Monday, November 4, 2013

Site-specific Breakfast

The What Is Breakfast Committee is joined this week by a new Guest Committee Member, Katie Markovich. Katie enjoys both sandwiches and Breakfast, but she is aware that a sandwich is often Not Breakfast. Having already tackled that imposing Breakfast question in her personal life, I'm sure she is prepared to respond to this complex query from our Boston-area friend below:

To The Committee, 

I had an instinct this should be brought to your attention immediately. 

The Friendly Toast, a nor'easterners favorite, has popped up another location close to me and there is conflicting evidence regarding whether it is in fact Breakfast! The menu is a thick jungle of Breakfast/other vines that seem to entangle the diner without end. Omelets and sweet potato fries with brown sugar & tabasco? Hansel & Gretel Waffles before or after mojito milkshakes? A review named it "one of best Breakfasts in America" in Esquire magazine, by Clive Owen who I believe is British (they serve Egg in the Hole, so you know). Should his celebrity affirmation be trusted, that it is indeed "Breakfast"?

Kindly advise, 
Entangled in Vines
North of Boston

Dear Tangled in Vines,

I would first like to thank you for your inquiry. This is important and I’m glad you had the courage to reach out to us. Every year, thousands of people go without answers to Breakfast questions. The change can begin with you.

You want to know if The Friendly Toast is, indeed, Breakfast. I can already see where you are having a difficult time. When you say “The Friendly Toast,” are you referring to the actual building? Are you referring to The Friendly Toast state of mind? Are you secretly thinking of one specific menu item, harboring the truth from me and from yourself, but then seeking my validation anyway? I don’t know, Tangled in Vines. I was hoping you would be more of a straight-shooter, but I’ve always liked a challenge.

Is The Friendly Toast—located at 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts—Breakfast? No, it is not. Don’t be silly.

Is The Friendly Toast—as it exists in your head—Breakfast? Lest your brains be made of eggs and sausage, then, no, it is not. But! If you freely associate the joys of Breakfast with the feelings you get from going to The Friendly Toast, then I think you might be onto something. I think you’re a dreamer and I like that about you, TiV. I always have.

Is The Friendly Toast—the restaurant that boasts the one menu item you’re thinking of but not telling me—Breakfast? Maybe. I’m not a mind reader.

I decided to further investigate the food items you mentioned by name: omelets, sweet potato fries, Hansel and Gretel waffles, mojito milkshakes. I took to the Internet in search of possible clues, and I stumbled upon (Does anyone use Stumble Upon anymore? Please advise) a web page that appeared to have some kind of affiliation with The Friendly Toast. When I looked closer, I realized that I was able to click on words such as “Breakfast,” “Apps & Salads,” and “Sandwiches, Burritos, & More.” I then began to classify each of the aforementioned menu items in accordance to which header they belonged. I think you should check this out, TiV, it really cleared things up for me. There is even a header called “DRINKS" and, sure enough, that’s where I found that mojito milkshake.

In conclusion, follow the rules of The Friendly Toast. I know you’re at that age where you’re questioning everything and you want to know what it all means, but sometimes the truth is spelled out for you. If it’s listed under Breakfast, it’s Breakfast.

More troubling than your quandary, though, is your assertion that Clive Owen is a celebrity. I recommend writing to They can help you.

I hope this answer has been sufficient enough for you, Tangled in Vines. I know that Breakfast can get tricky, and it can be psychologically damaging to misread the decorum of traditionally “Breakfast-friendly” eateries. We’ve all been the first to order, we get the sandwich and hand-cut fries, and then are met with the shock of realizing everybody else got fancy French toast. “But it’s past noon!” you contest. The other ladies clink their champagne flutes and laugh, gulping back mimosas. “Breakfast is served until three,” the pretty one says. And that’s when it becomes clear: if the menu tells you it’s Breakfast, and that Breakfast is an option, it is time for Breakfast.

In closing, I want you to know that every time I typed “Friendly Toast,” I first typed “Friendly Ghost,” and giggled to myself.

Best of luck in your breakfast journey,
Guest Committee Member Katie

Dear Tangled:

Although the official position of the What Is Breakfast Committee is that there is actually a limit to how late in the day you can have Breakfast and still have it be considered Breakfast, and that there are cases in which menus cannot be trusted, Guest Committee Member Katie has done her research well: The sections of The Friendly Toast's menu that are labeled "Breakfast," "More Breakfast," and "Even More Breakfast," are all compromised of relatively uncontroversial Breakfast foods, such as "Huevos Rancheros" or "Granola." (It does include one omelet that has pecans and something called maple sour cream in it, but it's an omelet so there is not much the Committee can do other than personally refuse to eat it.)

You seem to be in good hands, at least under the eatery's current management.

Co-chair Jessy

The Committee has discovered:

The Friendly Toast Has Correctly Labeled Their Breakfast as Breakfast.

The Committee remains confused about the identity of Clive Owen.

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