Let’s get one thing straight: breakfast fare is undeniably and inexplicably the best kind of food around. If you disagree, you’re probably lying.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s just as acceptable to order something sweet as it is to order something savory (or do both, which I prefer). Maybe it’s because you can drown whatever you’re eating in as much maple syrup as you’d like (but make sure it’s the real stuff). Or maybe it’s the sheer number of breakfast dishes that have cheese in them.
And if breakfast food is the best food available, brunch is the best meal you can have. It’s conducive to sleeping in, fun to share with family and friends, and perfect for breaking out the best that breakfast has to offer.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose. I’m here to save your morning. Here are six decidedly delicious dishes to opt for at your next brunch outing that will satisfy even the staunchest brunch skeptic.
For the Traditionalist
We’ll start out simple. When you’re craving a hearty, heavenly breakfast, there are few things more satisfying than the classic diner breakfast. The basic components are eggs, toast, potatoes, and maybe meat, but there is plenty of variety within those stipulations.
Order your eggs any way you please and choose from a wide selection of different kinds of bread. Most restaurants have a special way they like to prepare their potatoes—shredded hash browns, fried potato wedges, home fries, etc.—but really, you can’t go wrong.
My standard order includes scrambled eggs, rye toast, home fries, and maybe a fruit garnish (as seen above). But really, we’re here for the good stuff. Add a generous serving of butter, your favorite jam, and, if you like it atop your eggs, plenty of ketchup. Dig in. It’s classic but never boring.
For the Gourmet Eater
Playing off of the classic diner breakfast is the slightly more suave breakfast scramble. Although the other ingredients scrambled into the eggs can vary, obscene amounts of cheese are absolutely essential. There is nothing better than a forkful of fluffy eggs with melty, oozy cheese (for vegans, I guess Daiya will do).
Southwestern-inspired breakfast scrambles speak directly to my soul, and the one above is no exception. Loaded with gooey, melted cheddar, chunks of creamy avocado, and fragrant sautéed onions, it’s the perfect compliment to crispy bread. Load spoonfuls of your scramble onto toast and savor every bite.
There are plenty of other good combinations like mushrooms with bell peppers or sausage with potatoes. They help basic scrambled eggs become a thing of beauty. And whatever mix-ins you choose, don’t go easy on the cheese.
For the Sweet Tooth
French toast may be the ultimate brunch item because it combines so many elements of pure breakfast bliss. It’s made with toast and eggs, loaded with butter, seasoned with cinnamon, topped with fruit, and accompanied by maple syrup. And, of course, it’s as sweet as can be.
Any restaurant can make French toast, but when a restaurant makes great French toast, it’s life-changing. Look for menu descriptions of thick slices of brioche, challah, or (as pictured above) Portuguese sweetbread. Places that top their French toast with seasonal fruit are always good options, too. The strawberry rhubarb compote on this plate was incredible.
Be sure to drown every bite with maple syrup. The good restaurants will have the real stuff available. If you must settle for the lackluster imitations, just know that your brunch won’t be as good as it could be.
And if you want to go the extra mile, you could always do what this guy does (bonus: as you’ll see in the link, it’s also a good way to recycle the mini drink bottles from the night before).
For the Picky Eater
“Toad in a Hole” (not the English kind) might be an easy home-cooked kids’ favorite, but trendy cafes and bistros around the country are transforming this basic dish into an adult-worthy meal. Since the toast is the star of the show here, look for places that use great bread. This one uses thick slices of homemade sourdough, toasted to perfection.
It’s the perfect basic breakfast for the picky eater, but also cool enough to not be boring. It’s a conservatively creative choice.
The bread and the fried eggs in this dish are hearty enough, but if you’d like something more, order some sausage or bacon on the side. The roasted tomato that came with this plate had tons of juice to soak up with the bread. Other good accompaniments include butter, jam, or ketchup. Really, it’s all up to you, so break out that childlike creativity and dig in.
For the Health Nut
Just because it’s decently healthy doesn’t mean it isn’t good, and what it lacks in heft, it makes up for in flavor. Fresh, homemade granola is a longtime breakfast staple, and restaurants around the country are bringing it back into style. Although it might not look like much, granola will fill you up fairly fast.
With all the granola options available, it’s also ideal for those with dietary restrictions. You can request gluten-free granola, swap the dairy milk for almond or soy milk, or have it with yogurt for an even more filling meal. Granola bowls usually come topped with seasonal local fruit, helping you to up your nutrient intake and support local farms.
The delicious granola bowl above was loaded with dried fruit and nuts, drowned in almond milk, and topped with fresh strawberries, pears, and apples. To customize your own, ask your waiter for all the options available (and maybe take some ideas home to make your own granola later).
For the Carb Monster
For all my carb-hungry friends, this one is for you. Breakfast paninis combine the carb-y crunch of a sandwich with a deliciously starchy side.
This one comes with egg, bacon, tomato, and cheese sandwiched in between crunchy slices of filone roll, but there are plenty of other options that load up on greens and vegetables, too. Avocado and spinach are only two of the other great options for your next breakfast sandwich.
The home fries on the side are almost as good as the sandwich itself (and if you can find home fries that use both white and sweet potatoes, you’ll have an extra-delicious breakfast on your hands). Add a healthy dose of ketchup on the side, and your breakfast panini meal is officially the best brunch dish ever.
What are you ordering at your next brunch date? Give some of these options a try if they’re available to you, or explore on your own and discover all the wonders that brunch has to offer. Maybe you’ll find even more reasons to love the best meal of the day. Enjoy.
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