Meb Byrne

Archive for the ‘breakfast’ Category

Niko’s Breakfast Club

In american, breakfast, chicago, diner, treasure trove on July 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Niko’s Breakfast Club isn’t a place you only visit once. Lodged in a strip mall off the main drag in Oak Lawn, Illinois, just outside Chicago, Niko’s draws biker gangs and big families alike with its extensive menu and breezy atmosphere.

Niko’s décor is downright fowl. A motley crew of chicken statuettes festoons the entire restaurant. Multicolored wooden chickens with spindly legs and iron weathervane roosters perch high on the cheery walls of yellow and green, while plump ceramic hens squat sunnily along banks of booths, upholstered in a kitschy floral. A neon Marilyn Monroe hangs over the dinette bar, where waitresses refill coffee quickly and with a smile.

Just as the furnishings at Niko’s extol the virtues of the chicken, its menu waxes poetic about the egg. Four pages devote themselves to cleverly branded categories, including Egg’straordinary Omelettes, Egg’citing Scramblers, and Egg’stremely Satisfying, a decadent litany featuring hollandaise in every dish. Even the children’s menu pays homage to our feathered friends, with the Little Rooster entrée of eggs, toast and hash browns.

Niko’s globetrots its way toward the toothsome, pleasing all palettes while tweaking traditional dishes and having a little fun in the process. The Irish Benny plays along nicely with the German Breakfast, and southwestern frittatas settle easily beside Eurocentric crepes and blintzes. A dozen unique combinations of hearty meats and eggs gratify the hungryman, while the health-conscious can pore over an equal number of oatmeal concoctions and mammoth egg-white omelets bursting with veggies. The playful category Toast Egg’strod’naire even forks over an array of desserts in breakfast’s clothing, including the saccharine Pecan Roll French Toast and the even more immoderate Banana Split French Toast.

No matter your proclivity, Niko’s dishes up solid, inventive ways to start your day. Bring a group and an appetite, and get ready to pass your plates around.

Niko’s Breakfast Club is located at 4002 West 111th Street in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Phone: (708) 422-3344. Open daily, 6 am – 3 pm.


Vegan Blueberry Banana Oat Cakes

In breakfast, dessert, food, recipe, vegan on March 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I need to clear something up. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a vegan. Everything you’ve been told is a lie. That said, I do have an inordinate fascination with, and love of, vegan food. To that end, I’ve been trolling for vegan recipes, and man, have I found a doozy for you. Behold!

Vegan Blueberry Banana Oat Cakes

Serves one to two people.

1 large banana, very ripe

1/2 c rolled oats

1/4 c brown sugar

A lot of cinnamon

1/2 c fresh blueberries


1. Mash the banana.

2. Add the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon; stir to combine.

3. Gently fold in the blueberries.

4.Pour the batter into a ramekin or small, flat dish. Tupperware works fine here.

5. Microwave for 4 minutes.  It should be juicy but crispy, like a fruit crisp.

6. Let the dish rest for a few minutes. It will be extremely hot, and the oats need to set.

7. Transfer to a plate and serve, or eat right out of the container! I top mine with well-placed dashes of salt, to contrast with the sugary sweetness.

Many thanks to Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga for her delicious recipe and her inspirational abs!

Something Natural

In bakery, breakfast, food, nantucket on August 31, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Vacation, especially a Nantucket summer vacation, should be as relaxing as possible. To that end, breakfast on the island has always been a casual affair in our family. Bread suffices to start the day, and there’s only one place to get it: Something Natural.

The bakery is housed in a classic island house, with shingles worn down by the salt air and plain columns supporting the wraparound porch. The shop is surrounded by a large grassy lawn, dotted with gnarled trees and picnic tables on which you can eat your lunch, if you’re not beachward bound. A bleached boat is parked out front, threatening splinters and tetanus to the innumerable kids who’ve played in it over the decades.

