Starting the day over easy
Breakfast is my obsession, rooted in a childhood in which Cheerios played a major role. Cheerios were the always and only breakfast in my house. My mother's theory was: Cheerios are made from oats. Horses eat oats. Look at how strong they are, pulling the vegetable vendor's wagon all day long through the city. Ergo, you, Jack, will eat Cheerios and be strong too. Cheerios were also inexpensive, so I spent years staring at those soggy circles swirling in a pond of milk.
Fortunately, Martha's Vineyard provides for my favorite meal. Lunch is a fuel stop. Dinner is about ambience and conversation, but it's breakfast that sets up your perspective for the day. I don't pay much attention to food values, or healthy eating for that matter, but I love starting the day in the right frame of mind. And Island restaurants offer choices for all sorts of moods and styles.
For example, if I am going to be doing deep thinking, I want to go to the ArtCliff diner. If they ever rename the place, they should call it Exotica. It is an adventure every time you go there, particularly in winter when, inexplicably, they are closed for short bursts of time. But I can get omelets there with offbeat ingredients and spices I never knew existed. Usually I finish with a short stack of pancakes that combine a blend of fruits and nuts that make me feel positively organic.
If it's a day when I need get a lot accomplished quickly, Espresso Love in Edgartown is my choice. Hard-eyed lawyers and quick-eyed real estate agents zoom in and out. Plus, my favorite wait-staffer takes a personal interest in my eating habits and often it is she who tells me what I'm going to have - a sort of Breakfast Nazi with my best interests at heart.
When it's about family and friends for breakfast I go to Plane View at the airport. My grandkids insist on it when they visit. They love the B-52 breakfast (eggs, sausage, bacon, toast and pancakes), as I do, and they are overjoyed when my waitress pal Laura, a perpetual motion machine, good-naturedly punks Grampa while the fly-ashores look bemused. A group of us go every Sunday afternoon (the breakfast menu is on until 2 pm).
Then there are days when you just want an uncomplicated, straightforward easy breakfast in the company of uncomplicated, straightforward, easy regular Islanders at Dock Street or PJ's in Edgartown, The Woodland Grill in Tisbury, and, of course, Linda Jean's in Oak Bluffs. A lot of good people and a lot of food, guaranteed.
And a little-known secret: The Black Dog Café in Vineyard Haven will fire you up a bacon, sausage, cheese, and egg sandwich with coffee for about 3 bucks before 8 am. Can't beat that.
It's critical to know what time the menus change. Generally it's 11 am, but at Linda Jean's it is 11:30 am. A relatively new kid in town, Waterside Deli in Vineyard Haven will fire you up hash and eggs and a stack of jacks all day - a Saturday ritual for my pals and me.
It's a good thing I've done the research on breakfast because February is a hard times for breakfast. This week, Linda Jean's, Espresso Love, and the ArtCliff are all closed for vacation, and without a strong field of options, I'm eyeing the Cheerios.