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Mmm, pancakes for dinner.

Matthew Mead, Associated Press

Withering Glance: Breakfast -- it's what's for dinner

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK
  • Star Tribune
  • May 5, 2012 - 2:25 PM

RN: I felt as if I'd won the lottery this morning, when, upon arriving at Al's Breakfast, I lucked into the last available seat. Hello, blueberry-buttermilk pancakes, served with a heaping helping of no waiting.

CP: You think it was luck, but in truth they gave an old pensioner the boot when they saw you coming. The moment you tweeted from that Dinkytown institution, I saw a tweet from infomercialista Isaac Mizrahi about an early meeting he was having at Estia's Little Kitchen in the Hamptons. "Breakfast is the new dinner," declaimed La Mizrahi. I am so on board with that.

RN: Totally. Especially after we tore through brunch last weekend at Be'wiched Deli. Who knew that pastrami improves absolutely everything it touches? And don't get me started on the bacon at the Wise Acre Eatery. Oh. My. Goodness.

CP: Our moms never made "dinner for breakfast." But the vice versa, when we'd have pancakes and bacon at dinnertime, was a Peck family favorite. What is it about that first meal of the day? Hope in an egg? New beginnings in a sausage link?

RN: Something like that. I probably shouldn't admit this, but in my salad days, dinner often -- and happily -- consisted of large bowls of Cap'n Crunch and a splash of skim. My nuts-about-breakfast attitude can probably be traced to my grandmother Hedvig, who made caramel rolls that would knock you on your you-know-what.

CP: At no other meal have we gone so long without eating. And without drinking coffee. Forget about "most important meal of the day." For me, it's simply the best one.

RN: I recall interviewing pastry chef Gale Gand a few years ago, after her "Brunch!" cookbook came out. She said that she prefers breakfast and brunch get-togethers because they're easier to pull off than a four-hour sit-down dinner party.

CP: I've never been much for the work-related breakfast meeting, but I recall having a few at the old New French Cafe. Talk about feeling like a bigshot.

RN: Yes, the "power breakfast," a longtime magnet for what constitutes boldfaced names in this burg. A New French server pal of mine told me that a cute elderly couple once enthusiastically ordered the "power breakfast" that they'd heard so much about. He had to gently explain that it was a phenomenon, not an actual menu item.

CP: Is there a weekday power breakfast spot left in this town? Because it sure ain't Al's, great as that joint is.

RN: Hell's Kitchen, maybe. I don't see any movers and shakers sealing the deal over the awesome biscuits and gravy at Sun Street Breads, but they should be. The fried chicken version, 'natch.

CP: Let's take a story meeting there, stat.

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