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Kitchen Sanitarium, Brisbane November 2, 2012

Kitchen Sanitarium

145 Eagle Street | Brisbane

There is a plethora of places to eat in Brisbane CBD during the work week, a lot of them really affordable as they compete for your business.  Take away sushi places selling $2 rolls line every street, as do places selling pies, burgers, chips, and your Chicken Katsu.

On a temporary health kick (I’ve now fallen off the wagon but I am to clamber back on come Monday – promise) I was in search for wholesome, healthy food.  A Google search brought up Govinda’s Vegetarian buffet, a couple of Japanese places and Kitchen Sanitarium.

Owned by Sanitarium of Wheatbix Sanitarium, Kitchen Sanitarium sells only vegetarian food with food sourced within 200km and proclaim to be organic and wholesome.

A serious meat/seafood/egg lover, I hold very little trust of vegetarians, but I was willing to give it a go after reading loads of good review.  It was on Eagle Street, Riverside Plaza, a few doors up from Pig and Whistle with lots of outside seating and some seating inside – a bright airy space.

Big menus, service breakfasts and lunch with their main meals like risotto at around $18, curry of the day (eat in $14/takeout $9.90).  Although the 4-bean quesadilla called out to me, I opted for a takeaway salad choosing from around 4 different options (small for $5.90 and a large for $9.90).

I went for the salad of the day, a Greek salad made with tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, roasted capsicum, olives, cucumber and crumbled feta.  It was crisp, light and full of flavour.  With that, I also got a beetroot and puy lentil salad made with chunks of beetroot (tasted like canned), lentils, cranberries and hazelnuts – easily one of the most DELICIOUS salads I’ve ever had. Call me a vegetarian/salad convert.

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I got the large box of salad and it defeated me, took me two goes, and 4 hours and I still couldn’t finish it all!  Next time, a small box would suffice for lunch, making it quite a reasonably priced option for lunch.  It was surprisingly filling too, and I was left feeling light and so healthful all day.

Sanitarium Kitchen on Urbanspoon

 

Brisbane Brunch & Breakfast: The Burrow October 23, 2012

The Burrow

37 Mollison Street | West End

The Burrow is in the old spot of the Ottomon (Turkish food) restaurant, a few steps up for the Gunshop Cafe and diagonally across from Three Monkeys. On walking in, it seemed pretty bohemian with Spanish/mexican music playing, long wooden shared tables and also smaller round tables scattered about.  There was an upstairs area, but I didn’t see it.  It was pretty much a seat yourself affair and orders at the counter.

The breakfast menu was awesome.  SO many things I wanted to try like ‘A bit Cheeky’ – beef cheeks with duxelle mushrooms, poached egg on rye toast with a red wine jus ($17) or ‘Little Pig, Little Pig’ – Cider braised pork belly with celeriac puree, fried egg, poached pear and apple jelly ($17).

I wanted to have A bit Cheeky, but it was sold out (excuse for another visit! YAY!) so ended up with my second choice of ‘El Desperado Taco’ – pulled pork in soft totilla, huevos rancheros, salsa, poached egg, sour cream and this awesome-though very hot-green chilli thing.

It was a hot day, so I ordered a soy ice coffee, made on real espresson, and came without cream.  The meals took slightly longer, but wasn’t a ridiculous wait and came on a huge round bread board.  It wasn’t really Huevos Rancheros (which is supposed to be corn tortilla topped with refried beans, guacomole, salsa, chilli and a fried egg) instead, it was like a housemade – tomato beans with chopped salad, salsa, sour cream and the green chili which I took to be avocado, but wasn’t. The pulled pork in the soft corn tortilla was BRILLIANT and absolutely delicious, so I didn’t mind that there weren’t refried or black beans. The poached egg oozed beautifully too…although there had to be some quick manuvering of food on the board so it didn’t ooze all the way onto the table.

Now, I pretty much ate everything, and was so full, and fulfilled I didn’ t even have lunch that day (a RARITY).  This could be my new favourite breakfast venue.  There were also lots of gluten free cakes, vegan cupcakes that looked devine.  I can’t wait to head back next time to see if the other breakfast items measure up.

