A Dozen Blue Ribbon Breakfast Sandwiches to Kick Start Your Day #BetterBreakfastMonth

The humble breakfast sandwich is no longer the purview of fast food joints. Now chefs are creating gourmet versions that eschew rubbery eggs and limp rolls for high-quality ingredients in creative presentations. Whether these sandos arrive on an English muffin or a biscuit or in a tortilla or a pita, they are guaranteed to give you a sunny disposition. In honor of Better Breakfast Month, here are a dozen blue ribbon breakfast sandwiches to kick start your day.

Boqueria-Soho, New York, New York
You’ll sound super fancy when you order the bocata de huevos, but you’re really just asking for the egg sandwich. This Spanish-styled startup sammie is far from ordinary, however. It comes with a fried egg, tangy mahón cheese, pickled red onions, cilantro, peppery pimentón aioli, and your choice of avocado or housemade pork sausage.

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Zengo, Washington, D.C.
When Sir Mix-a-Lot rapped, “My anaconda don’t want none/Unless you’ve got buns, hon,” he was clearly voicing his preference for breakfast sandwiches served on steamed buns. That’s what we like to think, anyway. At this Asian-Latin fusion joint, they pile the warm white pastries with bacon, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and white Oaxacan cheese. We’re sure the “Baby Got Back” hit maker would approve heartily.


MP Taverna, Astoria, New York
This fully loaded egg souvlaki should be known as a Greek hangover cure. The pita comes packed with spicy lamb sausage, French fries, onions, and feta. In between bites, you can rationalize your questionable choices from the night before to your understandably skeptical dining companion.

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Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
Consider this break-of-day treat a high-end Egg McMuffin. Scrambled eggs, pork sausage, and American cheese (of course!) are packed between two halves of an English muffin gussied up with a spicy aioli. Ronald McDonald, sorry, but you are running a so-distant-we-can’t-even-see-you second in this race.

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The Garden at the Four Seasons Hotel, New York, New York
Executive chef John Johnson evokes the bagelwiches you used to put together when you had breakfast at your bubbe’s house. A sesame-speckled circlet comes with ribbons of smoked salmon, plenty of cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and capers. Not included: your grandmother’s constant questions about why you haven’t settled down yet and produced lots of grandchildren for her to spoil.

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Brio, New York, New York
You’ll need two hands to tackle this hefty breakfast burger. The epic edible comes piled high with a fried egg, apple wood-smoked bacon, a shroud of melted Provolone, arugula, and tomato jam. Remember, there’s no shame in requesting extra napkins.

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Root Vegetables Rock: 15 Rave Reviews for Turnips

turnip blogIt warms my heart — and my stomach — that the unassuming turnip is turning up on more menus these days. The only longtime advocates I can personally recall of this root veggie are my mother, who served a giant bowl of mashed turnips each Thanksgiving (a practice started by her frugal father), and my instructors at the French Culinary Institute — we did a lot of tournage on turnips. A lot! A once-unsung ingredient in contemporary American cuisine, turnips are easy to grow and terrific for storage over the lean winter months. They’re also very low in carbohydrates, thus making them a great substitute for potatoes and other root produce with a high glycemic index. Read on for raves for turnips — in pizza, polenta, tacos, and more — from recent OpenTable reviews. 

Dressler’s, Charlotte, North Carolina: “Food, service, and overall dining experience was excellent. I had the steak with turnips and greens. Gave me a different outlook on turnips.”

The Gage, Chicago, Illinois: “Hubby had the prosciutto-wrapped trout stuffed with turnips and kale; he did not stop raving about his meal for two days after!”

Junto, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania: “We split the ribeye (with potatoes, turnip, and arugula). The vegetables and bread were uncommonly excellent.”

The Helmand Restaurant, Baltimore, Maryland: “My favorite entree is the vegetarian platter, but lamb dishes are also excellent. We almost always get the bindi (okra) as a side dish for the table, and these folks can make even turnips tasted like a gourmet find.”

Indaco, Charleston, South Carolina: “Turnip pizza was a revelation, and so was pasta with braised brisket and a perfectly roasted chicken.”

Kanella, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “The appetizers are wonderful. We had lamb dumplings in a wonderful sauce, a refreshing sliced turnip salad, and great fresh hummus that is light years from the supermarket kind.”

The Kirkland Tap & Trotter, Somerville, Massachusetts: “Side dish of turnip was a heartwarming tribute to the fall.”

Legume, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: “Perfect portion sizes saturated with flavor — we had swordfish with braised turnips, amazing grilled peach salad, jerk squid, and bluefish pâté. So good that we went back the next night.”

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Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Tacos

Behold the mushroom tacos at ABC Cocina.

I’ve had tacos on my brain since Tuesday (and not just because of taco Tuesdays). You see, that’s when I had one of executive chef Dan Kluger’s most perfect mushroom tacos (among other perfect dishes) at ABC Cocina. It was gone in 60 seconds, but what a ride. Mole, kale, and lime round out the mushrooms and corn tortilla, and, if I’m being honest, I could probably have eaten five or six without stopping. In my mind, tacos are like sandwiches — the ideal foundation upon which you can layer flavors and ingredients to create a yummy, portable, eat-it-with-your-hands, often-one-of-a-kind delight. While most Mexican restaurants serve tacos, other restaurants do, too. See what your fellow diners are saying about the tasty tacos they’ve ordered in recent restaurant reviews. 

* ABC Cocina, New York, New York: “We had the shrimp, chorizo-stuffed calamari, mushroom tacos, and fish tacos (grilled). We also had the mango iced tea and the homemade ginger soda. Everything was seasoned perfectly, cooked just right, and presented quite beautifully.”

Cantina Feliz, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: “Husband ordered the carnitas tacos for the first time; liked it so much he ordered another to go also so our son could try them.”

COCO500, San Francisco, California: “Coco500 has a wonderful range of dishes that are terrific for sharing and ever-so-tasty. The fried green beans, mole tacos, truffled mushroom flatbread, and a fantastic New York strip with arugula, perfectly cooked and sliced for sharing, are all absolute must-haves.”

Del Frisco’s Grille, Atlanta, Georgia: “The ahi tuna tacos are fantastic — highly recommend those!”

* Harper’s Table, Suffolk, Virginia: “We are all Hampton Roads, Virginia, natives so we love the hint of ‘heritage’ cooking, and the new twists- – fried oyster tacos!! Highly recommended.”

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