neala broderick

An Open Letter to your Local Barista & Breakfast Secrets

neala broderick
An Open Letter to your Local Barista & Breakfast Secrets

Ode to the guy who works at the cafe around the corner from every apartment anyone’s ever lived in.

You’ve seen me veiled in sunglasses and puffy eyes, silent orders of coffee’s and kombuchas, giggling on the arm of a man who insists to pay, or a boy who will “get me back later”. You’ve spelled my name wrong every time, but you know my favorite cheese and taste in the cheapest of the mid-grade wines. You’ve seen me post one-night stands; both the mistaken and the empowering, you’ve seen my taste in men become increasingly more confusing, you’ve seen me when I cut my bangs too short and pretended like I meant to. You saw me after I stayed up all night crying so hard that my voice was still rasp and whimpering when I ordered. And I know you saw right through someone picking up my standard order. 

 photo by Joseph Lacy

photo by Joseph Lacy


On the note of spending too much time and money at your local cafe, I'm going to let you in on some secrets to perfecting a quick breakfast at home. Let's ignore coffee for a minute, because I think at this point everyone fully understands that we're all just lazy when it comes to our morning routine and splurging on expensive coffees outside of our own kitchen may just have to be accepted. Four dollars on a latte is one thing, but somewhere between another five to six for a breakfast sandwich is just foolish. You know it costs them maybe .50 to put that sucker together for you?! Plus I guarantee you already have everything you need in your fridge. Here are five secrets to cafe quality breakfast sandwiches at home that are just as fancy if not FANCIER: 

1. Ditch the toaster. Whether your smacking your sandwich together with bread, an english muffin, a bagel or a biscuit, grill it on your cast iron with a knob of butter or broil it with cheese for a minute. It's really not as daunting of a task as it may seem and it will result in mouth watering goodness. All the difference, I promise you.

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2. Think outside the box. You know all of those random jars of condiments, preserves and whatnot you have on the fridge of your door? Use em! Olive pate, chili paste, roasted red peppers, salsa, capers, the list goes on and on. I've never had anything with eggs and been like, "oh that's awful that totally ruined my savory egg, NEVER again". 

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3. Greens! This may be obvious for some, but don't restrict yourself to just the obvious. Spinach, arugula, basil, watercress, dandelion greens, mustard greens. I like to buy mixed of bitter greens at the farmers market cause a little bit goes a long way when it comes to flavor. Whatever you got, toss it on there!

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4. I can't believe I'm saying this, but you don't always need cheese. When I buy a good chunk of cheese it only lasts a matter of minutes so I'm often fresh out when the morning rolls around. I always have some fresh parmesan I can sprinkle on top, but sometimes if you have enough goin' on and a perfectly runny yolk, you don't even notice the lack of cheese. For the record, I'm only saying this if you're out of cheese and considering that a deal breaker for making a breakfast sandwich at home...if you have some cheese on hand, slap it on your toast (or whatever you have to hold this baby together) and broil it for a couple minutes. 

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5. A common dilemma; you're out of bread. That cheese that I devour in a disgusting matter of time, as I'm sure you would guess, I take down with a baguette. I'm the worst, I can't keep bread in the house to save my life. I go grilled cheese crazy or just accidentally on purpose eat an entire focaccia. Since I almost always buy fresh bread, if any is leftover it's usually stale and I make croutons or panzanella. So, clearly this is a problem I deal with often. One solution: freeze biscuits or english muffins ahead of time so theres always a secret stash! Another solution, sliced sweet potato. I initially discovered sweet potato toast when I was attempting some annoyingly healthy two week cleanse involving no gluten or dairy. At first I scoffed at the thought and was banging pots and pans around my kitchen complaining and genuinely just missing bread to a heartbreaking degree, but then...I was pleasantly surprised! If you slice the sweet potato thin enough and brush on a ton of coconut or olive oil, it toasts to perfection. You just have to do it a couple more times than usual, or broiling works just as well.