All of us do it. Some before dawn cracks a new day, while others prefer to wait until mid-morning. There are even those who do it almost at lunchtime. Doesn’t matter what time you do it, breakfast is traditionally the first meal of the day. Croissants in France, Poha in Southern India, Ngwaci in Kenya, Shashukah in Saudi Arabia, Bangers and Mash in England, Medialunas in Argentina, or oatmeal in America: it’s all breakfast food. For some folks, breakfast is the best meal of the day, and some restaurants are happy to serve it all day. Essentially, if we can sauté, grill, fry, boil, steam, bake, or broil it, we’ll find a way to make it breakfast.
2045 Valley Hwy.,
Acme Tues.–Sat. 7 a.m.–8 p.m.
Acme Diner is a little country diner where the eggs are always fresh, the coffee is deep, dark and strong, and breakfast is served all day. Bacon is good, but bone-in pork chops ($14) are too good to pass up: two hefty pork chops grilled to caramel goodness and garnished with applesauce and a side of eggs.
Old Town Café
316 W. Holly St., Bellingham
Mon.–Sat. 6:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun. 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
Old Town Café has long been a Bellingham breakfast mainstay, working hard to keep the people happy. From the menu order #10.5 you won’t be disappointed. Four gluten and dairy free hotcakes ($9) — spend a little extra for fresh fruit or real maple syrup! House-made fresh granola ($6.50): nuts, honey, real vanilla, butter, currants, cinnamon and organic milk. Is it dessert or breakfast? Fresh fruit garnish and milk options are available.
521 Kentucky St., Bellingham
Tues.–Sat. 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun. 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
A benefit of breakfasting out is feasting on dishes we’d never attempt at home. Homeskillet’s The Barnyard ($13.95), is one of those culinary gems. Chicken-fried steak is the foundation for layers of ham, bacon, a fried egg with taters and your choice of gravy. Homeskillet Poutine ($10), is the breakfast that cures all morning-after ills: home fries buried under house-made gravy and topped with a fried egg and cheese.
2430 James Street, Bellingham
Mon.–Sun. 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
Over Easy is the perfect name for this breakfast-all-day restaurant. It offers four types of eggs benedict, each delicious and worthy of attention. Give The Traditional ($11) a try and you won’t hesitate to try the others. The scratch-made hollandaise sauce and perfectly poached eggs make all the difference! The hollandaise sauce has a subtle citrus flavor, is thick and creamy- smooth and won’t break down over the hot eggs and ham. Served with a hefty portion of home fries.
2400 Meridian St. #1, Bellingham
Daily 7 a.m.–3 p.m.
A perennial Bellingham favorite, Diamond Jim’s Nova Smoked Sockeye Salmon Eggs Benedict ($15.49) will convert most traditional Bennie hardliners. Liberally dressed with creamy hollandaise sauce, two exquisitely poached eggs rest atop smoked salmon, fresh spinach, Havarti cheese and tomato slices on an English muffin. Served with a side of cheddar grits.
The Daisy Café
114 W. Magnolia St., Bellingham
Daily 7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
The Daisy Café opens early and serves breakfast all day! The Trattoria Frittata ($12.50) is fun to say, delicious to eat. An Italian-style baked omelet is stuffed with Italian sausage, green peppers, fennel seeds and garnished with chopped tomatoes, and both feta and mozzarella cheese. Served with your choice of toast and potatoes.
The Birch Door Café
4192 Meridian St., Bellingham
Tue.–Sat. 7 a.m.–3 p.m.
The Birch Door Café is a family-focused, breakfast-all-day restaurant. The Eastern European style made-to-order Fresh Fruit Blintzes ($13.75) are a refreshing breakfast, or afternoon snack. Three light-as-a-feather, tender and delicious blintzes filled with sweet ricotta and either fresh strawberries or blueberries. And who can resist a good flapjack? The 49er Flapjacks ($12.50) are three plate-size, impossibly creamy, crepe-style pancakes dressed with butter and maple syrup. Cooked in clarified butter, which butter fans will appreciate, the color on these flapjacks is an unbelievable golden brown.
