La Crêperie, Key West, FL – 1.11.15

La Creperie, Key West, FL

Location: La Crêperie, Key West, Florida
Order: Buckwheat Crepe, with fried egg over-medium
Egg Rating: 4/5
Meal Rating: 5/5

Ah, Mon Dieu! After a week of hotel “continental” breakfasts, La Crêperie was the absolutely perfect way to close out a vacation to Key West. The restaurant is quaint and perfect, located two streets off Duval in a quiet residential Key West neighborhood. The Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews were dead-on…La Crêperie is outstanding.

I can’t find a current menu, so I can’t give the exact name of the crepe we ordered, but it was fantastic. A buckwheat crepe with arugula, three different cheeses, avocado, and a fried egg on top.

La Creperie fried egg


The orange juice was fresh squeezed, the Cafe Au Lait was perfect, and the fresh fruit and potatoes could not have been better.

As for the egg…while I prefer my fried eggs, when by themselves on the plate, to be just a tiny bit more cooked, this over medium egg was the first on this blog to be truly over-medium. The bottom and edges were slightly crisp. The top was actually cooked (rather than just turned), and the yolk, while still slightly runny, was thick, and did not just spill all over the plate. It was the perfect egg for the dish, and the combination of flavors overall was sensational.

La Creperie fried egg La Creperie - crepe with egg

For the sake of the experience I’ll show the potatoes too… just wonderful:

La Creperie potatoes

Congratulations to La Crêperie for getting it right.

Merci, merci, merci.

The Sleepy Bee, Cincinnati – 12.31.14

The Sleepy Bee Cafe

Location: The Sleepy Bee Cafe, Madison Road, Cincinnati
Order: “Fried eggs, over medium”
Egg Rating: 2/5
Meal Rating: 2.5/5

New Year’s Eve breakfast with a couple of friends at one of the best breakfast places in Cincinnati, The Sleepy Bee Cafe.  Or at least that’s what one might think.

When the Sleepy Bee opened a year or so ago, I was overjoyed. A brand new breakfast place! Hardly a mile from my house! With a great menu, fantastic vegetarian options, and a strong farm-to-table ethos!  What could go wrong?

Well, I’ve been disappointed. It’s largely a problem of being too good for their own good. Or something. The place is hugely popular, therefore the wait for a table is generally 30+ minutes, even at reasonable times, not to mention the 1-2 hour waits on busy weekends. And whether it’s related or not…the quality has suffered over time. The potatoes are often lukewarm and hard, the food takes far too long to come out, and the service is increasingly poor.  And the eggs? Well, we’ll get to that. I want this place to succeed. But every time I go, I remind myself that I’d decided not to come back.

Okay, this is an egg blog, not (necessarily) a restaurant review blog. Although it remains my assertion that one can judge the overall quality of a restaurant by their simple ability to cook an egg to order, and in my case that’s always an Over Medium Egg.

The order was simple – the “Worker Bee” – with vegan sausage (questionable), multigrain Shadeau Bakery toast, and eggs over medium.

The Sleepy Bee Cafe - Fried Eggs1

The order came quickly – and the server was excellent. Very helpful but not overly wordy. We were actually having a work meeting and she was careful to help where she could, offering recommendations if we wanted them, but not assuming we did. Nice balance.

The Sleepy Bee Cafe - Fried Eggs2

The eggs looked okay. Cooked on both sides, apparently even. Less done than I’d like, but at least not over-easy. Cutting into the first, there was too much yolk on the plate, but at least the white was cooked through. Or so I thought.

The Sleepy Bee Cafe - Fried Eggs3

Cutting into the second egg, the white was runny and gross. Probably fine for an over-easy order, but not for over-medium. It’s honestly disappointing for a place like this not to be able to get this right. You differ on the done-ness of the yolk? Fine. But the white should be cooked. This is just gross. You have warnings on your menus about “consuming under-cooked fish, eggs, etc” being potentially hazardous to my health, but when I order my eggs actually done, you serve them undercooked.

It ain’t rocket science, but it is a standard. Sorry Sleepy Bee…I wanted to love you. But I don’t.

Watts Grocery, Durham, N.C. – 12.28.14

Watts Grocery - Durham, N.C.

