Tired of Starbucks and their awful, industrial pastries and burnt coffee? Sick of the insipid pancakes from IHOP, drowned in butter and artificially-flavored syrup? Can't hack another packet of instant oatmeal from the box, microwaved at the office until the smell permeates the room and everyone hates you? We don't blame you in the slightest. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it's hard to be inspired when your choices seem to belimited to unappetizing food.
Here are five hearty, filling breakfasts from around the world, all of which are available right here in Orange County. Give 'em a try--the drive-through at McDonald's takes too long.
A portmanteau of the Tagalog words sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (eggs), this is exactly what it is--a huge, filling Filipino breakfast of a huge portion of garlic fried rice, eggs and your choice of additional protein: sweet cured beef (tapsilog); fat logs of longganisa (longsilog); bacon-like strips of tocino (tosilog), or fried fish (tuyosilog).
Call it jook, call it congee, call it cháo, call it rice porridge, as long as you order it and its required accompaniment, the long savory donut twists known in Cantonese as yau ja gwai. It's a filling, hearty breakfast often served more as a brunch item. No bowl should cost more than a few bucks, even when spiked with preserved egg and lean pork.
OC local place: Kang Lac Bakery (9301 Bolsa Ave., Westminster; 714-894-6122; no website)
3. Foul and labneh
Pronounced "fool", the dish is to fava beans what hummus is to chickpeas; with a little bit of fresh yoghurt cheese, maybe a few olives and a basket of hot pita, and either mint tea or strong coffee, this is what gets the Arabic world moving in the morning.
OC local place: al-Sanabel Bakery (816 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim; 714-635-4353; no website)
Shocking as it may sound, the breakfast burrito is not an authentic Mexican dish. (Stunning, I know. Try to pick up the pieces of your shattered life and move on.) When Mexicans want a belly-filling breakfast, something more substantial than a pan dulce and coffee, they go for chilaquiles, a plate of freshly-fried tortillas simmered in salsa, then topped with eggs, sometimes a dollop of crema, and a little sprinkle of cotija cheese.
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Russians don't go in for big, thick, fluffy pancakes the way the Americans, Canadians and Scottish do. They prefer their pancakes to be more crêpe-like, but then issue the standard Russian caloric load by filling them with sweetened tvoróg, a pot cheese that is a lot like very fine-curd cottage cheese. Sometimes they're just filled and served, and sometimes they're fried in butter, but the best way to eat them is with a healthy lap of Russian sour cream on top.