got his usual long black to begin with. I didn’t take a photo of it. Though if any coffee manages to topple Seven Seeds from the top of his list I’ll take a picture. I ordered a Coffee Craze ($6.80), which was on the online menu (which apparently is a bit out of date) and not on the regular menu, but they still made it. I don’t know why I thought I would like it – I don’t drink coffee! Thankfully James was a big fan, so I gave it to him.

(Sorry all my shots are kind of crap. We were right up the back and it was really dark there)

James ordered the fried viet eggs ($9.90). He said they were nice, though he wasn’t wowed.

I felt kind of bad because my order of the roti omelette (12.90) was indescribably better. So. Much. Better. I can see why it was the Cheap Eats 2007 Breakfast of the Year (yes I am somewhat behind the times). It’s so different from Melbourne’s regular breakfast offerings, but still noticeably breakfasty.

It had bacon, chives, and a tomato salsa that definitely had fish sauce as one of the ingredients. And it was huge! I kept giving bits of it to James because I felt bad (he also wanted the roti omelette but I told him I’d bagsed it first) and I was still full afterwards.

Looking around, the roti omelette seemed like the dish to order – almost every second or third person had one.

I’d like to go back – maybe for lunch – I was intrigued by the chilli jam noodles. If we went back for breakfast, I would totally grab the roti omelette again, and this time I would let James have one too (sorry James!)
Tom Phat on Urbanspoon

Settebello

21 Feb

Settebello
46-50 hardware lane, Melbourne

Late last year I bought some Zoupon (at least I think it was Zoupon) vouchers for a cafe called Settebello. I paid $11 for a $30 voucher, which was a pretty good deal so I ended up buying a few.

The vouchers expire in early March, so I’ve been frantically trying to use them up, and a couple of Saturdays ago James and I had breakfast there.

I ordered a glass of orange juice and a breakfast pizza. The pizza base was quite tough and thick, and the bacon wasn’t as flavorsome as the bacon I normally buy. Still, pizza is still alright even when it’s not great. I might have a go at making a breakfast pizza at some point.

James ordered some sort of eggy salsa-y thing and a long black coffee. Sorry, I’m not good at remembering stuff, and there aren’t any prices or menus on the Settebello website. He seemed to like his breakfast alright, though he wasn’t wowed. He said the coffee was decent, but his gold standard is still Seven Seeds.

Look at him sitting so patiently while I take a photo of his food. =)

To use up the voucher I also  ordered a custard tart with some nutella swirled in. Delicious! Best part of the breakfast!

The meal came to a couple of bucks over $30. It was incredible value for the actual $13 that we paid, but in terms of the actual food it’s not as good as G&O or Fandango (though admittedly we are spoiled when it comes to our local breakfast places).

I went there a week later for lunch with Ivo and Cat, and I think their lunch offerings are far stronger.

Grigons & Orr

8 Feb

Grigons & Orr
445 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

On Saturday we went to Grigons & Orr with Howie and Silvia. James and I have been meaning to try it for some time, but we always end up choosing Fandango instead. This time we put our name on the waiting list for Grigons & Orr, and hung around awkwardly until a table was ready.

I was really impressed with the waitress, who was friendly and efficient even when they were getting slammed.

Everyone ordered coffees and I got this hot chocolate ($3.50).

also a strawberry, basil and cloudy apple drink which was nice, but totally not worth the $6.

For breakfast James ordered poached free range eggs on toast ($8) with bacon ($4.50) and mushrooms ($3.50). He said that the bread was incredible, but that overall he prefers Fandango because they have pesto eggs. In all fairness Grigons & Orr also had pesto eggs but had sold out.

I ordered apple fritters with hazelnuts, caramel sauce and mascarpone, all dusted with minted sugar ($10.50). I wasn’t a huge fan of the mascarpone, but the apple fritters were delicious swirled in the caramel sauce, and the hazelnuts had this yummy toasted nutty flavour going on. It was a pretty big serve too, and compared to $3.50 for mushrooms *cough* I thought it was excellent value.

Howie ordered the ricotta pancakes with brandied raspberries, toasted almond flakes and barbados cream ($13). I’d lusted over it on the menu but in the end was glad I went with the fritters. I can make pancakes at home, but I can’t make fritters. The menu said blueberries, but those are totally raspberries.

Silvia ordered the prosciutto eggs, with prosciutto, roast capsicum, tomato and spinach on corn bread ($13.50) with a hash brown side ($3.50). She was a bit disappointed with the hash brown, because she was hoping for a McDonalds style hash brown and thought this one was a bit sweet.

Though I would definitely return to Grigons & Orr, I think overall I prefer Fandango. Grigons & Orr has a much quirkier menu that changes with the seasons, and I think I’d be tempted to try more things on that list than I would Fandango’s menu. But Fandango does the classics really well. And like James, I don’t think I can pass up the pesto eggs.

Grigons & Orr on Urbanspoon