The Dark Art of Breakfast

2009.Nov.11 Wednesday · 1 comment

in Restaurants

“It seems to me that there are two kinds of trickery: the “fronts” people assume before one another’s eyes, and the “front” a writer puts on the face of reality.”

– Francoise Sagan, French playwright

Not that I’m necessarily in accord with the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, mine normally consisting of a small pot of coffee, there are those days when I want something… familiar. Oh, I’ve gotten used to the medialunas, that imitation croissant that locals are so fond of, and other pastries, alongside a little watery espresso, but sometimes that just won’t do. And Sunday was one of those days, as a friend and I met up noonish (proper breakfast time on a Sunday) in Palermo, in an attempt to find an American style breakfast. We ambled and looked at menus, and nothing looked like “it”, until finally we saw the posted menu at Malasartes, Honduras 4999, right on Plaza Serrano, which listed omelettes and a variety of other breakfasty sounding items. [This place has closed.]

Malasartes - desayuno americano

We settled in, and settled on, a couple of the desayunos americanos, which sounded pretty much just like what we were looking for – scrambled eggs, toast with melted cheese, bacon, a mug of café con leche and fresh squeezed orange juice. Top that off with a couple of Bloody Marys and we looked golden. The drinks arrived first, nice and spicy with tabasco rather than horseradish, and perhaps a touch too much worcestershire, and then just as swiftly disappeared as our waitress retrieved them within a minute announcing that they were not made correctly, she could tell – and whisked them back to the bar where the bartender, to the best we could tell, added a grind of pepper, perhaps a squirt of lime, and a celery stalk. Toss-up as to whether it was better or not, certainly the pepper was a good addition, the rest tasted pretty much the same. The breakfast arrived, and while the presentation wasn’t classic norteamericano, the ingredients were there. The coffee, good, and enough of it. The juice, just right. The eggs, okay, a bit overcooked, but tasty, the toast, odd rounds that were a little too toasted, topped with some sort of uninteresting cheese, and cubes of actually quite good smoked and cured bacon. All in all, a good effort, and satisfying enough that we figure we’ll come back and try some of the other food – the hamburguesas passing by on the way to another table looked thick and juicy and stacked with condiments and such. And at a bargain price of 23 pesos for the breakfast and 22 for the cocktail, all told brunch cost a not so whopping US$12.


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dan November 20, 2009 at 08:41

We returned later in the week to check out those hamburgers. They’re okay, not as good as they looked. The meat, as is common here, too finely ground, though well seasoned, it comes out almost more sausage like – the texture is just wrong for a burger, and is part of the reason they’re not as juicy as they ought to be. Cooked to about medium or just past, toppings were similar to the breakfast – cubes of bacon, flavorless cheese, fresh lettuce and tomato, an over-fried egg, slices of supermarket lunch ham (we had two different kinds of burgers, this wasn’t all on one) – the buns kind of interesting, not hamburger bun-like at all, similar to the rounds used on the breakfast plate – almost like the Dutch version of a rusk, or beschuitje, if they’d been left a little bit softer. The fries, over-cooked and really oily – my dining companion described them as “those fries you get if you order fried chicken wings at a Chinese restaurant in a poor neighborhood in New York”. ‘Nuff said.

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