A debate about who is right and who is wrong on the subject of breakfast foods.
Hot Pot is a weekly thing where we gather around a topic that happens to be on our minds, talking to each other and readers alike. If you’ve got a take of your own, you should join us in the comments below.
This week: breakfast.
Gina Brittney Ann. Savory all day, every day. Come to my kitchen for fried dumplings, ackee and saltfish and callaloo if I’m in a good mood and willing to share. If not (the more likely scenario), come to NYC to Boulevard Bistro in Harlem. (Please, someone else, give us a place that’s not in NYC. Or not, because I live here and am happy to continue eating the many feelings of 2016.) Anyway, at Blvd, order the catfish and grits for brunch. You’ll get a huge piece of delicately fried catfish, creamy cheesy grits, eggs your way (I prefer them fried) and a fluffy biscuit to eat with their cane syrup butter. Yes, cane syrup. And butter. Together. It is everything you could imagine and more. You’ll want drink it and then bathe in it. And I encourage you to do so. Don’t let the haters stop you. Boulevard Bistro, 239 Lenox Ave., New York.
James Smyth. Savory ever since I moved to Japan and was initiated to the joy of daily miso soup drinking. Then in Taipei I loved getting purple rice and seaweed rolls youtiao and everything else in them straight from the street vendors outside Gongguan Station. That’s the kind of food that puts me in the mood to do work. The pastries and such that my grandma used to bring oodles of in the mornings were fundamentally misleading about what the rest of the day would really be like.
Jay Zhu. I hate to hop in on the savory circle jerk, but great minds think alike? Sweet is a warm cup of Chai or pan au chocolat on the side. It’s the sidekick, the adornment, but never the hero. It’s also cereal when you are in a rush, or don’t have options. Or in elementary school. When you are a grown ass adult, you go for savory. Eggs are the most versatile food on the planet, but give them to me over easy with the little coin tater tots on the side. Add biscuits and gravy if I’m feeling particularly indulgent. And this is my secret sauce: ketchup and sriracha mixed 1:1. It binds together the golden river of egg yolk with the gravy grease for a transcendent vomit-colored muck to dip your biscuits and taters in. Clearly, this is not for those who are orthodox in their practice of food separatism. I also eat pizza and cheeseburgers for breakfast.
Vidur Gangwal. ANOTHER ONE for savory, though when I’m home I can get down with a simple bowl of cereal sometimes: Raisin Bran Crunch when I’m pretending I’m healthy and Cinnamon Toast Crunch when I’m nostalgic or just don’t give a fuck. Cute secret sauce Jay, but eggs’ soulmate of soulmates has to be Cholula. Drown some over easys with that stuff and wipe up the yolky goodness with some bacon, you’ll never be disappointed. To be honest though, I’m not really a morning person…breakfast for me is often brunch and brunch often entails a hangover whose only cure is a big sexy bowl of pho. Tank Noodle. 4953-55 N. Broadway, Chicago.
Mom Plus Law. While I used to be more on the savory side, I’ve leaned to sweet more and more, but mostly because I miss it. With a baby on a diet of breastmilk, all I eat is oatmeal every morning since it’s supposed to up your supply and I am so on board with anything that will reduce how long I’ll need to pump in the future. Gone are the days though of cinnamon rolls! Chocolate croissants! Ricotta pancakes! All of that delicious decadent stuff.
Jean Zhou. Savory. There’s no deep reason for it; that’s just what all the Taiwanese traditional breakfasts are like. It’s healthier. I love egg rolls and radish cakes and sandwiches. My favorite breakfast places were all in Taiwan, and this is making me miss its breakfast shops and how fast and convenient and cheap they are.
Randy Chen. Savory. Pancakes are for children. In New York, there is bagel place in Brooklyn just off Bergen on the 2/3. I would go there all the time for a sausage, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel, which I always ordered toasted because that’s what I had done for my entire life. One day, I gave my order to the guy working behind the counter, and as he reached up to grab a bagel from the bin, he turned to me and asked, “Toasted?” I nodded, and as he plucked a bagel, he paused and said, “But it’s fresh.” So I took a chance that day, and ate my bagel untoasted. Let me tell you, it was something new. I now know that toasting is something done to revive bagels that range from bad to old to just okay; it gives these bagels, which are otherwise too dense or squishy, some crust. But a fresh bagel, made right, needs no such thing. They are at once both crisp and airy, like magic. I’m glad I took a chance that day. Growing up can be so rewarding. Bergen Bagels. 473 Bergen Street, Brooklyn NY.
Quiet Warrior. I’m fine with either. There is this one brand of granola, Heartland Raisin Granola, that is my kryptonite. I love it so much that I can’t buy it, because I can’t eat it in moderation…My sister would drive me crazy growing up because she would always eat our leftover chicken for breakfast. You can’t eat dinner twice in a day! But I guess she was ahead of the game because protein is all the rage these days.