Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Breakfast @Quintessence

looking a little skeptical
You know the phrase "there's no such thing as a free lunch?" Well, I couldn't buy breakfast in this town on New Year's Eve morning.  Our original plan was to walk around the corner and get some grub at the Wine n Diner, but, alas, they weren't open when we approached their door sometime between 9 and 10 a.m.  Plan B was the Miss Albany Diner...also closed.  What's up with that, Albany??  You know I'm not a chain restaurant girl, so that eliminated a number of "options" which may have been acceptable to other folks seeking some breakfast grub, but I was on a mission.  You see, I was entertaining an out-of-town friend and wanted to give her a true Albany experience, not just a driving tour of the south east side of my fair city. I wish I could say that Quintessence was indeed my third choice, but it wasn't actually - it was more a happenstance occurrence as we drove through the park, heading towards Madison's End Cafe, and I realized that there was another ultimate Albany joint to show off.  And, bonus, there was even parking available!

hesitation becomes enthusiasm
Now, I know that Quintessence has always been known as a silver beacon to gloppy green noodles, and I say this with affection, but I was feeling like something a little less dense carbohydrate based for my last breakfast of 2010.  The item which called my name was the smoked salmon and eggs combo - the sister dish to Lisa's smoked trout and eggs.  I went with poached eggs, while she had her usual over easy, and since the fryer wasn't yet up and running, we settled for home fries rather than the crispy fries we both typically gravitate towards.  A note: Lisa is always game for wherever I want to eat and credits me with exposing her to numerous terrific restaurants, particularly in NYC.  The truth of the matter is, I consider myself indebted to her for showing me the way when it comes to home fries and french fries - well done is absolutely the way to go.  Do you see the crispy little fried bits on her plate?  That, my friends, is what it is all about when it comes to potatoes for me.  The home fries were definitely the highlight of the meal for me - not because there was anything wrong with my breakfast, it was simply the potatoes were so damn right. 

My poached eggs were fine - soft the way I like them and hot.  The salmon was a bit dry and kind of salty, but not in a completely off-putting way, just in a way that made conscious of pounding extra water.  The service was friendly, the coffee flowed and the experience was generally positive.  Although I really need to get to the Wine n Diner, Quintessence will not again be lower on my short list of breakfast spots than position #2.  Or, as I like to think of it, the slot I reserve for Daniel Craig on a different, but similar list.  ;)

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