The Morning Scramble

June 2010

EdNote Published June 2010

Illustration by John Ueland

A college roommate, the self-styled Master of Seduction, taught me how to make omelets. I remember him offering the lesson with a knowing look and an arched eyebrow, with the clear implication that a man who couldn’t properly sauté, season, and fold without making an unholy mess was simply never going to succeed at the art of love.

This would be the romantic’s view of breakfast. For most of us, it’s not typically served in bed with freshly cut flowers, or as reward for a night of ecstatic sinning. For most, it’s an infusion of drip coffee from a commuter mug, or a cold, hurried bowl of corn flakes, or a muffin pinched and chewed in seething anger while those smug, 80-mph do-gooders in the 405 carpool lane whiz past our idling, single-passenger SUVs.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

That was our thought when we asked Orange Coast dining critic Gretchen Kurz to explore the wide world of breakfast in Orange County. Not just the best places for bacon and eggs, but places to get spaetzle, scrapple, or hash. Not just standout waffles and pancakes, but crêpes, chilaquiles, and feather-light biscuits. Go forth, we urged her, and tell us where to find both the morning foods in which we take comfort as well as those we might find flat-out fascinating.

The result is “Rise & Dine,” which begins on Page 68. Think of it as a guide to the way morning could be.

That said, we’re not completely out of touch with reality. We know how the county really starts its day. So as part of our research, our editorial staff staged an elaborate and unquestionably dangerous doughnut taste test in our photo studio, involving dozens of fresh samples from some of Orange County’s finest independent purveyors of sugar-crusted dough gobs. We identified the most delicious varieties as a public service, to spare you the calories.

You can see photos and read more about our little misadventure at Let’s just say that since the tasting, we’ve been using pliers to zip our jeans, ordering insulin by the case, and expecting a summer ant invasion in our studio.

Martin J. Smith

Illustration by John Ueland

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