The Freddie Beach Breakfast Challenge

Perhaps you plan to go out this weekend? Well, in that case, you will need breakfast. PhD candidate, Rob Ross, provides a comprehensive guide to Fredericton’s best breakfast spots. (There are so many more than you’d think!)

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The Freddie Beach Breakfast Challenge

by Rob Ross

There comes a time in every grad student’s life when they must forego the gruel and splurge on a ritzy meal to start the day. Fortunately for us, Fredericton has an absurd (in the full existentialist sense of the word) amount of breakfast options from which to choose, so much so that picking just one can be daunting. Here’s a summary of some of the more unique places worth checking out, in no particular order. Don’t know where the place is? Try Google Maps.

For those of you new to town, you will quickly discover that Fredericton largely closes down on Sundays. This is because a lot of the shops are owner-operated, especially downtown, and people need a day off. I’ve taken note of the few places that are actually open on this otherwise ghost-town day of the week.

Part One: The Breakfast Croissant Sandwich

Fredericton is big on the breakfast croissant (along with crème brûlée and fancy burgers. Your guess is as good as mine). As one of the few petit-déjeuner options coming in under ten dollars, you might want to be as well. Off the top of my head I can think of four places that serve one, all in walking distance of each other.

1)  Café Loka

The food quality in this place is killer, and so are the prices. Some of their breakfasts, though, are reasonable when compared to most other places. Not so the Breakfast in Paris Croissant, which features cheesy scrambled eggs on top and a side salad — a distinctly Café Loka breakfast feature. For the carnivores, the $2 sausage add-on is well worth it too (I once got a well-seasoned bison sausage that sent me straight to the Great Plains of my imagination). Coming in at $7 dollars, though, this breakfast is well out of reach for those who need to economize. Selective diet? Café Loka also features vegan and gluten free options. To be honest, if I was rich, I’d eat here all the time.

2)  Coffee and Friends

With a breakfast croissant, bag of chips, and coffee coming in around six dollars, this place is one of the most popular pastry destinations. In other words, you might be out of luck if you come in too late, in which case you might have to settle for their breakfast bagel (or, you know, you can just want the bagel version). Here you get to chose between crispy bacon or juicy tomato on top. With some mayo and a slice of cheddar cheese, this combo is sure to satisfy the hunger pangs. The downside is that the eggs look like the ones you get at Subway, and are heated in a plastic container in a microwave. On the plus side, this is the only place to get a breakfast croissant on a Sunday.

3)  Crêpe Suzette Crêperie

Obviously, this place is more about the crêpes, which are amazing, but their breakfast croissant deal is the best in town. Unlike the above mentioned places, here you get bacon AND tomato simultaneously on top of the grill-fried egg, and their Boursin mayo is knee-bucklingly delicious. Coming in at $5, with a coffee, you can afford to eat here once a week! In theory. The only downside I have for this place is that it’s closed on Sundays, which prevents me from eating here on the day I’m most inclined to not make my own breakfast.

4)  Milda’s Croissants & Wood Fired Pizza

Only available at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, Milda’s is great, mostly because of Milda. I used to buy a croissant from her every week when I first moved here, and every week she would warn me in her delightful English accent that if I reheated the croissant in a microwave, she wouldn’t sell them to me anymore. Every time I would tell her I didn’t own a microwave. While not strictly for breakfast, these croissants come with a variety of fillings, from standards like cheddar and bacon, to more creative combos like pumpkin and feta. At $3.50 (or so) a pop, these tasty treats are great for the grab-and-go, as well as in the half-dozen to be reheated at your leisure. My favorite is still the chocolate pecan. Also, unlike most croissants, which are light and flaky, this is some serious stick-to-your-ribs pastry. I’m not sure why this is so, but consider yourself informed.

Part Two: The Two Eggs and What-Have-You (Or Hollandaise Sauce for All)

So maybe you have a SSHRC or you’ve recently sold your ova or something, and you can afford a full breakfast. There are oodles of places to choose from in your search for the perfect hashbrowns. Here are some of the places to go. Most of these places also carry that other most Fredericton of breakfasts: eggs benedict (again, I have no idea why so many places feel the need to provide some version of this dish, all while foregoing eggs florentine, but there you have it).

