Your new year begins with the most important meal of the day. Maybe you're looking to fortify yourself after all the celebrating or you're already struggling to keep your shiny, new resolution. We've been breakfasting around to find you some options.
A Fine Mess
Trinidad's reputation as "a drinking town with a fishing problem" means it's also a town that needs a solid recovery breakfast. Lucky the place is small enough that the Trinidad Bay Eatery (607 Parker St.) is only a short stumble away. A plate of fluffy cut-out buttermilk biscuits split and blanketed with white bacon gravy might be enough to steady you ($5.99). If nothing else, the pale expanse will blot out those fuzzy memories and thoughts of the gym.
But if you're still puzzling over what to do with the drunken sailor, the Sailor's Mess might be called for ($11.99). Order it and your sympathetic server will bring you a plate filled to the edges with hash browns and topped with onions and peppers (vegetables!), a trio of eggs and three strips of bacon. Hidden beneath those eggs is a ladleful of that bacon gravy, which is a fine idea. The potatoes are all you want from hash browns — a flattened haystack that's crisp on the surface and steamy and soft within. And, wonder of wonders, it's by no means a greasy affair but an actual meal to help you regain your sea legs.
If you're there when the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, get one ($2.99). The spiral of pastry — taking up the table like a coiled fire hose — is doused with warm icing just before serving. The sugar melting into the simple dough is comforting rather than decadent (you are not ready for some Cinnabon-esque sugar volcano). Puling it apart to nibble with black coffee is just the thing you need.
Breakfast for the Born-again
So, after the holiday decadence you've resolved to eat healthy foods, to treat your body like a sustainably built temple instead of the shameless altar of Bacchus it's been for the last two months. But do you have to be a monk? Because that bowl of cold grains you're starting off with is a little grim. The counter at Cafe Phoenix (1300 G. St., Arcata), which boasts a changing menu of locally sourced and/or organic everything, might be a better place to start. The cake stands are stacked with scones, brownies and coffee cakes made with organic butter, flour, eggs and fruit to ease you into your new lifestyle. The blueberry scone ($3.50) is a good place to begin — soft and cakey inside with indigo bursts of berries (antioxidants!) and a delicate, buttery crust of cinnamon. Do you want that warmed up in the oven so it's toasty outside and just a bit steamy within? Of course you do. Maybe get a side of butter (don't worry, it's organic, and we've decided butter's good right now — jump on that train while it's running). There are poached eggs and veggies on the board, but hey, baby steps. Let the next table explore Brussels sprouts as a breakfast food. You just enjoy that scone.
Three Pies of Highly Effective People
According to your snazzy organizer app, this is the year you get it together. Grabbing some tragic breakfast bar that looks like a brick for a mud hut on your way out the door might be fast, but at what cost? Instead, make excellent use of your time by stopping at the Corner Café & Bake Shop (502 Henderson St., Eureka), where you can pick up a hot breakfast empanada from Slice of Humboldt Pie ($3.50). The palm-sized pies are delivered stuffed and baked on the premises so the crust is warm and flaky enough that no edges will be left behind. Your choices include: the ham and Swiss, with cubes of pink, dinner-worthy ham and melted cheese; the meat breakfast empanada stuffed with pork sausage, scrambled egg, potatoes, bacon and old-fashioned sausage gravy; and the vegetarian breakfast with scrambled egg, potatoes and impressive vegetarian sausage that does not leave non-meat eaters wanting. Get thee behind me, Hot Pocket. These are actual savory breakfasts in all their salty, rich Americana glory, tucked into the one-handed miracle of convenience and reasonable portioning that is the empanada. For extra efficiency points, call 15 minutes ahead and the bakers will toss your order in the oven and have it ready when you arrive. Grab one for the boss — this might be the year you get promoted.