Acai bowls. You’ve probably seen them on Instagram or Pinterest, they make for a pretty picture. But aside from aesthetics, acai bowls are sweet, delicious breakfast bowls that not only taste good, but also come jam-packed with beneficial nutrients for your body. Today, we would like to introduce you to a little café called Pause Café in the East Village that serves a variety of these morning treats, as well as offering an exquisite Moroccan dining experience.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the acai berry, here’s a quick fact check. Acai is a tropical fruit native to Brazil. Its most notable health benefits are the fruit’s heart healthy antioxidants that have the ability to lower cholesterol and improve overall blood circulation. Pause Café offers four varieties of acai bowls but we decided to go with the classic, Very Berry, which included acai, banana, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for the smoothie mixture. For toppings, the bowl came with crunchy granola, banana, strawberries, goji berries, blueberries, and honey. What really made this dish though were the beautifully elaborate mosaic tables and the silver platter it was served in, which really added to the Moroccan vibe. The mixture itself was a fresh blend of fruity deliciousness, something close to a version of nature’s Starbursts.
If you’re looking to start your morning right, we highly recommend trying one of the Acai bowls from Pause Café. There are also other heartier options like eggs and toast if you prefer a savory breakfast.
Ess-A-Bagel was in the midst of their morning rush when I dropped in on a Monday morning. It’s evident from the facade of the building that this establishment has been around for a long time. This old-time bagel shop was founded in 1976, with their original shop located on 21st Street and 1st Avenue.
Most importantly, Ess-A-Bagel has a policy of NO-toast-bagels. A lot of New York based shops believe that toasting will mask the freshness and genuine nature of this dens mass of goodness. (It’s true!)
I was in line behind a lady who wanted everything, and after a bite of their bagel, I couldn’t blame her! They serve generous portions, so don’t be surprised if you have to put aside the other half for lunch. The bagels themselves are baked fresh, so they come with a crispy outside, but also a nice doughy chew. Our favorite combo is a bagel (any kind is delicious) topped with scallion cream cheese, lox and tomato.
The first time I heard about Okonomi was on Yelp. I was searching for a new restaurant in my area for a dinner date and stumbled across this unique rarity; a restaurant that serves a traditional Japanese style breakfast.
Okonomi is small and you might almost miss it in passing. However, once you enter this small restaurant, you will feel as though you have entered a Japanese eatery in one of the narrow alleyways in Tokyo.
We were seated at the counter table and given a detailed description of the menu options. Okonomi’s menu is seasonal. That day we were served mackerel, blanched chard, Japanese fried egg (also known as tamagoyaki), radish and cucumber pickles, and a bite of sweet scallop. And of course, all this is accompanied by miso soup and rice. The fish was marinated just right, the pickles, chard, and eggs all had light seasoning, a perfect contrast to the saltiness of the fish and miso soup.
Another thing to note: Okonomi has begun to serve the famous YUJI ramen, which was exclusive to Whole Foods. If you live in the Williamsburg area, now you can enjoy this ramen without crossing the bridge!
Our grandmother from Oregon once shared her experience with “the grapefruit diet.” This lifestyle consisted of eating grapefruit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It didn’t last for long, all that acidity couldn’t be good for the stomach.
If you chance to walk past Le Barricou on a hot Sunday morning, you are sure to catch happy brunchers scooping mouthfuls of the “half grapefruit.” It is all you could ever wish for, and more. This juicy citrus is topped with fennel pollen, maldon sea salt, and sugar sprinkle. It’s unique mixture somehow fully counteracts any bitterness of the fruit, and brings out its hidden sweetness. My grandma would have surely succeeded with her diet if she had known about this recipe.
Also, if you wish to go on a more traditional sweet tooth route, their pancakes are fluffy and possibly the biggest you will ever set eyes on!
It’s a perfect hangover cure, a fried egg, avocado, bacon and cheese on a fluffy roll. The egg of this sandwich is fried to just the right degree, crispy whites with slightly undercooked inside. Smoked crunchy bacon is topped with a drizzle of Sriacha.
The first time I ventured to this juicery/cafe, we ordered their renowned egg sandwich only to find they had run out of their original roll. Their whole wheat bread as an alternative was delicious, but we were left craving and curious for the “roll.” Thankfully we were able to wakeup early enough before the hungover Brooklynites devoured all the egg sandwiches.
Note, Summers brings to it’s customers the finest, freshest ingredients from the farm. The vegetables and fruit used for their juices are all organic. So, for those health conscious individuals out there, no need to worry!