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Eat Outside The Box

Recently I found myself back in the town of my alma mater, Bloomsburg University.  I left here with a lot of great memories and experiences, many of which I would like to relive.  But I find myself re-imagining the times and memories of one place that apparently had a huge impact on me. 

Bloomin’ Bagels was a breakfast and lunch venue with two locations, one on either side of town, so it was always easily accessible.  Because of my love for bagels I would eat here for breakfast, and many times lunch, everyday for months at a time.  My roommate and I even developed a routine by the third year; whoever had the earlier class that day would stop on their way home to pick up the other a bagel sandwich.  I think he caught on to my 6pm class schedule when I began to wake up to the ham egg and cheeses bouncing off my forehead mid snore.  Bloomin’ Bagels was my meal plan.

However, because of this routine I eventually stopped thinking about what to order and systematically got the same thing almost every time.  The most common being ham or sausage, egg, and cheese on a cinnamon raisin or everything bagel; this was my comfort zone.  I don’t think I even looked at the menu for years.  My bagel selection became a habit!

Late in my senior year I made an effort to always try something new.  To break out of my ‘comfort zone’ in hopes to discover something new, maybe even something exciting.

So, as simple as it may sound, the next time I ventured into Bloomin’ Bagel I looked at the menu.  There, in big bold print, in front of my face every day was Steak Sandwiches.  So I asked for one with egg on it.  The steak was piled high and so juicy that it baffled me how I missed out on this sandwich for so long.  For years I overlooked this delectable treat because of my thoughtless habit. 

Six years after graduating, now back in Bloomsburg, and the only thing I can think about is this steak sandwich. The anticipation was killing me.  I was so excited I actually got nervous and started to s-s-s-stutter as I ordered it! 

But finally………

The Steak Egg and Cheese

So delicious, to the last bite, just how I remembered it.  


Now you know I wasn’t leaving here without getting one for the road, but I wanted to maintain the spirit of trying something new.

Wouldn’t you know it; right above the Steak listed Hot Pastrami!

“Pastrami and egg sandwich, please?” I asked the sweet lady.

“Hot pastrami?” She replied.

“Yes, please,” I said politely

“Would you like Swiss cheese with that?”


“Fried onions?”


“Spicy mustard?”


“On a bagel?”  (Did she just ask me that?)

“Of course,” I smiled to her, “Everything bagel, please. Oh and can you put a slice of tomato on that?”


The Hot Pastrami, Egg, Swiss Cheese, Tomato, Fried Onion, and Spicy Mustard on an Everything Bagel!!!!!!

(Does this excite you as much as it does me?)


As human beings we are creatures of habit. There is comfort and efficiency with our repetitive actions.  We are attracted to the certainty of knowing exactly what we’re going to get, where we’re going, or where things are.  For better or worse, this is what drives our habitual actions which become second nature over time.  Ever arrive at work and think back during your commute, but not remember taking that turn or driving down that road?  We are not engaged in these actions and as a result we fail to notice the world around us. 

Here is my challenge to you.  Look at your daily habits and consider breaking out of your comfort zone.  Ask yourself when the last time was that you tried something different.  Try getting coffee at the local shop instead of Wawa or Starbucks.  Or maybe it’s as simple as saying “Yes” when somebody asks if you want to do something.  Suck it up and go outside in the pouring summer rain instead of hiding indoors (but don’t get struck by lighting).  You’ll be surprised to discover how exhilarating this is. 

If I go to restaurant and have never had an item on their menu, you better bet that is exactly what I’m going to get.  A family friend of mine always said “variety is the spice of life.”  Find your Pastrami Sandwich!

Email me at or comment below and tell me about your experience, no matter how big or small.


Crush the Brunch

Back to where it all began, we took the trip up to Massapequa NY to visit family.  This is the town of Long Island my father was raised along with other notable celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Kim Basinger and the Baldwin Brothers.  Many restaurants in the area are likely to have signed photos of these characters all over their walls.  Well except for my father……Ralph Milone just hasn’t hit the main stream yet I guess.  I love coming up here to, of course, visit my father but also to get some fresh NY style Bagels.  They just don’t make bagels anywhere else like they do here.  They say it’s something in the water, which may explain more than just good bagels, pizza too maybe?

So I was pretty much set on writing this blog about the bagels, but when the idea of Brunch was put on the table it quickly peaked my interest.   I figured with all these celebrities and the masses of tourist they bring in each year there’s got to be a note worthy Brunch venue in town.  Not the case.

