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Breakfast and Brunch Lunch

Timpano Tampa Brunch

Timpano Tampa

1610 W Swann Ave. Tampa, FL 33606

$10 – $18 Brunch $11 – $27 Lunch

I’ve been on a brunch kick lately, it’s kind of the best of two worlds – breakfast and lunch. The menu is often unique as it doesn’t just offer one or the other and sometimes if you are lucky food fusion occurs. For my readers that don’t know what food fusion is, it is where you take two different styles of food and put them together in other words fuse them.
We had driven from one side of town to the other in search of something to curb our craving, please our palates, tantalize our tastebuds. We have not visited the Hyde Park area much since the addition of several new restaurants so my husband suggested Timpano for lunch. I had enjoyed cocktails there before but had never actually dined. I almost made a regrettable mistake by hesitating on saying yes, but I agreed and I’m glad I did.
Timpano is an Italian Chophouse. It is located in the Hyde Park district of Tampa, FL. It features five menus including the kids menu and it is currently featuring a sixth with its 2017 summertime menu. If you arrive at just the right time, you can enjoy live music. This takes the atmosphere to an entirely different level. Lucky for me, we arrived at just the right time (1:45) and were given a brunch, lunch and raw bar menus and the music was flowing. I Internally jumped for joy because I was afraid I had missed brunch since it ended at 2:00. When you have so many amazing options to choose from 15 minutes is not enough. So without further ado here is my review of Timpano Tampa.


Appetizer

Choosing an appetizer was difficult to say the least. I spent at least 5 minutes going back and forth between the brunch and lunch menu. I mean the lunch menu had six or seven options alone. The brunch menu was simple as it only had one option – Zeppoles.

Zeppoles

I was skeptical about trying the Zeppoles. The name enough was weird, I had heard of beignets for breakfast but what the heck was a zeppole? Turns out the zeppoles are citrus-vanilla dough that are deep fried and covered with cinnamon sugar and served with creme anglaise. First of all who doesn’t love something deep fried. Secondly, they were fresh and warm so when you dipped them in the anglaise it slightly melted. Third, the anglaise itself was good enough to just dip your finger in and eat (which I may or may not have done). The only downside to my appetizer is that it disappeared so fast lol. If you are visiting Timpano for brunch, these are a must order.
Zeppole

Brunch and Lunch

Three menu’s gives you so many options to choose from. Since I was given the opportunity, I decided to order from both the brunch and lunch menu. I had the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict and Eggplant-pine nut ragout and spinach cannelloni.


Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict on Naan Bread
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Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict
Words cannot not describe how good this eggs benny was…on second thought they can. Amazing, yummylicious, mouthgasmic, heavenly, the bomb and I could go on and on. I’m sure my fork was doing the same happy dance I was doing. The Salmon Eggs Benedict is not traditional in that it is layered on top of toasted naan bread. Naan bread is a great base because it held up to all of the juices that pour out of that delicious volcano of food. On top of the naan bread was smoked salmon, a poached egg, red pepper, peperonata, béarnaise sauces, arugula and bacon. This Eggs Benedict definitely makes my top 5. It may even be currently standing at number 1 overall, it is definitely number 1 in Tampa right now.


Eggplant-pine nut ragout and Spinach Cannelloni

Creamy and savory are what these cannelloni’s are. The pine nuts provided a good texture contrast and the eggplant was cooked perfectly. Because I had already demolished the Eggs Benedict, I decided to take a few bites and bring the rest home. This dish even reheated well. If you enjoy eggplant and spinach as much as I do, you will like this dish.


Grilled Cheese


My little foodie in training enjoyed the grilled cheese with tomato soup and french fries. The cheese was so gooey that she literally could not stop it. That is the way a grilled cheese should be. I tasted the tomato soup and it was sooo amazing that I dipped a few of her french fries in it. All in all this was a great American classic.


Sinatra Skillet


The best part of going on a brunch or lunch date is that you get to sample someone else’s plate. My husband ordered the Sinatra Skillet and I’m so glad he did. This skillet was (in my husbands words) “life” and I’ve been tasked with trying to recreate this dish. I have a feeling that even if I gave it my best shot, I’d be far off of this awesomeness that was created. The Sinatra skillet is composed of Italian sausage, mushrooms, spinach, roasted potatoes and maple cajun bacon topped with three fried eggs and served with strawberry yogurt and toast. This is a definite must order if you go for brunch.


