Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

cafe con leche cafe hercules sevilla

One of my favorite parts of Spain, this time, was breakfast.

I am both a person who enjoys breakfast and a person who needs it: if I’m up and about for too long without eating anything, I start to wilt and then I crash. It’s not pretty.

Happily for me, the Spanish also love their breakfast. I had nearly the same thing every morning during our time in Spain: una tostada y café con leche.

In my regular life, I am adamantly not a coffee drinker: even my long-ago stint as a barista failed to convert me to coffee, though it did help establish my tea addiction. But I first tried café con leche on a long-ago midwinter weekend in Valencia, and loved it, to my own surprise. So this time, I took full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it every morning.

tostada cafe hercules sevilla

The other element of breakfast in Spain is una tostada: toasted or grilled bread topped with crushed tomatoes and doused in olive oil. This, as my new friend Karen points out, is the traditional option, but many places offer variations on the theme: con queso, con mermelada, con jamón (cheese, marmalade or jam and sliced ham, respectively). My favorite variation: con aguacate (avocado).

That’s what you see above, at what quickly became my favorite cafe in Sevilla: Café Hércules. They offer several types of bread, then let you mix and match your own toppings. Plus the staff are friendly, the coffee is delicious, and the whole relaxed-funky-local vibe reminded me irresistibly of my beloved Darwin’s.

We tried several other breakfast spots in Sevilla, mostly thanks to Karen’s recs. She’s an American travel writer and blogger whom we met at a yoga class on our first morning there. After class, we all went for desayuno in the nearby plaza, and Karen told me about her blog. By a semi-coincidence, we ran into Karen and her husband, Rich, at Bar Alfalfa – another one of Karen’s faves – a few days later.

My other favorite part of eating out is the people-watching, and desayuno offers a perfect way to do that: sipping a café and munching a tostada in a neighborhood bar means you have a reason to be there and plenty of time to watch the locals come in and out. We always left caffeinated and fortified. And since we got home, we’ve been making our own tostadas on Saturday mornings while we watch the World Cup. A little taste of Spain.

More Spain photos and stories to come.

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august break 2015

It’s already August (how can that be?) and Susannah Conway is hosting her beautiful August Break. I’ve loved playing along the last two years, and I’m excited to participate again.

First up: a red-and-blue weekend breakfast.

cherries toast breakfast

Blackberry sage tea in my favorite mug, toast with butter and blueberry jam, and fresh cherries.

Happy August, friends.

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Lots of blue around today. At the breakfast table:

blue breakfast

On the way to work:

blue sky cambridge

At the office:

august calendar sea glass

Happy weekend, friends. Hope you have the blues in a good way.

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Let’s talk about breakfast.

I am a breakfast person. (Especially when breakfast involves tea in my favorite mug and a slice of something yummy):

I don’t just mean I like breakfast, or even that I enjoy big, sumptuous breakfasts. (Though I do love breakfast food, and my grandfather’s breakfast spreads are one of the chief joys of visiting their house. The man fries a mean egg, and there’s always plenty of bacon.)

No, I am a person who NEEDS breakfast, both as wake-up aid (hello, black tea) and as fuel to get me through the morning. Without it, I wilt by 11 a.m., becoming not only cranky but downright woozy. (Just ask my husband what happened one day on our honeymoon when we slept late and skipped breakfast so we could head out to lunch sooner. I nearly collapsed as we walked into the cafe, and he panicked, dashing to the counter and grabbing me a snickerdoodle so I wouldn’t pass out. Which, fortunately, I didn’t.)

Anyway. I cannot skip breakfast, but I don’t want to fuss with it either – and I rarely get up in time to cook it. So I’m always looking for quick, healthy, delicious ways to spice up my usual routine of a cup of black tea and a bowl of cereal/oatmeal with fruit. Especially as winter approaches, I’d like some heartier options, to stick to my ribs before I head out into the cold.

So I put the question to you, dear readers: do you eat breakfast? Do you love breakfast? And do you have any suggestions for me?

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On our very first Sunday in Boston, J and I found ourselves wandering Beacon Hill, with our friend Drew, who came on our long crazy road trip to help with the driving. Drew has a really nice camera, which elicited a comment from a distinguished-looking older gentleman who gave him a few suggestions of Beacon Hill landmarks to shoot. We were all famished, so we asked him where we should go to eat lunch. He recommended the Paramount Cafe. “It’s where all the locals go,” he said.

Two things: 1. He’s right. 2. There’s a good reason.

I have since been to the Paramount several times, and while I hear the burgers are good and the paninis and salads look delicious, nothing has convinced me to try anything other than the delectable fruit pancakes. You can get banana, apple cinnamon, strawberry (my favorite so far), slathered with butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar…and, well, YUM.

There’s always a line spilling out the door, and the cooks talk and joke in Spanish as they press hot irons onto the bacon, sprinkle fruit onto the pancakes, chop up bananas for fruit salad, take orders and slide them onto plates. The orange juice and lemonade are both fresh squeezed, and even though you aren’t allowed to save tables, somehow one is always available when you get to the end of the line.

I mean, I’m no food photographer, but doesn’t this look delicious? Because I’m here to tell you: it IS.

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