So after some Yelp and Google research, Badda Bing!  We found a venue a few towns over; The Black Forest Brew Haus was the best deal and looked the most appetizing on the website.  The 2 drink options of either Mimosas or Bloody Marys included with the meal and free kids under 4 help put it over the top of the others.  They obviously didn’t know my 1-year-old could eat like a champ!

Entering the front doors it felt like a large 1900 century tavern.  It’s long bar top was covered in an assortment of foods from the front to the back of the building where we were seated.  Some of the mentionable items included shrimp, lox, feta and spinach egg casserole, and captain crunch crusted chicken, along with your traditional entrée items  of scrabbled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, and all the pies, breads, and waffles you can dream up.

Now brunch is a funny thing, everybody has their own technique or personality on what to eat and their rate of consumption.  Some act out of habit while others intend to maximize their value and get their money’s worth.  I’ve characterized this into the combination of 2 out of 4 personality traits.  Assuming the purpose of going to a brunch is to eat as much as you can, the 4 personalities include:

The Dude

A theory of many buffet goers is this, if they take it slow they will be able to digest easier and therefore eat more.  They take their time deciding what to eat and sip on their coffee between plates.  The Dude will buffet it long after everyone else is ready to nap.

Speedy Gonzales

This person moves from the breakfast bar to the table and back faster than most people decide whether to put strawberries or blueberries on their waffle.  In their desire to eat as much as they can as fast as they can, The Speedy Gonzales is likely planning what they will have next before chow’n down on what’s already on their plate.  They eat with purpose and are not likely to converse with others until finished. 

The Carbinator

These individuals love their breads and sweets transitioning from waffles, to muffins, to French toast, to pancakes and usually top it all off with ice cream or pie.  I don’t believe that any brunch is complete without a big Belgian waffle topped with fruit, ice cream, cool whip and chocolate and/or maple syrup.  While most everyone else goes into a food-coma The Carbinator is jack up on their sugar rush.  They’re good to have around when there’s small kids to watch (who are probably also on a sugar rush).

Bloody Tiger

These ferocious carnivores are inclined to eating the pricier and more protein enriched foods.  They devour plates of peel-and-eat shrimp, smoked salmon, chicken cordon blue, and meats from the carving station and get seconds and thirds of made-to-order omelets, crispy bacon, and sausage links.  It doesn’t take long before they have peace of mind knowing they just got the better of their host.  Heck, my consumption of lox on toasted pumpernickel bread with cream cheese and onion must have been $20 worth alone.  

Where are you in this personality chart?  Are you a Tiger Dude or a Speedy Carbinator? What other personalities or techniques have you noticed?


The technique most likely to maximize value would be that in quadrant III, or the Speedy Tigers.  Eating protein enriched foods that don’t make you feel bloated and at a quick rate so your brain doesn’t register that you’re full. 

Although I don’t recommend eating so fast that you bypass the taste buds, eating quickly will allow you to consume more.  A recent Tweet by Dave Zinczenko Editor and Chief of Men’s Health stated this EAT RIGHT RULE: Stretch out your meal to 30 minutes to signal fullness & reduce calorie intake by 10%.  So logic would tell us that if we ate faster we would be able to increase our calorie intake and enjoy more food!

Harness this technique and you will likely be able eat larger amounts of the more expensive foods and definitely get your money’s worth. 

My personal technique – If there is something that I have not tried before I eat that first, followed by plate after plate of omelets, shrimp, and lox sandwiches.  I do love potatoes so I’ll have a small helping of their rendition of home fries.  It’s important to note that I try not to drink anything but a few sips of coffee, liquids will just fill you up.  Just when I think one more plate will put me over the top I load up a hot waffle with all the sweets available, whipped cream, and a cherry on top!


How many times have you said you were going to start eating better just to find your face stuffed with sticky buns?  It’s nice to know I’m not the only one, but it’s not our fault.  Sometimes the temptation of what we’ve sworn off is too much to bear.  But here are two techniques that I use to help me follow through with my New Years/March/Memorial Day/6 Month/Post Thanksgiving resolution. 

In order to follow through with our pledge to be better we must first COMMIT to the goal.  To commit we must decide and then constantly remind ourselves, by any means, why we are doing it.

I have a tough time doing things in moderation; I’m either all in or not at all.  I wanted to eat less meat, so I gave it up for a year.  I wanted to get my degree and play a sport in college, so I did 2 of each.  I wanted to figure out how to use social media, so I started a blog.  In order to do these things I have to make a commitment to myself to reach my goal which starts with the decision and is followed up with post it notes on my forehead.  So if I just say “well let’s try to eat better” I’m doomed to fail. 