There are many positive highlights if you are looking to dine at Timpano. The drinks are amazing with unlimited mimosas at brunch who wouldn’t want to return. I’m already looking forward to returning for brunch and lunch to try either the lump crab meat Eggs Benedict or the Prima Colazione. I will be back Timpano….you can bet on that.
Overall FORK rating:
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For an explanation of my rating system visit mettle fork ratings.
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Categories
Uncategorized

Grocery Games

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I turn from cartoons to food network hoping to gain some inspiration for my next blog. What do you know,  I got it.  Guy’s Grocery Games was on.  If you’ve never seen the show it is a competition where chefs compete to win a chance at $20,000.  This isn’t a straight up cooking competition, its full of challenges.  There are lots of twists and turns such as items you can’t use or limit on the items you can use.   Not to mention actually cooking with a time limit.  It got me thinking could I do such a challenge?
I’m going to head over to Publix and challenge myself.  What I love about Publix is the buy 1 get one free deals, the fresh fruits and vegetables and the daily meals.  Shopping at Publix really is a pleasure.

I think I know the store pretty well so i should do pretty good with a 5 minute challenge to make a meal. Comment below with what I should make. I’m going to record it and what I cook and add it to the blog.
 
Stay tuned….

Categories
Florida Lunch

Ava in Hyde Park

The weather is always unpredictable in Florida.  It’s sunny one moment and raining the next.  Today was a raining day but I decided to get out of the house and enjoy lunch with my daughters.  I did as most people do and entered a search for restaurants near Hyde Park.  My quest led me to the restaurant Ava in the Hyde park area where there are several restaurant options to choose from.  After reading a fellow bloggers review of Eggs Benedict at Ava’s I thought I’d give it a try.  Silly me, forgetting brunch is served on the weekends only in most places.  Instead of leaving to return for brunch I figured why not try their lunch menu too. I was instantly intrigued by the wood burning stove and was hoping they had pizza on the menu – which they did.


The Appetizer – French Fries

The French fries were served with three dipping sauces: Ketchup, Garlic Aioli and Roumalade.
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I’m trying to expand the palette of my oldest daughter so that she will try more than just mac and cheese and hot dogs when we eat out. She looked at the menu and decided she wanted French fries as an appetizer.


Soup of the Day

I am a sucker for soup, especially on rainy days.  There is something about soups that just warms the soul.  Ava’s soup of the day was a tomato and eggplant soup with pine nuts and a Gorgonzola cheese topping. Typically, I hate blue cheese so I was skeptical of trying Gorgonzola cheese as it is closely related.  However, I must say that the Gorgonzola cheese paired perfectly with the tomato and eggplant soup. I have a new respect for gorgonzola cheese and I am willing try it on other dishes.
Eggplant and Tomato soup

Gorgonzola cheese is a type of blue cheese made from unskimmed milk.


Pizza

Our pizza choices were many but we chose the Salsiccia pizza which boasts fennel sausage, San Marzano tomatoes and ricotta cheese.  The crust is hand tossed and placed in the wood fire oven to bake. The fennel sausage is different than I imagined it would be, it is tender and my daughter loved it. In fact she enjoyed it so much she wanted to eat just the sausage.  This hand tossed, fire roasted pizza single handedly earned its way into the Top 5 pizza spots in Tampa Bay.  To see who else is on the list, click here.
Fire roasted pizza

Did you know that fennel is part of the carrot family?

Ava offers sandwiches, pizza and salads on their lunch menu but if you are feeling a little mettle perhaps you should try their octopus salad. My next visit I plan to try something new, adventurous…bold…moxie…mettle.