Harris Avenue Café
1101 Harris Ave., Bellingham
Daily 8 a.m–2 p.m.
Harris Avenue Café, in Fairhaven’s historic Terminal Building, enjoys a culturally diverse following. Regulars tuck into innovative dishes such as Polenta Rancheros, with house-made chorizo ($13). House-made cheesy polenta cakes are pan-fried to a caramelized golden brown, nestled among black beans and two poached eggs. This dish is garnished with house-made chipotle ranchero sauce, sour cream, and fresh avocado.
1151 N. State St., Bellingham
Cosmos Bistro’s weekend brunch menu is well worth crawling out of bed before noon. The Very Very Vegi ($13) is a mind-boggling mélange of fresh mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic, sweet peppers, kale, basil blended with seasoned home fries, and topped with two eggs and chèvre cheese. For those craving meat, order The Bacon-Nation ($14). Seasoned home-fries tossed with a hefty amount of tasty bacon, caramelized onions, sweet peppers, two eggs, and garnished with smoked cheddar.
1311 Railroad Ave., Bellingham
AB Crepes’ delicious paper-thin crepes may seem like delicate little pastries, but don’t be fooled. These sturdy pancakes hold their own, so you can start your day off right! Begin the week with the Monday Morning ($7.36) crepe. A scrambled egg, cheese, avocado, and jalapeño peppers wrapped in a hot, delicious crepe fresh off the grill.
11 Point Lawrence Rd., Olga
Wed.–Sun. 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
At Catkin Café, stew is a gluten-free breakfast feast! Baked Eggs in Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato stew is served with a cheese-accented polenta.
Keenan’s at the Pier
804 10th St., Bellingham
Mon.–Sat. 7–11 a.m., Sun. brunch 7 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Keenan’s at the Pier has dessert for breakfast! Bread Pudding French Toast ($13): Who could have imagined it? Avenue White Chocolate Bread pudding is pan-fried in butter and garnished with pumpkin mousse, syrupy blackberry coulis, and roasted walnuts. Bread pudding and a mimosa ($9) will start any- body’s day right. For those who like to celebrate breakfast differently, there is the Dungeness Crab Omelet ($16), a large three-egg omelet garnished with Dungeness crab, wilted peppery arugula, maasdammer cheese, a ladle of house-made hollandaise, and potatoes with onions on the side.
4260 Mitchell Way, Bellingham
Daily 6:30–11 a.m.
Northwater, at the Holiday Inn and Suites, has a breakfast menu tailored to those on the go. Take the Breakfast Trio Slider ($10)—a heap of scrambled egg, smoked cheddar, thick sliced bacon, sausage, and ham on a warm brioche bun. This breakfast sandwich is meant to satiate your hunger and keep your engine running all day long. Vegans, and others, will gravitate to the gluten-free, turmeric-scented Energizing Juice ($6), a smooth blend of avocado, ginger root, leafy greens, citrus, apple, and mineral water.
133 E. Holly St., Bellingham
Mon.–Sun. 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
Little Cheerful Café’s Crab Cake Omelet ($10.95), is crab lover’s nirvana. This omelet is a bounty of house-made crab cake, generously garnished with Jack cheese, fresh avocado, Hermila’s pico de gallo salsa, and a choice of hash browns or fresh fruit.
Fork at Agate Bay
2530 N. Shore Rd., Bellingham
Sat.–Sun. 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
The drive to The Fork at Agate Bay is well worth the effort, especially if you have a hankering for Croque Madame ($13)! The house sourdough bread is the perfect foundation for this French sandwich. A sunny-side egg rests atop shaved smoked ham, fontina cheese, chipotle aioli and is dressed with scratch-made Mornay sauce. The top is broiled until brown and served with fries.
331 E. Fairhaven Ave., Burlington
Café Burlington’s scramble ain’t cho’ mama’s rubbery old eggs. Joe’s Scramble ($14.99), is a plateful of tender and creamy scrambled eggs, tossed with organic hamburger; sautéed onions and mushrooms; spinach; Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano cheese blend, and topped with sour cream and onion. Round out breakfast with your choice of hash or veggie browns, garlic roasted potatoes, or sliced tomatoes and home-made apple-nut or pumpkin bread.