 
The Burrow on Urbanspoon

 

Brisbane Brunch and Breakfasts: Ashton and Old

Filed under: breakfast/Brunch,Casual Eats — Dobsessed @ 10:39 am
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Ashton & Old

Shop 5, 459 Old Cleveland Road | Camp Hill

 

I noticed Ashton & Old after driving past it a few times, it’s on Old Cleveland Road, so quite a busy, heavy trafficked street and was keen to try it.

 

When I walked through the doors, I was pleasantly surprised, the space is bright and airy, quite inviting and at 10:00am in the morning on a Saturday, it had diners, but not heaving like most breakfast brunch places that you’d find in Brisbane – I guess that should’ve been my first clue…but I was all optimistic that day.

 

We were seated quickly by the bar seating facing the street at the window or issued with menus.  Again, I was excited, the menu was interesting, with items like corn cakes with avocado, blah blah type of leg of ham with poached eggs or salted caramel French toasts with stewed Stanthorpe apples and ice-cream – which is what we ordered.

 

The coffee came quickly, and it was acceptable and then the food came, and that’s where Ashton & Old let itself down.  The corn fitters were so dry and hard I reckon I could’ve bounced it agains the walls a few times and it would still have been intact.  It looked like it was made from polenta rather than actual corn. It was so dry in fact that you had to take a sip of water every time you wanted to swollow it.  Wait, I thought, we will crack the poached egg, maybe that will help.  The egg was hard poached.  Not even sticky orange yolk….it had been poached for so long it was now a hard boiled egg, worse, the egg yolk had gone completely yellow.  Not impressed.  The tomato salsa was just a few chopped onions and tomatoes, lacked flavour.  The whole breakfast was barely touched.

 

The French toast were OK, but there was not a lick of ‘salt’ in the salted caramel – not that I could taste anyways, and because of that, lacked a bit of dimention.  It was just sweet, upon sweet, upon sweet, with all the textures sort of melding together too…but it wasn’t BAD, and for a sweet tooth like me, no problems.  I don’t think non-sweet-toothers would’ve enjoyed it much.

 

The waitress came and asked if I wanted more coffee, to which I said no, then proceeds to take away my friend’s unfinished coffee!

 

Oh…and the pantry part? Everything was behind the counter (like on a shelft behind the staff) so it wasn’t like they were encouraging you to browse in their pantry.

 

When we paid, no one asked us how our meal was either.  So I guess we will just provide feedback with our feet and not return.

 

Ashton and Old on Urbanspoon

 

Brisbane Brunch and Breakfasts: Cafeine

One of the things I didn’t do much when I was in London was go out for brunch.  I found that Londoners generally started the day a lot later on weekends and some of my friends didn’t want to emerge until after 1 on a Sunday!! By then, it’s too late for me to want to order eggs and beans…so it’s just usually lunch fare.

I’ve been back in Brisbane for about four months now…and I think my weekend brunch ritual has well and truly been reinstated.  Some have been great…some, not so much.  Below is my thoughts on Cafeine.  I’m definitely a fan.

Cafeine

186 Cavendish Road | Coorparoo

It’s small and owned by a waitress that used to work at (overrated) breakfast heavyweight Gunshop Cafe. From the outside, it seems quite small, one table on the inside and two on the outside, you order, pay at the counter and take a seat.  I didn’t realise this the first time I went, but last week I visited, I realised there was a whole other section for seating inside (with aircon!!).

The food here slightly deviates from the usual and it is DELICIOUS.  The first time I went, I had scrambled eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes, feta and pesto.  The eggs were done in a ramekin and soft and fluffy almost like it was souffled and it’s tasty, and full of flavour ($17).

Worth mentioning also is their Mushroom and omelette toastie which is pretty much the above breakfast (sans tomatoes and feta) toasted between two turkish bread and is crisp and delicious (13.50).  Their coffees are fairly good, and their coffee smoothie is childlike yum (nostalgic of camp coffee) ($6).  I live not too far from here, so it’s a no brainer for brunch when I want to go local. Breakfast is served til 2pm also, so a bonus for those who like to have a bit of a sleep in.