The only thing I truly found disappointing were the bathrooms. As the mother of an infant there were no changing tables. One bathroom had a small cabinet that I used as a makeshift changing table but that was it. I wouldn’t suggest a full renovation but something in at least one of the two women’s bathrooms would be nice.  This definitely cost FORK points.
Forks Up!
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Categories
Florida Lunch

Acropolis Greek Taverna

Opa! Opa! A famous saying in Greek Taverns that can be used in celebrations or to signify a mistake (such as a dish breaking). I’m still celebrating my new blog so why not join in on the celebration, right? Greek food has to be one of my favorites (who am I kidding, I think just about all food is my favorite). I love humus, feta cheese, tzatziki sauce and olives – I mean with that alone…I’m practically Greek right? I’ve visited Acropolis many times; but never as an official foodie and blogger. I figured since one of my ‘Taste Buds-Jamal’ was in town it’d be quite fitting to take him. Perhaps what I love most is that they serve you with complimentary warm bread and a tzatziki sauce. Then again it could be feelings of hangry clouding my emotions. Either way, that warm bread is definitely welcomed anytime. When we arrived it just so happened to be happy hour so we enjoyed house made sangria and margaritas.
It was now that dreaded time when the waiter has been to your table twice to take your order but you are undecided. Try something new or stuck with old faithful because you know it’s safe. Since I was reviewing and blogging I thought I’d embrace my inner mettle and try something new on the menu I had previously been afraid to try. I must say I am glad I stepped out of my box and now I have a new found love and respect for Falafel and Dolmades.


The Dolmades are grapevine leaves stuffed with rice, herbs and crumbled feta then topped with a lemon wine sauce and served with pita wedges. Although both my husband and I were skeptical at first, these dolmades surprised us and were the perfect appetizer. In fact, I’m planning on trying to recreate the lemon wine sauce myself –it was just that good.
Dolmades made with grape leaves


The Falafel was also a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know that Falafel was made from chickpeas, had I known I probably would have tried it long ago. It was made with spiced chickpeas and sesame deep fried and served with fresh roasted red pepper hummus, (yum) mediterranean salsa, and tahini but I didn’t bother trying either because the hummus was so amazing.
Falafel


Mousaka

For dinner I had the Mousaka. I often go between the Vegetable Mousaka and the regular Mousaka known as “yaya’s recipe”. Both are so delicious that I literally do eeiny, meiny, mini, mo to decide. If you have never tried it I highly recommend it, I’d say it’s like a greek version of Shepherd’s Pie only 10x’s better. The Mousaka is made of layers of potatoes, eggplant, zucchini and onions baked with a creamy béchamel sauce over tomato sauce and topped with feta cheese. I must say that my favorite part of this dish is the béchamel sauce it is so light and creamy it just melts in your mouth.
Mousaka
Eggplant mousaka


Pizza! Pizza!

As the mother of two, I always love when restaurants have a kids menu. One it saves money and two my daughter has not yet embraced her inner foodie. Let’s face it, its a struggle to get children to sit still let alone try something called Mousaka or Dolmades. My daughter opted for the safe option…Pizza. Here she is enjoying it. I did get her to take one bite of my food (under a dessert bribe) and she said she liked it.
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Athenian Fish Sandwich

My husband ordered the Athenian fish sandwich with a side of greek potato salad. His sandwich featured a lightly breaded and pan fried fish topped with pesto and served with a garlic dill aioli, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. I’ve had their potato salad on many occasions and I’ll start by saying don’t order this thinking it’s going to be your typical BBQ potato salad because it isn’t. If you have an open mind and are a little mettle like yours truly, you’ll love it.
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Pastitsio

My “taste bud” Jamal decided to order the Pastitsio. I had never had it before so I decided to try a little of his. It was good but very similar to my Mousaka with the béchamel and tomato sauces and the feta cheese. I personally prefer the Mousaka over the Pastitsio because I love the eggplant, zucchini and potatoes. I’m glad I tried it and it is a great option for pasta lovers.
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The atmosphere is fun and welcoming to families, there is live music, belly dancing and napkin throwing. This is definitely my go-to when I want some great Greek food for lunch or dinner.
Overall FORK Rating 7/10
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Categories
Breakfast and Brunch

