You can’t help but be curious of what this place is when you drive by and see the name. The Oink Cafe is a locally owned modern style cafe that serves both breakfast and lunch. The things that make this place stand out is their cocktail and espresso bar that includes a Bloody Mary flight, a 50-50 burger (half beef, half bacon) and of course everything bacon included with many of their entrées. They have eight flavored bacon choices (pepper, applewood, jalapeño, hickory, sugar-cured, apple cider, honey-cured, and chef’s choice) that can be ordered as a flight or included with one of their meals. The cafe isn’t incredible large, the walls are lime green and the decor includes paintings and mini statues of pigs. Also hanging on the walls are coloring sheets colored by kids (kids eat free M-F with an adult entrée and 2 beverage purchase if they color a sheet). Breakfast includes a variety of omelets and benedicts that are centered on bacon. Prices I would say are a tad bit higher than most breakfast places. The 8 bacon flight will run you about $11, which I think it pretty high for a side bacon (even flavored bacon). They offer 4 slices for $6. I got the jalapeño bacon per my server’s recommendation with my breakfast. I enjoyed the spiciness of it but wasn’t particular overwhelmed with the bacon itself. I guess if you are going to advertise yourself as a bacon joint I was hoping for some good-sized slices of bacon. My service was decent considering my server was covering quite a few tables. I didn’t try one of their popular Bloody Marys so I didn’t get the full treatment of this place. But overall I found Oink Cafe a fun concept with a possibility for a revisit in the future. Btw… they offer a free Best Maple Bacon Donut on your bday.
Last year I visited Grand Central Market for the first time. I’m a huge lover of marketplaces that showcase today’s newest food adventures. Toward the end of my day, I saw this huge line of people waiting for a sandwich from a place called Eggslut. I had heard of this place before on a food show and made the connection. I made it a point to come back someday to try one of these delightful breakfast sandwiches and see what the hype is all about. Today I’m in LA and took a stroll down to the marketplace to jump in line with everyone.
I don’t think it is a mistake that this place is called Eggslut. It’s risqué, sexy and it grabs your attention. A West Hollywood food truck converted to a restaurant (and owned by chef Alvin Cailan), Eggslut showcases their love and passion for eggs. They only use cage-free eggs in their menu items (cage-free hens have shown to produce more of an orange color to their yoke due to the abundance of greens and insects in the birds’ diet). In 2014, Eggslut was named one of the top 10 new US restaurant’s by Bon Appétit. Being located in the heart of LA’s foodie scene (Grand Central Market) has been the perfect start for their first endeavor as a restaurant.
Cook preparing some Sluts
Their signature menu item is the Slut. It’s a coddled egg served over a potato purée in a glass jar and served with slices of baguette. My wait time was approximately 45 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t horribly long and I enjoyed people-watching the marketplace and observing the cooks do their thing at the grill. Because it was my first time eating here, I went with their popular Fairfax (eggs, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and sriracha mayo on a brioche bun). I would say it took about ten minutes for me to get my sandwich after ordering. I was also fortunate enough to get a seat at the counter. The Fairfax is freaking amazing! The cage-free eggs are really light and fluffy and the flavors of the sriracha mayo and onions really come together nicely. I hope someday to try the Gaucho sandwich too (seared wagyu tri-tip steak and eggs on a brioche bun). So is Eggslut worth the long wait? For me, I didn’t mind because I planned a couple of hours into my day to eat here. Even though the sandwich was outstanding, it still only took me a few minutes to eat it. So it really depends on the person and their day. For any die-hard foodie out there, definitely make a stop here someday in your lifetime.
Bacon & Cheddar Panini and a side of steel-cut oatmeal
I love this Corner Bakery in Atlanta. Every couple of years I fly into Atlanta for the Passion conferences and this is one of my favorite stops for breakfast before I start my day. It’s located right off of Peachtree St. in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Corner Bakery Cafe is a fast casual restaurant that started making artisan breads and freshly baked sweets on a corner in Chicago in 1991 and then eventually went to soups, sandwiches and salads. Now they have locations all over the U.S. We even have one in Phoenix where I live. I personally come here for their awesome breakfast paninis (my favorite is the Anaheim panini). The eggs are nice and fluffy and they use fresh ingredients. This most recent trip I got the Bacon & Cheddar Panini with a side of steel-cut oatmeal. Along with some coffee, it made for a great start to my morning.
I love breakfast and one spot that has been serving the Valley some of the best breakfast since the mid 80’s is T.C. Eggington’s in Mesa. I’ve have been dining here for years and if you are a native like me, you know this place well. They are owned and operated by Thom and Kathy Coker and head chef Dean Delgado. I think what I really love about T.C. Eggington’s is the family feel environment they create in their restaurant. The decor makes you feel at home and the employees work hard to maintain friendly customer service. The food is prepared fresh and the portions are pretty generous. I usually get the eggs benedict but opted instead for their Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes – a Fall favorite of mine. I came with a bunch of friends and we had a wonderful experience. You can also check out their sister restaurant Ncounter in Tempe.
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×8-inch baking dish; set aside.
Put quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold running water until water runs clear; drain well.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and quinoa. Stir in spinach then pour mixture into the prepared dish. Cover tightly with foil then jiggle dish gently from side to side so that quinoa settles on the bottom in an even layer. Bake until just set, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle top evenly with cheese. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, until golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes more. Set aside to let cool briefly, then slice and serve.
Nat’s Early Bite Coffee Shop and Diner is a long time favorite of mine. It’s my regular stop when I’m in the Van Nuys area. They do breakfast and lunch (but known for their breakfast) and are a local favorite. This place has a long history (three decades in the Sherman Oaks area) and has a cool story about the original owner selling the place to one of his busboys. They actually have several Eggs Benedict variations. Some of the favorites are the Corned Beef Hash Benedict, the California Benedict and Canadian Bacon Benedict. On their menu you will also find a killer chilaquiles dish and a Jewish matzoh brie. Breakfast is served all day and comes complete with either a cinnamon roll or a muffin. The line for a table is pretty long on the weekends. But Nat’s is one of those places you don’t mind the long wait because next door is a classic antique toy store that has some really cool stuff that will take you back to your childhood. Most of the people waiting in line hang out in there. Portions are huge and don’t let how the place looks outside turn you off.
Our Own Corned Beef Hash and 2 Eggs
Next Door to Nat’s is Big Kid Collectable Toy Mall & Retro Store. It’s located within the same strip mall and sells an eclectic variety of vintage collectibles, toys & ephemera in a retro space. It’s a great place to hang out while waiting for your table and to relive your childhood.
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 drops pure almond extract
1 tablespoon toasted sliced almonds
2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
The night before, combine the milk, oats, blueberries, brown sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, almond extract and a pinch of salt in a glass pint jar or other container with a lid. Secure the lid and shake. Refrigerate at least 6 hours up to overnight. In the morning, top with the almonds and drizzle with honey.