Cafeine on Urbanspoon

 

Vintage Kitchen and Closet, Coorparoo August 20, 2012

Filed under: breakfast/Brunch,Casual Eats — Dobsessed @ 2:55 pm
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I love a breakfast spot that does breakfast til 2pm…allows you to have a nice long sleep in, and you can turn up at 11 or 12 and it’s not heaving with people. I particularly loved the space at the Vintage Kitchen and Closet. The front half of the space is the kitchen, with mismatched furniture from what looked to be the 80s or 90s.  The back has a rack or two of clothing and some bags, shoes and accessories.  There’s also a working Sega video game on that you can play while you wait for a free table or your coffee.

All very cool.

Now, I would say the service is a bit sketchy.  The first time I went, we were seated right away, food and coffee came quickly, although they completely forgot about my side of eggs. The food was awesome though, the three big generous pieces of Turkish toast came with half a fanned out avocado and a small sauce dish of hummous, and a nice wedge of lemon ($11).

The second time I went, we had to wait at the counter for a few minutes while 3 or 4 waiters made eye contact but said nothing before we were finally seated.  The service we got from the young lady (second time we went) definitely had an edge, and we were both left wondering what her problem was. 

The food was again faultless (no pictures this time), coffee, once again was good…but the food took over 40 minutes to arrive. The housemade beans were without the requisite tomato sauce, but was instead fresh, delicious and herby.  The sausauges looked a bit dried out and was unexciting, but the hollandaise sauce was delicious with the poached eggs (one overcooked, and one perfect) sourdough and spinach. 
Despite the sketchy service, the well-priced food more than makes up for it and would continue to get my business just because it’s so close to where I live. Cute little space with Trivial Pursuit and dominoes too.

Vintage Kitchen & Vintage Closet on Urbanspoon

 

Bistrot Bistro & Bar | Logan Road | Woolloongabba June 27, 2010

Filed under: breakfast/Brunch,Casual Eats,Fine Dining,Food,Food review — Dobsessed @ 1:48 pm
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One of my favourite meals are breakfasts…although, I must say I like going out fine dining too, so I guess I can’t really say that. To be honest, there isn’t a meal of the day I don’t like.

Anyways, still fresh from week 2 of my 21-Day Wonder Diet, my friend and I decided to go for a nice, long morning walk. Both of us have already had breakfast but after over an hour of walking and chats, we decided to stop at Bistrot Bistro & Bar for break.

I really liked the decor, it looks Parisian with pendant lighting, exposed brick walls and beautiful booths and timber floors. The service was very attentive (too much so), we were asked if we were ready to order three times in two minutes.

I don’t want to be overly negative, but our food came before our coffees (which we’d ordered first). Not much for adaptation, I thought the food was seriously overpriced. They had no gluten free bread (and no other alternatives) so I ended up paying $10 for 2 poached eggs, and ordered a side of house made beans with ham hock for an additional $7,

The eggs were poached beautifully, the yolks a vibrant orange, but that’s where the good ended. The beans were very sour with the tomatoes, and undercooked, so very hard, salty (with the ham hock) and unappetizing.

My friend had also ordered poached eggs, and her toast came grilled but she said you could taste the grill – and not in a good way. Neither of us was particularly wowed by the boring, unimaginative, overpriced food.

Our coffees were weak, lukewarm and insipid.

Oh yeah, one other criticism, the whole menu was written in jargon. Eg. Nduju $5 – that was apparently a Japanese style salami. Kessler $5 is actually just bacon…couldn’t they have just had that on the menu? Or am I just not ‘refined’ enough for Bistrot Bistro? Probably…which is why I probably won’t go back either. At least not for Brunch.

 

Southside Yum Cha. Landmark Vs Sangrila December 6, 2009

I love Yum Cha.  It’s often hectic, long lines, rude waiters, sometimes lukewarm food, but I never turn it down.  I love how trolley’s of food go past and you get a nice surprise sometimes when you’re not expecting it.

There’s a few Yum Cha places I frequent, there’s one in the Valley – Golden Palace, which is okay, but nothing to write home about.  There’s one in the city (of Brisbane), China City, which is in the Lennon’s hotel, across from the Myer Centre.  I like that China City during the work week on my lunch break, their prawns are always plump and maybe it’s the fact that have city folk clientelle, their service is always decent.