1)  The Coffee Mill

Situated at the top of the hill, The Coffee Mill (rhyme intended) is reminiscent of a Perkins or Dennys — this place is Anywhere Diner North America. You can expect a comparable quality as well. With a division between diner-like booth seats and nailed-down plastic ones (to give that special donut shop ambiance), you can choose your dining experience. I prefer the upper floor, with its majestic view of Burger King and Canadian Tire (known better in some regions as Ukranian Wheel). In a town full of immensely competitive coffee roasters, though, the java here is not that great in comparison, and neither are the prices. The one great advantage is it being open on Sundays. Otherwise, there’s nothing particularly stupendous or horrible about the Coffee Mill.

2)  Sweet Belgian Desire Café

Hidden away in the basement of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, the Belgian café is a must for those on the breakfast circuit. From delectable waffles loaded with fruit and real whipped cream to the savoury Euro-style crêpes to the little squares of chocolate that come with your coffee (free refill!!!), the variety is astounding and the ingredients are top-notch. With most menu items coming in under ten dollars, this little gem is also shockingly affordable for what you get. Go here! Sometimes that the place can be packed, resulting in long waits, and sometimes they run out of ingredients. A friend once waited forty-five minutes for their dish because someone had to run to Sobeys and buy bananas.

3)  The Cedar Tree Café

The Tree is known for using local and organic ingredients, and their breakfast choices are divine. This is because of the Lebanese influence. Dishes like hummus with eggs and fatayer make this place a one-of-kind breakfast destination. The kibbeh that comes in the breakfast wrap or on the side is well worth it too. With prices that vary from $4-9, the economic damage to the wallet isn’t that bad for the local/organic racket either.

4)  The Fox and the Rogue

Actually pubs, the Snooty Fox and the Lunar Rogue also serve breakfast on weekends. Even Sundays! They’re both pretty good too. The Fox carries all the standards (including a few versions of eggs benny), and they seem to be all about quantity, as if to quell the queasy stomachs of their nocturnal patrons. The Rogue’s menu is the more ambitious of the two, with their breakfast sandwich featuring spinach and artichoke cream cheese, their lobster eggs benny, and their Bailey’s Irish Cream french toast. The standards are a bit more affordable here too compared to the Fox.

5)  The Roxstone Café

The newest addition to the café scene at the beach, the Roxstone picked up where the Grill on York left off: all day $5.00 breakfast specials! This is the most affordable place to get a pair of eggs with some bacon or sausage, toast and hashbrowns in the downtown vicinity. With Just Us! organic coffee to compliment the fare, the Roxstone is a solid place to get your grease on. As to why this place is so much more affordable than other ones of comparable quality (ex: Coffee mill, the pubs, Sunshine, the Dip), my guess is the non-central location and lack of reputation. My one misgiving is the greasiness of the hashbrowns, but they seem to be still tweaking their menu: the first time I went, there were no hashbrowns at all with my breakfast.

6)  The Sunshine Eatery

This place has the best hashbrowns in town and great quality all around (Okay, you’re probably wondering about this fixation on fried potatoes, but let’s face it, the hashbrowns can make or mar a breakfast experience. Seriously.) With their self-serve coffee and retro booths, the atmosphere is one of a kind. Not as reasonably priced as the Rockstone, the Sunshine makes up in sheer maritime pride and tastiness.

7)  The Diplomat

The Dip is Fredericton’s only 24-hour restaurant and is known more for its Chinese buffets and late night drunken hordes, but they also do a fair breakfast. Make no mistake, most of their prices are for the captive late night audience and for the tourists staying at the Delta. Biggest advantage: all day literally means all day here. The little cup of baked beans that comes with your food is a nice touch too.

8)  The Cabin

With its 1950s jukeboxes on each table, the Cabin is the true definition of a greasy spoon diner, and I still mourn the day they upped their prices. Fairly average in general terms of quality, I stay for the sweet 45 selections that cost a quarter to spin. This place also has incredibly large, fluffy pancakes, and their side of ham can sometimes be an entire slab, including the bone. Leftovers are not uncommon from the Cabin. The smoked salmon eggs benny is generous and one of the few bennys in Freddie under ten bucks. This is because they don’t come with hashbrowns, but the portion size makes them unnecessary.

9)  Isaac’s Way

The Way has wonderful food, and their breakfasts are no exception. Available only on weekends, the quality is outstanding and the dishes are unique. While not the cheapest, you do get what you pay for here. Everyone and their dog recommends this place for good reason.

Well, there you go. This list is not exhaustive, and I apologize to those of you who feel I’ve missed your favourite place. If so, write your own damn breakfast blog!

*Featured image from: http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/13-ways-eat-healthy-breakfast-diner*

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