Mr. T’s Family Café
503 W. Fir St., Mt. Vernon
Mon.–Sat. 6 a.m.–2 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
At Mr. T’s Family Café, the line is always out the door and around the corner for a reason — the food is awesome, and Mr. T’s notion of tiny is subjective! Go for the Mini Belly Buster Breakfast ($6.95). Two eggs cooked to order, choice of sausage or bacon and a giant fluffy pancake. Have a food allergy? Not a problem, Mr. T’s is happy to suggest substitutions!
908 Commercial Ave., Anacortes
Tues.–Sun. 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
Dad’s Diner’s variation of Pain Perdu is a hip original. Try the Franco Mexican Toast ($13.50): thick-sliced French bread, grilled with savory herbs and spices and garnished with a beef- wrapped, stuffed jalapeno pepper, drizzled with crema and served with two eggs. Unique, delicious and a great way to start the day!
WITH A GOOD FLIP, THE PERFECT OMLET IS AT HAND
By JENN BACHTEL
I consider myself a pretty good cook, but I have never been able to make an omelet. Instead, I usually end up with a breakfast scramble of sorts. I decided it’s about time to learn how to make this classic, so I teamed up with executive chef Mike Siggers and got a first-hand lesson. While my first few flip attempts (detailed below) did not go well, with some coaching I was able to master the movement. A special thank you to chef Siggers for the successful lesson and delicious outcome.
- Use an 8- to 9-inch all- clad, stainless-steel, nonstick, heavy pan with shallow sides. Chef Mike says: “The heavier the metal, the more even the heat distribution will be.” Also needed: a small frying pan to sauté the inside ingredients, and a rubber spatula.
- We chose a three-egg omelet with cheese, spinach, mushroom, bell peppers, and onion. Use clarified butter to start (it helps keep the omelet from sticking), making for better flip potential. Use just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your sauté pan, and your favorite seasonings.
- Chef Mike emphasizes beating the eggs thoroughly to make them smooth. “It takes longer than you think,” he warns. After beating for several minutes, he digs around for any clear or white spots. More beating as the clarified butter is melted on low heat. Season eggs with a bit of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook the omelet “low and slow.”
- On low, sauté the mushrooms, onion, bell peppers, and spinach in the olive oil. While it cooks, pour the egg mixture into the omelet pan. Mike uses the rubber spatula to gently lift and stir the eggs from the pan’s edge to the middle, smoothing the top after each pass to give the omelet thickness. When the egg stops running over the edge as he pulls, he says that’s good. He lifts and shakes the pan to ensure the egg is loose and turns off the sautéing veggies.
- The flip is key. Scoot the omelet so it’s hanging over the pan’s edge. Tilt the handle upward and kind of shove the egg off the pan and catch it again. This takes some practice — the bloopers are equal parts hilarious and frustrating. For Chef Mike, though, it’s a breeze. He adds the sautéed mixture to one half of the circle, tops with cheese, and folds in half onto a plate. A perfect omelet.
Chef Mike Siggers received a culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University and was head of his class at the U.S. Coast Guard Culinary School. He is executive chef at the Leopold in Bellingham, serving up three squares plus desserts and snacks for more than 100 residents daily.
121B Freeway Dr. (multiple locations) Hours vary 360.336.3107
Calico Cupboard has satisfied breakfast cravings since 1981. The Roasted Butternut Squash Hash ($12.99) is a delicious vegetarian breakfast option. On a hefty foundation of country-style red potatoes is a colorful mound of fresh butternut squash, tender baby spinach, roasted red peppers, red onion and garnished with crumbled bleu cheese.
UNEXPECTED BREAKFAST PLACES
205 W. Smith Rd., Bellingham
Daily sunrise to 11 a.m.