When I go to Sunnybank (it’s like a mini Asian Town), I usually go to Landmark.  Landmark is one of those restaurants that cater to big, expensive weddings (I’ve been there a couple of times for their wedding banquents, and they do it well – 10 courses usually including lobster, abalone…).  Anyways, for Yum Cha, Landmark is insanely busy.  The restaurant opens at 10am, and on a Saturday morning, at 9:45, there is a huge queue of about 30 people or so people waiting, at 11 o’clock, you’ll be waiting a good 30 minutes and it is like this every weekend.

As Landmark is so busy, I guess they can afford to be rude, when I went there last, we asked the waiter for more tea and water, and he promptly replied (and not too nicely), “Not enough hands man!” and stormed off…what the??  The trolley girls are lack-lustre and must be completely over it.  Waiting for what you want to eventually come to you may take a while (it is a big restaurant) so there’s an area where people can take their cardboard Yum Cha tally card to and pick what they have available – I usually go there for the custard tarts.

My usual Yum Cha order are Rice Noodle rolls with BBQ pork 豬腸粉, sticky rice 糯米雞, egg custard tarts 蛋撻, Turnip cake 蘿蔔糕…there’s usually a bunch of other stuff too, but these are my usual favourite.  The food here is pretty good, I like all the Yum Cha things on offer here, and I must say their turnip cakes are delicious and their egg custard tart pastries, one of the best, flakey, buttery and usually hot and delicious.  The last time I went to China City, their egg tarts were burnt and cold.  The food is great, it is hustle and bustle, and the service is brusque  but the long wait at times deter me if I am not craving Yum Cha.  They even charge you a DOLLAR if you request extra soy sauce and chilli! Ridiculous.

I went to Sangrila for Yum Cha today for the first time.  It’s housed in a non-descript peach coloured building right next to Little Taipei Food Court, and the block looks like it should be a bunch of offices .  As you walk in,  it looks like it is still undergoing some renovations.  We were given a number when we went in, it was full, but it definitely wasn’t crazy busy.  Everybody who were waiting were able to seat and wait in a civilised manner.  At Landmark, people crowd around the entrance like crazy shoppers before Myer opens for Boxing Day Sales.  We were seated after about 10 – 15 minutes in a little room…some trolley people miss us, they never brought my water and we never got the soy sauce and chili sauce.  We didn’t eat as much of the food, but the couple of dishes we tried were all really good.  The spare ribs with black beans sauce were delicious, slippery and not just lumps of fat.  The fried prawn dumplings were crunchy, full of plump prawns and the mayo was nice…not too sweet like translucent Kraft mayo, definitely had the taste of kewpie mixed with a bit of fruit salad taste to it.  The sticky rice, delicious, perhaps the portions were slightly smaller than Landmark?   The service were a lot better, when I asked the girl at the front how long the wait would be, she smiled and answered honestly – Amazing! I don’t even usually get eye-contact from the sullen girl at Landmark!  The trolley girls were a lot more enthusiastic.

Overall, next time I want Yum Cha, sure I might go to Landmark first – food is good…but if I don’t want to wait for 40 minutes, get aggravated by rude staff (I am irritated very easily) I’d definitely give Sangrila a go – it doesn’t have crystal chandeliers, and it’s not plush, but the food is pretty good.

 

A sensory experience for your tongue: The Buffalo Club August 13, 2009

Red Velvet cup cake

Red Velvet cup cake

It was a Saturday.  No work and on this Saturday, I did everything I enjoyed on any given Saturday.

After having a first breakfast of noodles, I picked up my friend for our (my) usual weekend brunch ritual.  I have to say, there’s nothing I love more than a good brunch.  I’m not talking your basic bacon and eggs deal, I like a place that has injected some creativity in its breakfasts.

For example, I don’t mind eating the odd bacon and eggs if they have something different added to it…like maybe a great, savoury potato cake on the side…or even a really great tasting Mango (hold the bananas) smoothie – the best Mango smoothie (no bananas) I’ve had was back in the day at Salt in Rosalie.

