Breakfast at Nico and Vali’s Italian Eatery, Plymouth, MI

After having such a great sandwich at Nico and Vali’s the other week, I had to go back for breakfast. I ordered a caramel latte ($3), their strawberry and marscapone crepe ($4.95) and a side of hash browns($1.50). Each place that serves espresso seems to have a different level of sweetness when it comes to flavored drinks. The caramel latte at Nico and Vali’s was a little weak in the sugar department for me, but it was still a quality coffee drink. The crepe was nicely presented dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with chocolate sauce and served with a cup of seasonal fresh fruit. The creamy marscapone filling had a nice sweetness with a hint of lemon. The fruit cup was a mix of strawberries, grapes, honeydew and cantaloupe; each piece of fruit was extremely fresh. The hash browns were simple crispy squares of potato. They were not at all greasy or overcooked. I was a little disappointed that only one crepe came with my order after seeing the size of my husband’s personal frittata ($6.25) which also included toast and hash browns in the price, but the prices are still fairly reasonable for a more unique breakfast selection.
The server we had for breakfast was a had less personality than the friendly and knowledgeable waiter we had on the our previous visit for lunch, but service was still efficient.
Remembering their exceptional ciabatta bread I had on a great sandwich a few weeks ago I picked up a loaf ($3.50) on the way out. I made a simple garlic bread with it for dinner the next night and the texture and flavor of the bread was just as good as I had remembered.
We’ll have to make a trip back soon to try out their dinner menu!

Cafe Habana – Hidden Breakfast Gem in Ann Arbor

Yesterday morning my husband and I went to breakfast at Cafe Habana in downtown Ann Arbor for the second time in less than a month. I had been there for lunch and dinner a few times over the last year and fell in love with the Cuban food and the beautiful and rich decor. I had forgotten until recently that they also served brunch on the weekends starting at 9 a.m.

Two weeks ago I had the Breakfast Arepas, which are cornmeal pancakes filled with cream cheese, bananas and topped with a delicious fruit salsa. The soft texture of the cornmeal cakes with the creaminess of the cream cheese and the light sweetness of the fruit salsa were a great combination of textures and flavors. I also had one of the best carmel lattes I’ve had anywhere that morning. It came in a wide-mouth coffee cup with the perfect amount of foam and was better than the lattes I get at gourmet coffee shops.

This past weekend I tried the Breakfast Burrito, which normally comes stuffed with scrambled eggs, chorizo sausage, black beans, cheddar cheese and ranchero sauce and is served with potato croquetas. I skipped the eggs and had them add extra black beans and substituted Cuban toast for the potato croquetas (which are deep fried potato goodness, but a little rich for my blood). The burrito was very tasty and I just love the slightly sweet ranchero sauce that is spooned on the burrito. The Cuban toast was a great way to soak up some of the extra sauce.

I hope Cafe Habana is able to continue their weekend brunch. The restaurant is usually packed for lunch and dinner, but only one or two other tables had customers both mornings we were there. The staff didn’t use the lack of customers as an excuse to slack off. Instead, they are very attentive and knowledgeable. On one hand it would be nice to see the restaurant’s brunch business pick up, but at the same time it’s nice not having to wait in line and have a great place to go that feels a bit like a secret! If you get a chance and are looking for something a little more adventurous than your typical bacon and eggs, try out Cafe Habana this weekend.

Beezy’s Cafe, Ypsilanti, MI

Beezy’s Cafe in Ypsilanti has become one of my favorite breakfast places. The staff is lively and welcoming, the food is top notch and uses local ingredients and the small atmosphere is cozy. As the woman behind the counter last Saturday put it to the customer ahead of us, “We don’t just have great food and great service, we have great advice for our customers.” I overheard her giving the customer a little “advice on life” in addition to his order. That’s the kind of place I like going back to, an eatery that is not just about the food, but about their customers and creating an experience.

I had the special baked French toast when I was in last. It smelled and looked so good I forgot to take the pictures until halfway through breakfast. It was a Peanut Butter Baked French Toast with house-made Blueberry “Jam”. To be honest, I’m not much of a blueberry fan, but the jam was less jam and a little more like a blueberry compote and was a perfect compliment to the peanut butter. The fruitiness of the “jam” cut through the richness of the peanut butter to make for a delicious experience. I also loved the streusel-like topping of oats and brown sugar. I’m sure the fat and calorie count didn’t fit into my normal healthy choices, but Beezy’s is great for a splurge.

My husband had his usual Breakfast Burrito, sans the salsa fresca, and loved it as always. The tortilla is stuffed with scrambled egg, fresh chorizo sausage and cheddar. I’m not a fan of eggs, Cafe Marie’s braised eggs are the only exception, so you’ll have to decide on this one for yourself.

The only downfall of Beezy’s I can see are the hot beverages. I’ve been disappointed with the espresso drinks, Chai and hot chocolate; all lacking flavor. But, don’t let that deter you from great food and service. If you overlook that the lack-luster beverages you’ll enjoy a fantastic breakfast and bubbly personalities in downtown Ypsi.