BOCA : Kitchen, Bar, Market

First things first, Boca has officially made the Top 5 Breakfast and Brunch list which you can find here .  Boca is a true gem for many reasons but the top reason has to be because it is a farm to table restaurant.  All of their ingredients are provided by local farmers.  Additionally, you can purchase items from their market; they even have fresh basil on the table (which you can also purchase). Fresh basil
There are two BOCA restaurant locations in the Tampa area.  The restaurant we frequent the most is the one in the Brandon area.  There is also a second BOCA located in the SOHO South Tampa area.  We have ordered take away for dinner and eaten lunch at the S. Tampa location in the past, but never experienced brunch.  All I will say is that BOCA brunch is an experience you have to have at least once.
As I mentioned before, we visit the Brandon restaurant location quite frequently.  We had a friend visiting from out of town so this time we brought him along for brunch.  It is only fair to give your family and friends the best dining experiences and showcase the local establishments.


To give you an idea of the atmosphere you walk into a nicely sized bar where you are free to enjoy your unlimited mimosas ( Sat & Sun only) or a cocktail of your choosing.  The dining area features a living wall where several types of lettuce are planted (and growing) which is used in their salads.  Additionally, there is a small market and veggie stand at the register where you can make a purchase on your way out. Fresh fruit and vegetables


Brunchin’ Benedict Style

If you’ve been following my blogs you probably already know what I ordered…Eggs Benedict!  While there are many brunch options to choose from, there is something to be said about a good Eggs Benedict with a perfectly poached egg.  There are only two options for Eggs Benedict on the BOCA brunch menu: BBQ Pulled Pork Benedict and BOCA Eggs Benedict.  I opted for the BBQ Pulled Pork Benedict and my friend had the latter.

BBQ Pulled Pork Benedict 

My BBQ pulled pork Eggs Benedict was amazing. Just imagine two poached eggs on top of pulled pork served on jalapeño & cheddar toast topped with cilantro lime hollandaise and house hot sauce served with a side of potato hash.  I’m honestly not sure if I came up to breathe between bites.  There is a little kick so if you can’t do spicy at all this isn’t a dish I’d recommend ordering, but if you like a little spice this is perfect.BBQ pulled pork eggs Benedict


BOCA Eggs Benedict

The BOCA Eggs Benedict were my friends selection and he didn’t share.  It’s cool, I have no hard feelings.  Now I have a reason to go back and I will definitely try them next time I stop for brunch.  This Benny is composed of Mesquite smoked ham, two poached eggs, hollandaise served on Cuban Bread and served with a side of potato hash.  My friend said the only downside to this dish was how thick the Cuban bread was.Eggs Benedict


BOCA Cubano 

My husband ordered the BOCA Cubano which is a monster of a Cuban sandwich.  This baby is stacked with smoked ham, pork & soppressata, sweet onions, gruyere cheese, Urban Canning German IPA mustard.  The garnish is  a cherry tomato and a freshly pickled pickle skewer. One bite and his facial expressions (which there is no emoji to satisfy this look) said “life”–meaning nothing greater.  The mustard was so pleasing he insisted on requesting more.  The only feedback given is that he wished the pickles were actually in the sandwich not on. Boca’s attempt at this famous Tampa original sandwich is good enough to keep up with the best of them.Cubano sandwich at BOCA


Mickey Mouse Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Secondly, I absolutely love when a restaurant is kid friendly.  My daughter ordered the chocolate chip pancakes topped with Chantilly cream and served with a size of mixed fresh fruit. Boca also made a rosemary infused maple syrup that is absolutely to die for  (I poured it all over my potatoes). Here is my daughter before she demolished her pancakes,  she absolutely loved them.  Pancakes from the kids menu at Boca


And last but certainly not least….the star of the show

Fried Green Tomatoes

Baybee!! Honey, Honey, Honey!!  These fried green tomatoes are probably the best I’ve ever had. They are knee slapping, jaw dropping, mouthgasmically good.  I absolutely love a good fried green tomato, maybe it’s the country in me.  Their fried green tomatoes are coated in bread crumbs and deep fried then topped with pimento cheese, tomato jam, bacon, micro greens and then garnished with a balsamic glaze.  The tomato jam is slightly sweet which balances nicely with the pimento cheese.  Portion size is important and these are perfect for an appetizer.  They can easily be paired with a small salad for a nice lunch option.  If I’m being perfectly transparent, I could eat these fried green tomatoes over and over and over.

