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Posted on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 6 a.m.

Friday food web mashup with a breakfast twist: Readers, I hear you

By Jessica Levine


Jessica Levine I Contributor

One of the things that brightens the lives of the working, tired and hungry man (and woman) is breakfast. As it happens, Michigan serves up some of the damn near best. While the reason for our area’s Greek influence eludes us, we do know that the eggs, bacon and browns that birthed from those kitchens have become a part of our morning tradition.

Maybe it’s your Sunday ritual to sit down to a Northside Grill skillet, your Monday morning routine to grab a Lab Café coffee and macaron on the way to the office. Frank’s French toast — a Tuesday night respite from your shift in the OR. In any case, we grow attached to these breakfast customs — and, naturally, we’re protective of them.

R.W. Apple, Timothy Crouse’s Boy on the Bus and food writer extraordinaire, explains this phenomenon best.

“Funny about breakfasts: You remember the best ones for a long time, always in geographical context.”

No matter whether it's eggs and bacon, shrimp and grits, or soy milk and pork dumplings, what the man observes is true: When weaned on good food and when surrounded by the people we love, the meal only then takes shape in our minds.

We remember that moment — the setting, the music, the crew that makes the meal — and fiercely advocate it to newcomers, to the unlucky few who haven’t had the same breakfast experience.

That defines a diner.

So, I surge on — to be complete in my gastronomic analysis, I need to keep eating, observing and listening to you all, to the folks who know Washtenaw County’s breakfasts best.

Jessica Levine profiles the culture and history of Washtenaw County restaurants for Contact her at



Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

If I had to pick a favorite meal, it would be breakfast. Some of the best I've had in this area were from Cafe Zola. Though more pricey than most, I get my money's worth.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

Went to Northside Grill for the first time this week, and I have to say that the coffee, (vanilla, my favorite), breakfast burrito and welcoming service is top notch. A new fave in the making!