360.398.8300 ext. 2
The best breakfast restaurants pop up in the most peculiar places. At 9 Restaurant, don’t pass up the opportunity to feast on the house-made sausage ($2.50). The culinary team cold-blends ground pork, herbs and spices to create a phenomenal breakfast sausage. Pair the sausage with the house potatoes, ($2.95) a spicy mélange of chunky caramelized potatoes, roasted red peppers, garden herbs, garlic, roasted pablano and jalapeño peppers. The classic eggs benedict ($9.50) is breakfast perfection personified. The made-to-order hollandaise sauce is silky smooth, seasoned with white pepper, Tabasco, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce, with just enough lemon to pucker. One of the unusual characteristics of this breakfast place is the two-large flat-screen televisions in the dining room. Watch sports television whilst enjoying your breakfast feast.
The Road House Bar and Grille
4965 Mount Baker Hwy., Deming
Daily 7–11 a.m.
The Road House Bar and Grille may seem a bit out of the way, but do not let that deter your visit. Granted, a bar is an unusual restaurant venue; however, the terrific breakfast menu, large portions and modest prices are worth it! Biscuits and gravy ($9.99) is a delicious and satisfying way to start the morning. Have it with a breakfast Bloody Mary and you’re set until lunch time. The French toast ($6.29), a side of crispy bacon ($3.69) and a piping hot cup of coffee is a safe choice for breakfast traditionalists.
The Willows Inn
2579 W. Shore Dr., Lummi Island
For hours, check willows-inn.com
A 15-minute ferry ride and a scenic drive ends at The Willows Restaurant on Lummi Island. Famous for their multi-course wine dinners, this elegant little restaurant serves a prefix gourmet breakfast ($30). Breakfast is served from 8:30–10:30 a.m. only on those mornings following their famous multi-course wine dinners. The prefix breakfast ($30) menu includes farm-fresh local eggs, a variety of cured meats and cheeses and fruits and vegetables. Of course, no breakfast would be complete without French-pressed coffee and juice. Reservations are not required, though the staff appreciates a telephone call for parties of five or more.
325 Prune Alley, Orcas Island
Daily 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
Not all breakfast burritos are created the same. Island Skillet’s Breakfast Burrito ($8) is a behemoth that will easily feed two hungry adults. Filled to tortilla capacity, this burrito is the perfect vehicle for the eggs, hash browns and optional meat and carbohydrates of your choosing.
The Birch Door Café serves breakfast from open to close Tuesday through Saturday. While lunch items are offered, clearly, the gastronomic focus here is breakfast. This scratch restaurant takes perfection seriously. Thick cubes of the house made corned beef are used in the corned beef hash ($13.75).
Keenan’s at the Pier is a stunning breakfast destination for Chrysalis Inn & Spa hotel guests and locals alike. Sunday’s all-day brunch (7 a.m.–3:30 p.m.) not only gives you mealtime flexibility, but lets you linger and soak up what might just be Bellingham’s best restaurant view overlooking the bay. Menu- only brunch items range in price from $6 to $16.
Catkin Café, located in Orcas Island Artworks Gallery, where chef Angela Emery keeps the customers coming with delicious breakfast entrées, pastries and other morning sweets. Life on an island means that most every ingredient such as meat and produce is locally sourced.
Tweets Cafe is a reductivist menu restaurant, so the menu changes as the kitchen runs out of specific items. Breakfast here is always an adventure and always delicious. Ingredients are fresh, local and seasonal and menu options are always home-made.
The Bean Cafe
150 1st St., Friday Harbor
Daily 7 a.m.–5 p.m.
Breakfast on a budget is an indulgence at The Bean Café. Start with stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal ($4.99), slow-cooked until the starches become smooth and creamy, served with berries and honey- roasted walnuts. Add fresh juice ($1.99) and a double Americano ($2.25) and you’re ready for the day’s adventures.
The Train Wreck Bar & Grill
427 E. Fairhaven Ave., Burlington
Daily 8–11 a.m.