The other technique is to eliminate (at least drastically limit) the temptation.

I’m notorious for giving away or throwing out pie, cake, candy and whatever else turns me into the Pillsbury dough boy.  Eliminating the temptation helps the will power.

One day, while on one of my half-assed diets (but doing well), a co-worker decided he was going to show his gratitude and reward our hard work by bringing in sticky buns. I was pissed! Why would somebody do this? ‘Great job Tony, run another 10 miles.’ How is that a reward?! I cursed him (he knows my diet and exercise regimen) and told him I wasn’t going to have any as he set it down behind me. The whole office proceeded to stuff face of the Fritz’s proclaimed “Best Sticky Buns” three feet from my nose.  Temptation? It didn’t take long before I caved and in typical Tony fashion (all in) I didn’t stop at the first half slice I initially cut for myself. There were, after all, two different kinds and I couldn’t let good food go to waste, right? 

How does somebody voluntarily inhale gloriously glazed, rich cream topped, cinnamon deliciousness while cursing the person who delivered them? ………….With a full mouth and sticky fingers.

Lack of commitment?  Yes.  Too much temptation?  Definitely.

Cheating never tasted so good  –

What’s your favorite sweet temptation? And where can I go to get it?

Columbine Café – Off the Beaten Path

This will be the finale Breakfast Blog from Colorado. Our time here was well spent and I anticipate coming back very soon to indulge in everything great this beautiful place has to offer. Maybe you can come and join us in the fun.

So our finale breakfast, I would have to say, topped my list. About 10 minutes south of Frisco lays Breckenridge CO a cool town about a mile long filled with stores and restaurants sure to meet anyone’s delight. The town sits right at the base of a huge ski (in our case snowboarding) mountain with several very high peaks reaching over 10,000 feet above sea level. I’m always amazed how dominating the presence of these mountains are and how in just a few short chairlifts I’ll be at the top ready to jump off the peak.

BUT FIRST!!!! Of course we got to fill up the tank. Today we attempted to eat at the Salt Water Creek and I had already planned what I was to get – steak and eggs fit for a king. Too bad when we got there the heat was broken and we had to move on. Or not too bad………Columbine Café, right down the road and back in the ally at the sign.

Needless to say I was now totally thrown off and couldn’t decide what I wanted. I was really looking forward to that steak. So I opted for the next best thing, C.B.H. Benedict: An English muffin topped with “Made from Scratch” corn-beef hash, 2 poached eggs & hollandaise served with hash browns. 10s, two thumbs up, 5 stars, this is the best hash I’ve ever had and to mix it in with eggs benedict was a perfect combo. If you can name a place around Philly you think could compare let me know cause I would like to try it out.  

In second place came the CBH Scramble: Pecan-smoked chunky corned beef hash served over hash browns topped with scrambled eggs and cheddar. Almost the same thing as the former minus the hollandaise sauce, I’m telling you this hash here is great.

Some honorable mentions below. Our good friend Sean and his beautiful wife to be played it safe with a pancake, sausage patty, & egg meal and an oatmeal topped with raisins and a side of grapefruit.


A Different Breed of Bagel

Another day in Colorado on our way to Vail and as always a huge day of boarding must be preceded by an even hugerer breakfast. As most know I have bagels running through my blood so my standards for the bagel sandwich are particular. I was interested to see how Coloradian’s Bagels would fare considering we were a few hundred miles from the bagel capital of the world, New York. Would it be like getting a Philadelphia Cheese Steak from somewhere in Kansas?

Upon ordering I went with my go to, a Ham Egg & Cheese on a Raisin Bagel while Ashley went with something different – Applewood Bacon, Sharp Cheddar and Egg on a Jalapeño & Cheddar Bagel.  The consensus is….Excellent! The bagels were very light and tasty. The sharp cheddar cheese gave it a slightly saltier taste which went well with the juicy ham and bacon. I would definitely recommend this place if you’re in the area. My only regrets were not getting something different and not getting more than one.

Well done Pika! 


A Bloody Cold Day Off

Welcome to our Double shot Tuesday here in Frisco, Co.  We’re piggybacking off last weeks Breakfast at the Log Cabin Cafe to set forth in a great expedition in the Rockies with its limb numbing temperatures.  The quest will require dedication and bravery which only legendary explorers have expressed.  The purpose; to find an answer to the most anticipated truth on every travelers mind who venture here…….