Inside the tiny shop, you can pick up cookies of all sizes and flavors, an assortment of creative sandwiches, and brightly colored shirts with the Something Natural logo emblazoned on the front. The main attractions, though, are the large crusty loaves of bread and rolls. I was brought up on cinnamon raisin and Portuguese bread (or goose bread, as we call it), but other fun flavors beckon as well: herb, wheatberry, six grain. Pick up a loaf or three, and toast them with butter for your next morning meal.

Something Natural, 50 Cliff Road. (508) 228-0504.

Date Night: Down The Rabbit Hole

In breakfast, movie, museum, music, nyc, romance, song, tour, treasure trove, upcoming on March 3, 2010 at 1:24 pm

This plan for your weekend is courtesy of BLoGT.

In honor of the long-awaited release of Tim Burton’s interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, in theaters March 5, BLoGT presents a special themed Date Night, designed to help you OD on Lewis Carroll’s enduring drug trip. Do a little pre-planning and -purchasing, wear your walking shoes, and remember to update your iPod before you go!

Head uptown early to snag a seat for breakfast at…

Alice’s Tea Cup, 102 West 73rd Street, at Columbus Avenue

Praised by Yelp and Glitter Sleuth alike, this themed restaurant has three locations on the Upper East and West Sides. The whimsical decor, dotted with quotes from the original novel, and the menu, overflowing with pots of tea, trays of scones and tiers of delicate sandwiches, are all designed around Carroll’s whimsical world. A favorite for little girls’ birthdays and yoga-fit mommies’ brunches alike, this is no place for hetero men.

Arrive at the restaurant early, or be prepared for a wait of an hour or more; once ten o’clock rolls around, tables are at a premium.

After you’ve munched yourself into an Alice-themed stupor, head northeast through Central Park to find…

The Unbirthday Party sculpture, at 74th Street and Central Park East, north of Conservatory Water

Meet your favorite oversized characters! You’ll have to jostle for place with the dozens of children who constantly clamor all over this beloved sculpture, commissioned by George Delacorte in 1959 in honor of his wife, Margarita. It’s worth the wait, though, so stick around and takes pictures of your date sitting on a giant bronze mushroom. Better yet, steal a quiet spot on the back of a mushroom and read from the original text to one another. While you’re back there, play Spot-The-Tiny-Bronze-Insect; the sculpture’s details are lovely.

For some time away from the crowds, walk southeast through the Park’s eastern side while rocking out to…

  • White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
  • Alice (Underground), Avril Lavigne
  • Eat Me, Drink Me, Marilyn Manson
  • Alice, Stevie Nicks
  • Sunshine, Aerosmith
  • Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, Bob Dylan
  • Alice In Wonderland, Wynter Gordon
  • Heads Will Roll, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Alice, Alice,Victim Effect
  • Down the Rabbit Hole, Adam Lambert

Many thanks to Lenny’s Alice in Wonderland Site and Spinner for much of this playlist. Check their sites out for more song ideas, and for Wonderland-inspired music videos!

Continue south long enough, and you can spend your afternoon perusing…

Tim Burton at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues

Don’t be one of the only New Yorkers who hasn’t yet seen this exhibit! Funded by Johnny Depp and Burton’s wife, Helena Bonham-Carter, the must-see retrospective of director Tim Burton’s work traces back to his earliest beginnings, including scribblings and drawings on cocktail napkins. Immerse yourself in his weird world.

Remember to purchase timed tickets online before you go; again, in the afternoons, the museum and especially the exhibit become packed.

Finally satiated? Wend your way home by way of…

“Alice: The Way Out” in the 50th Street 1 train subway station

The Central Park Unbirthday Party isn’t Alice’s only artistic appearance in the Big Apple. Keep your eyes peeled on the subway platform for a series of awesome and oft-overlooked mosaics featuring Alice and her friends in Wonderland, installed by Liliana Porter in 1994. There’s loads of cool art in the subway system; see what else you can spy on your ride home.