There are those mornings when you just don’t want to hear the kids hollering. For those of us who are like-minded, The Train Wreck Bar & Grill’s their famous morning-after breakfasts. Pair The Train Wreck’s trademark Bloody Mary ($7.99), garnished with asparagus and olives, with the Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Hash ($10.99)—grilled yams mixed with applewood smoked pork, peppers, onion, and topped with a cooked-to-order egg. For those desiring less adventure, pair the reliable Train Wreck Toddy ($7) — Woodinville Bourbon, ginger liqueur, and lemon simple syrup — with the chicken and waffle ($14.99). Linger over a made-from-scratch buttermilk waffle topped with boneless fried chicken and sausage gravy, a cooked-to-order egg with real maple syrup on the side.
818 Metcalf St., Sedro-Woolley
Mon.–Sat 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
Every small town needs a breakfast spot like Hometown Café: Good food at affordable prices! Go for the Belgian Waffle ($7.99), a fluffy waffle that is crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Served with a cooked-to-order egg and choice of bacon or sausage; add fresh berries and whipped cream for $2.99!
5797 Main St., Bow
A trip through Bow always requires a quick stop at the Edison Café for Samish Spuds ($9.50). They’re spice- and fresh-herb-seasoned spuds grilled with mushrooms, onions, spinach and diced tomatoes, garnished with crumbled bacon and melted cheese. Add two eggs cooked to order and toast, then sit back and relax.
132 W. State St., Sedro-Woolley
Daily Hours vary
Iron Skillet’s chicken fried steak ($13.95) will stick with you well past lunch time! It’s an 8-ounce steak, coated with fried chicken herbs and spices, cooked to order and drenched in gravy. Served with hash browns and toast, but go for the biscuits covered in gravy. If you’re going to breakfast there, go all the way!
510 Commercial Ave., Anacortes
Daily 8–11 a.m.
Adrift offers fried oysters and trout for breakfast! Your search for a gluten-free breakfast feast is over. Order The Anchor ($13): two organic eggs cooked to order served with a Yukon Gold mashed potato croquette and your choice of toast and Hempler’s pepper bacon, smoked trout fillet, pan-fried oysters, hamburger patty or N.Y. Italian sausage. It’s an oyster and trout lover’s dream come true!
65 Nichols St., Friday Harbor
Daily 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
Cynthia’s Bistro is a breakfast foodie’s gastronomic dream come true. Vegetarians will enjoy Hanna’s Tofu Scramble ($10.95), a hearty dish of marinated tofu and sautéed vegetables. This delectable dish is accompanied with your choice of sides: roasted potato mash, fresh fruit, or a breakfast salad. For the omnivores in your group, there is the Dutch baby ($10.95), a deep-dish cast-iron-skillet-baked pancake filled with herbs, cheese, and crumbled bacon.
Friday Harbor House
130 West St., Friday Harbor
Mon.–Fri. 7:30–11 a.m. Sat, Sun. 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
Little else shouts cultural diversity than Korean food for breakfast! Bibimbap ($13) is a satisfying dish of Korean fried rice, a slow-cooked egg, sliced beef, and house-made kim-chi served in a cast-iron skillet. Breakfast poutine ($15) is a creative twist on an iconic Quebec dish: hot crisp fries, dressed with duck confit, cheese curd, slow-cooked egg and brown butter hollandaise.
Third Street Café
309 S.3rd St., Mt. Vernon
Sat.–Sun. brunch 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Third Street Café serves “menu order” weekend brunch, so no standing in buffet lines! First, order a brunch cocktail such as the Skagit Coffee ($6.50), that consists of Valley Shine Benjamin’s Bourbon, lavender honey, house-roasted coffee and whipped cream. Then try the pork belly hash ($12) — it’s the brunch entrée you dream about, with two local organic eggs cooked to order resting alongside a heap of hash with smoked pork belly, poblano peppers, garlic, red peppers, chunky home fries, and a house-made biscuit.
5800 Cains Ct., Bow
Fri.–Sun. 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Tweets Café is a reductivist menu restaurant, so the daily menu changes as the kitchen runs out of specific items. Breakfast here is always an adventure and always delicious. Ingredients are fresh, local and seasonal and menu options are always home-made. A popular breakfast favorite is the Brisket Hash ($14) on sprouted rye topped with an egg and garnished with horseradish and house dressing.