Location: Watts Grocery – Durham, North Carolina
Order: “Fried eggs, over medium”
Egg Rating: 3/5
Meal Rating: 3.5/5

I love Durham. It’s a city on the rise. A nice balance of hipster chic, southern charm, and research-triangle energy and drive. And there are lots (lots) of great new places to eat.

Some friends suggested we have brunch at Watts Grocery, but made it clear we’d have to get there right when they opened at 11 on Sunday because it would fill up fast. 11am – there we were.

The menu is great – lots of fun options. My son was dying to try the southwestern churros with warm chocolate sauce. Two of our party ordered the grits bowl, and it looked fantastic. My girlfriend and I usually like to split something sweet and something savory, so we ordered the seasonal fruit with granola and creme fraiche, as well as the “Watts Breakfast” – two eggs, choice of breakfast meat (gave to the boy), hash browns or grits (I may be in the south, but I’m still from Idaho. Hash browns please) and a buttermilk biscuit (the south in your mouth).

Watts Grocery - Fried Eggs 1

The eggs looked promising. Definitely cooked on both sides, with a little bit of yummy brown on the edges.

Cutting in, the yolks were once again not as firm as I’d like, but they didn’t immediately run all over the plate. But is that the standard? My food’s not raw, so therefore it’s gotta be good enough? I know there’s a spectrum, but why not shoot for a solid place in the midst of that spectrum instead of just “this side of runny?”

I’m picky, I know. Why else would I be writing a blog about fried eggs?

Watts Grocery - Fried Eggs 1
Fine, Watts Grocery, your eggs are fine.

Why are people so terrified of actually cooking an egg? Why not let it sit in the pan just a little longer and get some flavor and crispness? I remain puzzled.

Again, this was a perfectly fine meal. But unremarkable. The biscuit was delicious. The hash browns were actually really good. But the egg is the star, and this egg was a washout. I’d certainly go back to Watts Grocery…but I’d be suspicious.

IHOP, Cincinnati – 12.21.2014

IHOP Coffee and Cream

Location: IHOP, Center of Cincinnati
Order: “Fried eggs, over medium”
Egg Rating: 2/5
Meal Rating: 3/5

The bar is pretty low at IHOP, in general; and a nuanced fried egg order doesn’t stand much chance. Honestly we wanted to go to the Sleepy Bee, but their Sunday morning brunch wait was at least an hour. So we ended up here.

The eggs: I specifically ordered “over medium.” My son reminds me I’m more likely to get what I want if I order “over medium well,” but that just seems like too much work. This does, however, expose the problem of different definitions of “over medium.” There are breakfast cooks who define “over easy” as cooked on one side, period. Those same cooks would define “over medium” as cooked lightly on both sides, pretty much regardless of the condition of things inside.  Personally I define “over medium” as essentially half way between over-easy (runny yolk) and over-hard (completely cooked, cakey yolk).

These eggs were lightly cooked on the top. Good start. But the yolk was runny; and (worst of all) the white inside was runny as well (see the third photo). The flavor was bland and oily (the same was true of the hash browns). I gave the sausage to the boy, so it was left to the blueberry pancakes to salvage the meal. I’d give them about a 3/5.

As my son put it when we were done: “I keep trying to remind myself never to come here again, and I keep forgetting.”

IHOP Eggs and Sausage IHOP Fried EggIHOP Fried Egg 4 IHOP Fried Egg

Home Poached – 12.19.2014

Perfect Poached Egg

The Perfect Poached Egg

Sure, the site’s called the perfect fried egg, but there’s an art to the perfect poached egg, made at home in less time than it takes to make the coffee. Every self-respecting breakfast cook should know how to make a perfect 5-minute poached egg.

The yolk should be wet but not overly runny. The white should be completely cooked, but not rubbery.

It ain’t rocket science but you’d be surprised how hard it is to find this in a decent restaurant.

Poached egg with perfect yolk

Perfect 5-Minute Poached Eggs:

– Fill small saucepan with water,  1″ deep
– Add 1 Tsp Distilled White Vinegar and 1 Tsp salt
– Heat to gentle rolling boil
– Crack egg gently into large spoon or (better yet) ladle
– Swirl water rapidly in pan, and (while water is swirling) gently spoon egg into center of water.
– Cover and boil, untouched, for 5 minutes
– Remove with a slotted spoon, add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.