Who Has the Best BLOODY MARY?


Get the day started off right!  Early to rise and eager to dominate the challenge ahead……. “three Bloody Mary’s please,”  I requested.  The waitress seemed a bit taken back considering how early it was, but we were still on East Coast time and so to us it was like 10am.   Hell, its 5 o’clock somewhere, right?   Yemen maybe? 

Though I did thoroughly enjoy my Cajun Trout & Egg breakfast here but I have tobe honest the bloodies were lacking a desired taste.  A little bland, however, I did like the pickle and hot banana pepper toppings, two of my favorites on anything really.  With a little help from Ms. Cholula, Mr. Tabasco and a dash of pepper it was one down and ready for the next.


 The next stop, just a few doors down and across the street, at the Moose Jaw we were in for a real treat.  It turned out that our friend knew the cook, Dirty, seemed like a nice fellow. (I promise you that the reason we didn’t eat anything was that we just had breakfast, not because of the cooks name).  So, at the request of 3 more bloodies the bartender lit up with excitement and turned into a mad magician.  With her back turned we could only see ingredients flying through the air as she concocted her potion, of which I was not prepared.  The recipe was a secret, she explained, it’s the result of many years behind the bar and a hodgepodge of tips from former mentors of hers.  At first sip it was like no bloody I’ve ever had, distinct sweet and smokey flavors.  Then as she mentioned she has actually never had a bloody mary I began to identify some of the ingredients including A-1 sauce and tequilla.  I have to give it props for being different and I did enjoy it, although I probably would’ve just had one if we stayed (only so much A-1 I can drink).  Maybe I would’ve asked the cook to make me a martini.

BOAT YARD Pizzeria & Grill

Just look at that picture!  Chunky vegetable juice with horseradish you can chew on, seasoned/salted rim to follow-up each sip, and topped off with a meal.  One with Bacon, one with shrimp, and the other ordered with Gin.  They pre-make their own special bloody mix so it doesn’t take long for them to whip up this display of bloody perfection.  I do have to dock a point in the spice category as there wasn’t much kick, but nothing that couldn’t have been fixed with a little hot sauce.  As is, it did taste great, (our friend Janine’s favorite) and I would’ve stayed there drinking these all day in their pleasant dinning atmosphere but we were on a mission. 



OLLIE’S Pub & Grub

Three bloodies down for each of us and we were feeling good……strong, both mentally and physically, and confident in our abilities to take on the next challenge.  We’ve been lucky so far, but to get to this next stop we had to trek all the way to the other side of town (1 block).  Did I mention it’s unbearably cold out?  Finally, down a flight of stairs and around the back of the building we made it to Ollie’s.  Looks like it would be a cool hangout at night with large tv’s long bar and plenty of dinning seats. 

“What’ll it be?” asked the tender.  “3 bloodies,” I said shivering, “and make them HOT!”  He delivered.  The progression of the day was getting better and better.  We were feeling better and these were the best tasting bloodies yet, in my humble opinion.  No bells and whistles, just a straight up great tasting Bloody Mary.  I’ll make a note here that the spicy flavor edged it above the rest for me.  I like things a tad on the hot side.  With bloodies you have to get a good mix of seasoning for your salt palate, horseradish to flare your nostrils, and hot sauce to ignite your senses.  Bartender Josh got it right.


So now here is an awkward time to be in Frisco hunting down Bloody Marys.  A niche activity I agree but interesting non-the-less.  It’s between 2:30 – 3:00 and while standing in front of the Butterhorn Bakery, picking the icicles from my nose, we realized they had closed.  Makes sense but I am really disappointed we missed out on trying their bloody as their breakfast from the day before was great.  Maybe someone in the area (cough-J9) can stop by and write-up a comment on Butterhorn’s Bloodies.  Anyway, so we go to the next restaurant and they’re closed too, only they just didn’t open yet.  After a few more attempts and grabbing locked doors we discovered the ‘Frisco Bloody Dining Service Gap.’  Not that there isn’t anything open just no new places for us to try……. Then we round a corner and behold BACKCOUNTRY BREWERY.

It was a close call, our mission was almost catastrophically terminated by the FBDSG and tomorrow’s brave explorers of Frisco would have had no reference for their Bloody needs.  Luckily Backcountry was open for business.  The waiter was a little surprised to hear us all order bloodies, being we were at a brewery, but was quite confident after hearing our purpose that we would be well satisfied with their mix.  Most similar to the Boat Yard but a tad saltier and more spicy, my wife Ashley’s favorite of the day.  I love the fact they gave me a free sticker I could put on my snowboard but even better we came during happy hour.  Half off all drafts, so after discovering the best Bloody in Frisco I altered the mission to the best microbrew. : P

We may have visited another venue after this but I wouldn’t have remembered anything about it.

