Tag Archives: foodie

Why I Ate 78 Breakfasts at 78 Different Places Last Year

A coffee cup I drew

A coffee cup I drew

I hereby declare that I have done it. For one year (from 1.11.2013 – 1.17.2014), I ate breakfast at a different Bay Area restaurant every Friday before work and on some weekends. I achieved both my written goal of eating breakfast at a different place every Friday and my actual goal of simply eating tons and tons of breakfast.

I went to the furthest reaches of San Francisco and the Bay Area, from the Marina to Glen Park, from Santa Rosa to Santa Clara. I traveled 441.7 miles by bus, car and train to 78 different places of breakfast-eating, consuming $1258 dollars worth of food, 131 eggs, 90 slices of bacon, 98 pancakes, and 234 cups of coffee. I also drew one coffee cup.

This is all well and good. I managed to spend a lot of money and eat many hash browns with my butt in many different styles of chairs and booths, but so what? Why did I do this? Why did I wake up so early and go so far, not even searching for the best food or service? Why did I spend so many hours and dollars on this project and persevere even towards the end when I’d eaten my breakfast passion into the dust (for the time being) and felt I’d seen everything and that I just wanted to sleep in for once.

It wasn’t just a meal, or just a restaurant. Breakfast for me was outer space. It was my Sahara and my Antarctica and the Wild West, the region I was destined to explore and chronicle. 

Pork Store Cafe BiscuitsAnd I wanted to find breakfast, to seek it in its natural habitat, to consume and know it inside and out and to know its people. From the crust of a sourdough loaf to the tenderness of a scrambled egg and the crisp release of grease that comes from biting into a perfectly cooked hash brown.

I wanted to make a portrait of a ritual and to examine it until I knew its every detail and their meanings, to paint a complete picture of breakfast, to tell its entire story and not miss a thing, to climb hills and descend into valleys, to walk on darkened doorsteps and to step into empty places, to look into the faces of strangers and try to place them, to ask of them to serve me food in exchange for money and some of my time and for some of my thoughts and skin cells and saliva left on the used silverware.

But most of all, I set out to eat, to consume mountains of hashbrowns and toast and eggs, stacks of pancakes, whole sticks of butter and gallons of syrup. I wanted to explore using my senses and let my brain take a back seat and just shut up for a second.

Friday morning was mine and it was special. Every morning that I got to work with my stomach full of breakfast and another journey under my belt, I’d squeezed a little extra life into my day. It was my secret, that before I started doing work for anyone else, I’d done something for me and my goals. I wanted adventure, and that’s why I did it and have lived to tell the tale. What’s next? I don’t know. But it’s gonna be epic.

By the way, this is not the last you’ve heard of this. There is much, much more breakfast to be served.

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Top Chef Michael Mina Describes My Daily Diet

Teddie Peanut Butter only served on Friday and Saturday evenings.


Today we have a par-boiled oatmeal made with Trader Joe’s Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, seasoned with Organic Pumpkin Spice and Morton’s Kosher Salt, both stolen from a roommate personally by Emily Drevets.

The oats are prepared by pouring tap water heated to exactly 212 degrees Fahrenheit over them and letting them sit for as long as you can stand. As a garnish, we sprinkle just a touch of raw oats over the finished dish. Served with tap water and our signature Nescafe Instant Coffee.

These oats remain mostly raw because they are not Quick Cooking, so you get some of that tough oaty texture that reminds you of the earth and eating wheat off the stalk. I feel this is a very honest dish that reconnects you with how eating must have felt for our ancestors.


For this dish, I was inspired by childhood and children in general. I’m fascinated by the way they approach life, absorbing everything as if it were completely new, captivated by what has become ordinary to us. They are the very embodiment of “fresh eyes” and that’s where I got the idea for a Toasted Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Sandwich.

To prepare this re-invented childhood classic, we open the bag of Trader Joe’s Organic Whole Wheat Bread and gently set two slices in a preheated toaster oven. As the bread toasts and becomes progressively drier, we ready the peanut butter and raspberry jam by taking the respective jars out of the fridge and opening them.

The peanut butter we’re using today is an Organic Crunchy, Natural Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter, made from local peanuts and harvested with the help of a man who is, by coincidence, my second cousin Bill. Bill and I don’t talk much, and our jam of the month is Safeway Brand Raspberry jam, with real cane sugar and artificial colorings.

Once the bread is done toasting, we remove it from the oven and slather it in peanut butter. The warmth of the toast causes the peanut butter to melt slightly, adding to the gooiness of the sandwich. Then, we smear raspberry jam on the toast, making sure to swirl the mixture.

Much like checking for the appropriate swirls of fat in high-quality meat, a healthy swirl in a peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich is an equally important indicator of quality. Then we press the two slices together, seeing to it that some of the filling drips down the sides.

The drink of choice with this finished product: tap water. You’re going to need a lot in order to keep this viscous mixture moving down.


Dinner today is a handful of Trader Joe’s Cats Cookies for People, kind of the big sister of Teddy Grahams with a similar, cinammony taste and innocent crunch, along with some spoonfuls of peanut butter straight out of the jar, served with Twinning’s English Breakfast Tea and tap water from a nickel-plated sink faucet in the bathroom.

I’ve found that eating eating peanut butter right from the jar works on both the experiential and gustatory levels, and the proximity to such a primary ingredient in its natural and abundant state is a real crowd pleaser.

Bon Appétit!

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