Going to college in rural New England was when I first learned that people went out to eat for breakfast. That sticky diner tables (the ones I frequented in late evening hours) probably became sticky because people consumed waffles doused in syrup at normal breakfast hours. That restaurants other than diners actually served breakfast. But upon my return to Westchester I dolefully discovered that there was not quite the plethora of restaurants churning out breakfast that I thought. I grew so accustomed to having a small cafe or restaurant serving breakfast in every quaint town along route 101 that I found myself scoffing at the halfhearted plates of pancakes served at the few local establishments that offered "breakfast". #breakfastsnob
But things seem to be changing.
Journeying to Restaurant North in Armonk, NY makes for an absolutely picturesque drive on a quiet fall Saturday. My parents have been the occasional dinner guest but recently the restaurant closed for two months to redesign their offerings (and website), which included bringing back Saturday AND Sunday brunch. Yep, BOTH days. I was ecstatic.
I walked in to an immaculate dining room trimmed with harvest colored flowers and sparkling glassware. I sat at the bar and talked over my options with my server, Karina. I ultimately went with the the pumpkin pancake over duck confit hash (I'm still coming for you, hash). Karina also mentioned that the kitchen was flexible and could adjust to dietary needs such as vegetarian or vegan options. They even had almond milk, score.
My pumpkin pancake came out in a jiffy and was more Dutch baby-esque than all American flapjack. Dense, custardy filling topped with creme fraiche, cranberries and maple syrup was a truly indulgent dish.
Across state lines in not so far away Greenwich, CT. I finally made it to Ada's Kitchen and Coffee. Down an assuming suburban street lined with old homes and glorious foliage is the tiny historical building that Ada's calls home. Once serving as the Riverside post office, Ada's family purchased the building in 1950 and turned it into a candy shop. For fifty eight years, Ada's was a community staple that provided old and young with their sugar fix. Upon her passing in 2008 there are some blanks but ultimately chef/owner Mike Pietrafeso teamed up with Ada's family in 2016 to open the home of the best BEC I have ever eaten.
Ada's interior is simple. There are no chairs, only counters around the perimeter. The color palette is black and white. White walls, black chalkboard. The pop of color comes from the dedicated "candy corner", an homage to Ada. On the limited wall space you can find old pictures of the building and certificates from the building's post office days. The design is a wonderful marriage of past and present.
For such a small, simple space Ada's offerings are anything but. Numerous options for both breakfast and lunch are listed on the chalkboard, most of which contain creative combinations of local ingredients from Westchester and Fairfield counties. I'd heard about Ada's meatball parm sandwich but given that it was 7:30am I couldn't quite convince myself or my stomach. Ordering the Ada's BEC was the best decision I made all week. A runny egg sandwiched between crispy seasoned bacon, arugula, mild cheddar and a spread of chipotle mayo (I KNOW) all neatly layered on a ciabatta roll completely changed my impression of what a BEC should be. The bar has been set and I'm fairly certain no one is going to reach it but Ada's.
It's been months since I've been to New England for breakfast but with what's brewing on the home front I may not have rush my next visit. Until the next dish, ciao!