Alas our mission is complete and now the 4.5 visitors who will actually read this will have a better idea of were they might venture to and where they may avoid.

Log Cabin Cafe – Frisco, CO

Colorado 2nd Breakfast stop:  The Log Cabin Café

Way, way, way too cold outside to go snowboarding today.  On the mountain we were looking at -31 degrees.  That’s more than 60 degrees BELOW freezing!  I’m a cold weather guy but that is ridiculous. So I thought I’d let my wife and our friend sleep in for once.  After all we were away from the kids and on vacation so taking it easy for the day would be nice…….then my tummy began to grumble. 

 “Were only in Colorado for four more days,” I yelled, “we can’t sleep through the week.  Let’s go eat!”   7:30 is sleeping in right?

 Off to the Log Cabin Café…………


So on day two Wife Ashley, being the creative culinary designer that she is, created a delectable omelet consisting of sun-dried tomatoes, paper-jack cheese, bacon and topped with fresh sliced avocado.  I thought the unusual request for sundried tomatoes was in great combination to the other ingredients.  It was served with a side biscuit, in lieu of toast, with the option of either strawberry or blueberry jam.  From what I could see of her visual enjoyment this may have been the highlight of her breakfast. 

So lets segway the sweet jam to my side of grits which is a great option to replace tons of butter usually required to make grits edible.  I choose grits in spirit of the southern trout and eggs breakfast.  Always trying something new is the name of the game…….I thought this fit the bill.  I’m a fan of fish, but for breakfast?  Can’t be any worse than the tuna fish and eggs I make back home I thought (more on that in later blogs).  This fish and eggs with cajun seasoning was cooked just to my liking, served with a side of cornbread I found myself saying “y’all stay warm now” as I was leaving.

J9, our Coloradian friend went with the house named ‘Log Cabin Omlette’ consisting of  Ham, Green Chiles, Cheddar, Onions and a Side Of Salsa.  She felt it was your average omelet, however, the salsa tasted fresh and delicious.

My recommendation would be to opt for a create-your-own omelet.  Fresh avocado, sundried tomatoes, and salsa being important ingredients.  And instead of toast ask for the cornbread.  See Ya’ll next time!

Log Cabin Cafe –

ButterHorn Bakery – Frisco, CO

CO 1st stop: Butterhorn Bakery & Café

I was super excited to get out and hit the slopes on our first day in Colorado but knew I wouldn’t last long if I didn’t get a big breakfast in first.  After talking to the locals and getting some recommendations it seemed that all fingers pointed at the Butterhorn Bakery.  Bakery? I thought. I wasn’t to keen on muffins for breakfast, I needed a hardy meal for the big day ahead…….and this place delivered. 

First off, the atmosphere was brilliant and the service was excellent.  All bright colors and smiles to get your day started off right.  And for the food…….


Tried Meals:

Our Coloradian friend opted for The Royal Scrambler.  Two eggs scrambled with cream cheese, mushrooms, onions, vine ripened tomato and green peppers.  Usually served with homemade toast however our friend is being troubled with gluten allergies.  Without even asking the waitress offered to add spinach to her meal at no extra cost.  A very nice gesture on their part and it added a flavorsome addition to the plate.  I would know, as I had the pleasure of polishing off what she couldn’t finish.

The wifey went with Eggs Butterhorn, the house platter of two poached eggs on freshly baked croissant with Canadian bacon and fresh avocado topped with unique red pepper sauce and served with home fries.  Simply WOW.  The mix of the mild spice from the pepper sauce with the creamy avocado and mouth-watering bacon made for a unique and delicious meal.  I can say that it’s the discovery of meals like this that fuel my enthusiasm for this blog.

For myself, I went with the Huevos Rancheros which is a popular dish here and not something you see very often back home.  It included refried beans atop a flour tortilla with eggs your way; spicy pepper jack cheese and homemade spicy green chili, served with guacamole, sour cream, salsa & home fries.  A medium spicy treat with obvious Mexican influence that I would definitely recommend.

A bakery or not, this restaurant knows how to put together a mean breakfast.  Over all our experience was great and I can’t wait to see what the town of Frisco has to offer to us tomorrow…..but first its time to conquer some snow-capped rocky mountains!

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