The Ark

Whatever floats your boat...

Made the Long Beach Press Telegram!

The place I work at was mentioned in the Long Beach Press Telegram on Sunday, January 25th. Guess I better get that whip and practice some more!

What's Hot: Best breakfast contest has us waffling
By Tim Grobaty, Columnist
Posted: 01/25/2009 09:57:55 PM PST

ALMOST-BEST BREAKFASTS: As we write, the rain is pelleting at our window like thrown rice at a wedding. To paraphrase the poet Wallace Stevens, it is raining and it is going to rain. It puts us in the mood for breakfast at our Grandma's house back when we all lived in Bixby Highlands and we'd sit at the cherry-wood dining table and have pancakes, bacon, fried eggs and grapefruit (Granddad used the shell of his eaten grapefruit for an ashtray for his postprandial Camel).

So we side with reader Charlie Adams when he says, "The best breakfast for me depends on my mood."

Responding, along with a couple of hundred others, to our call-out for the Best Breakfast in (and Around) Long Beach, Adams writes: "Right now I'm thinking Starling Diner; some days it's straight off to Park Pantry; other times only Le Creperie will do.

"This indecision's killing me."

Tell us about it. We have been on a gastronomical rollercoaster ride while reading the e-mails and listening to the messages left on our overly stuffed Voter Hot!Line, and we're afraid the Best Breakfast in Long Beach does have a lot to do with one's mood, and, perhaps, the climate.

Today, we're not unveiling the winners (again, thanks to our inability to be coldly decisive, there is, we're afraid, a bit of a tie for the best), but all of the places we're mentioning today were strong vote-getters, and will do you just fine if you're in the neighborhood - and in the mood.

Bake 'n' Broil (3697 Atlantic Ave.) received a ton of votes, as it does whenever it's eligible for a Best category (it tore up the race for Best Pie in the most one-sided election we've thrown). Russ Parsons, food writer and all-around expert to whom we defer in these matters, writes that Bake 'n' Broil has the best breakfast "by a mile," citing the huevos rancheros, which, he says, "will cure any hangover," which we take to mean he's there the morning following his visits to the Barn. Reader Cynthia Coleman suggests the eatery's blueberry-lemon pancakes with raspberry syrup.

Of the wealth of great breakfast houses in Belmont Heights/Bluff areas, the Coffee Cup, 3734 E. Fourth St., scored the most votes. Lyle Nalli has already talked us into ordering the mashed-potato omelette next time we visit the popular place. Patti McKay says she's tried several items at Coffee Cup, "but I especially love the omelette called Siena's Favorite. Its ingredients include spinach, mushroom, green onion, bacon and cheese." We would eat it.

A workingman's favorite, a longstanding place always packed with locals, is the Golden Star, 2001 E. Carson St., at Cherry Avenue (they're also on the westside at 1560 W. Pacific Coast Highway). Although its menu is huge, more than a few people cited the Jimmy the Greek Omelette. Reader/voter/diner Jim Serrao describes it as: "three eggs, avocado, ham, bacon, cheddar and Swiss cheese, topped with a tomato. And served with some of the best hash browns on the side."

Another diner well beloved by longtime locals, is Uncle Bud's Kitchen, the biggest out-of-town vote-getter at 16636 Clark Ave., in Bellflower. Most voters enjoy the extraordinarily friendly atmosphere of the place that's been there for half a century. "The owner reminds me of my own mom," writes Amy Brink. "Sweet, caring, a Christian and a damn good cook."

Large portions, along with Greek hospitality, is a big point of pride for downtown's Long Beach Cafe, at 615 E. Ocean Blvd. Lisa Lynch recalls renovating her condo on Ocean and needing a meal to get her through all that work, and found it in Long Beach Cafe's Longshoreman Special of three eggs, four sausage links, four strips of bacon, three pancakes and toast. "Needless to say," she nevertheless says, "this served as breakfast, lunch and the bigger part of dinner that day."

For something a bit lighter, Plaza-ites like Grounds Bakery Cafe, 6277 E. Spring St., which Amy Schwarz says is no less than "the best place in the whole world," and Long Beach goddess D.D. Wood recommends Grounds not only for its food, but also for the fact that they have Rosie working there. Rosie, reports Wood, "is fantastic and belongs to an Indiana Jones group that meets dressed up like Indy and snaps whips." We are so there.

Over by City College, the favorite place is the Village Cafe, 4148 N. Viking Way, which scored loving descriptions from several people, and a bit of verse from an anonymous e-mailer, concluding with "I always enjoy/my half-mile amble/through Heartwell Park/ for my veggie scramble."

Mary Hinds speaks for the many voters who enjoy the pride of near Northtown, Johnny Reb's, 4663 Long Beach Blvd. (other locations include 16639 Bellflower Blvd., in Bellflower).
A world-renowned Presleyologist, Hinds, not surprisingly, goes for the Elvis Pancakes: banana pancakes with chunky peanut butter/maple syrup, as well as the Fried Green Tomato Omelette and (deep breath) "the homemade biscuits, cheese grits, that thick, thick crisp bacon, cornbread ... country ham biscuit sandwiches, Texas-style French toast, porkchops & eggs, chicken-fried steak, Cajun sausage ..."

Finally, and this place was pretty far out of the running, but it ably illustrates the range of Best Breakfast possibilities, comes a vote for Joe Jost's, 2803 E. Anaheim St., from our neighbor Bob Hampton, who recommends kick-starting your day with the Joe Jost's Special, accompanied by "two pickled eggs with peppers and pretzels and a schooner of Busch served at 29.8degrees.", 562-499-1256

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Comment by photo2010 on January 27, 2009 at 9:46pm
Very cool!


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