Before I met the woman who is now my wife, I used to take breakfast for granted. Like the majority of urban-dwelling Americans, I considered breakfast an optional meal, practically a necessary evil. Fuel to last until lunch.
Whenever I visit New York City, her home town, I understand why breakfast is her favorite meal of the day. New Yorkers appreciate a good breakfast. For the few days while I'm stopping over in New York on my way to Spain, we are staying in the Upper West Side at our favorite hideaway, Country Inn the City, just so that we'll be within walking distance of the vital suppliers of the raw materials for our favorite breakfast of smoked fish on a real bagel. Institutions like H&H Bagels, Zabar's and my new favorite, Murray's Sturgeon Shop, are all within a short stroll.
When we've had our fix of plain smoked fish, we can meander over to the highly regarded brunch destination Sarabeth's and order the Goldie Lox, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and cream cheese, or further up to Barney Greengrass for scrambled eggs with smoked sturgeon.
Then for a change of scenery, we venture south to Murray Hill to satisfy our cravings for a spicy bowl of South Indian comfort food, idli sambar, and perhaps a crispy paper-thin dosa, all accompanied by creamy coconut chutney.
And, although we won't have time this trip, we usually try to fit in a visit to one of my all-time favorite restaurants anywhere, Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune. While excellent for dinner, Prune is without peer for weekend brunch. On our last visit, in April, we enjoyed her riff on a Morrocan breakfast of chickpeas topped with poached and then breaded and fried eggs, accompanied by preserved lemon, pickled turnips and olives. Her giant Dutch pancake is also a winner. And, if we haven't had our fill yet, Prune offers an amazing selction of smoked fish from Russ's Daughters, located just a block away! I love New York!