And cap off your day with the piece de resistance…

A screening of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland at a theater near you! Wear a campy outfit and join the screaming fangirls, or just stand back and take it all in.

As with everything else on this date, buy your tickets online ASAP and arrive at the theater EARLY. Enjoy!

The All Night Egg Plant

In breakfast, brunch, diner, recommended, restaurant, syracuse on August 19, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Syracuse can be a tough town for foodies, especially if you’re looking for something more than a chain restaurant (read: Erie Boulevard.) Visiting foodies should acquaint themselves with The All Night Egg Plant to appease their diner-hungry stomachs.

The Egg Plant’s success lies in its simplicity, allowing patrons to make what they will of the restaurant. Early morning coffee? Early afternoon brunch? Late night munchies? The Egg Plant satisfies all criteria, with a simple menu of tried-and-true dishes, fresh ingredients and straight-forward service. The popular omelets can be stuffed with up to three ingredients, from a large list that ranges from traditional (cheddar, ham) to eclectic (lox, hash) to downright weird (chocolate syrup, peanut butter, assorted berries.) Strange combinations often work well; be adventurous! A similar, if slightly less bizarre, assortment of pancake flavors and toppings are equally scrumptious. Even the chocolate milk is made to order.

The prices are modest, the atmosphere calm and welcoming. The crowd runs the gamut in age and ethnicity, making the open dining room lively during peak hours. With such great breakfast basics, there’s no reason not to make The All Night Egg Plant a staple of your Syracuse dining experience.


IHOP: A Poem

In breakfast, restaurant on July 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm

It’s called the International House of Pancakes.

Maybe that’s why English isn’t the staff’s first language.

One waitress asks another how many Ls are in chili,

one or two,

as I sit waiting on the squashy bench,

grey drizzle skittering down the window pane behind me.

The whiteboard by the cash register proclaims

Smile Your At IHOP.

Apparently, it’s my At IHOP.

If English was the staff’s first language, maybe the titles of the dishes would be more precise.

I order the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity,

which sounds like Carmen Miranda’s hat, chopped up and served in a chilled glass,

stuck through with a plastic sword and a maraschino cherry.

It’s not that exciting.

It’s just another permutation of omnipresent breakfast foods.

You still have to say Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity when you order it, though,

even though you know what you’re really getting isn’t very fruity,

not particularly fresh,

and mostly void of rooti- and tootiness.

You still have to say it.

Otherwise, it doesn’t count.

I’m not bothered that the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity isn’t a fizzy drink.

Sometimes, words just can’t convey intended meaning.

I say Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity, not twoeggtwosausagetwobacontwopancakewithfruittopping,

because there’s no better way to say it

and the staff knows what I mean.

When I sit there with you,

I don’t say

“You helped me get through four plays, two musicals, two years of high school and one boyfriend,”


“You were my only friend on the first scared night I spent in New York City,”


“You have never steered me wrong, and I still have immense faith in your opinions.”

I order a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity instead,

and we share stories while sipping syrup,

and it is enough.

When you pick up the tab

and you drive me home,

even though you don’t have to,

I don’t say,

“I have loved you as long as I have known you.”

That’s a hyperbole

(a tiny one)

and I don’t think they’d understand hyperbole

at the International House of Pancakes.


The International House of Pancakes is a nationwide restaurant chain, with 1,402 locations in fifty states, Canada and Mexico.

Pretzel Croissant

In breakfast, nyc, pastry, recommended, restaurant on June 29, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Image courtesy of The Wandering Eater.

Who: You.

What: Pretzel croissant.

When: As often as possible.

Where: City Bakery, 5th Ave at 18th Street, NYC.

Why: I cannot sing high enough praises for this pastry. It is both a pretzel and a croissant, rolled into one light, buttery, crispy, flaky knot of deliciousness and joy.


  1. Buy them early, and buy them hot. Pretzel croissants are fine at room temperature, but utterly heavenly when first warm.
  2. Eat all the crumbs. (Oh, there will be crumbs.)
Go buy one. Now.