In Praise of EAT.

Is it the pancakes?

The hash?

The hash before and after you break the perfectly poached yolk?

The Stumptown cold brew?

Or is it something else? Something else that makes us fall in love with the food at EAT. every time we eat here?

Well, it’s all of those things and more.

It’s the unexpected kick of a kick-ass posole:

…and the freshness of the bread and the care of the cooks. It’s the lickety-split service staff and the Black Bean Veggie Chili and the truffled egg sandwich and the Huevos Montulenos — the latter bathed in some incendiary chili sauces that will light you up.

They also do a very respectable chilaquiles, and probably the best eggs Benedict you’ll find outside of a hotel.

Most of all, though, what we always fall for are the pancakes and the hash. Now that Glutton and Du-par’s have closed, there’s no where else to get good buttermilk flapjacks, and if you’re a fan of big, chunky, salty corned beef (and let’s face it who isn’t?), you’ll think you’ve died and gone to hash heaven.

There’s been a lot of stuff written about all the failures of the Downtown Project (and believe me, there have been a LOT of failures), but one of the few smart things it did was to form a partnership with Natalie Young and let her concoct the tastiest breakfast-lunch nook in all of Vegas.

Downtown or otherwise.

P.S. For those of you too timid to brave the wilds of DTLV, a new location is set to open this summer at 1910 Village Center Circle, smack dab in the middle of the  Land of the White Range Rover, aka Summerlin.

EAT.

707 Carson Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702.534.1515

http://eatdtlv.com/

Breakfast…If You Insist

My disdain for eating copious amounts of carbs, fats, meats, sauces and sugars the first thing in the morning is well documented. (See previous post)

Packing in proteins, breads, and fat when you first wake up (when you’re not even hungry) is the stupidest thing to do in food.

What Americans have done to breakfast (and its unholy cousin/devil spawn: brunch) is unconscionable.

You want to know how disgusting breakfast food and America has become? Just check out this list of abominable breakfast creations from a few years back.

But hating breakfast as a meal doesn’t mean I hate breakfast foods. In fact, I love almost all of them.

I love a well-made omelet, hand-made pastries, and fresh-tooled sauces. Nothing beats a straight from the oven biscuit, a couple of perfectly poached eggs, or ripe, fresh fruit. And who among us doesn’t lust for the yeasty tang of a fresh buttermilk pancake, smothered in good butter and real maple syrup?

The trouble is, you will never find any of these things in any egg-centric restaurant, specializing in breakfast. You know the type: the ones with punny names like  “Hamlet and Eggs,” “Egg’lectic Cafe,” or “Great Eggspectations.”

Egg-centric restaurants use the cheapest ingredients possible and routinely massacre them.

Dollars to doughnuts, if the word “egg” appears in the name of a restaurant, it means the chili is from a can, the pancakes are from a mix, the sauces come from a freezer bag, and the pastries all fell off a truck. And you don’t even want to think about where the eggs came from.

A correlation to this rule applies to any joint advertising “soup, salads and sandwiches” — none of which has anything fresher than the cryovac’d meat they defrosted four days ago, or the rapidly browning lettuce being served one step ahead of the health inspector.

Anyone who eats “soups, salads and sandwiches” ought to have their head examined.

But let us not belabor the atrociousness of cheap breakfast food. Let us instead celebrated the few places where wonderful food is made every morning in Las Vegas by people using top shelf ingredients and cooking them the way your grandma did:

EAT – Downtown’s mainstay is better than ever. Get the hash (pictured above). Get the posole. And by all means get the pancakes.

DELICES GOURMANDS FRENCH BAKERY & CAFE – More of a small bakery, offering a few jaw-dropping pastries, plus quiches and a crêpe or two — every one of which is wonderful. Good coffee too. The only place in town I buy bread anymore.

ROSALLIE LE FRENCH CAFE – Best. Pastries. In. Town. Period. Wonderful quiches, with serious coffee as well. (See tasty snap at top of page)

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BOUCHON – The pastry basket is justifiably famous; eggs Benedict don’t come any finer, and the omelette would make Jacques Pepin proud.

Notice what all of these places have in common? None of them has the word “egg” in their name. And you’ll never find a bunch of sloshed women slugging down cheap mimosas at any of them.

I rest my case.

I Hate Breakfast

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I hate Breakfast.

Breakfast is a waste of time and calories.

I hate even the idea of breakfast.

Breakfast is good for only one thing: thinking about lunch.

Everything about breakfast sucks.

For one: it comes too early in the day. I mean, who wants to eat a lot of food when they’re barely awake? How well do your olfactories function, or your mandibles munch, when you’re barely ambulatory?

Secondly (and this is, by far, the most important thing): Who wants to eat when you’re not even hungry? I’ve never bought, for once second, that whole “break the fast” stuff that my mom tried to shovel down my throat. No one, and I mean NO ONE, is all that hungry when first they awaken. If you’re a fully-functioning, non-hung-over adult who is rising and shining at the break of dawn, there are only three things you want to do: 1) go back to sleep; 2) relieve yourself and then enjoy a warm or slightly cool beverage; or 3) sit on the iron throne and relieve yourself further of whatever you enjoyed the night before.

The only other thing people want to do in the mornings is watch or read the news — which (next to #3 above) is just about the most unappetizing thing on earth.

No matter how you slice it, consuming food in close proximity to any of these things is the last thing on your mind.

But year after year, from the time you’re a wee one until you’re so old you’re having trouble taking a wee wee, some authoritative voice is constantly shoving the idea of breakfast down your throat even though you don’t want it.

The only thing I hate worse than breakfast is brunch.

Brunch is inexcusable on many levels.

For one, brunch is never about the food. Brunch food is, by definition, even worse than breakfast food –nothing but carbs, fat and sugar, and ten times more of it than you might consume on your own during the week. Brunch is someone’s stupid idea of a weekend, daylight happy hour for people too bad at drinking to do it after dark like a real booze-abuser.

Brunch is populated by three things I loathe: drunk women in groups, bad omelets, and cheap champagne.

Women in groups are the worst — any time you see a group of “fun-loving gals” whooping it up with mimosas in their hands, you know you’re at brunch somewhere, eating one of the 400 different ways a chef can throw eggs and bread together and overcharge for it. It is a scientific fact: the more women you see living it up in a restaurant, the worse the food.

The only thing worse than brunch is brunch with music.

Brunch should be illegal.

Next week: If you insist, I’ll have a couple of brunch recommendations for you.