We all love breakfast. It’s the ultimate comfort food, the stuff our mothers made for us before they sent us off to face the world. The Acorn Cafe served breakfast only until lunch started. Why? Because you can’t fix a Reuben on the same flat-top you use for pancakes. When I bought the business and we became the Alcove Cafe, I renovated the kitchen a bit, got rid of the deep fryer (the source of much mess, cause of sewer challenges for the city, and not good for you anyway), and decided to come up with a menu that would allow us to have breakfast all day every day.
Then I tackled a really difficult challenge. How do you keep breakfast traditional, make it healthy, and also provide some options for the more adventurous? Here’s what I decided:
- Eggs – we have to make them every way possible, because people like them every way possible
- Bacon and sausage – no way we’re giving up our bacon & sausage. So we found the best thick-sliced bacon and the best sausage (well the best reasonably-priced ones), and we serve them up, cooked to order.
- Potatoes – it’s not breakfast without potatoes. But frozen out-of-a-bag hash browns dumped into a deep fryer? No way! So we cut up real redskin potatoes, and roast them in the oven with a little olive oil and seasonings.
- Fruit – it’s so good for you, it comes with just about every breakfast. Your mama says, “eat your fruit.” If you won’t eat it no matter what we say, tell us ahead of time, because we really hate throwing those beautiful raspberries and blackberries into the trash. We’ll give you some potatoes or extra bread instead.
- Bread – lots of variety, lots of quality, and lots of choice for you!
- And lots of interesting specials for the more adventurous.
Let’s take a look at the menu (prepare to have your mouth water).
You can’t have breakfast without eggs. We serve them fried, scrambled, basted, and poached. Here is Raechel’s “one, poached, with 7-grain.”
And a customer’s “two, scrambled, sausage side, 7-grain.”
Of course we have omelets. There are as many opinions about the right way to make an omelet as there are people who eat omelets. I’ve talked about that in a previous post (type ‘omelets’ in the search box if you want to read it). But here are the basics: we start with fabulous fillings, grill what should be cooked a little first (peppers, mushrooms, onions), and roll the omelet around the filling after melting the cheese. We serve them with our famous-around-town bowl of fresh mixed fruits and our fabulous toast.
Here is Ace’s ham & cheddar omelet (he’s a traditionalist), with the fruit bowl and a side of potatoes, which that day happened to be a combination of redskins and sweet potatoes.
If you’ve read the menu, you know we have Cross Fisheries smoked salmon and whitefish, bacon, ham (2 kinds), sausage (3 kinds), all kinds of vegetables, and lots of cheeses. We’ll put any combination of these into an omelet.
One customer’s favorite is smoked salmon with fresh tomatoes and goat cheese. Another loves smoked salmon with capers, red onions, and goat cheese. Another customer has us chop fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, sage, parsley, cilantro, thyme, …) and add those. And yet another asked for chorizo with salsa. Bottom line: if you can think it up, we’ll put it in an omelet for you.
We’ll make it an egg white omelet if you prefer. One of our regular customers likes an all-veggie egg white omelet, with a side of sausage. There are so many veggies in his omelet we can’t roll it, and have to fold it. Here it is:
He likes to get a side of hemp oil, which he mixes at the table with Clancy’s Fancy sauce. And then he dips his omelet in it.
The Mexican Connection
We used to offer a breakfast tostada. But tortillas just don’t “puff” reliably, and you can’t really get this dish to go. So we’ve changed to the breakfast burrito — same thing, just a soft flour tortilla instead of half a crisp one. That, of course, makes the breakfast more portable — you can get it with the salsas inside the burrito, and maybe even eat it on the way to school or work. Here it is in its tostada version (so you can see what’s inside the burrito):
This is a great way to get your eggs — mixed with chorizo sausage and scallions, topped with cheddar cheese, and served with two salsas. And, oh yeah, our wonderful fruit bowl.
Croque (say “croak”) Maison
This is the “house crunch.” It’s a French bistro classic, the subject of considerable black market trading when the French implemented price controls on it after WWII. We figured anything with a history like that would have a great reception in Charlevoix, and we were right. It’s an open-faced sandwich with multi-grain toast, bechamel sauce, ham, roasted tomatoes, Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, and a fried egg on top. It comes with a small side of our oven-roasted redskins and — you guessed it — a bowl of fruit.
French Toast and Pancakes
If you have the sweet tooth, you can order our French toast. We have customers who come to the restaurant several times a week just for the French toast. It’s baked, it’s topped with pecans, and it’s too good to believe.
Did I mention that it comes with a bowl of fruit?
Our pancakes are whole-grain, but light and delicious! We put real blueberries in them, or not if you prefer not. We’ll cut fresh strawberries into them as well, and we’ll even add chocolate chips (real dark chocolate, the kind that’s good for you).
Our oatmeal is the best we’ve ever tasted. It comes from Homestead Mills in northern Minnesota, an old farm mill. They send it to us in 50-pound bags. We top it with dried berries and nuts, and you can add brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, Splenda, milk, soy milk, cream, cinnamon, or whatever else you want. Yum!
We serve wonderful plain non-fat yogurt, topped with our dried berry and nut mix and crunchy granola. Try something delicious and new: ask us to mix fresh grapefruit sections into your yogurt.
Most days we have a fresh breakfast tart. It almost always has bacon and/or sausage, sometimes potatoes, and a scattering of vegetables. And of course, eggs, cream, and cheese.
We bake scones every day. Here is one of our favorites, “Lisa’s Coffee Shop Scone,” with dried apricots and dates, and candied pecans. Yum!
Try a breakfast in a glass. We make wonderful fruit smoothies, each one packing a full half-pound of fruit! They already have green tea. We add yogurt or soy milk. Delicious, great for you, and ultimately portable.
We have lots of juice options, lots of teas, and great coffee, including espresso drinks. Our coffees and teas are all fair-trade and organic. We’ll take this up in more detail in a week or so.