Build your own eggs benedict + s'mores French toast
We were going to try to squeeze these both into one picture, but let’s be real, they deserve better than that. The dish features whipped Nutella with semisweet chocolate ganache nestled between thick slices of Le Bus brioche bread. A house–made meringue on top is precisely toasted to make the s’mores French toast exactly as amazing as you think it is. The fluff is sweet, the toast the right amount of crunchy and the Nutella somehow not overwhelming. The heirloom tomato and earthy braised kale balance out the creamy hollandaise and poached egg to make an eggs Florentine–style creation. Also, the potatoes are fried in duck fat. Okay, we’re done.
$12, $14, 4443 Spruce Street
Lil Pop Shop
Vietnamese iced coffee, birthday cake and coconut hibiscus popsicles
You couldn’t even try to find something bad to say about our favorite neighborhood popsicles. The fun, ever–evolving and non–dairy–friendly pops always satisfy, even on a cold day. Lucky for us, they’ve got big things coming: they just opened a new bakery and test kitchen at 46th and Woodland Ave. Now they can bake their own brownies and other add–ins, as featured in popsicles like the salted caramel brownie. On top of selling the baked goods (they have mini cakes!), they have more room for activities and experiments. Check out their new spritzers, available at the 44th St. location too, made with purees or juiced whole fruits, a little simple syrup and a splash of seltzer. And if you need a caffeine boost after entering an Honest Tom’s breakfast burrito food coma, Lil Pop now has cold brew made with Rival Bros. coffee beans.
$3 per pop, 265 South 44th Street
Green Eggs Café
Red velvet pancakes
These babies are everything you never thought you’d need. The strawberry mascarpone and chocolate chips give it enough depth so it’s not a straight sugar overdose, and the strawberries and Chantilly cream cool it down. I’m not sure what classifies this as breakfast food and not a massive dessert, but I’m not fighting it. Next time you need a brunch spot, head over to Green Eggs and make sure to get an order of these for the table.
$15, 212 South 13th Street
Salted caramel budino
You may look at this as I did and think, “Oh, just another custard dessert. It’ll be good, but nothing crazy.” If you do, you will be sorely and happily wrong. The house–made caramel with Maldon sea salt blanket is intense, powerful and overwhelmingly good. The vanilla bean mousse and dark chocolate crust do their best to tame the caramel, but they’re incredible enough on their own that once you take a bite, you’ll never doubt the Budino craze again. Get your Insta out of the way before you dig in, because once you do, you won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. Barbuzzo’s most popular dessert, the restaurant had been open half an hour, and they’d already sold twenty. Maybe you don’t want to know this, but you can order a six–pack of Budinos online and pick them up at Barbuzzo’s sister store Verde. But don’t lie; you wanted to know that.
$9, 110 South 13th Street
We’ve all seen the pictures, heard about the hubbub, and collectively rolled our eyes. Another avocado toast, great. Then you try Bluestone Lane’s beautiful avocado smash. This is no dainty dish; the multigrain toast is fat and if someone told me there were five avocados on top, I’d believe it. The heirloom cherry tomatoes add even more color and some bursts, and don’t be fooled into thinking the feta, sunflower sprouts, extra virgin olive oil and poached egg are mere decorations. At the end of the day, though, it’s the tahini that really sets this avo toast away from the crowd. This is so clearly much more than a basic Insta; as you scrape up your last bit of crust, you’ll be full, happy and feelin’ kinda good. Before you head out, make sure you get their chocolatey, Brooklyn–sourced cold brew or Australia–roasted espresso. We promise it will make you a coffee snob after just one sip.
$12 (+$2 to add poached egg), 1701 Locust Street
The cappuccino at La Colombe will forever inspire the masses. Just look at it. These Philly–based coffee–roasters have gained a legendary reputation in the area as the quintessential coffee shop and nationwide as a purveyor of specialty beans with ethical trade practices. When you walk into any of their shops you get a sense of personality, not just rote repetition. You’ll spy middle–aged men and women reading Cormac McCarthy and the New Yorker, and you’ll also see yuppies (as my dad calls them) recounting the tales of the past week. Their famous Nizza blend bean is the go–to for any of the espresso drinks. This honey–noted, nutty, chocolatey bean will have you turning up your nose at any unnamed chain coffee store’s drink for a while. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, ask for their Workshop bean instead, which is currently Brazil Mahogany. When you want to try something completely new, test out their newest project: the Draft Latte. They’re on tap (yes on tap) at one of the cafés, and you can purchase the instantly frothy beverage in cans online and coming soon in the other stores.
$3.50, 130 South 19th Street