I will definitely be back for brunch to enjoy some unlimited mimosas and to try something new on the menu. I definitely recommend that you try Boca’s Brunch if you are in the Tampa area.
Forks Up!

Categories
Uncategorized

Poached

Eggs Benedict has to be one of my favs for breakfast.  I thought making breakfast was easy, you know scramble some eggs, fry some bacon, flip a few pancakes – Voila!  I’ve always been able to cook exactly what I wanted to eat.  This held true until the morning I decided making Eggs Benedict would be a good idea.  I knew the basic composition of Eggs Benedict and I also knew that the eggs were poached.  Perhaps the reason I ordered them so much when I ate out is because I didn’t know how to poach an egg.   So there I stood in my kitchen, master plan in mind with no place to start.
Google!  It’s so much faster than a cook book.  I googled “how to poach an egg”  and what do you know instructions came up.  I clicked through a few links to find the easiest method.  I mean let’s be honest here I’m a novice at this egg poaching thing, why would I try to do it like a pro.  So the instructions were to fill a pan with water, bring it to a semi boil and then swirl it around with a whisk. Once the water is going at a good rate, you gently lay the cracked egg in the middle of the swirl.  The idea is that the swirl will prevent the egg white from spreading.  Cover the skillet for 5-6 minutes and you are done.  Let me just say, the directions are nothing like real life Lol.  I successfully poached two eggs and made my Eggs Benedict but I immediately went on the search for an egg poaching gadget.
For my Eggs Benedict dish I toasted an English Muffin, sautéed asparagus, cherry tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms in a skillet.  I topped the english muffin with prosciutto then the poached egg.  Next I layered the sautéed vegetables, a sour cream sauce and finished with minced cilantro.  I will post the recipe and all ingredients in the recipe section.  This is a dish I definitely will make again and again until it is absolute perfection.  And now I can have Eggs Benedict whenever I’d like.
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Categories
Dinner

Tried something new

Chicken is one of the most versatile of the meats just about anything goes with chicken.  I’ve cut a good portion of red meat out of my diet so that leaves a lot of chicken…A Lot. Those of you that have done the same I’m sure you can relate.  Tonight I decided to try a new recipe and see if i could put a spin on the old chicken wing.  On the menu is Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Sauteed Kale and Red Pepper and Basil Quinoa.
 
I started with chicken wings and marinated them in a spice rub which included oregano, cumin, garlic powder, salt, onion powder and smoked paprika. The original recipe did not call for onion powder or paprika but i can’t cook chicken without it.  After allowing the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes I cooked it for 35 minutes at 400°
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While the chicken was cooking i started a pan with some EVOO and minced garlic then added my chopped kale. I allowed that to wilt and sautee then I  added 1/4 cup of vegetable both to give it flavor. I also cooked the quinoa in a separate pot. I like the brand far east when I’m not making it from scratch.
For the coating i mixed EVOO, basil, salt garlic powder and grated parmesean cheese. It was a little thick so i spooned some of the fat from the chicken in it.
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Next i coated the chicken with the parmesean mixture.
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Dinner was ready to be served and all i had to do was plate it.   This is my biggest weakness – plate presentation. I have it my best shot,  let me know what you think.  Be sure to look out for the full recipe in my featured recipes next week. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.
 

Categories
Lunch

Cakes and Cream Diner

While visiting Branson, MO we decided to visit the strip.  I mean you can’t go to Branson and not visit the strip right?  There were so many options that we drove back and forth on the strip twice.  After a quick decision I thought we had all agreed to Cakes and Cream which is a cute 50’s themed diner, but we got separated and the rest of my family found a BBQ joint which they swear was everything.  Since I could not partake, I guess I’ll have to go back and visit so I can let you guys know.  Cakes and Cream sells hamburgers, pizzas, funnel cakes, ice cream and more.  Their menu spans an entire wall so making a decision was difficult until I found the Rocky Road ice cream on the menu.

