Friday, July 12, 2024

A weekly notebook about dining options during the Covid-19 shutdown, with a focus on quality and ease of pickup and delivery. Remember, the people serving up the food are part of the front line; keep it in mind when tipping.

Cafe Rustica’s breakfast sandwich on croissant. (Photo: Tom Meek)

I’m deeply missing the loaded croissant on the Colette Wine Bistro brunch menu. The classic French pastry, served open-faced with a generous amount of Gruyere cheese under a heap of fluffy scrambled eggs and silky spinach, was a weekend go to for me. I hear the French eatery is coming out of hibernation soon, so that’s a hope. (Another current favorite is the Impossible sausage and egg sandwich at Clover.) In the interim, I have acclimated myself to a few new pleasing breakfast stops. First up, making me croissant happy, is Cafe Rustica, the European-styled tuck-away just across the Somerville city line on Beacon Street (near the junction with Oxford, near Porter Square). The breakfast sandwich comes with two fluffy scrambled eggs (baked, I believe) on the airy French pastry; I get it with Swiss cheese, and it’s just what the foodie doctor ordered. You can make your sandwich any way you want (sausage, bacon, peppers, veggies, etc.) and on what you want (bagel or toast, but trust me – stick with the croissant) and pickup is simple: Call it in and Cafe Rustica will have it for you in five to 10 minutes with a big, thankful smile that has become emblematic of the cozy eatery with treelined patio out back, a popular neighborhood stop for more than 20 years. It also serves cold or hot pressed paninis for lunch.

Cafe Rustica (356 Beacon St., Somerville)

Mike & Patty’s breakfast sandwiches come by default on its doughy, homemade English muffins. (Photo: Tom Meek)

Every time I go back to Bow Market in Union Square there’s something new. Most recently it’s been Mike & Patty’s, pretty much a breakfast sando-only stop. Credit its consistent quality on the doughy, homemade English muffins its sandwiches come on by default. You can change that up – online, you can customize your breakfast feast ’til the cows come home; they’ll make your eggs any way you want and add any kind of meat – but I advise against it. I’m a straight-up, classic kind of guy, looking for one egg over easy and American cheese on that fresh, warm English muffin. I’ve heard the breakfast burrito is a knockout, but every time I deviate, I’m right back to the classic, which is so simple and pleasing. Elegant comfort is what I’d call it. Mike & Patty’s is open only ’til 2 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays right now, and the Bow Market’s open-air patio is pretty quiet during the weekday mornings, a great place to hang out and read or write; but some Saturday and Sunday brunch on a nice day, be prepared to wait. Ordering online through Toast is simple, and so is walking up to the storefront, with fast turnaround. At night, Mike & Patty’s becomes Hot Box (owned by the same small Boston food collaborative) and serves South Shore pizza and North Shore roast beef subs. Go figure!

Mike & Patty’s (1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville)

Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.