Anyways, we went to Au Cirque for breakfast, I loved the mood of the cafe instantly, cosy, nice smells, homely, not overly trendy.  Greeted us with a smile (without seeming like we were a hindrance like some other breakfast places do) and seated us upstairs at the ‘bar’.  This was sort of like bar/bench facing the street (with windows). I liked it…great for people watching.  I wasn’t that hungry, having already had one breakfast.  I ordered a soy mocha which was beautifully frothed but had that funny over steamed soy milk taste.  I ordered gluten free toast with butter, organic honey and fresh rubarb and apple jam.  My toast came burnt, toasted to a crisp – looked like it was the dredge of the last slice too.  The jam was yummy, I liked the combination but the honey had started to form sugar crystals, definitely not a good look.  Overall, it was pretty casual and I’d go back again for a decent breakfast.

We then went shopping and ended up eating chips and aoili at the Depot in the Emporium (average – I would’ve liked crunchier chips) and also got a Red Velvet cupcake at poppy cakes – nice and moist, I liked the thick frosting, but not very chocolatey.  However, having attempted Red Velvet cakes twice, I know that the more cocoa you put in, the more muted the red becomes – less like velvet.

After the all day grazing, we ended up at the Buffalo Club, neither of us very hungry – thankfully.  We were greeted at street level by a smiling girl in fur and taken up in the lift to the Buffalo Club.  It had a gentleman’s club feel to it with leather club chairs and timber floors.  I quite liked the interiors, it had a really great mood, an open kitchen and a big bar.  They even had an elevated seating area practically in the kitchen.  I also like the huge windows at the far wall.

We were seated and presented with the menus and within seconds, the first snack arrived (we hadn’t even ordered).  It was like a bite sized prawn cracker (though it was probably called something else) but that single bite was full of flavour, the cracker sorted melted as it touched your tongue.  Good start.  We were then served ‘Snacks’ – which was Smoked beef jerky, avocado, peppers, wild rice, garlic, tomato, onion, shallots, basil, pollen. Yes.  Pollen.  Flowers would continually pop up throughout the meal.  It was a plate of bits and pieces, reminded me of a really hardy mixed grain muesli but once again, full of flavour, cruchy, mushy, all melting in the mouth.

We decided to go for the 15 course ‘degustation’.  I say ‘degustation’ lightly as the whole menu is really a taster, everything was small, and only required a few bites.

After we’d ordered, we were given a free cocktail – sorry, I can’t really remember what it is, but I did remember that the barman had a sexy accent, so I guess it did leave a good impression.

I won’t bother going through the menu because even reading it now (yes, they let you keep the menu) I can’t really tell you what some of the things are.  As each dish is presented, the waiter/waitress will explain each component of the dish including how it can be eaten.  I’ll give you an idea of what one of the ‘dishes’ were.  On the menu, it just said, Opah – Soy, Honey. When it came, it looked like a shaved pumpkin chip, but we were informed that Opah is actually a fish that’s be thinly shaved/sliced, dried until crisp – but taste like bacon with pearls of soy and honey on it.  Imagine that taste senstation in your mouth.  It was amazing.  Or the pink powder, served with the white powder which were actually boar and walnut (so imagine putting pink powder in your mouth and tasting meat – strange).

Another stand out? The Foie gra with marshmallow, cello, tamari and almonds.  The foie gra was rich, creamy and salty, great contrast to the soft mashmallow and then mixed with the very salty but crunchy almond.  Or maybe it was the Duck?  The duck was souvied so that it was really tender, I barely even realised it was duck, no tready bits…or maybe I should say smooth grained.  I also loved the Calotte (beef) – which was increibly tender with pureed garlic and pureed onion.  Did I mention I di dn’t have to salt anything, everything was full of flavour and absolutely delicious.

A palete relief came in the form of passionfruit soda and papaya.  It was sour – cleansed away everything. I’m ready for round two…

Manchego – Quince, Porcini, Cress, Garlic, Brioche – really hard to describe, but the ‘brioche’ was wafer thin and cracked as you ate it.  The remaining were pretty much desserts, a strawberry thing, sponge (soaked in coconut liquer – I think) with banana and chocolate, buffalo yoghurt – MUCH too sour for my palete and doughnut with caramel and vanilla…warm, sugary goodness.

Also, the cocktails we ordered were fairly potent so by the end of the three hour tasting experience, we were feeling pretty happy.

