Monday, November 05, 2007

Good Breakfast Hunting

The French Toast - in serious need of help.

Had some extra time this morning and decided that I would go out and have a proper breakfast. A couple places came to mind in Baltimore but I wanted to stay in Towson, so I hit the pavement to see what I could find.

My first stop was at a local bakery cafe. As many of you know, coffee in the "real world" is quite disappointing, so I grabbed a cup of the house blend from The Spro before heading out to accompany my meal. I've eaten here before and wanted to give them another try. Looking over their menu, I decided to go with their French Toast. Would have liked to have some meat or eggs but the price would have doubled and I decided to pass.

The French Toast had some promising ideas: baguette, sliced almonds. Nice thoughts but the execution was flat. The bread was too thick so the egg didn't penetrate, leaving a doughy interior that was just unpleasant. Unlike Hawaiian Bread which is soft and fluffy on the inside (not to mention sweet), a baguette is tougher and less forgiving. The almonds added a nice crunch but that was the highlight of the dish. It wasn't "good", but certainly it wasn't "bad" - it was uninspired. Flat. Boring. Ho-hum. I left completely unsatisfied and regretting my choice.

Zia's Beef-filled Empanada. Tasty but with an odd shell.

As I wandered the streets of Towson, I decided to visit Zia's Cafe. The owner had stopped by The Spro a few times and she seemed pleasant enough but I hadn't had the time for a proper visit.

Zia's is a cute, brightly colored cafe that specializes in organic foodstuffs, coffee and fruit drinks. Since I'm always wary of coffee no matter where I visit, I orderd a fruit smoothie and picked up a beef empanada that they heated for me.

The smoothie was nice, pleasant, thick, smooth and tasty without being overtly sweet. A bit of tang, a bit of sweet, it was quite enjoyable. The empanada was like many of the "organic" and "vegan" stuff I've tried - not bad, just slightly weird. Since it was beef, it was decidedly un-vegan. The stuffing was tasty and nicely done but I found the shell to be on the dry side with an odd, unfamiliar texture. When you've grown up eating Filipino-style empanadas with their rich shell or the Mexican style with the crispy corn masa, then this shell really is something different. Not bad, just different than what I'm used to and in need of a good spoonful of lard.

Certainly, there must be a way to make manteca "healthy"!

Zia's was a pleasant time. An enjoyable time. A moment to sit quietly and enjoy the food. And a redemption of my morning after that French Toast debacle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1.Any meal is no good without the trimmings.

2.Yay for the yummy looking smoothie.

3.Nay for the empanada that looks hauntingly like a hostess fruit pie. We want a flaky fluffy crust not a steamed dense pancake crust.

4. If manteca were healthy, no one would want it. Just look at all the smart balance and I can't believe it doesn't have to be refrigerated stuff sitting on the grocer's shelves. Amscrae, pronto!