ALAN RICHMAN, FORMER EDITOR/ASSOCIA TE PUBLISHER OF WHOLE FOODS MAGAZINE, IS A NE W JERSE Y-BASED FREELANCE WRITER FOCUSING ON FOOD AND NUTRITION. CONTACT ARKR@COMCAST.NET.
bright-yellow vehicle and two similar companion trucks are a
familiar sight in the areas around Simi Valley, Moorpark and the
Colorado Center district of Santa Monica. Soon, there will be a
brick-and-mortar structure in Santa Barbara. And the business
is expanding through franchising, with immediate plans to open
50 upscale food carts in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
“We believe ours was the first mobile gourmet grilled cheese
anywhere,” Danhi says.
He admits to “playing with eggs” while adhering to the basic
concept of his grilled cheese creations. The most successful of
these spinoffs was something that caught fire with travelers at Los
Angeles International Airport. “I based it on a staple breakfast
item in Los Angeles—the breakfast burrito. I used French bread
and layered pepper jack cheese, soft scrambled eggs, ham, fresh
avocado and crushed ‘Tater Tots.’ The comforting feeling of
the eggs combined with yet another comfort food staple was a
perfect meal for before or after a flight.”
Danhi likes to turn his grilled cheese melt into a toad-in-the-
hole type of sandwich. “This is where I put a grilled cheese on
the grill—let’s say with sharp cheddar cheese, applewood bacon
and sliced ripe tomatoes. I then cut a hole in it and crack a fresh
egg into the hole. When it’s golden-brown on the first side, I
flip it, being careful not to break the egg. When the second side
turns brown, we have the makings of a perfect meal all in one
sandwich. This is one you should eat with a knife and fork so you
can enjoy the runny yolk.”
Five years ago, at the age of 72, Ina Pinkney closed a
business she had run successfully for 22 years. Ina’s, in Chicago,
was what Pinkney calls a “fine-dining breakfast room.” Pinkney
herself was known as the “Breakfast Queen,” and she hasn’t
stopped reigning in that capacity. “Today, you might call me a
chef/author/columnist/speaker. On any given day, I can be any
one or all of those,” she says.
Given her past, it’s not surprising that she loves eggs. “I
eat a lot of them, and not always at breakfast,” she says. “But I
always specify pasteurized eggs, which are about three times as
expensive as the average. I believe in staying on the safe side.”
One of Pinkney’s hallmark dishes at Ina’s was a pasta frittata,
which combines eggs with spaghetti, cheddar, Parmesan, dried
oregano, milk, red peppers, julienned and sauteed zucchini, cream
cheese, mushrooms, garlic, salt and onions. When everything has
been assembled, bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350ºF oven. And
serve while hot, she says.
BREAKFAST FOR DINNER
Saturday and Sunday are brunch days at State Street
Provisions, an eatery on Long Wharf, one of Boston’s landmarks.
While the wharf goes back to 1710, the restaurant is just over
2 years old. For its second anniversary, executive chef Tom
Borgia decided to introduce a new weekly special to the menu—
Breakfast for Dinner.
Scheduled for every Sunday evening, this new feature allows
diners who missed out on their eggs in the morning to eat them
after dark. “We thought offering this kind of familiar comfort
food would help our customers keep the Sunday ‘scaries’ away,”
Meanwhile, modeling his menu after the regular brunch
repast doesn’t mean that it’s bland or repetitive. Highlights
include a breakfast burger served with a sunny-side-up egg,
white cheddar cheese, pancetta, breakfast mustard and
an English muffin. Also popular is a Lobster Benny—or
Benedict—that comes with tarragon/lemon hollandaise, home
fries and a biscuit.
OPPOSITE: The Original Grilled Cheese Truck offers its Breakfast Burrito, a hit with
customers all day long.
ABOVE: Tasty n Sons chefs believe that diners are becoming accustomed to having
eggs included in a dish that is not generally considered a breakfast food.