The Buffalo Club is definitely an experience and I would recommend that people should try it at least once. It’s not for everyone though…if you go in, expecting the Buffalo Club to be a steakhouse with 1kg steaks, you’ll be sorely disappointed.  It’s more about the experience of the taste and the flavour and the texture (I’ve never had so many powdered food in my life). However, if you were to ask me to choose between The Buffalo Club or Absynthe for a return visit, I’d choose Absynthe – real food …but that’s not to say I wouldn’t go back to the Buffalo Club.  I’m fairly sure their menu has daily tweaks too.

I’m lucky I didn’t go hungry though, despite my day of grazing, I left feeling like I could probably eat a couple of cheeseburghers.

The Buffalo club only does taster menus – 9 courses for $100 and 15 courses for $150, you can also do wine pairings which look very generous and they also have a nice wine and cocktail list.

The Buffalo Club | Lvl 1 Cnr Wickham St & Brunswick St | Fortitude Valley | 07 3216 1323

 

Breakfast at Mondo Organics June 19, 2009

Not too far from the strip of busy, cheap eateries of Hardgrave Street, you’ll find Mondo Organics.  Quite a contrast to the bustling atmosphere of some of the Vietnamese restaurants in the area, Mondo Organics is a surprise find in its inner city location.

Mondo Organics, as the name suggests, use organic produce, free range meat and their seafood is sourced from ecological, sustainable fisheries.  They also claim to serve wild line-caught fish which gives me a great image of someone in rubber overalls fishing all day just to feed hungry city people.

I enjoy going to Mondo because it more than caters for people with wheat/gluten intolerance.  At other restaurants, I’m usually left with a choice of the mushroom risotto or one dessert  choice but at Mondo, I have lots to choose from.

The atmosphere is great, they are ‘fine dining’ with crisp white tablecloths but wihtout the poncy service from people in ankle length aprons.  They have a covered ‘outdoors’ area which is heated in winter and the restaurant continues inside where you can see glimpses of the kitchen.

They only serve breakfast on Saturdays and it was nice to be ‘allowed’ to make a booking – many restaurants don’t allow weekend breakfast bookings which can be really annoying.  I only ever want to leave the house on an empty stomach if I can be guaranteed of a substantial breakfast by 11.

For Saturday breakfast, I was tossed between the Breakfast Tart with poached eggs, grilled tomatoes, goat’s chevre (cheese) and pistou (garlic pesto oil) – a wheat free option made it a breakfast stack ($16.50) and a Cassoulet of pork fennel sausages and tomato baked beans with spelt sourdough toast ($17.50).  I ended up going for the Cassoulet because I love sausages.  My friend ordered Tea smoked trout on sautéed green leaves, lemon butter and spelt sourdough soldiers ($18).  We also ordered some crunchy potato squares with aioli ($8.50) to share.

Service was prompt and polite, water came without being asked (I think it should be a standard across all eateries…but usually, it’s just a nice surprise when it happens).  I also ordered a Green Fix juice made with apple, celery and ginger – very refreshing.  My baked bean breakfast came and I was quite disappointed as I only got a sliver of sausage (which was very flavourful) but the rest of the cassoulet was a bit bland and boring, it was tomato based and quite watery and the beans were soft but bland in flavour.  My toast was unbuttered and I really felt I had to salt everything, I was starving though, so gobbled up everything.  The crunchy potato squares (think potato cubes) had a great texture, and very crunchy on the outside  and softly textured on the inside, though also lacked in flavour and tasted better with some salt (good thing they leave dish of it on every table).  My friend’s tea smoked trout was delicious, flaked to the fork but pink and cooked to perfection (as in, not completely done in the middle), it also came with beautifully poached eggs which oozed its yolk perfectly when you cut into it.

After noon, more people start to come in, many with prams and it seems a good place for friends to catch up because it’s different to some of the other ‘trendy’ places for breakfast like Gunshop (when will they change their menus???).  Service isn’t pretentious either and the staff aren’t a bunch of suffering artists who barely crack a smile (Anouk).  There are no queues either (Little Larder) which helps.  There is nothing worse on a Sunday morning than being really hungry and watching other people eat steaming plates of eggs while they’re slowly reading their paper and thinking, HURRY UP, I WANT A TABLE!

Despite my slightly disappointing breakfast, I really want to go back to Mondo, just so I can try other stuff on their breakfast menus.  It’s definitely not just eggs Benedict and scrambled eggs which is a nice change from the norm.