 
Since I had already eaten lunch while my family was zip lining I opted for dessert.  I had the cake and cream supreme which is a funnel cake topped with a scoop of ice cream of your choice, whipped cream and a cherry.  If you couldn’t tell by my excitement before I got the Rocky Road Ice cream and drizzled it with fudge and caramel.  It was a sugar high sent straight from up above.   Pictured below is my cake and cream supreme before I set out to demolish it.
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There are no pictures of the aftermath, all I can say is that it was delicious.  My overall experience was good and I would return again.
Overal FORK rating 6/10

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch

Top 5 Breakfast spots in America

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  1. Hatch– Oklahoma City, OK There are so many wonderful things that could be said about Hatch. If you read my previous post you would see why Hatch is number one but incase you missed it click HATCH to read. I’m looking forward to going back to try the rest of the menu and sip on another mimosa.

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  2. The Egg and I– Tampa, FL. This is usually my go to breakfast spot. They serve an outstanding Eggs Benedict (I prefer the California) and the service is always great. Another plus is their featured flavored coffee. I don’t always try it but it’s a better option than the staple cream and sugar.

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  3. Eggs Up Grill – Sumter, SC. Perhaps what i like best about this spot os that they serve the same rendition of pancakes and waffles. People usually lean towards one or the other so this is a great option. I like both so I usually choose what I’m in the mood for. During my visit I ordered the sweet potato and pecan waffles. It was like having sweet potato pie for breakfast. YUM!

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  4. Oxford Exchange – Tampa, FL. It has been awhile since I’ve eaten at Oxford Exchange but when you drive by and think I should go back you know it was good. If yippy get the opportunity to eat there, try to get a table in the courtyard. The atmosphere gives you a little bit of nature and sophistication mixed together.

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  5. Sunnyside Diner – Oklahoma City, OK. The food was good however this probably won’t stay in the top 5 for long. The menu boasts some unique options however lacks a waffle iron. Even if it’s just a basic waffle I feel every place that serves pancakes should be able to serve waffles. It made the top 5 because I enjoyed my eggs in purgatory which were served in a skillet, something I had never seen before.
Categories
Breakfast and Brunch Oklahoma

HATCH BRUNCH OKC -EARLY MOOD FOOD

Brunch is one of those meals that is best appreciated while traveling in my opinion.  You get the opportunity to see different regions and cultures flair on brunch.  While on vacation, I wanted to catch up with my cousin I hadn’t seen in a decade. Since I hadn’t been in Oklahoma City in nearly 10 years I asked her to choose the place to meet for brunch.

Hatch Brunch

Hatch Early Morning Food for brunch??  Why not andw2 since I had no clue I just went with it. Let me just start out by saying.. HONEY….she was on point with this suggestion.  I’ve been thinking about Hatch since the moment I walked out the door. Hatch is only open from 6am to 2pm meaning you don’t have time to hit the snooze button.  After just one meal, I guarantee you wake when the rooster crows just to ensure you get there in time.
Their menu gives you so many options it is truly hard to choose just one…so what did I do? The only logical thing a person would do in this situation, order two items of course lol.
They have beignets need I say more?  Beignets are little nuggets of heaven most famously  served in New Orleans.  Typically, an attempt an a beignet as good is those in New Orleans is just that a mere attempt.  The beignets at Hatch are served with three dipping sauces: an orange glaze (my favorite), peanut butter bacon and Nutella cream.
Beignets at Hatch Early Mood Food

Eggs Benedict – Tuscan Anne

I’m a fan of Eggs Benedict and I love when I can find a combination that is out of the ordinary.  In fact I love Eggs Benedict so much that it is my standard by which I rate a Brunch menu.
Eggs Benedict on Sourdough
The Tuscan Anne Eggs Benedict in all it’s glory  is served on toasted sourdough with prosciutto ham, cream cheese hollandaise, balsamic glaze and garlic roasted tomatoes served with a side of crispy hash browns.  The balsamic glaze is what really takes this Eggs Benny over the top.  I am glad I chose this one.  Albeit any choice probably would have been a great choice.
Hatch Early Mood Food is a great brunch experience.  The interior has an industrial feel to it and that fits right in with the industrial district of downtown OKC.  If the inside is packed there is also plenty of seating outdoors weather permitting of course.  Hatch has earned a top spot  in the 5 best breakfast spots in America featured here.