The 2010 Best of Menu

Food Essay | Written by Nathan Mattise

It’s usually fun to do year-end lists, but here’s the one exception to the rule. All the Diners Without Frosted Tips Best-Of Menu does is make you hungry and upset that you can’t get this flavor daily. Alas, the world (or at least CNY) needs to know about these dishes for their own good.

The only rules:

A) The meal has to be eaten at a diner/breakfast place.

B)  This list is acknowledged as limited and subjective due to a regional limitation on the diners/meals I’ve been able to experience and the subjective criteria through which the “value” of a meal is judged.

C)  The meal has to have been eaten in 2010 but the review/article does not necessarily need to have been written/published yet (thus ensuring this is a true best of list since I’m not totally caught up on my reviews/essays).

Without any further delay, the Diners Without Frosted Tips’ 2010 Best Of Menu…

Bonus: Pizza at The Copper Oven (Cayuga Wine Country, N.Y.)

What was said: (Well, nothing yet. I visited this gem of the Cayuga wine trail this fall but have yet to translate that experience into a post. The place came with high recommendations from @mmccormickcny, local food royalty for her prowess in sniffing out fresh ingredients being used in great ways).

Year-End Reflection: Slow-food is a great concept and The Copper Oven is the focal point of that movement in CNY. The menu changes daily based on what’s available but, no matter the toppings, that dough-int0-crust transformation is magic with the oven. I don’t think you can blame how good this tastes on the wine, it’s fresh, light pizza with great flavor from the process and ingredients.

 

4. Chocolate, walnut and banana crepe pancakes at Pamela’s (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

What was said: They’re unique because they are crepe style. I opted for the chocolate, walnut and banana ones and it was a sweet breakfast to definitely come back to. The thin cakes are perfect compliment to fillings and with these you could literally wrap more goodies inside a pancake bun due to the crepe approach. It was sweet but not overpowering and fairly filling.

Year-end reflection: This is one of the signature breakfasts in a dynamic food town. I still think crepe style is clever because of how you can load in whatever fillings you desire – a sweet breakfast person’s dream.

 

3. Corned beef hash omellete w/ homefries at Niki’s Quick  Cup ( Syracuse, N.Y.)

What was said: I hadn’t had any homefries that competed with Stella’s but the Quick Cup’s may take the cake.  Even CNY’s world famous potato expert calls them his favorite.  I opted for those with one of the daily specials – a corn beef hash omelette for under $7. Reasonable price but beyond average food. The hash itself would be good but it was incorporated so well into an omelette. The dish was hearty, surprisingly flavorful (no condiments needed) and definitely filling.

Year-end reflection: I still have yet to see another corned beef hash omelette and I’m dying to get back here for homefries with anything. It’s hard to go to a place that has a lot of hype going in and enjoy yourself honestly but Quick Cup food delivers.

 

2. Bacon and fried tomato from Bar Linda (London, UK)

What was said: “the way the English do bacon is outstanding. It’s less crispy and more chewy, maintaining a great bacon flavor but being juicier than what I’d expect from the breakfast meat. Fried tomatoes are also something I never considered but will now make sure to include on any Sunday morning homecooking (they are a great pairing element to the breakfast – solid with the meats, eggs, toast, hashbrowns – you name it).”

Year-end reflection: I honestly have been making fried tomatoes with breakfast consistently since. The noveltly of being in London or any foreign travel destination will always add to the mystique a meal carries, but Bar Linda gave product that deserved praise no matter where it is on the map. I desperately miss chewier bacon.

1. The Breakfast Bowl at Mama Nancy’s (Syracuse, N.Y.)

What was said: “(Hold off your ‘You can’t be serious, didn’t KFC do that?’ lines of judgement). The sausage gravy it utilizes is based in spicy italian sausage, the biscuit is filling yet super light and soft.  That alone would be a noteworthy dish but then you get eggs any style, homefries and a sausage patty thrown into the mix. It’s unbelievably filling as a whole but the dish also offers a palette that you can mix and match with to create multiple flavor combinations (all of which compliment each other well).  Any skepticism we had about it was gone within the first bite. It’s a dish any late night breakfast enthusiast should try once.

Year-end reflection: This is another item that crept into my diet more than once in 2010.  Nancy’s is initially appealing because of their hours but the focus of your trips quickly shifts to the bowl.

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